24. Jack shoots George Mason with a tranquilizer gun, knocks him out so he can break protocol, then blackmails him with the information he obtained while doing so (Season 1: Episode 1)
Ahhh, Jack’s first moment of the first episode of the first season where we first glimpse just how badass Bauer can be.
23. Jack, in hot pursuit of Arthur Rabens, the final virus courier in Los Angeles, chases him into an elementary school and engages in a hand-to-hand battle to the finish with Rabens, then chops off Chase’s hand to secure the virus and contain its release (Season 3: Episode 24)
The Rabens battle is priceless (as I mentioned in the Top 24 One Episode Characters of 24, you gotta love a character who can elude authorities, take an agent hostage and then kung-fu fight with Jack all without uttering a single syllable of dialogue), with Jack at his most ass-kicking, which is quite the feat considering he was about to stick a needle filled with junk into his arm a mere 24 hours earlier. Then of course the brutal amputation, one of 24’s grittiest and most gruesome scenes to date, despite the lack of depicting the actual friggin’ huge axe lopping off Chase’s already gunshot-wounded hand. Finally, Bauer’s ingenuity kicks in and he throws the virus into a refrigerator in the school’s staff lounge and watches it detonate in a harmless “poof” of white powder. The people of America are safe once again, thanks to Jack Bauer, its faithful servant and badass action hero.
22. Jack captures the sniper who took out David Palmer, then shoots him in cold blood while Chloe and his trashy girlfriend’s teenage son look on (Season 5: Episode 1)
Jack only shoots defenseless people in cold blood when they have done something really really REALLY bad, like terrorizing his family or murdering his wife — you know, the REALLY bad stuff. I guess assassinating Palmer qualifies, eh Jack?
21. Jack interrogates Nina, coming face to face with her for the first time since learning she murdered his wife (Season 2: Episode 6)
Having just learned that Nina is CTU’s only link to the nuke in LA, Jack somehow convinces Mason he’s the only one who can get Nina (the woman who killed his wife and left him curled up to rock bottom for close to two years!) to cooperate. He skulks into the interrogation room menacingly. He throws tables. He threatens. He charges. He strangles. In short, just being himself. Ahhhh, Jack/Nina love.
20. Jack extracts Lee Jong from the Chinese Consulate in a Superhuge Top Secret Black Ops Extravaganza! (Season 4: Episode 20)
CTU’s only link to Marwan and the warhead is Lee Jong, a Chinese national seeking asylum at the Chinese Consulate, technically Chinese soil. The Chinese can’t get their shit together to process America’s request for access, but this is nothing more than a minor inconvenience for Bauer, who throws his black ski mask on and get the guy old skool Bauer style. Unfortunately, the peons Jack used for the mission simply don’t have his skillz, and the Consul take a stray bullet during a firefight. Shit — this is gonna be bad for Bauer, I can feel it.
19. Jack hijacks a diplomatic flight and helps land the aircraft on the freeway, after taking out its co-pilot (a mole) (Season 5: Episode 21)
Is there nothing Jack Bauer cannot do? He takes a huge gamble that pays off in his quest to corner Logan when he convinces the pilot on a diplomatic flight he has hijacked at gunpoint to land on a 1000 ft. stretch of LA freeway. HOLY SHIT! Day 5 was undoubtedly go big or go home, and this was the most memorable instance of that large-scale operatic version of 24.
18. Jack is ordered to shoot Nina by Ira Gaines, who is holding his family hostage and threatening to kill them if he doesn’t comply. Fortunately, Bauer is both a tactical genius AND a huge badass, not only having the enormous balls to throw a flak jacket on Nina right under Gaines’ nose before they left CTU, but also having the gargantuan balls to actually pull the trigger at go time (Season 1: Episode 7)
This was one of the biggest episodes of the first Season because it raised the stakes hugely for the audience, as well as for Bauer. For the first time in the series, Jack Bauer is faced with an impossible choice and the audience became aware that the writers could do anything to anyone at any time.
17. Jack finally takes down Wald’s crew after helping them set off a bomb at CTU to maintain his cover (Season 2: Episode 4)
At last, Wald’s idiot minions give Jack the information he is looking for — Wald’s location. Jack drops the friendly act and considerately waits for them to take the first shot before mows them all down handily with his trusty 9mm.
