Monday, November 21, 2011

Five and a half years of Anthony “Tony” Almeida, a 24 review

Besides ER, I am also a huge 24 fan. But I don’t like Jack Bauer, no, actually he irritates me to death! My favorite character above all is Tony Almeida. Oh yeah, I love him!

Tony was played by an actor called Carlos Bernard. Unfortunately Carlos didn’t have many blockbuster roles, but he is one of the best ones. You might have seen him in the first season of  "Scoundrels" last summer, or in movies like Angel Camouflaged and 10.5Apocalypse.

Let us dig into the series now, I will point out a couple of interesting information from behind the scenes and I hope I will entertain everyone who doesn’t know Tony!


As season 1 begins we meet Tony an agent at the Counter Terrorist Unit, who clearly doesn’t like Jack Bauer, his boss very much. We later on find out that it is partially because he is now dating Nina, the second in command and unfortunately Jack’s ex. As the day goes on, we find out, that Jack’s daughter and wife have been kidnapped and that there is a threat out on the first African-American presidential candidate, David Palmer. Problem is, Jack doesn’t really go by the book and every now and then we see Tony make suspicious phone calls, he keeps wondering what Jack is up to. As we go on, we find out that there is someone inside of CTU who is working for the people who have Jack’s family. Tony becomes more and more suspicious, just until Jack’s supervisor George Mason shows up and we find out that Tony has been talking to his supervisors about Jack. Nobody likes his behavior; it isn’t nice to go off book as often as he did! But as the day goes on, Jack and Tony get over their differences and realize that there is a lot more to do than have mental fist fights. As they dig in deeper to see who is behind the attempts to murder Mr. Palmer, we find out that the mole working at CTU was Nina all along. Not only Jack is destroyed, but Tony was falling for her. The mole is found, Mr. Palmer and Jack’s family is safe, but the day is not over just yet... As season one wraps up, they find Jack’s wife Teri murdered by Nina, before she tried to make her escape.

Inside scoop: the writers had a lot of trouble coming up with a name for Carlos’ character. In the end they decided on the name "Antonio" but weren’t quite convinced just yet. As the shooting of the pilot began, Kiefer Sutherland stopped them and said “I’m sorry, I can’t call him Antonio, I’m gonna call him Tony.” The writers finally found the answer they were looking for and from then on the character was called Tony Almeida. Only at the end of season 4 we see a picture from an article that says “Anthony Almeida”.


As day two begins we see that Jack no longer works for CTU, on the other hand, Tony has Nina’s job and he is second in command. His boss is George Mason now. Also, president-candidate David Palmer has been elected. As the first episode goes on, we are introduced to a new character, Michelle Dessler, an analyst who works just below Tony. It seems there is some tension between them, but the viewers are left in the dark. We find out that Jack is called back in, because there is a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles. The people who want to set it off decide to blow up CTU so they won’t be able to find them. They succeed and a colleague is lost, but Tony and Michelle get closer. As the search for the bomb goes on, Mr. Mason is exposed to radioactive material and has to step down. Tony is now the director of CTU. Again, as you will see in all of the seasons, Jack goes off book, and Tony does not like that one bit!
Moreover, Michelle helps him and he gets really pissed at her. He controls her station, he puts people on her, she is almost arrested when her brother shows up unexpected. Her brother picks a fight with a co-worker of theirs, with whom he had a relationship with and Tony tries to calm Michelle while his brother is taken into custody by security. Michelle confesses that she is afraid and scared and thinks she hasn’t made any good moves today. As Tony tries to console her, she kisses him. She tries to apologize for being unprofessional, but Tony kisses her, showing sign that he is obviously very much interested in her, despite her going against his orders. They are torn apart by Tony’s supervisor and they try to work on.

-Listen, about what happened before. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have---
- No, no. Don’t be sorry. I’m not.
- Really?
- Really.”

They are brought together one more time, when they help Jack together, against their supervisor’s orders, and while in holding, they hold each other’s hands. As day two wraps up, they both remain embarrassed, but surely something good will come out of it.

Inside scoop: as the set of CTU was blown up, the writers and the directors were unable to decide whether they should destroy the Cubs mug Tony had from season 1. Carlos got ahold of it and said “Well, guess this is the end of the mug.” He threw it up in the air, and on the set it got stuck in some wires a couple of feet above them. That is how the mug survived. You can also see it in season 4, when Tony drinks beer and the very first episode of season 5 as well.


