Season 1 starts and ends at 12:00 a.m. PST. The first half of the season centers on the efforts of a terrorist cell led by Ira Gaines to assassinate presidential candidate David Palmer. They kidnap Jack Bauer’s wife and daughter in order to force him to aid in the assassination and take the fall for Palmer’s death. Jack eventually defeats this cell in the process of saving his wife and daughter, but this only leads to information about a second group of terrorists who had employed the first cell. The second cell is led by those ultimately responsible for the day’s events: Andre and Alexis Drazen.
Two years prior to this day, Jack Bauer was sent as part of a classified team to Kosovo on the orders of a secret Congressional panel headed by David Palmer to kill Victor Drazen, Slobodan Milošević’s “shadow.” In order to keep Operation Nightfall totally secret, the panel never met nor knew the team of operatives, and nor did the team know the panel. Therefore, Palmer and Bauer never knew about each other. The Drazens found out about both Palmer’s and Bauer’s involvement in their father’s death (incidentally, Jack Bauer was believed to be the only operative still alive), and the whole assassination plot had been a means to get back at them—Palmer would be dead, Jack would be imprisoned for the assassination, and his family would be killed.