After eight very long days, the many presidents featured on 24 are a complicated bunch. From David Palmer to Charles Logan to Allison Taylor, the drama series has created some of the most multilayered leaders ever to occupy the White House. We look back on the presidents who led the free world in which Jack Bauer allows us to live.
President David Palmer, Day 2 and Day 3
Presidential candidate Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) survived an assassination attempt against him in Day 1 to take over the White House in Day 2. As president, Palmer brought Jack back to CTU, but also had to deal with a nuclear bomb threat and his brief removal from office thanks to the efforts of his vice president. In Day 3, Palmer's re-election hopes were on the line when Stephen Saunders used the Cordilla virus to hold the country hostage. After his one term in office and surviving not one, but two assassination attempts, Palmer was murdered in the opening moments of Season 5.
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President James Prescott, Day 2
During Day 2, Vice President Prescott (Alan Dale) and other members of the cabinet invoked the 25th amendment to remove Palmer from office. Prescott took over the acting duties of the Oval Office, but quickly restored Palmer to power once he learned the true source of the failed nuclear attack on the U.S. Prescott briefly took over the Presidency once more, between Day 2 and Day 3, when Palmer was injured in another assassination attempt.
President John Keeler, Day 4
Keeler (Geoff Pierson) succeeded Palmer during Day 4, but did not last long in the White House. While aboard Air Force One, his Secretary of Defense and daughter were kidnapped by terrorists and almost killed on live TV. When Jack stepped in and prevented their deaths, the terrorists fired on Air Force One. The attack killed Keeler's son and left the president with severe injuries that forced him to permanently step down.
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President Charles Logan, Day 4 and Day 5
The crash of Air Force One was only the beginning for Vice President Logan (Gregory Itzin), who eventually took over for Keeler. At the end of Day 4, Logan ordered Jack's death (which he was able to fake) in order to prevent China from going to war. Despite his hopes for an anti-terrorism treaty in Day 5, Jack discovered Logan had sold the Russian separatists the Sentox nerve gas used in the Los Angeles attacks and that he was involved in Palmer's murder. Logan was soon forced to exit the White House for obstruction of justice. He returned twice: in Day 6, when he was stabbed by his ex-wife, and during Day 8, he blackmailed the Russian government into signing a peace treaty with the U.S. to salvage his reputation.
President Hal Gardner, End of Day 5
Gardner (Ray Wise) was only seen on-camera as vice president, although it was assumed that he was sworn into office after Logan was removed. Despite suspicions from many within the Logan administration about Gardner's ulterior motives, it was eventually revealed that Logan was at fault.
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President Wayne Palmer, Day 6
After serving as his late brother's Chief of Staff, Wayne Palmer (D.B. Woodside) took office prior to Day 6. Most of his brief tenure was defined by his struggle for power with Vice President Noah Daniels. Despite a nuclear strike in Valencia, Calif., that killed at least 12,000, Palmer refused to take military action and his chief of staff put Palmer in a coma after detonating a bomb. Palmer is revived from his coma in time to stop Daniels' nuclear strike against the Middle East, but soon collapses during a press conference, after which Daniels was officially sworn in as president.
President Noah Daniels, Day 6 and Redemption
Once in power via the 25th Amendment, Daniels (Powers Boothe) reverses Palmer's orders for Jack's operation to save Audrey Raines and almost grants passage to Jack's estranged father, Phillip Bauer, because he is in possession of a Russian circuit board that could lead to war. In the end, Daniels orders the destruction of an offshore oil rig Bauer is on in order to destroy the board. Between Day 6 and Redemption, Daniels will always be remembered as the man who pardoned Logan (which allowed for his return in Day 8).
President Allison Taylor, Redemption, Day 7 and Day 8
After defeating Daniels for the presidency in Redemption, Taylor (Cherry Jones) must send military support to stop the genocide in Sangala. Taylor refuses to remove armed forces even when her husband, Henry Taylor, was kidnapped and shot (which followed the death of their son, Roger, right before Day 7). Although he was saved by Jack, their marriage was damaged beyond repair when the president sent her own daughter, Olivia, to jail for ordering the murder of the man who killed Roger. In Day 8, Taylor's peace treaty talks with the Islamic Republic of Kamistan fall apart when the republic's president is murdered. She is convinced by Logan to cover up the circumstances of the murder in order to save the treaty, but Jack soon uncovers her deception. It remains to be seen whether Taylor will redeem herself in the series finale.