Tony is still in charge, but CTU has been divided into two parts: tactical and field. Tactical is Tony’s department, where Michelle is his second and Kim Bauer, Jack’s daughter works for him as an analyst. While field operations belong to Jack, with Chase Edmunds as his second and Chloe O’Brien as his analyst.
In a brief moment we are shown, that Tony and Michelle share wedding badges and that Tony is about to get a promotion. Unfortunately, Michelle doesn’t get an offer.

- We both know it's a major career move. Call him back and say the answer is yes.
- And you'll come along? As the wife.
- I’ll go anywhere with you. As long as I don’t have to cook.
- Sweetheart, if you promise not to cook, I will take you with me anywhere! But if they don’t have a job for you, I’m not interested.

On this day, our team has to deal with virus, the cordilla virus and it appears that terrorists have possession of it. They have to assume it was smuggled in from Mexico, so Tony goes into the field to talk to the kid they believe is the carrier. But a terrorist looking over the kid shoots Tony in the neck and he is immediately sent to the hospital. Michelle is now in charge, but she is in shock. Nothing like this has ever happened since they got married, but she has to stay focused. About three hours later she visits him in the hospital. He makes her rush back to the office, as an operation has begun he was part of, but kept as secret from Michelle. She is quite disappointed, feels a bit betrayed and worried that he was able to keep such secrets from her and she didn’t even know. What else could he be hiding? Obviously Tony is sore from the surgery, he falls over, Kim and Michelle question his ability to be in charge. They start to fight over this. In the meanwhile Nina is brought in for questioning and Tony has to interrogate her. Michelle seems quite disturbed by this thought, but they have to stay professional. “That’s a nice ring. Who’s the lucky girl? Hope you did a background check though, you don’t want to make the same mistake twice!”.
As the hours pass they find that the virus is about to be released in a hotel and Michelle is sent there with a team. With the hope of being able to stop the virus from getting realized she goes inside, but is too late to stop it. “Are you inside?Tony gets furious, he literally starts to yell. He orders her out of there, but even if she came out, it would be too late, she has already been exposed.

- I realize we have been circling around this.
- Michelle, don’t go there.
- I just want you to know, that these past three years, have been the best years of my life.
- I should be there with you.
- You are.
- No, it’s not the same."

Thankfully she is immune to the virus and is transported away from the hotel, but is then captured by the terrorist who released to virus. He uses her to get help from Tony. Tony commits treason, he lets the terrorist go, he kidnaps his daughter in exchange for Michelle. But Jack catches him and in the end they use CTU to get Michelle, but before that she almost succeeds in getting away, but Jack sends her back. “That’s my wife, you son of a bitch. That’s my wife! JACK!” Seeing that this trade is the only chance they have to lure the terrorist out. The mission is a success, Michelle is saved, the terrorist stopped, but Tony gets arrested.

- They can’t do this, not after everything you’ve accomplished today. 
- Michelle. I put your well being above the countries. Nothing anybody will say will ever change that fact.
- But they can't--- they can't put you in prison.
- Yes they can, and they will, for a long time believe me.
- Tony don’t talk like this.
- Michelle please.
- I can’t, I won’t give up on you.
- Baby you’re alive. And nobody else got hurt because of what I did, and that’s more than I could’ve hoped for. I can live with that. Even in prison.”

Inside scoop: in season three the actor hired to play a Mexican terrorist, was called Joaquim de Almeida. Also, the game of 24 is placed between season 2 and 3. If you are interested in further stories, check out the recap of the game!

Where is Tony? As season four begins we naturally assume that Tony is in prison, as it was mentioned before that he was going to get about 20 years. So, in the sorrow of missing him, we assist Jack as a new agent for the Department of Defense, working for the Secretary of Defense and dating his daughter, Audrey Raines. Jack has to brief the CTU director about DOD protocol, but gets caught up in an investigation. As the hours pass, Jack and Audrey get into trouble. CTU has a mole once again, who can Jack call? Tony arrives for the rescue. But wait! What is Tony doing here? As it turns out Jack and President Palmer helped him get out from prison. He pretty much hates his life, started drinking and Michelle left him. He seems to hate everything, and yet, he enjoys the thrill. Seeing that he saved the life of the Secretary of Defense’s daughter he gets reinstated into CTU on a provisional basis. As the previous director has to step down, Tony is appointed but by the end of the hour division sends over a replacement who has the qualifications and CTU experience. They send over Michelle. This… pretty much makes Tony shatter into a million pieces again. He was not ready to see her just yet, while she seems really angry to see him. He decides to leave, but Michelle asks him to stay, they need the manpower. It seems that they can actually work together, when a call arrives from Jen, the woman Tony has been living with... and Michelle answers the phone.

