In anticipation of tonight's two-hour "24" season finale, and in honor of the show's better, more balls-to-the-walls days, I've compiled a list of the "24's" top 10 all-time greatest moments. It was a more daunting task than I'd initially anticipated 24 hours times seven seasons equals a lot of possibilities, and my picks show a clear preference for memorable kills/deaths. Thanks to Culture Surfing and Facebook commenters for their 2 cents!
10. Chloe guns down a hostile (season 4)
To say that Chloe has a hard time relating to people would be an huge understatement. She's an sarcastic know-it-all (think Nick Burns: Your Company Computer Guy from "SNL"), but still completely lovable. There are many great Chloe moments (remember when she tasered that guy in the bar for trying to pick her up?), but the best was when she killed the hostile on Day 4. While out in the field to follow up on an informant, she's attacked by a hitman. Chloe slams the gas on her SUV, knocks down the attacker, grabs a gun (we're talking rifle-size, no pistols here) jumps out, shoots and kills the guy. As quickly as she becomes a badass, though, she returns to being awkward, grabbing her laptop and shuffling and mumbling into the house. Gotta love the Chloe.
9. Sherry Palmer kills Alan Milliken (season 3)
Good lord this woman was pure evil. I loved to hate her. Every time you thought you saw the last of the former First Lady, she'd pop right back up again, signaling that things were about to go horribly, horribly wrong. When longtime Palmer-family friend Alan Milliken tries to extort the President, it's revealed that David's brother Wayne had an affair with Milliken's much younger and more nubile trophy wife Julia. David enlists Sherry to silence Milliken, only she takes his orders more literally than he'd intended. Sherry sneaks over to the Milliken's mansion in the middle of the night to confront Julia and ends up face to face with the sickly, wheelchair-bound former friend. The pair's discussion gets so heated Milliken suffers a heart attack. He gasps for breath and reaches for his pills on the counter. Julia makes a weak attempt to help, but Sherry snatches up the bottle of nitroglycerin and berates the old man until his heart stops completely. Stone cold Sherry Palmer.
8. Jack chops off Chase's hand with an axe (season 3)
Ahh, the pains of dating Jack Bauer's daughter. Actually, Chase and Jack worked out most of their Kim-related differences before the axe entered the picture. When Chase follows Jack to Mexico, he nearly blows Bauer's cover with Salazar. In order to prove his loyalty to the family (heroin addiction apparently won't cut it anymore), Salazar orders Jack to cut off Chase's hand. And he does it.
7. Towel torture a la Bauer (season 1)
Jack gets seriously upset when bandits kidnap his daughter and threaten his wife. He carjacks a limo carrying Ted Cofell, a lead in the whereabouts of his daughter, and calmly informs him: "You probably don't think that I can force this towel down your throat. But trust me, I can. All the way. Except I'd hold onto this one little bit at the end. When your stomach starts to digest it, I pull it out. Taking your stomach lining with it. For most people it would take about a week to die. It's very painful."
6. Jack breaks Salazar out of prison (season 3)
Jack spends his pre-season three hours developing a tight bond (heroin addiction) with the Salazars, a family of Mexican drug lords. Cartel leader Ramon Salazar ends up in prison thanks to Jack's undercover work, but his brother Hector's plans to sell a biological weapon force Jack to break Ramon out. Jack lets all hell break loose in the prison in broad daylight without the President's approval and ends up in a room full of P.O.-ed inmates playing Russian roulette, before making a getaway in a government helicopter.
5. Morris takes a drill to the shoulder (season 6)
Terrorist Abu Fayed is threatening the U.S. with a nuclear attack. After Fayed detonates a nuke in Valencia, Morris is kidnapped to help arm another series of the weapons. Fayed is a bit more Home Depot than Bed, Bath & Beyond when it comes to torture (see No. 7) and decides to convince Morris with the aid of a power drill. Morris quickly becomes obliging once the drill meets his shoulder. By far one of the most brutal, gory and controversial moments in the show's history.
4. Tony murders Larry (season 7)
Tony had been of questionable moral standing ever since Michelle's death. Like Jack, he was angry that the system he'd worked so hard to protect ultimately betrayed him. Unlike Jack, he was willing to convert to the dark side. Or so we thought. Once he mumbled a certain secret CTU code to Jack in the interrogation room this season, he was able to rebrand himself as a good guy. That is until he suffocated a wounded Larry Moss with his bare, bloodied hands behind a dumpster. Now, that's Nina evil.
3. Nina kills Teri (season 1)
Speaking of Nina, she's right up there with Sherry Palmer as one of "24's" top villains. Sure the Chinese are scary, but women like these two will make your blood run cold. For the most part, season 1 was a series of vicious, methodical Nina Meyers mindgames that culminated in Teri Bauer's death. Teri spent the entire day narrowly escaping all types of evil, including the fact that Nina and Jack had an affair (albeit while Jack and Teri were separated). Things all seemed to be wrapping up nicely in the final episode's last moments, until Teri bumps into Nina standing over a freshly killed body at CTU, blowing the secret agent's cover. Nina ties Teri up and ultimately returns to shoot her, leaving her for dead. After everyone he's managed to save that day, Jack still ends up losing his wife. Heartwrenching.
2. Jack Kills Nina (season 3)
Jack finally gets his hands back on Nina in season three, but since she holds valuable information, he's
forced to put up with her. Eventually, her time runs out and Jack goes in for the kill. This one was so short and sweet it's best summed up with their final exchange: "You don't have any more useful information, do you Nina?" "I do." "No you don't." Then Jack shoots her three times.
1. President Palmer's assassination (season 5)
Arguably no character on "24," not even Jack Bauer himself, was more beloved than President David Palmer. He was ethical, moral, rational and a Jack supporter (!). He also had his faults (see No. 9), but that simply made him human, more easy to relate to. After deciding not to pursue re-election (see No. 9, again Damn you Sherry!), Palmer ends up in L.A. working on his memoir. While doing so, he uncovers a conspiracy involving the current President, Logan. While he paces around the penthouse contemplating his work, he passes in front of the large picture window just as an assassin's bullet zips through the window and slices through his neck, killing him instantly.
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