16. Jack makes out with Nina for a solid 5 minutes, then headbutts her as she is groping him to regain the upper hand (Season 3: Episode 11)
Jack didn’t wanna enjoy making out with Nina, the woman who murdered his wife and fucked up his entire life yet somehow sees into his soul, while she had him all tied up. But he did. However, that certainly won’t stop him sending a vicious yet efficient headbutt her way to take back control of the situation. A guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do!
15. Jack shoots Henderson’s wife in the leg to make him talk (Season 5: Episode 11)
Jack, under the mistaken impression that Christopher Henderson actually has a soul, shoots his lovely wife Miriam in the leg, hoping this will convince him to give up information on the Sentox. Chris, however, is a stone cold son of a bitch, and refuses to talk. Protecting the innocent is what it’s all about, right Jack?
14. Jack, Jonathan Wallace, Yusuf Auda and Kate Warner take out Kingsley’s goons at the Studio City warehouse in a daring escape (Season 2: Episode 18)
Jack, Wallace, Auda and a tightly wound Kate Warner dodge and slaughter a team of 11 trained mercenaries sent to kill them during a firefight in a Studio City warehouse alley. One of 24’s most classic gunfight sequences. I think Jonathan Wallace said it best: ”You know Jack, you were a real badass back at the warehouse!”
13. Jack “dies” to elude death (Season 4: Episode 24)
The Chinese want Jack to face the music after storming their Consulate and getting their Consul killed, but Logan’s lapdog Cummings has other plans. Afraid of the intel Bauer might give up if they turn him over, Cummings instructs a morally ambiguous Secret Service agent to assassinate Bauer after taking him into custody. Luckily, Bauer has friends in high places and Palmer gives him the heads up. He knows the only way to stay alive is to die, so embarks on a risky fake death plot with his 3 best friends that involves pretending to be shot and some drugs to kill him and some more drugs to revive him. Somehow, being Jack Bauer, he pulls it off.
12. Jack takes down Cummings’ goon with a pair of medical scissors (Season 5: Episode 5)
Cummings uses his inside man Wolffe to get a henchman with instruction to eliminate Bauer through CTU security. The henchman, posing as a doctor, tells Jack that Tony is awake and asking for him. When Jack arrives, the henchman ambushes him. But this peon is no match for Bauer, who quickly overpowers him and stabs him in the neck with a pair of CTU clinic scissors. No one is more resourceful when it comes to weaponry than Jack Bauer.
11. Jack kung-fu fights Kingsley’s henchman, then climbs the wall and breaks his neck, mere hours after dying and coming back to life (Season 2: Episode 24)
Despite the fact that Jack is weak and in pain, he reaches deep within for the strength of sheer will, and kills Kingsley’s goon in a wicked hand-to-hand battle. The way he shows the goon who the man is, you’d never know there was nothing between him and certain death but an incompetent peon with a defibrilator mere hours earlier.
10. Jack finally kills Nina (Season 3: Episode 14)
Remember that rule about only killing defenseless people in cold blood when they’ve done REALLY bad things? Well, Jack finally gets his chance to serve Nina her vigilante justice, and how! He puts her, and himself, out of their misery once and for all.
9. Jack foils the assassination attempt against Palmer and escapes Secret Service custody (Season 1: Episode 9)
After cleverly manipulating the situation to protect Palmer, Jack still looks guilty as hell, and he is arrested by Secret Service. It looks like Jack’s goose is cooked. Luckily, Bauer is a total badass and manages to escape without any weapons by burning the crap out of his pursuers with good old fashioned steam valves and then carjacking an alkie waitress in a boat on wheels. That’s Jack!
8. Jack tortures his own brother with a plastic bag (Season 6: Episode 5)
I think it goes without saying that it takes a massive badass to throw a plastic bag over your own brother’s head and suffocate him to make him talk, even if he is a terrorist.
