24 fans, meet the greatest villain of all time. Forget Victor Drazen. Forget President Logan. Even forget Nina Meyers. The greatest villain in 24 history has arrived and he’s Jack Bauer’s brother. Graem “Gray” Bauer played with perfect evilness by Paul McCrane is the most no-holds barred, deceitful, murderous villain yet to challenge our hero, Jack. He helped facilitate a nuke attack and just ordered the deaths of Jack and their father. He’s the greatest villain of all time. But how long will he last.
The deceit factor. There have been many great villain in 24 history. Some of them are obvious villains, like the Drazens of Season 1. Except for when Alexi posed as a nice guy and seduced one of President Palmer’s aides (and paid for it ultimately…), the Drazens were always upfront about wanting to, well, kill Jack Bauer and then-Senator Palmer. On the other hand, Nina Meyers (spoiler alert) raised herself to the heights of infamy by betraying Jack secretly since the beginning of the Day 1 situation. A mole at CTU! Deceit just makes everything worse. And then take President Logan – he’s the president of the U.S.A and he had a role in killing Palmer?! Man, talk about double-crossing. He made a nice place for himself in the pantheon of 24 villains by abusing his power in the most secret and devious of ways.
But now we learn that the man who was pulling his strings is Jack’s brother! Talk about deceit. True, Graem Bauer only outright lied to his brother a few times so far, but think about all he’s done behind the scenes while posing as a somewhat legit arms dealer: he was behind Logan’s machinations last year and was going to have Jack killed but instead sent Jack over to the Chinese. He’s responsible for Jack’s 22 months of torture – not to mention the dropping of the nuke. Well, I guess it wasn’t dropped so much as triggered, but still… It remains to be seen if Abu Fayed is Graeme’s colleague, or just a client, but either way, Graeme has made history climbing to the pinnacle of backstabbing.
The death toll factor. 24 fans aren’t new to big death tolls – and I don’t just mean amongst the supporting cast. Season 3 killed off a whole hotel of people (well, except for Michelle and a few others….). But the latest nuke attack is literally “the big one.” It’s said to have killed 12,000 people and will kill even more people with radiation. Sure, Abu Fayed was the guy who ordered the actual detonation, but Graem was involved in getting the bomb out there to begin with. Was it for money or to cause chaos or what? We don’t know, but we do know he is involved in the biggest death toll yet on 24. So, there’s another reason he’s the greatest villain of all time.
The personal vendetta factor. Nothing makes a villain greater in the 24 universe, in my opinion, then when there’s a personal issue between him (or her) and Jack Bauer. The Drazens are an example. And what about that great sit-down confrontation with Jack and President Logan last year? Or when Nina Meyers got her just deserts a few seasons after she offed Terry? A personal grudge makes the stakes higher and more emotionally charged. In the case of Graem Bauer – man, it’s Jack’s brother! Not only did they have the same love interest – and maybe Jack’s really the father of Graem’s son, but they also clearly have some bigtime past rivalry issues involving their dad and overall just seem to hate each other. Sure, Graham almost killed Jack, but Jack also tortured – and will probably continue to torture – Graem This is going to be good…
The acting factor. Paul McCrane proved himself a master of snarl and sarcasm as Robert “Rocket” Romano on ER. His last few seasons, without an arm, gave him tons of opportunities to show all kinds of range – rage, despair, fear, – and the fans of the show enjoyed a love-hate relationship with the guy from the start. But as Graem, McCrane is showing a whole new kind of mean. He leaves Romano far behind and gives us all out evil. But as he does so, we also get his fake family compassion, fake fear, and maybe even some real emotions for his wife and kid, too – though you never can tell- which just makes it all the better. 24 has had some amazing actors play some amazing villains, and McCrane is fitting in nicely as the newest member of the club. Yeah, McCrane might not survive to get the big acting Emmy reel moments some of the others got – but isn’t he just amazingly good as an evil? I mean, seriously.
24 is the story of a man stopping at nothing to save lives. But as Jack Bauer tries to do the right thing, the show is also propelled by the great villains conspiring against him. We have no way of knowing how long Graem Bauer will last in season six, given the show’s propensity to kill characters off – but however long he’s on, the next villain out of the gate will have some big evil shoes to fill.