24 Day 6 6:00 AM – 8

When I watched the first season of 24 years ago, I was impressed with how the writers burn through the entire canon of plot twists, themes, archetypes and reversals  – sometimes in just one episode. So tonight, for the sixth season, I’m starting a list called 24 Tropes. A trope is a common pattern or motif in a work of drama or literature. There’s a few sites out there that track tropes for overall television – but I wanted to catalog just 24. I lost track of acts.

Season 6

Episode 1

Act 1
Innocents Killed
Imprisoned Hero Released
Hero Turned Over to Villain in Exchange for Something
Hero with Dark Past
King Has Doubts
I Don’t Like My New Boss/Surly Subordinates
Lovers Quarrel at Work
1/Few Sacrificed for Good of Many
Subordinates Infighting

Act 2
Famous Last Words/Confession
Left As Bait
Suspicious Neighbors

Act 3
You Killed My Family Member
Ultimatum with Countdown
It Isn’t Us That’s Doing It
It’s Coming From Inside the Building
Going Behind Their Backs

Act 4
Lovers Quarrel at Work
Hero Tortured
Revenge at Last
Heartbeat Monitor
You Didn’t Hold Up Your End of the Deal
They’ve Got the Wrong Man
Dying/Dead for Nothing
I’m the One They Really Want
Helpless Worry
Captured Torturer Experiences Own Techniques
Sudden Interruption
Fake Death
Daring Escape

Season 6 Episode 2

Act 1
Manhunt
Worried in the Workplace
You’ve Got the Wrong Man

Act 2
You Have to Stop the Inevitable
This Goes Against All of Our Evidence and Experts
It’s Now or Never
Past History/Trust Outweighs All Else
Child Looking for Parent
Mule/Go-Between
Talisman Offered – Talisman Declined
Countdown
Trespassing
Tricking the Henchman
Henchman Takedown
Hostage Situation
Faceoff
You’ve Got a Mole
Hero Surrenders to Prove Point
Molesearch
Mole Revealed
Last Minute Escape
Target Appears Destroyed

Act 3
We Have Nothing to Hide – We Have Something to Protect
Your Dead Family Member Would Agree With Me
Lovers Quarrel in the Workplace
We Missed Him
Manhunt
Make Us Proud
Martyrdom

Act 4
Traveling with Maimed Comrade
HIding Out
You’ve Been Hurt/Scarred
I Know What Really Happened
Just Us Chickens
Let Me Run This Thing
Torture/Interrogation
Okay I’ll Try Your Methods
Confession
Kill the Messenger/Traitor/Mole
I Doubt My Abilities

Act 5
Back with a Warrant
Search
Hiding What They’re Looking For
These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For
I Did it And I’m Proud
Lovers Arrested/Innocent Swept Up, Too
Search Everything/Everyone
Misplaced Anger/Violence
Intruder Killed
Don’t Call the Authorities
Friend Holds Gun on Friend

Act 6?
Stakeout
Hiding in Plain Sight (Amongst Civilians/Innocents)
Divide and Conquer/Split Up
Manhunt/Following
Act Completely Normal/Don’t Act Suspicious
Attack Happens Incorrectly
We Killed the Wrong Guy (They Think)