Jack waits to be hired at an oil refinery in the Mojave desert. The foreman refers to him as “Frank Flynn.”
In Wayne Palmer’s Los Angeles high rise apartment, former President Palmer works on his memoirs. Wayne notices that Palmer is distracted. As Palmer stands by the window overlooking the city, a gunshot blasts through the glass and hits him in the neck. From another building, the assassin Haas lowers his rifle.
Aides Walt Cummings and Mike Novick prep President Logan at his retreat in Santa Ynez, California. Logan asks Cummings to look in on the First Lady before the Russian President’s visit. “She can’t have one of her meltdowns today,” he warns. Novick gets word that Palmer has been killed. He is grief-stricken.
At CTU, Buchanan and Curtis run through their lists to narrow the search. Logan demands from Buchanan that the assassin be killed or arrested before the Russian President arrives. Buchanan advises the President to postpone his signing of the arms agreement treaty in case the incidents are connected. Logan refuses.
Chloe wakes up and kicks out her CTU subordinate, Spenser Wolff, from her bed. She tells him that the night before was a mistake, but Spenser disagrees. Suddenly, Chloe’s cell phone gets a text message that Palmer is dead.
Jack watches television reports of Palmer’s assassination from his small apartment in the desert. He tears up at the news. When someone knocks at the door, Jack trains his gun. He lowers it when he realizes that it is his neighbor and girlfriend, Diane Huxley. She invites “Frank” over for breakfast.
Diane’s teenage son Derek is not pleased that his mother is seeing “Frank.” Derek tries to catch Jack in a lie on his oil rig work. Diane doesn’t question Jack about his past because she trusts him.
From their home, Tony and Michelle see the news about Palmer. They argue about whether to call in to their former employer CTU since they were on the investigations into the previous attempts on Palmer’s life. Michelle thinks they could assist the case. Tony wants to focus on their current company. She leaves alone for CTU, but when she gets in her car, it explodes. Tony finds Michelle’s body in the wreckage. Another blast hits Tony and knocks him over.
At CTU, Edgar and Spenser look for connections between Tony, Michelle and Palmer. Edgar calls Chloe, who is on her way into the office. He tells her that Michelle is dead and that Tony is injured. Chloe becomes suspicious when she sees a white van trailing her. She hangs up on Edgar and runs. Inside the van is Haas. Chloe loses the man chasing her in the morning commute rush.
While sitting with Diane, Jack gets an urgent call from Chloe who apologizes for breaking protocol. She tells him about Tony and Michelle, as well as the people chasing her. Chloe is convinced that all the people who know about Jack being alive are targeted. Jack warns her to go dark because there might be a leak inside CTU. He instructs her to head north out of Los Angeles to an abandoned oil refinery where he will meet her. Jack pulls a satchel out of the air vent in his apartment and leaves.
Tony is sent to CTU for medical attention because they can’t protect him at a hospital. Buchanan wants his team to find the connection between Tony and Michelle with Palmer. Audrey Raines arrives at CTU as the Defense Department’s liaison on the investigation. Audrey agrees with Buchanan about postponing the treaty signing, but the President cannot be swayed.
President Logan gives a press conference about Palmer’s death at the retreat.
An aide named Evelyn puts the final touches on First Lady Martha Logan’s makeup. “I look like a wedding cake,” Martha says before abruptly dunking her head in the sink of water. Walt Cummings breaks the news about Palmer to her. She becomes upset because she and the former President were close friends. Martha says she has to talk to her husband immediately. Cummings orders the secret service agents to keep her away from the press conference.
Martha goes outside, and argues with Novick and the agents holding her back. She refuses to tell them what is so urgent and asks to see Logan when he is done.
Jack speeds to the refinery and knocks out a rescue helicopter pilot. Derek has followed him because he is worried about his mom. Jack takes Derek at gunpoint and forces him onto the chopper.
Tony is wheeled into CTU on a gurney. He suffers from head trauma that has affected his speech. Curtis shows Buchanan that Tony’s phone records prove he spoke to Palmer on the day Jack was killed. The transcript files have been corrupted.
Logan comes to see his wife and she apologizes for making a scene. Martha thinks that Palmer was killed because of her. She explains that Palmer had called her yesterday and wanted to meet about something involving national security and Logan. The President wonders why Palmer didn’t call him directly, but Martha points out that he shut Palmer out of the White House. She was his only access. Martha realizes that her husband doesn’t believe her. “I am not crazy!” she exclaims. Logan promises that he will have Cummings look into it. He sweetly asks her to get ready for the Russian president’s visit.
Logan tells Cummings that Martha is suffering from another one of her delusions. He recounts what she told him about Palmer. Logan doesn’t want Cummings to do anything about her claims.
