Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) is about to return to the “24” world, beginning with Monday’s (Mar. 13) episode — making this the perfect time to revisit the troubled history of one of CTU’s best.
It’s hard not to compare Tony’s trajectory with that of Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) himself — both men ended up traveling down a tortured path, destroyed by the loss of their wives while still trying to protect America at any cost. Much like Bauer, Almeida was once considered a traitor — but unlike Jack, Tony was not only presumed dead at one point — he went off the deep end, resurfacing as a perceived terrorist threat later in the series. Not exactly a simple life.
When Jack Bauer’s former buddy returns to the world of CTU, it may be easier to appreciate his importance to “24: Legacy” — and so, here’s our look back at the life of Tony Almeida.
‘Day 1’ — Loyal CTU Agent
In its first season, “24” introduced Tony Almeida as by-the-books agent in LA’s Counter Terrorism Unit facility. Though the “Day 1” story, Almeida and Jack Bauer — then-Director of the CTU — were not on friendly terms. Things were complicated further when Jack’s old fling, Nina Myers (Sarah Clarke) became involved with Tony — only to be revealed as the one behind Teri Bauer’s (Leslie Hope) murder.
That big reveal, and the thwarting of David Palmer’s (Dennis Haysbert) assassination, put Tony and Jack not just on even ground — it helped the two men form a formidable bond and partnership, moving forward.
‘Day 2’ — Chief of Staff
It didn’t take long in “Day 2” for Tony Almeida to reach his full Counter Terrorism Unit potential. With a nuclear threat facing LA, Jack Bauer came out of retirement to help the team stop the pending attack — and it wasn’t long before acting CTU Director George Mason (Xander Berkeley) stepped down due to radiation poisoning.
While not the strongest season of the series, “Day 2” proved Tony Almeida to be a worthy player in FOX’s terrorism-fighting story. It also planted the seeds for Tony’s enduring romance with CTU’s Internet Protocol Manager, Michelle Dessler (Reiko Aylesworth).
‘Day 3’ — Family Man
We learn quite quickly in Season 3 that Tony and Michelle are now husband and wife — but it’s not too long before we see their relationship’s on unsteady ground. With Michelle in Tony’s former Chief of Staff role, the show explored a complex power struggle between husband and wife — during a bioterrorism threat, of course.
Later in the season, Michelle is exposed to the “Cordilla virus” and, in a very emotional sequence, professes her love to Tony — with the very real possibility that she may not survive the day. To keep her safe, Tony breaks protocol, partnering with terrorist mastermind Stephen Saunders (Paul Blackthorne) and committing an act of treason that sends him directly to the electric chair.
‘Day 4’ — Alcoholic recluse
Vouched for by President Palmer and the reinstated CTU Director Jack Bauer, Tony never actually ends up in the chair. However, after a divorce he’s in no condition for active duty, preferring to tend his wounds steeped in misery and alcohol.
When Jack and Audrey Raines (Kim Raver) find themselves in a sticky situation, there’s nowhere else to turn — and Tony bails them out of a life-threatening shootout. Jack pulls some string to get Tony provisionally reinstated at CTU, and by the end of Season 4, Almeida and Dessler have reconciled — moving forward with plans of a peaceful life away from CTU.
‘Day 5’ — Vengeful widower
After Season 4, Tony and Michelle’s security company became a reality. No longer affiliated with CTU, the couple came back into the drama after the untimely assassination of President Palmer. The explosive Season 5 opening also took Michelle, who died in a car bombing along with their unborn son. Critically injured and recuperating at CTU, Almeida pursued vengeance against the man responsible, Christopher Henderson (Peter Weller) — which didn’t exactly go according to plan. Tony was stabbed with a syringe filled with a pain-inducing drug that left him presumed dead.
‘Day 7’ — A covert operative returns
Tony Almeida’s Season 7 return wasn’t quite as epic as expected, but it was fascinating: Tony’s first presented to Jack Bauer as a terrorist out to infiltrate Homeland Security’s network, before it’s revealed that Tony has formed a covert team with former CTU agents Bill Buchanan (James Morrison) and Chloe O’Brien (Mary Lynn Rajskub) to expose government corruption. It’s refreshing to see Tony and Jack reunited, fighting off the bad guys like the good old days — but Tony ultimately finds himself back in handcuffs, to spend eight years behind bars.
Something tells us that Tony’s story in “24: Legacy” is going to be every bit as twisty and ambiguous as we’ve come to expect. There’s no way Almeida’s involvement in Jadalla Bin-Khalid’s (Raphael Acloque) ongoing sleeper cell threat can be on the up-and-up. With Jack Bauer nowhere in sight, Tony’s the perfect mentor on the hows and whens of crossing moral boundaries: Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins) is well on his way to becoming the hero “24” needs, and Tony Almeida may be just the man to help show him the way.
“24: Legacy” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.