Beep beep beep. "24." Kiefer's having a bad day and leans on the pole.
The previouslys. Theo is accused of murder, so Palmer is advised to control the spin on the story by breaking it himself. Lady Mac has other ideas. Kreepy Karl has other other ideas. As far as the structure of this terrorist organization goes, Gaines is merely a project manager. Or so we learn when ForeignAccentedTerrorBoss calls him up to bitch him out for botching the Palmer assassination. Nina's got her own problems with upper management. Kiefer assures the Kieferettes by cell phone that he's coming to save them. Soul Patch finds a lead -- an email from Gaines to the late Jalapeno. Kiefer follows up by hijacking the limo of an investment banker in Burbank named Ted Cofell. Real time. Day of the primaries. Et cetera.
CTU. Alberta Green, the substitute Kiefer, enters the floor of CTU, struts down the aisle between Nina and Soul Patch, pivots, and begins to brief everyone on the status of the Palmer case while she checks out the workstations of her new office bitches. This lady is so bad that she's even got Soul Patch sitting diligently at his desk, looking over his shoulder and doing work. According to SubstituteKiefer, Faux-tographer is now a suspect in the Palmer assassination attempt but is still at large. She wants a report on him within a half an hour. "Still no sign of Kiefer?" she asks Nina coyly. Nina maintains and says no. Soul Patch gives Nina the bad-boss stink-eye. Where have I heard this music before? Oh yeah, the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack. Not really, but almost.
Things are still cool in the Cofell limo with Kiefer at the wheel on their way to the airport, until Cofell's cell phone rings. It's a business associate who needs to meet with Cofell urgently before he leaves town. Cofell tells Kiefer over the intercom that there's been a change of plans; they'll be making a brief stop at a certain parking garage. A parking garage? You mean one of those places where bad things always happen? Why don't you just tell your driver to pick up a shovel and some rope and book a room at the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder clinic now? But then, it's not like Kiefer is listening. He just keeps driving toward the airport. Cofell realizes that something is up. Kiefer is not his real driver, so he orders him to stop the car. Kiefer puts the passenger doors on auto lock and keeps ignoring Cofell. After a half-assed attempt to open the doors by hitting them, Cofell whips out his cell phone and starts to call the police, or whomever it is you call when your limo driver has flipped out. This reminds me of a story about Kathleen Battle, the notorious opera diva. Apparently, she is such an out-of-control bitch that when she wanted the air conditioning turned down, instead of tapping on the glass and telling the driver herself, she picked up the car phone, called her agent, and had him call the limo driver's cell phone and relay her request.
Anyway, Kiefer stops the car and pulls a gun on Cofell, who assumes he's being mugged and offers him money. "Shut up," says Kiefer, getting into the backseat with Cofell, slapping him and making him sit on his hands. You know, if Kiefer loses his job at CTU when this is all over, I know people who'd pay good money to have this sort of thing done to them. Kiefer asks Cofell about Gaines and demands to know where his family is being held. Cofell plays dumb. Or is he playing? "This is your last chance," says Kiefer, the velvety Sutherland whisper sanded down to a soothing but porous white-noise texture. "Where is my family?" Cofell continues to play dumb, but Kiefer isn't diskouraged. He gets back into the driver's seat -- where he always is on some level -- and calls Nina to tell her that he's kidnapped Cofell and to katch up on the latest office gossip, like the fact that Alberta DeVil has made herself at home in the Kiefer Kube. Nina patches them over to a secure line to avoid being discovered by Empress Alberta and -- as she does at a few minutes past the top of every hour -- kwestions Kiefer's sanity and professional wisdom. "I just don't know how much longer I can kover for you," whines Nina, kneading her tired forehead. Kiefer reminds her of the Kaptured Kieferettes and persuades her to slap together an interrogation profile that will break Cofell. Of course Nina needs a full hour to do this properly, but Kiefer needs it in five minutes. I'd make a bawdy remark right now about that last statement, but I'm sure you're all perfectly capable of filling in your own. And frankly I need this profile in five minutes too, because if I wanted to watch government employees working in real real time, I'd be watching C-Span. Kiefer hangs up and drives away. They play the Requiem for a Dream theme again. Incidentally, I always hum music from Requiem for a Dream to myself when I've had too many lattes and I'm cleaning my house as fast as Ellen Burstyn did when she was hopped up on diet pills. My name is Jack Bauer and this is the longest day of my life. Oh yeah? Well, I'm Sarah Goldfarb and I want to be on television…and your ex-fiancé stole my Oscar!