7. Jack starts a riot in a Federal Prison to break Ramon Salazar out (Season 3: Episode 5)
This entire sequence, and its result, is just one long exercise in Jack Bauer badassery. First, Jack puts the sleeper hold on Chase. Then he starts a riot so he can get access to Ramon. They get caught in the milieu and play a few rounds of Russian Roulette, where Jack puts a gun to his head and pulls the trigger without even blinking. Finally, he hijacks the prison chopper and flies off with Ramon, en route to catch a sunset flight to Mexico.
6. Jack kung-fu fights with Tony (Season 7: Episode 2)
Hot on the tail of his former best friend and most trusted associate who has seemingly flipped to the dark side after coming back from the dead, Jack ambushes Tony at his base of operations, a boat on a marina in Washington DC. Both men lose their guns and go hand-to-hand in the Jack/Tony rumble to end all Jack/Tony rumbles. This Dark Tony proves to be Jack’s most challenging and worthy adversary in a physical fight to date, but Bauer still kicks his ass. HE KICKS TONY ALMEIDA’S ASS!!! This requires true and pure badassery of the highest calibre.
5. Jack saves Teri and Kim at Gaines’ compound (Season 1: Episode 13)
In the climax of the first Season’s first act, Jack takes on Gaines and his army of bottom-feeders at his large compound on the outskirts of LA to rescue his wife and daughter in one of the most poetic and memorable gunfights of the series. Using a combination of old-fashioned gunslinging badassery and classic Jack Bauer ingenuity, he takes out Gaines’ men, offs Gaines and arranges for his family to be airlifted out in a CTU chopper. The hero prevails.
4. Jack decapitates Marshall Goren and delivers his head to Wald’s crew in a bowling bag (Season 2: Episodes 1/2)
Knowing the only way to regain Wald’s trust is a grand gesture of homicide, Jack has the star witness in a Federal case against Wald brought to CTU, then prompty whips out a gun and shoots him, the cuts off his head with a hacksaw. Wald’s right hand is impressed with Jack’s ballsy gift, and lets Jack back into the fold. It takes mad skillz and insane levels of badass to get back in with the people you betrayed in a matter of hours, but if anyone can do it, it’s Jack!
3. Jack rescues Audrey and Heller from Omar’s clutches (Season 4: Episode 6)
Nothing, including an army of Islamic millitants willing to die for their cause, can stand between Jack Bauer and the woman he loves. He storms the compound where Audrey and her father are being held and singlehandedly takes out a dozen armed men, as Audrey rushes into his loving arms once more.
2. Jack breaks Tony out of FBI custody (Season 7: Episode 3)
Jack, now clued into the fact that Tony has just been playing strange with all this “I’m a terrorist without a soul” stuff and is really still a good guy in the end, sets about breaking him out of FBI custody. He pulls the old sleeper hold on doe-eyed trusting agent Renee Walker, then holds FBI Director Moss at gunpoint before punching him right in the kisser. He and Tony avoid FBI security by smashing a stairwell window with a fire extinguisher and fleeing onto the roof of the parking garage. Jack fights off a wall of heavily armed SWAT guys as Tony breaks for the alley behind, then hotwires a car to make his escape. Like the true badass he is, Jack doesn’t lose his good humour through any of this, muttering “this is gonna hurt” to himself as drives the car straight through the second floor parkade wall, smashing headfirst into a parked car below. He limps out of the car, shaken but unharmed (the invisible Bauer sheild of Badassery) and jumps into Buchanan’s waiting blue van, concluding the daring escape.
1. Jack takes down the Drazens and a whole fuckload of their men all by his lonesome, both guns blazing (Season 1: Episode 24)
Fuelled only by the rage and grief at the belief the Drazens murdered his daughter, Jack crashes through the door of their warehouse in a van, then jumps out firing round after round. Andre and Victor flee, but Jack gives chase, mowing down anyone who gets in his way. Andre goes down, and Jack chases Victor out onto the dock. Victor runs out of bullets at the worst possible time and Jack has him by the balls. Victor surrenders, but there will be no mercy from Bauer. He takes only a split second to consider his options, then pumps Drazen full of lead, and Victor falls into the water, done like dinner. Jack continues to dry fire into the ocean after his corpse, spending his vengeance. Little does he know that the worst is yet to come.