Bill Buchanan is a fictional character in 24. Played by James Morrison, the character is the head of the Los Angeles Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) from the fourth season to the sixth season, when he is forced to step down. In between Season 5 and 6, he married Karen Hayes.
According to a New York Times review by Walter Dawkins, Bill Buchanan functions as a stoic center figure for the show's Counter Terrorist Unit. Executive producer Howard Gordon describes the balance Buchanan provides: "We feel like we don't want to take his hand off the steering wheel because it's so steady. He's sort of the grown-up in the room, the straight man for other people who certainly make it a more colorful place to watch."
The occasions when Buchanan's temper does flare carry dramatic weight because of their rarity. Dawkins notes a brief outburst when a terrorist escapes during season six, episode four for being "as explosive as anything else that hour". Actor James Morrison describes the importance of such scenes. "If you pick those moments where he does have that quick explosion, then everyone will take notice."
Following the destruction of the trackers on Behrooz, Jack informs Buchanan that he was able to short circuit some wires where he had been detained. Jack leads a strike team to the location, storming it, only to have the location destroyed by Marwan.
When Jack Bauer brings in Joe Prado, Buchanan looks to the Department of Justice for permission to torture Prado, however was unable to do so. Buchanan calls President Charles Logan for authorization, however the President refused. Seeing no alternative, Bauer resigned and interrogated Prado as a private citizen, and acquires the information. Audrey Raines and Mike Novick were angry with Buchanan for allowing it, who suggests to Mike to have President Logan sign off on Prado's torture and then just fabricate the timeline. Mike was unable to do so, but Bill later finds out that President Logan wants Bauer detained.
Buchanan becomes visibly angry when he discovered that a raid had occurred on the Chinese consulate without his knowledge. When Cheng Zhi comes to CTU for answers, Buchanan aids in the cover up until Howard Bern could escape from CTU.
Buchanan is informed by Michelle Dessler that a terrorist named Mandy had been calling her He advises her to act as if she is going to proceed with the plan, in order to capture Mandy, however Mandy stages her own death, supposedly killing Tony as well, which leaves Michelle devastated. Buchanan suggested that she go home. Later Jack calls Bill informing him that Tony was alive.
When Buchanan discovered that Bauer was being transferred into Chinese custody, he told the Secret Service agent that Bauer was a hero. Bauer attempted to escape, and following a firefight, was supposedly shot and killed. Buchanan informs Audrey Raines what happened, who breaks down.
At the end of the day, Michelle and Tony retire and Buchanan becomes the Director of CTU.the day, CTU are working to find a connection between the death of David Palmer and Michelle Dessler. Buchanan briefs President Logan on the Palmer investigation, suggesting that postpone the treaty signing but hr refuses. Edgar shows footage revealing Jack Bauer as the apparent assassin of Palmer. Buchanan issues a warrant for Jack's arrest.
He later finds out that there is a hostage situation at the Ontario airport. Lynn McGill was sent to CTU to oversee the situation, who is criticized throughout the day for a strict adherence to protocol.
When Jacob Rossler, a programmer aiding terrorists, is captured, Buchanan and McGill agree to grant him immunity in exchange for information on the terrorist's location, however is later killed before he can do so.
Later, when Jack Bauer escapes custody, McGill becomes suspicious that he may have had help from CTU. Buchanan decided to help Audrey aid Jack, and as a result he was detained for insubordination, but was later reinstated when McGill was relieved of duty.
Later in the day, Homeland Security was ordered to absorb CTU, which Buchanan intended to challenge. However, Audrey Raines signed a document discrediting Buchanan, so Chloe O'Brien could stay at CTU. As a result, Buchanan was relieved.
After escaping CTU arrest, O'Brian aids Jack from Bill Buchanan's home, however she is discovered by CTU. Bill receives a tipoff from Karen Hayes, enabling Chloe to escape, and Buchanan is arrested without incident, knowing that he would have protection from Hayes upon arrival at CTU.
At CTU, Buchanan and Hayes discuss Jack's current situation. Working together with Chloe, they aid Jack in obtaining the evidence implicating President Logan. They succeed, however the evidence is later destroyed.
When Vladimir Bierko escapes custody, taking control of a submarine with the intent to use it's missiles, Bill and Karen have fighter planes sent to destroy it, and send Jack with a team to resolve the situation. The terrorists are later killed, and the missiles disarmed.
Bill and Karen are kept out of the loop when Jack, Chloe, Mike, Martha and Aaron plot to expose President Logan, but they are notified when Chloe informs them she has evidence incriminating Logan. At the end of the day, after Logan is arrested, Bill and Karen show an interest in to starting a relationship.Karen Hayes.
He, along with Curtis Manning, is at Ellis Airfield as a Hercules C-130 military transport lands in the beginning of Day 6. Buchanan then finalizes the trade with the Chinese for the release for Jack Bauer. Buchanan and Curtis are both shocked at Jack's condition and the fact that he has not spoken a word in two years. Later, he explains that the reason that he is being brought back is a deal that President Wayne Palmer struck with a man named Abu Fayed and that he is to be exchanged for Hamri Al-Assad. When Jack knows what is expected of him, he and Curtis allow Jack to clean himself up. Bill proceeds to bring Jack to the drop-off point and is instructed to handcuff Bauer to a nearby guardrail. Although Bill relents, he is unable to do anything, and apologizes to Jack.
Bill arrives at CTU to find out that Morris O'Brian and Chloe O'Brian redirected a personal satellite to view Jack, breaking their promise with Fayed. Bill gets very angry with the two, but does not fire them because he needed the manpower.
Later on Chloe informs Bill that she has satellite footage of Jack helping Hamri Al-Assad escape before the missiles hit. Bill orders her to track any chatter on Fayed, and she later uncovers that Fayed is really the terrorist culprit. Bill wants this finding to be kept between the two of them and Chloe agrees.