"- Listen Michelle... I'm sorry you had to find out like that.
- It is really none of my business. 
- Yeah it is, I should've told you I was living with somebody.
- I don't wanna talk about this right now.
- Yeah, well I do. Listen to me. When you left, everything fell apart. And Jen happened to be there for me.
- You don't have to make excuses for your relationships---
- I'm not making excuses. I am just telling you how it is.
- Do you love her?
- No."

Michelle seems to tremble, but she is relieved. Tony tells her that he really wants them to be together again, but it has to be away from CTU. This place destroys people. Michelle tells him that that is a really hard decision, this is the only thing they know how to do and they have been doing it for 12 years. Tony is asked to accompany Jack on a mission, but "Tony wait. I can't--- I can't spend another day without you. I'm ready to leave here, I'm ready to go with you."

But Michelle is put into an impossible situation as Tony is captured and it is up to her now: "treason or Tony?". Michelle isn't able to do it and she asks Jack's help. It is assumed that Tony is killed when a car bomb goes off, but actually the hostile keeps him to make sure she gets out of the building. Jack manages to save him. Michelle feels guilt that she didn't do what he did, "We both did the best we could, alright? Now it's over." He kisses her again and finally they can stay together.


I hated this. Michelle gets up to help CTU because President Palmer has been murdered. Tony stops her, saying that they will call if they need their help. Michelle leaves, she tells him that she needs to do this. But as she gets out to their car, the car blows up and kills her instantly. Tony gets hurt in the blast as well. I had so many swear words I wanted to say in that second, I just ended up yelling from the bottom of my throat. I couldn’t believe they killed Michelle. WHY DID YOU KILL MICHELLE??!!! About 8 hours later Tony wakes up, suffering from short term memory loss. He thinks that Michelle is in a hospital as well. But the doctor, even though he wants to protect him from further trauma, can’t lie very well and Tony decides to find things out on his own. He gets to a computer. He does a quick search just as the doctor comes back in. Michelle’s file pops up, and in red the word ‘deceased’ appears, along with crime scene photos. Tony’s legs give up and he falls just as the doctor catches him. He starts to cry and murmur Michelle’s name. 

It is one of the most touching and beautiful moments I have ever seen. That sincerity in his eyes; the pain of the loss. It is an incredible scene. Also, I would like to point out something a very wise reviewer said, I am talking about Suede, when he mentioned that “Crying shouldn’t be sexy because sadness isn’t attractive.” That is what is beautiful about this scene, and all the crying scenes with Tony, that they are honest. They don’t just let out one tear, so you know they are in distress or just sob so you know you should feel bad for them. You can feel their voice tremble, their eyes sparkle. It is above all honest, as I said before.
Tony finds out that the man, presumably responsible for Michelle’s death is in the room next door. Tony gets a gun, but Jack asks him to wait, because he is the lead suspect in an investigation and they still need to question him. “Do you remember me? My name is Tony Almeida. You killed my wife Michelle Dessler this morning. She was my life and you took her. Now I’m gonna take yours.Jack manages to call him down and Tony gives them 40 minutes.

-You’ve had your chance, now he is mine.
- Damn it Tony just wait until I get there.
- No. I’m done waiting.
- You don’t want to do this, it’s not gonna bring back Michelle.
- No, but I’ll feel better.
- Trust me you won’t.
- You’re probably right. I’ll let you know.

Tony prepares to inject him with something, but hesitates for a second, because of what Jack said and the suspect wakes up and pushes the needle into Tony’s heart. He falls on the floor and he dies in Jack’s arms. “She’s gone Jack.” His good heart was what got him killed. I cried for three consecutive hours after this episode. I still do. Mostly because after 4 seasons, if they kill of a character, it either means that the actor wanted to quit or the writers couldn't use him anymore. This, besides the laws of 24 that stipulates that everyone who is dead will sooner or later come back to life, I believed wasn't one of these cases. I was really sad.

