Friday, Dec. 21, 2001


Even before the war made heroes out of CIA agents, this thriller was the talk of TV. Deservedly so: its pulse-pounding premise (a counterterrorist agent — Kiefer Sutherland, below — has 24 hours to stop an assassination), gimmick (each episode is one hour in real time) and look (a split screen is used to relate concurrent story lines) made its pilot the most exciting of the year. Some later episodes had a draggy, shaggy-dog quality, but at its best, 24 had us counting the seconds.