As in previous seasons, the villains feel no compunction whatsoever in killing people, taking hostages, and committing a diversity of explosive mayhem in pursuit of their goals. The forces of good and order, by contrast, are constrained by their adherence to certain moral standards, although the protection of innocents justifies the performance of otherwise prohibited actions, and Jack’s actions and conversations about his choices (and Renee’s) typically reflect this tension.
Just when the danger to innocents is sufficient to override these ethical concerns without becoming an “end justifies the means” excuse is an eternal moral question, and it’s what has always been at the center of 24. It’s what makes the show serious and important while adding to its entertainment value.
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