The complete fifth season of the real-time drama series. 18 months after Day 4, Jack is living under a new alias, as Frank Flynn, and working on various oilrigs and refineries throughout America. He is currently living with Diane and Derek Huxley, a family near the Mojave Desert, South Eastern California. Meanwhile, an unknown figure orders the assassination of the four people who know Jack is alive--Tony Almeida, Michelle Dessler, Chloe O'Brian and Former President David Palmer--to frame him. He returns to LA to clear his name when a hostage situation erupts. But it is only a diversion by collaboration of conspirators and Russian separatists to obtain 20 canisters of Sentox VX nerve gas. The gas was originally to be used to attack Moscow, but the separatists begin to release it in LA in retaliation after they discover that a US agent has infiltrated their organization. Jack attempts to search for the remaining canisters and expose treachery deep within the White House.
The adventures of Counter Terrorism Unit agent Jack Bauer have rarely been dull. Yet after four series of battling the bad guys in real time, some could rightfully wonder whether 24 had lots its edge, and its ability to surprise. The fifth season should put any such doubts to shame.
Set eighteen months after the dramatic finale to Season Four, things get off to a shocking and pulsating beginning. You wont find plot spoilers in this review, yet its as if the writers realised they had some serious carpet-pulling to do to keep the shows audience intrigued once again. Set, as usual, over the course of one single day, theres then a slight lull in the first third, before things spring ferociously into life. Make no mistake: if you can overcome the usual need to suspend elements of your disbelief, this is the best series of 24 since the first, and as it winds near to its equally dramatic conclusions, its simply hard to take your eyes off it.
Joining the usual cast too is a procession of familiar names. Peter Weller (Roboocop), Sean Astin (The Lord Of The Rings) and C Thomas Howell (The Hitcher) are among those doing their curriculum vitae no harm, but the acting honours are taken by the wonderful combination of President Logan and his first lady, played by Gregory Itzin and Jean Smart.
With a denouement that sets up a sparkling sixth season, this fifth series of 24 is a genuinely significant achievement. Its packed full of surprises, isnt afraid to take a few risks, and as all good thrillers should, it keeps you on the edge of your seat for far longer than is comfortable. A superb show, very much on top form.--Simon Brew