Written in Ink
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Jack Is Back (Kennedy, Not Bauer)

Illustration for article titled Jack Is Back (Kennedy, Not Bauer)

Tonight's return of Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer and "24" also brings back William Devane, previously Secretary of State James Heller, now president. And all is right with the world.


Long before "Knots Landing," Devane imprinted himself on a generation of TV viewers by playing President John F. Kennedy in the 1974 docudrama "The Missiles of October," a real-life thriller about the 13 Days of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Some people seem born to play presidents. Devane fit the bill. The illusion is only reinforced by another bit of casting back then: Martin Sheen. Before he became Jed Bartlet, or Chief of Staff A.J. McInnerney to Michael Douglas' American President, Sheen was Bobby to Devane's Jack.


I am reminded by Mr.Internet that Sheen went on the play JFK himself, simultaneously fulfilling and enhancing the connection that Aaron Sorkin brought to its full flower on "The West Wing" (where Devane guest starred as Sheen's secretary of state — argh!).

Go ahead and (SPOILER ALERT) watch the Season 1 finale and Season 2 opener of The West Wing in which Bartlet gets shot and rushed to the hospital (BLUE! BLUE! BLUE!) and feel the pull of Dallas or the Ambassador Hotel.

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