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Must watch finales

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After eight gut-wrenching, adrenaline-fueled seasons, the TV thrill ride that is “24” will come to an end on Monday, allowing beleaguered federal agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) to finally kick back and veg out. Of course, that’s assuming he survives his latest hellish day. As we catch our breath, it’s a good a time to ponder the legacy of pop culture’s greatest post-9/ 11 hero — a guy who went mano a mano with a steady parade of scumbags and bailed America out of dire trouble more often than we had a right to ask. Why did he hold us in thrall for so long?

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