I was hesitant to watch 24 this season. I was sup disappointed the second half of season 6 that I had given up on the show. Combine that with the drain of my masters thesis on the subject writers strike, Skipping the season was a forgone conclusion.
But like Michael Corleone everything I think I have got out, 24 and torture pull me back in. I am going to be blogging about torture specifically after each episode, but I am really struck about level of self-awareness the program has this season.
The season opened with Jack Bauer testifying about his and CTU's reliance and torture and other illegal actions to stop terrorism. Bauer, in his response to questions, argues that his actions are justified by the end result Bauer did what he had to do. That is it, end of story case closed. He had not tortured terrorist untold damage would of been done. Bauer goes on to aruge that he understood that his actions were illegal and that he took full responsibility for what he had done.
This gets at one of the key arguments in my thesis. 24's producers are able to justify the actions of Jack Bauer because he is committing these burial actions for selfish reasons. He does not thing that he is above the law. But when innocent peoples' lives are on the line, the law and right and wrong being ambiguous. Bauer does not want to torture people. But that is "what has to be done" in order to protect people.
Bauer's justification for his actions transform him in a victim of the tortured person's terrorist plot and of the law.
By framing him as a victim of his own circumstances and given his struggle to balance his personal life with work, the character of Jack Bauer is constructed as a tragic hero. As the hero of the show, he is the person most capable of leading the CTU and the U.S. government to victory over the terrorists.
What I find so suppressing about Bauer's testimony is that he is up front about it. He takes up this mantle of victimhood without a though. He has given up so much personally for his job and love and country, anyone who stands in his away is a fool.
I find it so amazing that the Kiefer Sutherland (the actor who plays Jack Bauer) and the shows writers came out and said this. Amazing Stuff.