If you’re new to the 24 franchise — or if you were only a casual viewer back in the day — here’s a quick guide on what you need to know now that we’ve established this season’s storylines.
Every season has a mole — sometimes multiple moles — in the form of someone working for CTU, someone working for the president or even, in an epic twist, the president himself.
Season 1’s Nina Meyers (Sarah Clarke) is the OG mole and the aforementioned President Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin) from season 5 is another classic, but every season has someone who managed to climb to an extraordinarily high level of clearance, power or influence working for the terrorists.
In Legacy, a few likely candidates have already emerged. Mariana Stiles (Coral Peña) is being made to appear overly meddlesome and nosey so far, while Nilaa Mizrani (Sheila Vand), campaign manager to John Donovan (Jimmy Smits) is the one whose computer accessed the new identities of the Army Rangers responsible for the raid that killed this universe’s version of Osama bin Laden, Ibrahim bin-Khalid.
However, since we’re only two hours into the 24 that will make up the season (via 12 episodes), both Mariana and Nilaa feel like red herrings.
Who do we think bears keeping a close eye on? Andy Shalowitz (Dan Bucatinsky), CTU’s communication analyst and confidant to former CTU director Rebecca Ingram (Miranda Otto). Not only is he a white male, which makes him less likely and therefore more suspicious, but he’s been jumpy from his first moment on screen and far too eager to go along with Rebecca’s plan, which involves Tasering his current boss and hacking into so many places he should not be hacking into. Plus, something went down between him and Agent Locke (Bailey Chase) that sounds ominous.
No, not the metaphorical cougar: an older woman cruising a younger man. She’s the actual cougar of this season — that is, the annoying subplot character that makes you constantly yell at the screen, “Why are you even here?”
Longtime fans will recall how in season 2, Jack’s then completely useless daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) escaped police custody, ran off into the wilderness, encountered a cougar and then got herself caught in an animal trap.
In the history of 24 absurdity, this storyline has never been topped and Aisha (Tiffany Hines) probably will not be the one to do it. But we’re already sick of her meddling with Isaac’s (Ashley Thomas) business dealings over her seething jealousy of Nicole (Anna Diop). The plot has nothing to do with anything and is only there to give Eric something else to worry about, as if he doesn’t already have enough on his plate today.
It’s no spoiler that Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard), one of the last surviving original cast members of 24, is appearing this season. Details are scarce about how he is worked into the plot, but Tony played a big role in most of the past seasons.
He is Jack’s one-time close friend who ended up in federal prison for helping the Prion variant cabal in season 7 — though his true motive was not to commit crimes against the United States, but to kill the head of the cabal, Alan Wilson (Will Patton), who was responsible for killing Tony’s wife, Michelle (Reiko Aylesworth), another original 24 cast member.
Additionally, Mariana Stiles reveals in Legacy‘s premiere episode that she’s “Edgar Stiles’ cousin.” Edgar Stiles (Louis Lombardi) was a CTU intelligence analyst in seasons 4 and 5, and while it feels highly unlikely he would have taught his cousin much of anything since their age difference would have been significant, that’s a shout-out to a much-loved deceased character.
Here’s hoping Legacy finds a way to work in something related to Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), another intelligence analyst and fan-favorite character from seasons 3-9.
24: Legacy airs Mondays at 8/7 C on Fox