I started watching the television show 24 in March. I continued watching despite lackluster dialogue and absurd plotlines for the same reason I enjoy heist movies and welcomed the news of bin Laden’s death: I love a well-executed plan.
If you haven’t seen 24, don’t bother watching past the first season, which is relatively the most believable. The show ups the ante every season at the cost of reality until Bauer is thwarting not one but three to four terrorist plots/corporate conspiracies/government coverups that include presidentiaal assassination attempts; nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons of mass desctruction; and cyber attacks. And, yes, he does this all within 24 hours. Sometimes after just having been released from a Chinese prison where he’s been tortured for nearly two years. All on no coffee.
But I suspend my disbelief because I like to see both the terrorists and the Los Angeles Counter Terrorism Unit, but more so Jack Bauer, being so on top of their game. They execute their plans so well it’s rather unbelievable. I cannot imagine lumbering government bureaucracies like FEMA or the FAA being able to do this.
I like watching heist movies because the plot involves a talented and determined team formulating a plan to accomplish an extremely difficult goal and then carrying it out. Ocean’s Eleven, The Italian Job, and even The Cove in many ways. A typical heist movie runs like a three-act play. The first act is the preparation where the individuals/conspirators are introduced. There’s the nerdy, rockstar hacker who can break into traffic light systems; the skinny Asian acrobatic contortionist able to somersault undetected through laser alarm systems; the black guy who really knows his way around explosives; etc. This preparation phase also includes casing the target and location, studying the security system, and showing cool technological toys. The second act is the heist itself, and the third is the aftermath.
When Osama bin Laden was announced killed by a daring U.S. covert raid into Pakistan, crowds gathered outside the White House and in Times Square to celebrate. American flags and chants of “USA!” flew, and rejoicers swung from lampposts to celebrate the death of one of the world’s foremost hide-and-go-seek champions. I was happy because after years of news about ineptitude, gross negligence, or just outright corruption within government agencies like FEMA, FAA, SEC, MMS, here was an event showing the U.S. government can still successfully execute a well-planned operation. Obama chose a commando raid over an aerial bombing strike and insisted on sending enough Navy SEALS and choppers that they’d be able to fight their way out of Pakistan if confronted by Pakistani forces. He didn’t want a Black Hawk Down, and his tough decisions paid off.