Aboard the helicopter, Jack assures Derek that he is not being kidnapped. He only wants to prevent him from going to the police. When Derek asks who he is, Jack answers: “Someone who’s not supposed to still be alive.”
Jack calls Diane and instructs her to pick up her son in Los Angeles. She is freaked out, but he asks her to trust him. Jack explains to Derek will be freed once he’s completed his task in Los Angeles.
Edgar is worried about Chloe because she hasn’t arrived or answered her cell phone. Spenser assures Edgar that Chloe is fine because he saw her earlier. Edgar realizes that they are dating.
Chloe arrives by taxi at the oil refinery to meet Jack. Her jacket gets caught in the fence and she leaves it. Chloe thinks she can tap into the CTU mainframe from the research library at Cal Tech. With no car, they get back in the helicopter.
As Jack starts the engine, a car pulls up. He realizes that the men have been following Chloe. The helicopter cannot achieve enough speed to take off. The van and another car approach. Jack throws smoke bombs in front of the chopper, and has Chloe take Derek to hide. Haas and his team cannot see through the smoke. Jack takes the team down one by one.
Haas approaches where Chloe and Derek are hiding. Jack shoots him in the leg. Chloe quickly plugs rounds into Haas, but Jack yells for her to hold her fire.
Jack orders Chloe to walk away with Derek. He tells Haas that he will only receive medical attention if he confesses why they are after him. Haas says that Palmer was the primary target and the others were just a diversion to make it look like Jack did it. Haas doesn’t know who hired him. When Jack learns that this is the man who killed Palmer, he shoots him. Chloe and Derek wince as they watch.
Edgar shows Buchanan and Audrey security footage from the suspected location of the Palmer assassin. Jack is seen in the video.
Jack wants to go back to Wayne’s apartment to uncover the truth, and he needs Chloe to access the building’s schematic as well as the interagency deployment. She thinks she can obtain this from a remote site. Derek is afraid of Jack because he watched him kill a man. Jack threatens him in order to keep him in line.
Edgar confirms that the security cam video has not been doctored. Audrey is shocked to find out that Jack may still be alive, but she is insistent he not behind Palmer’s murder. Buchanan has phone logs proving that Palmer, Tony and Michelle had all spoken to Jack before he was supposedly killed. Buchanan thinks they conspired to fake Jack’s death because he was facing charges from the Chinese. Audrey still doesn’t believe that Jack kill his own friends.
Curtis gets confirmation that Chloe was also on the phone calls between Jack, Palmer, Tony and Michelle. Edgar is surprised that Chloe knew Jack was alive and kept it hidden from hiM. Buchanan orders a warrant for Jack’s arrest.
Cummings offers to trace the call Palmer made to Martha. Audrey contacts the President and tells him that Jack Bauer is the suspect based on CTU’s evidence. Logan again refuses to postpone the summit. He doesn’t want President Suvarov’s security to know that he might be in jeopardy.
A spotter calls a man named Nathanson from the abandoned oil refinery with news of Haas the assassin’s death. Nathanson wants CTU to bring Jack in so that they can eliminate him then. There is less than an hour to “launch.”
Chloe drives the assassins’ van while Jack inspects their gear. Diane calls “Frank’s” cell and begs to know what’s happening. Jack assures her that Derek is fine.
Chloe pulls the van up to Wayne Palmer’s building where crowds and camera crews have gathered. She shows her CTU badge to the Secret Service and is let past the barricades to the underground parking garage.
Jack takes out the assassin’s earwigs and Chloe taps into the agents’ transponder signals off the grid so that she can track theM. She sees that there are 167 agents at the location. Derek watches in amazement as Jack knocks out an FBI agent in the garage. “Relax, he’s really good at this,” Chloe tells hiM. Jack puts on the agent’s jacket and badge and heads into the building.
Chloe leads Jack to Wayne’s penthouse, but alerts him to four agents stationed in the lobby. The people get on the elevator as Jack stands in the back of the car unnoticed.
Jack makes his way into the apartment and sees Palmer’s slain body. This affects him deeply, and he slips into an empty rooM.
Derek mentions that his mother called Jack by the name “Frank.” Chloe tells him that Jack used to work for the government and that people wanted him dead. She says that Jack had to give up everything, including his daughter.
Jack finds Palmer’s email account on the computer, and Chloe looks for the password. Suddenly, Wayne enters the room and Jack pulls out his gun. Wayne accuses Jack of killing his brother, but Jack swears he would have given his own life to save Palmer. “He was my friend,” Jack says earnestly. Someone is framing him, and Jack needs Wayne’s help. Wayne doesn’t believe him, so Jack hands him his gun. Wayne breaks down.
Martha tells Cummings that she knows Logan doesn’t believe her.
