Television's 3 Most Brilliant, Emotionally Broken Men: Patrick Jane, Gregory House and Jack Bauer

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This article is a tribute to three of TV’s immensely popular and brilliant characters: 24’s Jack Bauer, House’s Gregory House and The Mentalist’s Patrick Jane.

This article is a tribute to three of TV’s immensely popular and brilliant characters: 24’s Jack Bauer, House’s Gregory House and The Mentalist’s Patrick Jane.

Jack Bauer in 24 - played by Kiefer Sutherland (2001-2010)

Kiefer Sutherland in 24 Image via: http://year2008-2009.student-direct.co.uk/

* This part of the article Includes major spoilers for season 24’s season 1 finale.

Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is a brilliant and tough CTU (Counter-Terrorist Unit) agent. However he has had a lot of emotional and physical traumas throughout the show’s 8 seasons. He has been betrayed by friends and colleagues, tortured, accused of being a criminal and a traitor, and he has always had a problematic relationship with his daughter Kim Bauer (Elisha Cuthbert). However the event that truly “broke” Jack took place at the end of episode 1 when his wife Teri (Leslie Hope) was murdered by someone he trusted and liked.

Also, since writers are never out of terrorism scenarios, and 24's each season takes place in one day, it is safe to say that the show never had a concept that could allow Jack to date.

Gregory House in House - played by Hugh Laurie (2004 - present)

Hugh Laurie as Gregory House in House Image via http://www.phillyscreenwriter.com/

* This part includes minor spoilers for season 2 of House.

Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) is a very successful and unique diagnostician. He is extremely smart, quick and well, too blunt for anyone’s liking. He is also addicted to the pain-killer Vicodin because of his troubled leg that gives him tremendous pain and a limp.

His sarcasm and realistic approach to human nature usually make him a nightmare date, not that he actually cares. Even though the pretty doctor in his team is into him, he declares that she is problematic if she can fancy someone like him.

House’s intelligence, wit and his entertaining anti-social manners, along with his challenging and mysterious medical cases, are what keeps attracting the audience. However, as we found out in season 2, House wasn’t always this bitter. As it turns out, he had a great love in his life, a beautiful and smart lawyer named Stacy (Sela Ward). But he has an accident, and while he is unconscious, Stacy needs to make a difficult decision for him. House is more than happy to risk his life to save his leg and Stacy is more concerned about keeping him alive. In the end, House does survive but his leg never gets better and part of him blames Stacy for this. While this incident eventually drives them apart, we find out that neither Stacy nor House are truly over each other.

As seasons progress, we get more details into the platonic, half-friendly, half-hostile and always sexually- charged relationship between House and his boss Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), the dean of medicine of the hospital. While the audience is confirmed about their attraction towards one another several times, something almost always gets in the way.

Patrick Jane in The Mentalist - played by Simon Baker (2008- present)

Simon Baker, The Mentalist Image via http://i36.tinypic.com

* This part includes spoilers for season 2 of The Mentalist.

 While, House might be problematic and Jack Bauer definitely has his issues, one character tops all their pain and challenges. Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) is a talented mentalist, who used to pose as a psychic. He was making a great deal of money. Problem was, there was a serial killer on the loose, called Red John, and Patrick had made the mistake of speaking about him on television. Enraged, Red John killed his wife and beloved daughter. Consumed with guilt, rage and depression, Simon quit posing as a psychic and started working with CBI (California Bureau of Investigation) instead. He consults with them on the trick murder cases and helps them with profiling and catching killers. However, of course Patrick has another agenda besides helping people. He wants all the cases solved and gone as soon as possible so all resources can be concentrated on finding Red John. But of course when Patrick finds Red John, he will kill him.

The end of season 2 gave Patrick a shot at romance when a guest character from an earlier episode reappeared. Christina- coincidentally played by Leslie Hope who played Jack Bauer’s wife on 24. Christina is also claiming to be and working as an expensive psychic. Of course, Patrick is more than skeptical but at the very least, she has a great sixth sense and she is quite The Mentalist herself. So despite their differences, they are attracted to each other. But Christina makes a very stupid mistake. She makes the exact same mistake Patrick did years ago- She speaks about Red John on live television. Red John kills the reporter and kidnaps Christina. Since no victims ever survived him, it is highly likely that Patrick will be single for a little longer...

All these three men have captivated the audience with their wits, originality, fresh comebacks and one-liners. It’d be hard to say who’d win a chess tournament but obviously Jack Bauer can take down both Patrick and House down in a physical fight. Since Jane’s own mistake caused the death of his own wife and daughter, I’d say Patrick is a little more damaged than Jack and House. However, he is also the one who cracks the most jokes and entertains himself by provoking the suspects and being rightfully nosy.

House is an engaging drama/mystery show, 24 has the most action and The Mentalist is a solid drama/thriller. While one man is an agent, the other a consultant and one a doctor, they have one thing in common. They solve the most confusing and challenging puzzles to get the job done. And even though they all get a kick out of being the smartest one in the room, others benefit from their success. House’s patients get to live, Bauer saves America and Jane helps many murderers get caught. 24’s last season aired this year but a 24 movie is being made. House and The Mentalist will be back this fall with their new seasons.

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Pinar Tarhan

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