24: Legacy made its highly-anticipated debut Sunday after the Super Bowl, and in typical 24 fashion, the episode was chock full of tension, torture, and jaw-dropping twists -- not to mention a body count that's undoubtedly only going to rise as the season goes on. The show wastes no time in establishing our central conflict: Terrorists are targeting former members of a military squad and their families, looking for some data that one of the soldiers took during a raid.
Let's break down the main plot lines it looks like we're going to follow this season:
We meet our new hero, former soldier Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins), as he's returning from what appears to be an overnight shift as a driver for upscale clients. With a new home and new identities, Eric and his wife Nicole (Anna Diop) are trying to settle back into a routine six months after he's returned home from overseas, where he led a top-secret mission to kill terrorist leader Ibrahim Bin-Khalid.
No sooner does Eric change out of his work clothes than he gets a call from his former squad mate, Ben Grimes (Charlie Hofheimer), panicking that their covers have been blown and Bin-Khalid's men are after them. It's clear that this isn't the first time Eric has gotten a call like this from Ben, but just to be on the safe side he pings the other members of their squad to make sure they're safe. No one responds.
Eric barely has time to process this information before he and Nicole come under attack, with three men shooting their way into the house in search of a strongbox that was taken from Bin-Khalid's compound. After a couple of close calls, Eric kills the men and he and Nicole manage to escape.
Eric calls his CTU contact, Rebecca Ingram (Miranda Otto), to tell her that he and Grimes are the only surviving members of the squad. Not willing to trust anyone in the government besides Rebecca, he brings Nicole to his brother Isaac's (Ashley Thomas) place to keep her safe while he goes after Ben. It's clear that there's some bad blood between Eric and Isaac, a drug kingpin who used to date Nicole and who mocks Eric's military service.
Nicole is horrified by the prospect of staying with Isaac, and even though he tells her that he's been over her for a long time, it's clear that his new girlfriend is not convinced. We also learn that Eric used to work for Isaac and gave it up in order to give Nicole a better life.
The crisis that Eric finds himself in the midst of couldn't come on a worse day for Rebecca Ingram and her husband, presidential candidate John Donovan (Jimmy Smits). As the outgoing director of CTU, Rebecca is still in the process of handing everything over to her replacement, Keith Mullins (Teddy Sears), and it's clear she's in over her head when she barely arrives on time to receive the Congressional Medal of Freedom for orchestrating the raid that took out Bin-Khalid. In between the award ceremony and a big fundraising event for John, Rebecca has to run back to CTU and finish debriefing Mullins, but she promises her husband she won't be late for the fundraiser. (So we know how that will go.)
At CTU, analyst Andy Shalowitz (Dan Bucatinsky) complains to Rebecca about some of the changes Mullins is making -- namely, firing one of their best analysts and bringing on Mariana (Coral Pena), a young woman who only has a two-year degree from Brooklyn College to replace him. She also happens to be the cousin of original 24 character Edgar Stiles (RIP). Though Mullins is nice and collegial, Rebecca doesn't seem totally willing to give up running CTU just yet. She tells Mullins that she's fulfilling a promise she made to John, who put off running for president four years ago so that she could track Bin-Khalid. Now it's his turn to follow his dream.
While she's explaining this to Mullins, Rebecca gets the call from Eric Carter and tells him that Bin-Khalid's men are probably after something has something to do with an attack he was planning on U.S. soil.
Doubting whether she can trust Mullins, Rebecca asks Andy to quietly track Ben Grimes' whereabouts and calls John to tell him that she'll have to miss the fundraiser. He's understandably pissed, even more so when his assistant Nilaa (Sheila Vand), who appears to be harboring a small crush on her boss, asks him whether he thinks Rebecca is truly ready to step away from CTU to live in her husband's shadow on the campaign trail.
When Mariana discovers Andy's allegedly foolproof tracking system and reports it to Mullins, he confronts Rebecca, who panics and tases him, once again enlisting Andy's help to drag his unconscious body into a closet.
Ben calls his estranged mother and sister and asks them to meet him at a bus depot so that they can leave town. But unbeknownst to him, the terrorists are right there in his sister's kitchen, listening to them make plans. After killing Ben's mother and sister, the terrorists track him to the bus depot, as does Eric, thanks to Andy's tracking system.
There, Eric discovers that Ben does have the strongbox that Bin-Khalid's men are looking for. Though Ben thinks it only contains jewelry and some cash, Eric quickly finds a hidden thumb drive, which he plugs into his phone and pulls up a list of names and activation codes, likely for sleeper cells around the country. After a classic 24 action sequence at a construction site, Eric takes out Bin-Khalid's men, but in the process Ben escapes -- with the drive. Ben calls Eric and warns him to stay away, indicating that he's going to use the drive as a bargaining chip to extort money out of the government and/or the terrorists.
The outlier plot (for now) involves a high school student named Amira (Kathryn Prescott), who recently moved to America from Chechnya with her brother and whose friend Drew (Zayne Emory) suspects is planning an attack at the school. He goes to their chemistry teacher to report that he's seen suspicious texts between Amira and an unknown man, and the teacher tells Drew that he's obligated to report something like that. But, twist! The person Amira's been exchanging messages with is none other than the teacher, and they are in fact planning an attack together, along with her brother. They grossly make out during a secret rendezvous in the library, and it's obvious that Amira is the more assertive one in this duo. It's unclear for now how this connects to the rest of the plots, but it's probably only a matter of time before they all come together.
1. Are Eric and Nicole doomed? Eric's hoping to start a family, but Nicole is back on birth control because she's concerned about the toll the war has taken on him, as evidenced by the fact that he spends most nights whaling on a punching bag in their backyard. Later, Nicole tells Isaac that she's been worried about Eric possibly having PTSD, but after watching him take out the terrorists, she realizes that the issue is that he misses being on the front lines, and worries that a life of domesticity will never be enough for him.
2. What happened to Eric and Isaac's father? Isaac resents the government because of something that happened to his and Eric's father, but never says what that is.
3. Who blew the squad's cover? Only three people had access to the identities of Eric and the others: the directors of the NSA, CIA and CTU. Which one betrayed them?
24: Legacy moves to its regular time slot, Mondays at 8/7c on Fox, tomorrow with the second part of its two-part premiere.