Jack asks Wayne if Palmer had done or said anything out of the ordinary. Wayne thought that Palmer was distracted. Jack pulls up an encrypted file and Wayne realizes it is the first chapter of the President’s memoir. They compare it to printed versions to figure out why this one was encrypted.
Edgar gives Spenser a hard time about allowing Chloe to be put in jeopardy. Spenser feels bad as it is. Edgar gives him Chloe’s access code, but Spenser finds that someone is already logged in. Edgar sees that Chloe is tapped in from a remote location.
Edgar lets Buchanan know that Chloe is tracking Secret Service deployment from Wayne Palmer’s building. The signal is faint, so she might be underground. Buchanan thinks someone like Jack might be forcing her to erase evidence for hiM. He calls Secret Service.
Wayne sees that his brother added a name and address in the middle of a sentence. Jack has Chloe look up the name Chevensky at 16 Transport Way. The name and address are of a baggage handler at the Ontario Airport. Chloe tracks a lot of movement into the building, and Jack senses that he’s been found. Wayne offers to help, but Jack doesn’t want to risk him being connected. Jack asks him not to reveal what they have uncovered and he takes back the gun.
Jack exits the room and sees that the agents are being distributed his photo. Chloe finds an exit for him by the kitchen. Jack knocks out the lone agent at that door and slips out into the elevator.
Chloe loses her scan because they’ve found that she’s logged on. Jack gets out on the second floor and runs down the stairwell, knocking out another agent. He gets in Chloe’s van.
Secret Service swarms the garage. Chloe peels out, but the agents do not shoot because they want the suspects captured alive. The van is trapped by police cars outside, and Chloe gets out with her hands up. Jack and Derek are not in the van.
On the street, Jack breaks into a car and lets Derek in. He picks the lock and starts the car, pulling away undetected.
Jack calls Diane and tells her to head toward the Ontario Airport. He apologizes for getting her and Derek involved.
The lead Secret Service agent contacts Buchanan, who speaks to Chloe. She explains that Jack is being framed to cover up the real assassin. Chloe even heard the man’s dying confession and she tells him where to find the man’s body. She refuses to say where Jack is because they are trying to arrest hiM. Buchanan is furious, and has her brought back to CTU.
Derek tells Jack that Chloe told him some things about his past. Jack never wanted him and his mother to find out. He liked them as family, and he thought he might have a second chance at a normal life. Jack swears that he cares about both Derek and Diane.
Logan tells his wife that Palmer was killed by an unstable, ex-CTU agent and there was no conspiracy as she claimed. He plays a tape of the call from the previous night. The audio is of Palmer asking Martha to attend a charity dinner saying, “It’s hardly a matter of national security.” Martha is adamant that this is not the call. Logan says that her memory is affected because she is off her medication. Martha is distraught and he comforts her.
Edgar alerts Buchanan and Audrey that their sources say that the summit is a target during the next fifteen minutes. This is when the Russian president lands at the retreat.
Nathanson’s men watch as Russian President Suvarov’s helicopter leaves the airbase and heads for the retreat. Nathanson orders them to go dark and cut off communication until after the strike.
Novick warns the President that CTU has confirmed that Suvarov’s helicopter is a target. Logan still refuses to postpone the summit. Novick suggests that they alter the transportation, but Logan wants the pageantry of Suvarov’s arrival to remain intact.
Jack pulls up at the airport and sees Diane. He apologizes to Derek for the way he’s been treated, and sends him to her. Diane is relieved, but demands to know what has happened. Jack gives up his real name and says that he lied about a lot of things. He sends them to CTU to see Buchanan. “Tell them the truth,” he says as he walks away.
Jack goes to the baggage claim area of the airport.
Buchanan and his team watch as Suvarov lands safely in Marine One and is met by Logan at the retreat. “The intel must have been wrong,” he says. Nathanson watches on television as well and smiles to himself.
As Diane pulls out of the airport, Derek spots a group of men getting out of a van with bags and heading toward baggage. He knows that’s where Jack went and he senses that something is wrong. Derek runs out after them to warn Jack. Diane attempts to chase him, but the airport police make her move her car.
Jack finds Chevensky’s office and pulls his gun on the man, demanding to know why Palmer was killed. Nathanson’s men set off a bomb to explode their van. Jack hears the noise and looks into the hallway. As he steps away, Chevensky takes a poison pill.
The men fire machine guns into the air and kill the guards in the terminal. Derek is one of the hostages along with the other passengers. Jack sees the commotion from the hallway. “You will not be harmed as long as your President complies with our wishes,” one of the men announces.
Chloe is lead into CTU in handcuffs.
Cummings calls Nathanson. He reports that he altered Martha’s phone conversation before the President heard it. There is no longer any evidence that Palmer tried to warn her of the attack. Nathanson tells him that the terminal and the hostages are secured. The President will soon be notified of their demands.