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On Air: Jack Bauer

» Hear the 'Morning Edition' radio commentary

Gun playa: Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer strikes some as quick on the draw. Others think we need a few more like him. Kelsey McNeal, FOX hide caption

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Kelsey McNeal, FOX

Here it is: The one you've been waiting for since, oh, at least Jan. 14.

NPR's homeland security correspondent Pam Fessler, who usually covers real-world developments in national security, goes digging for answers about why 24's corner-cutting patriot Jack Bauer inspires fanboy crushes on both ends of the political spectrum. (You gotta wonder what it is about a serial torturer, however fictional, whose admirers include both an ACLU mucky-muck and the boss-man at the DHS.)

Fessler, being an actual reporter, gets both men on tape — we critics, having been diligent English Lit students, tend to just riff on what we think the likely answers are — and also talks with civilian fan Stephanie "Melia" Romanski of 24addict.com and 24 co-creator Bob Cochran.

And with an assist from Fessler's producer, Felix Contreras, I've put a handful of Season 3 clips on the page for you.