Vic Mackey vs. Jack Bauer; Who Do You Choose?

Posted: January 24, 2010 in Scifi
Tags: , , , ,

So why is the scifi blog talking about The Shield and 24 which are both cop dramas? To put things in perspective, I have always felt that to limit all discussions to only scifi related items, while huge in scope, can be restrictive. From a marketing point of view, if I want to expand my product/service to an untapped audience I need a way to bring them into the fold. From previous business/marketing examples I’ve brought up on this blog and in case you are new to this blog, I will re-discuss this point.

When the Scifi Channel was called the Scifi Channel and not this Syfy crap, the product/service the channel was offering several years back was reaching a certain leveling off with the audience they had. In order to grow, they had to tap into another audience to increase viewership. The Scifi Channel saw two key areas for development for their morning and late evening programming.

With the mornings, not to be stereotypical but for those women who chose to work from home or raise a family and were into soap operas, this channel offered them Passions at 9:00am.  This had nothing to do with science fiction other than the obscure reference that Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer would watch this show. Nonetheless, the hope here was to offer this type of show earlier than any other soap opera. Once the viewers were done with this soap, the belief was to have them stay with the channel throughout the rest of the day.

For the evening programming, the Scifi Channel picked wrestling for their 10:00pm time slot. Why? Wrestling has no connection to scifi unless you make this leap with wrestlers Roddy Piper in They Live and The Rock in The Scorpion King. Even then, they do not belong to this wrestling federation; so why? Wrestling pulls in huge ratings on other channels and Scifi wanted a piece of the pie as well. The audience here was primarily male.

The one move which I agreed with had to do with the Lifetime Channel. If you saw the series Blood Ties you had to watch it on the channel for women. Having heard such great praises for this show on a Slice of Scifi podcast, I had to watch it regardless of where it was being aired. Now, the Lifetime Channel was made for women; primarily. By introducing this vampire series, you attract a whole new segment that you left out; men. The lesson here is, it’s great to target a specific audience but you will not grow as a product/service unless that all you want. For this blog and podcast, I am of the firm belief of following an actor/actress/director/writer/etc. with a scifi connection and yet still discuss them in a non scifi manner for those non scifi fans. My hope is to introduce this non scifi fans to explore the word of scifi.

Moving forward, why The Shield and 24? With The Shield,  Michael Chiklis played the Thing in the Fantastic Four (FF) movies. When I saw the behind the scenes footage for FF, there was a fan who said he loved  The Shield to Michael. By this little comment, I began to watch this show on dvd several years back and finished the series today. With 24, Keifer Sutherland was in the Lost Boys and Flatliners. In addition, other scifi actors appeared on the show such as Michele Forbes – Ensign Ro from ST:TNG and Admiral Cain from BSG and John Billingsley – Dr. Phlox from Enterprise and this season Katee Sackhoff – Starbuck from BSG in on the current season of 24. And Benito Martinez, who played Captain Aceveda on The Shield in also in the first episode on 24 for 2010; how synergistic!  I truly enjoy watching these actors in non scifi projects and hope you will enjoy this non scifi blog entry. (OY! This was a long intro.)

Here we have two cops who are similar in nature as noted via wikipedia:

Detective Victor Samuel “Vic” Mackey, portrayed by Michael Chiklis, is a fictional Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, former Los Angeles Police Department detective and the former leader of the Strike Team, a four-man anti-gang unit in the FX crime drama series The Shield. Mackey was a corrupt police officer; he stole from drug dealers, routinely beat suspects and committed murder on at least three occasions. While two of the victims were violent gangsters, one was a member of his own team who was secretly working to expose Vic and his unit. Mackey sees his tactics as a means to an end. He is a devoted father and sees himself as a family man.

Jack Bauer is the protagonist of the American television series 24, in which he has trained and worked in various capacities as a government agent, including U.S. Army Delta Force, Los Angeles Police Department, SWAT, CIA, and during the course of the show, the Counter Terrorist Unit and the FBI (in the latest season 7). Within the 24 storyline, he is a key member of CTU and is often portrayed as the best agent CTU has. Bauer’s job usually involves him helping prevent major terrorist attacks on the United States, saving both civilian lives and government administrations. On many occasions Jack does so at great personal expense, as those he thwarts subsequently target him and his loved ones. Bauer’s frequent use of torture to gather information has generated much controversy and discussion.

