Federal agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is having a very bad day in this unique, action-packed drama series in which events unfold in real time and the entire season takes place within one 24-hour day. Bauer is the director of the Counter Terrorist Unit in Los Angeles. He's also a married man who is attempting to rebuild a trust-depleted relationship with his wife Teri (Leslie Hope), and a father to independent-minded teen daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert). Shortly after midnight on the morning of the California Democratic presidential primary, Jack receives information that an assassination attempt will be carried out against Maryland senator David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) -- the first African-American with a legitimate chance of capturing the White House -- sometime within the next 24 hours. Jack's mission is made even more difficult when he learns from his boss Richard Walsh (Michael O'Neill) that someone within CTU may be a mole involved with the foreign-based conspiracy. Meanwhile, Palmer, unaware of the assassination plot, receives a phone call from a dogged reporter who says she has evidence that his son Keith (Vicellous Reon Shannon) committed murder. He allegedly killed his sister's rapist. Palmer initiates an investigation to uncover the truth and must decide whether to break the story himself or wait. Jack is contacted by terrorist Ira Gaines (Michael Massee), who informs him that his wife and daughter have been kidnapped by Gaines' henchmen. Gaines threatens to kill them if Jack refuses to follow his detailed instructions. Gaines' goal is simple: Jack is to carry out the assassination against Palmer himself. As the hours pass, the conspiracy deepens, and Jack learns the surprising truth behind the plot and his role in it.