The world needs this gray lady

Fox `24' chiefs, let Sherry Palmer live

May 25, 2004|By Stephen Kiehl | Stephen Kiehl,SUN STAFF

Alas poor Sherry, we hardly knew ye.

The duplicitous and cunning ex-wife of President David Palmer on Fox-TV's 24, Sherry Palmer took two bullets in the abdomen at the end of last week's episode and, apparently, died. Fans of the show have been waiting three years for this moment, but now that it's finally come, we wonder how the show can go on.

Evil villains come and go on 24. We've had Dennis Hopper playing a man who wanted Palmer killed, and, more recently, lesser known actors playing characters intent on setting off a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles or releasing viruses in major cities to cause the deaths of millions.

These characters have been all black and white, no moral ambiguity. We knew they stood on the side of evil. But Sherry Palmer, played by Baltimore native Penny Johnson Jerald, was different. While mostly evil - she has been involved in blackmail, murder and plots to overthrow the U.S. government - she has also shown her humanity.

We hated her for trying to trick her husband into having an affair. But we loved her for rescuing Kiefer Sutherland's character, federal agent Jack Bauer, last season and helping capture the man behind the nuclear attack. She helped the president fight the terrorists. And then she helped the terrorists fight the president.

Last week, Sherry threatened to destroy her ex-husband's presidency by implicating him in the death of a government agent. But when the president asked what Sherry really wanted, she said she only wanted to be his wife again and collapsed in tears onto his chest. Awww.

As it turns out, she was just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her. Or face political ruin and prison time. Web sites that track the show have dubbed Sherry Lady Macbeth for her ambition unchecked by morality. But we don't want her to face a similar fate, be it suicide or murder.

Sherry survived a stabbing by screwdriver last season. Tonight we will learn her fate in 24's season finale. She must live. 24 needs Sherry Palmer. It's not just that she doesn't see the world in black and white, as the other characters do. She doesn't even see the world in shades of gray. She isn't even of this world. She lives for herself and her relentless pursuit of power. Presidents, villains, even Kiefer Sutherland, tremble before her.

What's done is done? We think not.

Out, damned bullets! Out, we say!

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