Is 24 Promoting Torture?

Fox’s terrorist drama 24 has been hailed by critics as a well-written, well-acted, edge-of-your-seat drama since it debuted three seasons back. But of late, the program, which focuses on a counter-terrorist agent who constantly finds himself with 24 hours to save America single-handedly, has introduced a disturbing plot twist: torture. “At least a half-dozen characters have undergone interrogation under conditions that meet conventional definitions of torture. The methods portrayed have varied, and include chemical injection, electric shock and old-fashioned bone-breaking.” The shocking nature of the torture would alone be enough to cause concern, but there is a wider problem: 24 frequently seems to justify such tactics as the necessary breaking of eggs to fry the terrorist omelette.