DAY 7:
Jack is brought in as a consultant to the FBI, because they have a suspect only Jack can help them with. Jack is shown a picture of Tony. Tony is presumable a terrorist who is resposable for an attack that is about to take place on US soil in the next hour or so. Jack is somewhat destroyed. The only person he ever trusted during the past years, the one he truly believed had actually died was back in the picture and a traitor to his country. As Tony gets captured, he and Jack have a big fight, Tony tells him that he is an idiot for being able to work for this government after all that it took from them. To be honest, I agree with him. Jack attacks him and Tony tells him an old CTU code. When Jack calls the number under the code, he talks to Bill Buchanan, their old boss, who is now working with Tony and Chloe to bring down the actual terrorists under this attack. Jack breaks out Tony, but later on finds out, that even if Tony is helping now, he actually had done some really bad things in the past four years. He is a terrorist, but he drew the line when killing thousands of innocent people came into play. Yes, he did bad things, but killing wasn't one of them. It turns out that actually he has been using Jack, Bill and Chloe all along for his own aim. That is, he steals a canister of a biological weapon in order to sell it to a big company of really bad guys. Unfortunately Jack has been exposed to this weapon, he is patient zero. As the canister gets lost, Tony captures Jack and tries to use him, seeing that the compound can be built up using his organs. Jack begs him not to do it, because millions will die in agony. Tony tells him, that he has no intention of giving him up. You see, the man, the leader of this company is someone Tony has been looking for for a long time now.

- Everything you’ve done today, is for personal vengence?
- It’s for justice.
- Justice?  You killed innocent people Tony.
- Ten times as many people would’ve died if it weren’t for me. The deeper I dug to find the person responsible for Michelle’s death, the more I kept running into men like Jonas Hodges. They are the men with the crazy idiology Jack, not me. I’m the one who had a plan to bring them down. I enlisted Bill and Chloe to help me track all the elements. And when I finally got what I wanted they would turn him in and shut him down. But you screwed that up, didn’t you Jack? You see, I’m the one who saved lives today Jack, not you. I’m the one who helped you recover the CIP device; I’m the one who warned you about the White House attacks; I’m the one who stopped Jonas Hodges from launching those missiles!
- You tell yourself whatever you want. You launched a biological attack at Washington Center station, if we hadn’t got there in time, thousands of innocent people would’ve been killed!
- I did what I had to to get Alan Wilson here. And now he’s gonna die.
- You kill him and no one will ever know the full extent of this conspiracy.
- I’m not gonna kill him Jack. You are.

But Tony is not allowed within a 15 feet of him, so it will be Jack who is going to kill him with the bombs Tony attaches to his chest. That’s a pretty horrible death, but if you consider that Jack is dying anyway, it will spare him some agony, that’s for sure. But why? Why does Tony want this guy to be killed so badly? When Tony gets alone with him, because the FBI is about to arrest them, he kills a girl named Cara, the one he used to get to him and showes a gun into his face:

Took me a long time to find you. To peal back all the layers of people you hide behind. But I stayed patient. Because ever since the day you had her killed, the only thing that kept me going was this moment here. See Michelle and me, we’ve gotten out of all this. We made it out together. And we’re gonna start a whole new life… till you came along and took it all away, in a split second. It wasn’t just my wife you murdered. She was carrying my son. YOU KILLED MY SON. MY SON! AND NOW, I’M GONNA KILL YOU!

Jack stops him and he is arrested once more. He tries to get his gun, but they won’t let him. When he started the monologue, I knew what he was going to say and I started to cry again. And that is how Tony’s journey had ended.

How Tony limped through the 8 days of 24:

If you now look through all the seasons that featured Tony, you will find a very cute pattern, Tony is always limping for some reason:
DAY TWO Jack hits him and his ankle is almost broken.
DAY THREE – He gets shot in the neck, and when coming back from the hospital, he can barely walk.
DAY FOUR – He steps into a broken glass to leave a trace for Jack to follow. After his foot is covered in bandages and he gets back to Michelle, he limps through CTU.
DAY SEVEN – In order to make believe he was injured and not helping a hostile, he shoots himself on the left side of his waist. Afterwards he has trouble walking once again.

