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  • Tags: narrative complexity

In this article I will argue that 24 can be seen as a variation of the tendency towards “narrative complexity” in current US TV series. Its straight-jacketed adherence to chronological time may not allow for fundamental disturbances of the discourse characteristic of many of its cinematic and televised contemporaries, but 24 distinguishes itself by shifting complexity from conceptual and narratological levels to the realm of morality. By analyzing two episodes from different seasons, both closely related to actual political developments in the US War on Terror at the time, I will outline how the show hovers between (and plays with our expectations of) deontological and consequentialist (utilitarian) forms of moral reasoning.