Torture's always been a part of "24" but this season the writers seem to be trying to engage the viewers in a conversation about it.
They certainly have had time to see that there was a good chance there could be a shift in the real world when it comes to tactics (waterboarding, etc.) some deem torture. But how could they have known that Barack Obama would win and that he would say these words yesterday in his inaugural address:
"As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake."
By my read, that's a pretty strong statement against just about anything Jack Bauer would do, and on patriotic terms too. Not to confuse real life with reel life, but the best dramas work within the context of reality.
So, on "24" so far we've seen an unapologetic Jack brought before Congress for his torturous ways. Then he's pulled away from his grilling by FBI agent Renee Walker for his latest mission; she and her boss Larry Moss let Jack know they will have none of that stuff on their watch.
Next thing you know Renee is letting Jack threaten a man with a pen to the eye. It seems Jack has won the argument.
Yet after Agent Walker tortures another suspect, she's brought up on charges by the Attorney General. Computer geek Janis Gold has also been compromised by her actions and Moss is horrified. He orders her back to the office.
But she doesn't come in. And then suddenly, they're in the midst of a crisis. So when the AG's office comes to speak with Walker, it's an inconvenient intrusion; nitpicking at a critical time.
How will this play out? Is there a middle ground? I'll watch to see where the writers go with this.