Let us recap the 8th seasons of 24 and Jack and Tony's differences:
I  know how he thinks!” Do you Jack? This is what bothered me above all, when Jack said that he knows everyone and that “He will do this because that’s what I would’ve done” and nobody should ask him any questions, he is obviously right. And I love that Tony is the only one who beats him. Because trust me, he beats him alright! Finally after all those terrorists that you kinda wished had won just once against Jack, are beaten; after all the times people failed in taking Jack’s family hostage; finally Tony beats him. And how? Tony actually does know how Jack thinks! He gets the perfect people to follow Kim. He not only deceives Jack three times, that’s right, not once, but three times(!), but he captures him twice. Jack failed in escaping… oh, that sounds so sweet!
Also, I loved that we finally see more of Tony. I loved that in season 4 we see that he can perfectly handle a gun if the chance is given, but isn’t it beautiful when he breaks a guys neck, while kick jumping into another dudes face? That’s poetry!
Now, I am sorry, I do love Jack too, but if I have to choose between the two of them, I am sorry, Tony will always beat you!

Also, I am really pissed at 24! They took very good care of Tony's character, and one of his distinctive features was that he had a silver gun. You can see it season 1, 2 and 3 as well. But for some reason the gun never returned, and I missed that...

First of all, you might argue, that there are many things I didn't write down, and you would be right. Understand that 365 things happen in each season while I have only so much time to write my reviews! Also, I tried to concentrate on the story lines that defined Tony and not the series or Jack's story alone.
Now, you might wonder why I went through the trouble of telling you what happened in all these seasons. It might not seem like a review so far, but my problems will become quite clear to you immeadiately. Just like Jack Bauer, our main lead, Tony has a beautiful story too. We are shown two sides of his identity and I have found that awfully interesting. You see what was beautiful about Jack is that he always stayed true to his country, which is cute in a way, but it bothered me a bit too. Basically we can see that he has NOTHING left. His wife was killed, his job taken, I’ve never counted how many times he was arrested, but trust me, it was at least 10 times/season! His daughter never gave up on him, but still, as season 8 ends he needs to flee and he can’t be near her again or the police will find him! So, why do I think that Tony’s character is better?
One word: love.
At the end of the day, after watching all the seasons, after understanding what both of them went through the only thing that makes the biggest difference between them is that I think that Tony has more heart. Jack always does what is right (for his country). Tony does what has to be done (for Michelle). This might be confusing for you, if you don't take the bracketed part, and when you think about all the people Jack tortured, but in the end it is true. When Tony confesses that all he has ever done was to find who ordered the hit on Michelle, you cannot not cry. You think he is gone, he is a terrorist, he was devoured by the very thing he was fighting. But that is not it at all. He is still in love. And I am so glad Jack got to fall in love with other women, but for Tony there was only one, and she was taken from him. And they must pay. Think about it, is it fair that Jack got closure, huh? Is it fair that he got to kill Nina, and Tony didn’t? Honestly I wished he would’ve put a bullet into that guy’s head, don’t you? Who cares if he has information, Jack Bauer always finds out everything, why couldn’t he get closure? So I felt betrayed by Jack. After all Tony did for him he was able to shoot him in the hand. Why? Why couldn’t he get it that he needed this? Why? “Congratulations, you’re just like them Jack, how does it feel, huh Jack?!

On another hand, I love this TV series, because yes, it is a bit unrealistic from a certain point of view, but not if I think about the people. Every time Tony and Michelle had a scene together, I wanted more drama, I wanted either yelling or loving to be thrown in every second. Now, when I look back at it, I realize how magnificient the writing actually was. If you think about a conversation with your ex-wife, even if you still love them, you won’t necessarily tell them that. No, you will wait, make sure you don’t get your heart broken. People never say what they fill, except when they are pushed, and this TV show, I mean the story really pushes you. If you were about to die, you will reconsider some stuff and saying while meaning it, “I love you”, seems so much more natural. So, as far as dialogues went, this TV show is really down to earth, realistic. The writing is wonderful, if I have to sum it up.

My review will come to a stop now. Many many rumors have circulated about a 24 movie, I honestly hope it gets made some time in the near future. My 24 review is not over just yet, my next character analysis will be of Chloe O’Brien, so stay tuned! Afterwards I will sum up my thoughts, so that should be interesting.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Tony Almeida - Carlos Bernard
Michelle Dessler - Reiko Aylesworth
Chloe O'Brien - Mary Lynn Rajskub
Audrey Raines - Kim Raver
Jack Bauer - Kiefer Sutherland
Kim Bauer - Elisha Cuthbert
Teri Bauer - Leslie Hope
Nina - Sarah Clarke
President Palmer - Dennis Haysberth
Bill Buchanan - James Morrison
George Mason - Xander Berkeley
Chase Edmunds - James Badge Dale
Jonas Hodges - Jon Voight
Alan Wilson - Will Patton

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