After Jack is forced to kill Curtis Manning, Bill tries to bolster his spirits by telling him he did great work that day and that Manning had not left Jack any choice.
When disgraced former president Charles Logan is brought into CTU, Logan convinces Buchanan that his wife might be able to help sway Anya Suvarov to help them resolve the situation by the Russian Consulate. Buchanan agrees and provides Logan with a chopper to Martha Logan's residence. Later, when Jack is captured by the Russian Consulate, with Markov refusing to give up information, Buchanan orders an attack on the consulate whether sanctioned by Vice President Noah Daniels or not. He ends up getting permission from both the vice president and Russian President Yuri Suvarov and leads a successful attack along with Mike Doyle.
When found out that there is a mole in CTU, Doyle immediately convicts Nadia Yassir, creating tension between Milo and Doyle. Bill breaks up the fight in the situation room and tells Doyle that he is way out of line. He gives the order that Nadia's system be searched first. Later on Jack finds out that Bill knew that Audrey Raines had died in China and was keeping the information from Jack. Bill said that he did not tell Jack because Jack was about to sacrifice himself for the country. When Nadia Yassir is cleared of being a mole, Bill asks her to come back even though he says that he would quit if he were in her shoes. Nadia agrees to come back. Later when Bill gets a call from his wife Karen Hayes and she says that she is afraid that she is the reason that Vice President Daniels will continue acting as president. Bill comforts her by saying that Daniels does not have a case and that the supreme courts will agree and to let him know when they made a decision. Karen thanks her husband for being there. Bill says, "You don’t have to thank me. It’s my job."
After the capture of lead terrorist Abu Fayed, CTU stages a fake rescue of Fayed hoping that he would lead them to the two remaining suitcase nukes. It is revealed by the ambassador that his country has captured a general who might have been helping Fayed. Buchanan gets President Palmer to order the ambassador to have the captured general contact Fayed. Nadia Yassir warns Buchanan that there might be some sort of distress signal encoded in the phone call.
Buchanan briefs the CTU staff on the death of Abu Fayed and the end of the terrorist threat and thanks all the personnel for their hard work. During the briefing Chloe gets a call from Jack. Chloe later admits to him that the reason Jack was calling her was that he wants to trade the Russian bomb's circuit board to the Chinese in exchange for Audrey Raines. After being informed, Buchanan orders Mike Doyle to secure Jack. However, Buchanan allows Jack to contact President Wayne Palmer. Wayne gives CTU the go ahead to make the exchange after Jack assures that he will not allow the board to get into Chinese hands. Karen later informs Buchanan that Vice President Daniels is now the acting president and wants Jack Bauer and the whole operation stopped. Buchanan calls Doyle, who is riding alongside Jack, and tells him that he must disarm Jack and bring him in. Jack forces Doyle out of the car after the phone conversation and goes ahead with the mission. This allows for the rescue of Audrey Raines without Buchanan directly disobeying superior orders.
Mike Doyle informs Buchanan that Jack has escaped is attempting to get the circuit board to Cheng. Buchanan announces to the CTU staff that Jack Bauer has gone rogue.
Later Morris O'Brian enters Buchanan's office and requests a transfer. Buchanan asks if it has something to do with him and Chloe. Morris says yes. Though reluctant, Buchanan agrees to see what he can do. After Morris leaves, he calls Karen back and she informs him that she is being forced to fire him from CTU to protect herself and the President, as the Department of Justice wanted a fall guy for Fayed being allowed to slip through CTU/Homeland Security earlier, before he was a known threat. Buchanan is angry about this because he did not do anything wrong and did everything by the book. He hangs up on her, and contacts division. On his way out, he tells Nadia Yassir that he is stepping down and that she will be temporarily in charge of CTU until division sends a replacement. When asked why by Nadia, he simply says, "It's just politics." Security escorts him out of the building and Nadia announces to CTU that she is now acting Director.
Around 4:00am, Buchanan is at home where he is dealing with an FBI search of his home. When his cell phone rings, he sees that it is Karen and initially does not answer. Karen leaves a voice message on his home answering machine. She tells him that Vice President Daniels is about to go through with an exchange between Josh Bauer and the subcircuitboard. She believes that it is a bad idea and begs Bill to intervene. Soon after, Buchanan crashes his truck with the CTU SUV that was transporting Jack back to CTU causing them to go off the road. When Buchanan is talking to the agents Jack comes behind Agent Turner and causes him to drop his weapon. After handcuffing the two agents to their car, Jack and Bill drive away towards the beach. When riding Buchanan gets a call from Karen, who tells him that Secret Service found out about her and that they will be arresting her any time. She thanked him and told him she loved him.
After summoning medical attention for the injured Mike Doyle, Jack and Buchanan commandeer a CTU helicopter in order to rescue Josh. They fly out to sea together against the orders of White House and CTU. Buchanan asks Nadia for the thermal-Intel of the oil rig so they would know the location of hostiles. After landing, Jack kills all the hostiles and wounds Cheng. Buchanan escorts Cheng back to the chopper and waits for Jack. Josh comes running and tells him that Jack is still with his father. When Buchanan communicates with Jack through comm., Jack tells him to fly along the side of the rig so that Jack can be picked up. Jack jumps on the ladder seconds before the missiles hit the rig.
Buchanan flies Josh and Cheng back to CTU where he congratulates Nadia Yassir on her good work. At the conclusion of the day, Buchanan resigns in exchange for a pardon.August 8, 2007.Bill is briefly shown in the first official 24 season 7 trailer with white hair in an as of yet unknown position this season. He appears to be working alongside Chloe O'Brian.
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