"The Ever-Ticking Bomb:
Drawing on the theory of collective trauma and the increased display of torture on TV since 2001, this paper investigates how the repercussions of 9/11 serve as a basis for the popularity of the TV series 24 and how its success impacts the cultural and political landscape of the US. This article argues that 24 justifies and promotes the use of torture as a method of interrogation and cites evidence of references to the series in political and juridical discourse. It shows how national trauma may increase the appeal of extreme violence against suspected terrorists and how 24’s conflation of fact and fiction falls on fertile ground in a post-9/11 culture of fear. Examples from 24 are used to give insight into the way the audience is confronted with so-called ticking bomb scenarios in order to increase acceptance for the criminal and unethical behavior of 24’s protagonist Jack Bauer. Furthermore, I will cite government reports and observations from military instructors as examples of the influence Jack Bauer’s use of torture has had on soldiers and interrogators in Iraq and Afghanistan. In order to complement the existing evidence of a political bias towards the legitimization of torture in 24, my article inspects statements from the creators and writers of 24 and scrutinizes their choice to respond to criticism within a subplot of the seventh season.