The job market in "24" land is not unlike that of the real world.
Whether you're committing high crimes and misdemeanors, or simply breaking various protocols at CTU, nobody's job is safe from the dreaded pink-slip. We here at The Jack Sack think its worth looking at how past characters have dealt with this issue and how they've tried to get back into gainful employment, sometimes with tragic results.
Name: Jack Bauer
Former Occupation: Director of CTU Los Angeles
Reason for Termination: Wife was brutally murdered at the office, and the CTU commissary stopped serving Tuna Casserole.
Method of Retuning to Work: Shoots a key witness amidst a terrorist crisis, cuts said witnesses' head off with a hacksaw, tells his old boss, George Mason: "That's the problem with people like you, George. You want results, but you never want to get your hands dirty. I'd start rolling up your sleeves."
Result: Jack got back onto CTU's payroll but within the same day, he was tortured (to death, but was resuscitated), beaten and almost had to take a nuke into the desert all alone until George Mason, dying from radiation sickness, "rolled up his sleeves" and finished the task himself.
Conclusion: What's good for the nation is seldom good for Jack. Having returned to CTU, Jack has since suffered a heroin addiction, he's further alienated he's cougar-magnet daughter, he's died again (faked death), he's been a prisoner in China for 20 months and he's suffered countless bone-crushing beatings along the way. Jack may have been better off opening a florist shop ("Dammit Chloe, I need chrysanthemums!")
Name: Tony Almeida
Former Occupation: Director of CTU Los Angeles
Reason for Termination: Mrs. Almeida, Michelle Dessler, sold him out.
Method of Returning to Work: Desperate to get help from someone he could trust, Jack called Tony to bail him out of a no-win situation and Tony came through big-time. Afterwards, when Jack went back to Tony's apartment, he found our man emptying Budweiser bottles into his Chicago Cubs mug (affectionately called "Cubby" by the real-world Almeida cult that exists worldwide). Jack, unimpressed with alcoholism as he used to be hooked on the "junk," asked Tony to get off his couch and start killing terrorists again (asked is a funny word, let's just say Tony had no choice at the time), and Almeida obliged.
Result: Tony proved himself worthy of Jack's trust. Tony also got his wife back (not until after it was revealed that she and Bill Buchanan had a tryst). Unfortunately, Tony's return to work would soon end in him being killed by the cabal that also killed his wife, former President David Palmer and many hundreds in the Los Angeles-area. Tony would still be on that couch, killing beers if Jack had let the man be. But as the old Klingon adage goes: "It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!" Qa'Plah! (h/t to Lou for the pic, even though he stole it from another website!)
Name: David Palmer
Former Occupation: President of the United States
Reason for Termination: Forced to not seek reelection when David's brother, Wayne, screwed his biggest financial contributor's wife, setting into motion a series of events that resulted in death, scandal and a premature end to David's political career.
Method of Returning to Work: When his successor, President Keeler, was shot down in Air Force One and rendered incapacitated (in the coolest episode of "24" ever!) former President Palmer was asked back into the White House to assist newly minted President Charles Logan through the remainder of the terrorist plot (Logan was about as commanding as Steve Urkel at a strip-club in his first hours as President).
Result: David Palmer got too close. Dammit! After mismanaging the crisis, causing an international fracas with the Chinese (which would result in bad things for Jack Bauer), Palmer was unceremoniously booted out of the White House when Charles Logan felt Palmer was making his job "too darned difficult!" Palmer would later discover a nefarious conspiracy taking place within the Logan Administration, but before he could warn anyone about it, he was assassinated. If Palmer had just decided to take that offer to do Allstate commercials, he'd still be alive today.
Name: Bill Buchanan
Former Occupation: Director, CTU Los Angeles
Reason for Termination: Pissed off Homeland Security for breaking protocols.
Method of Returning to Work: Continued to break protocols with Chloe back at his house (stop, stop, it's not what it sounds like... sheesh, people, go write your own fan fiction if that's what you're into.)
Result: Aside from removing his necktie and suit jacket, Buchanan really didn't do much differently. He assisted Jack Bauer with his "off-the-grid" antics and he even let soon-to-be President Wayne Palmer use his spare bedroom (talk about making friends in high places). For our benefit, we got to see Casa de Buchanan and I give the man credit, he's got a bitchin' plasma screen in that house. Sunday football at Buchanan's! Whoo-hoo! Anyway-- when it was proven that Bill was right and EVERYONE at CTU was wrong, and stupid, and smelly, they came back groveling. Bill got his job back. Bill also ended up marrying the old hag that fired him. Now, Bill can roleplay scenes from "The Lord of the Rings" with Karen Hayes (with her obviously playing the part of Gandalf, the Gray).
Name: Charles Logan
Former Occupation: Commander-in-Thief, Liar-in-Chief, etc., etc.
Reason for Termination: Scandal! Conspiracy! Murder! Kidnapping! Obstruction of Justice! Treason! (do I need to continue?)
Method of Returning to Work: As will be revealed early in next week's episode, Charles Logan was forced to leave office, but before he could go to prison for the rest of his natural life, his immediate successor, President Hal Gardner pardoned 'ol Chuck for the whole shebang (pulling a Gerry Ford). Now, Logan grows facial hair, plays Halo 3 on his X-Box and plots to get his wife Martha Logan back, even though she's probably making snugglies with Secret Service Super Agent Aaron Pierce of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Result: Logan has to be desperate- you'd have to be to have Jack Bauer call you up for help! Thanks in part to Logan, Jack was sent on the slow-boat to China for 20 months. Logan was also complicit in the deaths of former President David Palmer, Tony Almeida and Michelle Dessler (all friends of Jack, as he would repeatedly tell you). It's uncertain what will come of Logan, but his chances of surviving the day are not looking good. Jack is going to eat Logan's liver.