Contemporary Crime-Fighting Dads: Negotiating Masculinity and Fathering in 24 and Castle

  • Christy Ebert Vrtis


In the official trailer for the highly anticipated return of the Fox television series 24 starring Keifer Sutherland, Jack Bauer (Sutherland) declares, “There’s no going home for me.”1 Jack, an antiterrorist operative for the fictional Counterterrorist Unit (CTU) based in Los Angeles, appears tough and bold, literally cloaked in shadows and a black-hooded sweatshirt, wielding a handgun. The claim that there is “no going home” for Jack is significant because throughout the series he has aggressively neglected his home (both the physical home structure and his family) in order to do his job. This leads, we can presume from the line, to his penultimate decision to sacrifice any semblance of home and family, and quite possibly his own life, in order to save the president of the United States and avert a world war. Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), the male protagonist in the popular ABC crime dramedy Castle, represents a much different male crime fighter. In stark contrast to Jack, Richard is a crime fiction writer in New York City, a celebrity, a philanderer, and a devoted father. His partner, homicide detective Kate Beckett (Stania Katic), describes Richard as “a nine year old on a sugar rush,”2 whereas Jack is depicted as rough and hardcore. While Jack Bauer and Richard Castle are vastly different in many ways, they share one essential feature: They are both single fathers raising teenaged daughters while simultaneously trying to save lives and catch criminals.


White Masculinity Teenaged Daughter Hegemonic Masculinity Split Screen Paternal Authority 
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© Christy Ebert Vrtis 2016

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  • Christy Ebert Vrtis

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