12:00 AM (PILOT)
WRITERS Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow
DIRECTOR Stephen Hopkins
PLOT On the day of the California presidential primary, we meet Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), head of the CIA’s L.A. counter-terrorist unit (CTU). He’s trying to save his marriage to Teri (Leslie Hope, above, with Sutherland) after having an affair with coworker Nina Myers (Sarah Clarke). That night, he discovers that his daughter, Kim (Elisha Cuthbert), has snuck out to meet her bad-girl buddy, Janet (Jacqui Maxwell), and two scruffy older boys. Jack then gets called into work, where he learns of an imminent assasination attempt on Senator David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert), the nation’s first viable black presidential candidate. A rogue CIA agent may be involved…. Out in the Valley, Kim and Janet hang with Dan (Matthew Carey) and Rick (Daniel Bess), but when the party’s over, the boys refuse to take them home and instead begin driving into the night. A frantic Teri receives a call from a man identifying himself as Janet’s dad, Alan York (Richard Burgi), and the two hit the road in search of the girls…. Meanwhile, aboard an L.A.-bound plane, photographer Martin Belkin (Rudolf Martin), who’s heading to meet Palmer, befriends a curvy stranger, Mandy (Mia Kirshner). The two engage in a high-altitude hookup, and she steals Belkin’s press credentials. After activating a detonator, Mandy parachutes off the plane as it explodes…. Back at CTU, agent George Mason (Xander Berkeley) gives Jack a disc containing info on the Palmer hit. When Mason won’t reveal his source, Jack knocks him out and digs up some embezzlement-related dirt on his coworker. Blackmail ensues, and Mason sings…off screen.