Fact v. Fiction: The Thing With 24

So Keifer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer got going last night with the first of a two-part, four-hour premiere of the new season of “24,” and man am I glad Jack’s back in town. Sure, I know the program is just one big live-action comic book that can stretch the suspension of my disbelief well beyond its breaking point, but I just roll with it. Mostly.

The show’s inconsistencies that wind up sticking in my craw are miniscule to be sure — immaterial even — but they stick out large. Like…

1) In the first hour I found it very interesting that the president can authorize an airstrike delivered via two missile-bearing assault helicopters that successfully blow up a Los Angeles house killing all the occupants without so much as a neighbor saying WTF or witnesses capturing video of the attack on their cellphones. And let’s just nevermind that there are no supporting ground forces onhand at the time of the missile launch to prevent anyone’s escape.

2) Also in the first hour a man breaks and enters a house and threatens a resident because the lunkhead believes he’s a terr’ist, of course. This is witnessed by neighbors who intervene and break things up, but no one calls and reports the crime to the cops so that this lunkhead gets arrested. Of course later in the second hour the lunkhead returns to break and enter again this time aggravatedly assaulting the resident with intent to cause great bodily harm. Lunkhead’s doing quite well with that bodily harm part, but fortunately for the guy the lunkhead is beating up he actually is a terrorist and is able to kill the lunkhead with the help of a nearby pistol.

3) Then in the second hour my man Jack, while tailing a soon-to-be suicide bomber, finds himself on an MTA Red Line subway train heading to Union Station with said bomber. And what to my wondering eyes should magically appear from out of nowhere? Nothing less than a uniformed MTA conductor checking tickets with some sort of scanning device. Of course the ticketman asks Jack for his ticket (which Jack does not have) thus Jack has to inform the man that he’s a federal agent surveilling a man with a bomb so the ticketman better damn well leave him alone and act like nothing’s happened, which this suddenly wide-eyed MTA conductor does, ultimately allowing my hero Jack to wrestle with the bomber and eventually kick him out the car’s back door and onto the tracks just prior to bomb going boom thereby saving himself, the make-believe conductor, the passengers and the train. Let’s just nevermind that rather than the caboose, a suicide bomber would get in a far more forward car where the detonation might have a better chance of causing a deraillment and thus much more damage.

I know I shouldn’t let a little thing like reality get in the way of my enjoyment — and in fact, I don’t. But still, the reality is that there are no uniformed MTA conductors traveling through its subway and light-rail cars checking tickets. Presently I believe the L.A. County Sheriffs Department is the law enforcement agency the MTA contracts to provide security and also spot-check — very randomly — for tickets. And they don’t use any type of digital scanning devices.

But of course, had the writers not taken liberties and Jack had been forced to try that “I’m a federal agent, just move along like everything’s OK” shtick with an armed deputy that wouldn’t have worked out so well and the bomber would have then succeeded in blowing up Jack and the deputies and the bystanders and the train car. And then the series would be over.

Or it could’ve just been written different. Have Jack subdue the deputy or somehow convince him to help. Have the bomber’s bomb malfunction. Or have the bomb detonate and Jack survive it. Or have Jack kicked out the back of the train by the bomber who then blows himself up as Jack helplessly watches the train receding deeper into the tunnel away from him.

Or I’ll just shut up now because part two is on in a few minutes and I can’t wait to see what happens. Even if it pisses me off.

UPDATED (10:13 p.m.): Which it did: Double dang if in the first hour Keifer doesn’t have Jack Bauer say “noo-kyoo-lur.”