As “24” wraps up “Day Seven” and as a matter of business, “Day One” after a writers’-strike-induced 19-month absence from its regular Fox slot, the questions remain: How will this day end? Has the show regained relevance? And, I believe, the core question: can it still inspire? You see, I believe its longevity has been due not only to its entertaining qualities but rather its inspiring ones.
This year, Jack Bauer has fought against his own government’s investigation into his work, exposure to chemical weapons which have threatened death or even worse, his failure to protect his daughter from involvement in his life, the return from apparent death of his best work friend only to be complicated by his actions during his disappearance, and, oh yes, bad guys killing Americans and trying to take over the country.

“24’s” truly inspirational value, in my view, has always been its ability to raise unbelievably difficult ethical questions based on the choices that characters face in circumstances imaginable by only, well, television writers. Those who think in black-and-white terms–including evangelical Christians–are challenged by the areas of grey and relativity brought up in the seasons of “24.” Those on the more liberal side are challenged by the prospect of the world we’d live in if the rule of law weren’t enforceable. And many of us are just less naïve about the complexity of the hidden world of those who protect us against terrorism.

I don’t know how the season will end. Like a good novel, there are many storylines relative to security, government, family, friendship and life purpose that reach well beyond drama. They reach into our lives, and for that reason, I hope “24” ends well and continues to fight a good fight.
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