Episode PremiereApril 29, 2003
GenreAction, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Show Period2001 - Now
Production CompanyImagine Ent., Fox TV, Real Time
Cast and Crew
ScreenwriterRobert Cochran, Howard Gordon
- Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer
- Mary Lynn Rajskub as Chloe O'Brian
- Carlos Bernard as Tony Almeida
- James Morrison
- Dennis Haysbert as President David Palmer
- Elisha Cuthbert as Kimberly 'Kim' Bauer
- Reiko Aylesworth as Michelle Dessler
- Kim Raver as Audrey Raines
- D.B. Woodside
- Katee Sackhoff as Dana Walsh
- Freddie Prinze Jr. as Cole Ortiz
- Mykelti Williamson as Brian Hastings
- John Boyd
- Jennifer Westfeldt
- Alex Daniels
- Michael Holden
- Robert Pine
- John Rubinstein as Secretary of State
- Austin Tichenor
- Paco Farias
- Maurice Compte
Jack pleads with the men in Kate's house through the bathroom door, telling them what is on the chip and why he needs it. One of the men implores the other to give up the chip, and his friend accidentally fires his gun. Jack breaks down the door and enters the bathroom. He holds the guy and grabs the chip. Jack has Kate get something to tie the men up.
Palmer tells Novick that he just learned that the bombers did not return to their bases as he ordered. Novick sullenly invites the President to join him in the conference room. Palmer senses his aide's unease, and asks Novick what is going on. Novick finally admits that the cabinet members are questioning whether Palmer is fit to continue as Chief Executive of the country.
Palmer enters the conference room to find a video screen with panels of feeds. A group of cabinet members, lead by Vice President Prescott, is assembled in the White House bunker, with the Secretary of State filmed on a plane and the Secretary of Agriculture in a limo. Prescott tells Palmer that they are invoking the 25th Amendment, which states that the Vice President and a majority of the cabinet can determine whether that the President can be discharged of powers if he is not capable of performing the duties of his office. He says that they have decided Palmer's actions over the day warrant such a query. The Secretary of State interjects to state that they are all not in full agreement just yet. Palmer explains that the Amendment was designed to deal with the situations where the President is ill or incapacitated. Prescott informs him that their interpretation is backed by the Attorney General. He insists that Jack Bauer has not turned up the evidence to disprove the Cyprus recording, and that waiting will only risk tens of thousands of American lives. Although they do not agree with his policy decisions, Palmer maintains that he can not be labeled disabled. Prescott intends to show that the President's refusal to authorize military action is a symptom of his erratic behavior. The Secretary of State says that Palmer should be given the chance to explain himself in order to answer their questions. Palmer consents to this, on the condition that, if he is exonerated, then Prescott should resign as Vice President. Prescott agrees.
Tony informs Chappelle that a source told him that the President called off the military offensive more than an hour ago. Chappelle acknowledges that he was aware of this, but says there is a strong possibility that the White House will reinstate the attack order.
Michelle gets a call from Jack at Kate Warner's house, and she grabs Tony. Jack informs them that he has the chip but that he can not read what is on it. Michelle attempts to access it over the server. Jack then asks Tony to run a background check on Peter Kingsley and to cross-reference it with oil industry players. Tony tells him that, although Palmer called off the military strikes, for some reason the order may get reversed.
Prescott brings the reporter Ron Wieland into the proceedings. Wieland recounts that he was detained by Secret Service after he investigated the possibility of a terrorist attack. Although he understands the reason he was held captive, Wieland feels it was a violation of his First Amendment rights. He says that Sherry Palmer came to visit him and offered to give him access to the O.C. if he sat on the story. Wieland got the sense that Palmer was not in control of the situation. The President calmly explains that he was balancing the need for public safety, and he tried to rectify the situation with a remedy that had legal precedent.
Michelle walks Jack through overriding the chip's access, but he only gets a screen full of numbers and symbols. He checks the hardware and realizes that the chip has been damaged. He sends whatever data he pulled up to Michelle so that she can run it through a retrieval program at CTU. Meanwhile, Tony gets a call from Kim looking for her father. She is in a police car on her way to the Matheson house to pick up her belongings. Tony puts her through to Jack. Kim tells Jack that she misses him, and Jack assures her that he will see her soon.