This begs the question; who do you choose? I began to think about which cop/agent I would want on my side? I like to plunge myself into these comparison scenarios like Jason Bourne vs. James Bond. (But that is for another time.) For example, both use a fair amount of behind the scenes “tactics” to get the answers they need and yet, both are family men. Go a step further, on a local level, Vic wins out because of his connections and intel on gangs. On a State or Federal level, Jack has more military training plus high tech support that can assist him in real time. So, what else can I go with this?


On the Shield, Vic has an ex-wife Corrine who takes care of there 3 kids; 2 of which are autistic. Much of his child support comes from money his made on the streets from reselling drugs they seized and the Armenian money train. Towards the end of season 6, his family became more endangered due to Vic’s past crimes with the Armenians. In season 7, Corrine was used to lure Vic into several sting operations to get him arrested but failed every time. In the end, Vic’s family was put into witness protection was not seen again.

On 24, Jack was married, Teri, and a daughter, Kim, in season 1. Teri did die at the end of this season. Relations between Jack and Kim were strained over the years as he was in and out of life. In season 3, Kim is now working for CTU and gets to work with her father. In season 5, the two are separate again as Kim can not handle all that follows Jack.  Not until near the end of season 7 where an experimental treatment Kim undergoes to save for father’s life do we see them together. At the beginning of season 8, Jack loves his new role as grandfather to Kim’s daughter.

Conclusion: We see Vic time and time again be there for his family in a time of crisis. However, many of his past deeds and the lies he had to spin, he lost everything in the end. With Jack, the loss of his wife was hard on him. He does what the job requires him to do and that’s to save lives even at the risk of his own. While it’s too early in season 8 to see what happens to his new life with Kim and her daughter, there may be still more dark times ahead.

Winner: Jack Bauer

Best Friend

On The Shield, Vic and Shane were the closest of friends on the Strike Team after Lem was killed. At the end of season 5, Vic vowed to kill the person responsible for Lem’s death. After dealing with so much guilt, Shane confessed to Vic why he had to kill Lem. Through on going events with the Armenians, Shane was set up to be killed by a rival Mexican gang. When Shane survived, he wrote down his statements of all the deeds Vic and the Strike Team as blackmail. In the end, Vic could not kill Shane personally. Shane killed his family and himself, when he found out that Vic got immunity for his past crimes.

24, Jack was close to Tony Almeida through out the series in seasons 1-5. (Spoiler Alert) Tony was “killed” and presumed dead until he was brought back in season 7. While Tony was undercover to get revenge for the death of his wife, Jack does shoot Tony to prevent him killing Alan Wilson, leader of the PMC conspirators.

Conclusion: While Vic can talk a mean game, he could not pull the trigger himself and wanted to cancel the hit on Shane as well. Jack on the other hand, understood Tony’s pain but the bigger picture with Alan Wilson was a higher priority.

Winner: Jack Bauer


Vic had the belief and justification that he always “did more good than bad.” In the grand scheme, I would agree. Who cares if he robbed from those deprave life from others. Vic has put himself on the line to make a difference. The exception here, it was by his rules. No matter what the situation, Vic will find a way to get what he wants in complete disregard of the rules he has to follow. This is true of his character till the last scene of the series.

With Jack, many of his actions include a great deal of torture. He has truly crossed the line but in his eyes the ends justify the means. We have seen him pushed beyond most human endurance. Yet, time and time again, why does he come back? In the fist episode of Day 8, an old informant found Jack with information about an assassination at the U.N.. Jack asks why him and the reply is because Jack always does the right thing.

Conclusion: We see two men having similar method of operation. Both act above the law to do the most good. Vic played the ultimate get out of jail card with the  benefits and security of gainful employment with ICE. Yet, Jack had gotten many accolades from the President of the United States from time to time and is left with a lifetime of pain and loss.

Winner: Jack Bauer

You can see who I favor between these two law men. Do you agree? Cast your vote below.


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