24 is currently early in its eighth day. For a show that uses real time as a premise and trafficks heavily in implausibilities to maintain that premise, perhaps the wildest thing to consider is “How old is Jack Bauer?”
Consider this – Jack Bauer has served CTU under five different presidents: the guy before David Palmer, David Palmer, Wayne Palmer, Charles Logan, and Alison Taylor. He’s faked his own death, gotten hooked on heroin, and served time in a Chinese prison.
From ESPN’s loquacious Gregg Easterbrook, one of his loyal readers has pulled together this Bauer timeline:
I noted that on “24,” Jack Bauer saves critical minutes by traveling during commercials. Kevin Woods of Santa Rosa, Calif., provides further details on time dilation in the series: “In the first season, in 2001, Jack was a highly successful federal agent with a 15-year-old daughter. Although Jack’ age was never stated, he had to be at least 40. He was a college graduate who had received his master’s in criminology, then joined the U.S. Army, reaching the rank of captain in the prestigious Delta Squad. After the Army, he worked for Los Angeles SWAT team, then joined the CIA in its clandestine wing. After this, he was recruited to the CTU, the mysterious agency where Jack toils when the series begins. Jack had to be 40 when the series began.
“Let’s assume 43. Here is where the time line gets tough. Season 2 was 18 months after season 1, making Jack 44-45. Season 3 was three years after season 2, making Jack about 47-48. Season 4 was 18 months after season 3, making Jack about 50. Season 5 was 18 months after season 4, making Jack about 52. Season 6 was 20 months after season 5, making Jack about 54. 24-Redemption, a two-hour movie that supposedly tied things together, was four years after season 6, making Jack about 58. Season 7, happening shortly after Redemption, still has Jack at around 58. Season 8, looks to be two-three years after season 8, because Jack's grand-daughter is seen having conversations with him, making Jack around 60 years [old]. He's quite spry for 60! Also, add up the years and it is now 2014 in the series. Maybe that explains all the CTU super-technology that does not seem to exist in our reality.”
Now Mr. Woods of Santa Rosa is playing a little loose with the rounding up, and not knowing Jack Bauer’s birthday it’s tough to be precise. However, even with tightening up the estimates, Jack Bauer is 58 years old. May we all be so healthy on the edge of 60.