Palmer asks Novick how long he has known about Prescott's plan to get him out of office. Although Novick claims to still be on his side, Palmer accuses him of aligning with the Vice President. Novick begs him to change his stance on the attack, but Palmer conveys that the trust between them is gone forever.
Prescott calls on another witness who is at the O.C. in Oregon. The haggard face of NSA head Roger Stanton appears on a monitor, and he describes how he was tortured on orders from the President. Palmer accuses him of lying about the location of the nuclear bomb. Stanton explains how he arrived at the O.C. to find his underling Eric Rayburn had been fired for wanting to bring in the military. He says that Palmer was immediately adamant about not using military action. Stanton believes that Palmer's indecisive and erratic behavior made him terrified of any military engagement. He thinks that Palmer wanted to convince himself that he could avoid war by showing that an American was behind the bomb threat.
Chappelle questions why Tony ordered I.T. people to work on a retrieval project. Tony explains that Jack found the chip that could show that the Cyprus file was forged, but that the chip was damaged. Chappelle steps away and calls the White House. He leaves a message for the Vice President.
Prescott plays a video of Stanton's torture at the O.C. The group shudders at what they see. Palmer tells the cabinet that he did order the torture, but that Stanton ultimately confessed to knowledge of the bomb. Stanton says that he made that confession only because he was weakened by the torture. Palmer informs them that Stanton also gave information about the Coral Snake team and the bomb at Norton Airfield. However, Prescott says that there is nothing more on the tape. Palmer insists there has been deliberate sabotage of evidence because he questioned Stanton further. Prescott gives Palmer the opportunity to present evidence on behalf of his defense, but Palmer says he has not been given time to do so. He deems his extreme actions warranted by the day's events. An aide hands Prescott a note, and Prescott informs the group that CTU Division Chief Ryan Chappelle just sent him an urgent message. Jack Bauer has evidence to prove the inaccuracy of the Cyprus recording. Prescott calls for the group to wait for that evidence to be analyzed. Palmer breathes a sigh of relief.
Chappelle checks on Tony and Michelle's progress. They tell him that they did not find the audiofiles, but that they can figure out who programmed the information. Chappelle makes a comment that Jack wasted their time, and he walks off disgusted.
Kate becomes upset. She feels like everything that happened today was her fault because her sister may have started a war. Jack comforts her, explaining that there was nothing she could have done to prevent it. Suddenly, Jack's cell phone rings. Tony and Michelle tell him that, unfortunately, there were no audiofiles left on the chip. However, Michelle did find junk code that may have been put there by the chip's programmer. She traced the sequence to a hacker named Alex Hewitt. He has a file with the FBI, and may have been the one who fabricated the recording. Jack asks for Hewitt's last known address, and he tells Kate that he is going off to track down a lead.
Palmer is connected to Chappelle and Jack, who tells Palmer that the chip was damaged and can not prove that the Cyprus tape is a fake. He also says that a man named Peter Kingsley is part of a group manipulating events to instigate a war in order to control the Middle East oil. Palmer asks Jack for hard evidence, and gets Jack's assurance that he is absolutely convinced that the Cyprus recording was forged.
Palmer turns back to the cabinet members on the monitor to tell them that the evidence is not yet available but will be in the future. Regardless, Prescott calls for a vote. Novick pulls Palmer aside to beg him to change his mind and authorize an attack. Palmer refuses once again. The cabinet begins their voice poll, deciding for or against Palmer being allowed to remain in office.
As he pulls up to Hewitt's loft, Jack calls Tony for a briefing on the suspect. While working for the State Department, Hewitt had been caught manipulating files. He attempted suicide in custody and was recently released from a psychiatric prison. Tony tells him that Hewitt has no connection to Kingsley.
With a split in cabinet members, the deciding vote falls upon the Secretary of State. He goes against Palmer. Prescott tells Palmer that he can appeal this decision before Congress in four days. Until then, Palmer must remove himself from the decision making process. Secret Service Agent Pierce arrives with two Marines. They escort Palmer to a holding room -- not as bodyguards but as wardens.
As the bombers make their way toward the Middle East, Prescott is sworn in as President of the United States.
Jack enters Hewitt's ransacked loft. There is no one inside. He hides behind an alcove when he hears footsteps approaching the door. Sherry Palmer comes into the loft and calls out for Alex Hewitt.