|First appearance||Day 6 – Episode 13|
|Last appearance||Day 8 – Episode 19|
|Portrayed by||Bob Gunton|
|Days||6, 7, 8|
|Other Appearances||24: Redemption|
24: Season 6
He was the Secretary of Defense under President Wayne Palmer. Kanin recommends invoking the 25th amendment to allow Vice-President Daniels to become President. When CTU Los Angeles tracked him down to an oil platform ten miles offshore from California, Ethan Kanin advised Noah Daniels to authorize a full-scale aerial assault on the oil platform, despite knowing that Bauer held his grandson, Josh Bauer, hostage at the platform. Tom Lennox objected, arguing that they should not so easily approve sacrificing an innocent boy, but Noah agreed with Kanin and ordered the air strike
Despite his serving her opposing party as Secretary of Defense, newly elected President Allison Taylor chose Kanin to serve as her Chief of Staff. On her inauguration day, After learning of President Daniels' decision to close the United States embassy in Sangala, Henry Taylor called Kanin to find out whether Daniels may have had an ulterior motive in doing so without consulting the President-elect. Kanin later arrived to greet the Taylors at the Capitol building, and was present at her swearing-in and address to the nation.
24: Season 7
He also serves as the Chief of Staff in Season 7. He disapproves of President Taylor's decision to appoint her daughter, Olivia, as an adviser after General Juma's siege on the White House. Kanin later authorizes Jack Bauer to interrogate Ryan Burnett, a US-based conspirator, hoping to find out more about the terrorist threat. After Jack is framed for the murders of Ryan Burnett and Senator Mayer, Kanin quits as Chief of Staff, fearing the political ramifications to Taylor's presidency. Secret Service agent Aaron Pierce later enlists in Kanin's help when he grows suspicious of Olivia's behavior and suspects her of having a connection to Jonas Hodges' murder. Kanin acquires a recording of Olivia's conversation with her contact ordering the hit on Hodges and confronts her, eventually leading to President Taylor to have her turned in. Kanin is later re-instated as Chief of Staff.
24: Season 8
Because her previous Secretary of State quit in season 7, Kanin serves as Taylor's Secretary of State in season 8. He is shown to have an active role in the administration, negotiating alongside President Taylor, a peace deal for the Middle East. Kanin suffered a heart attack after discovering Chief of Staff Weiss' plot to turn President Hassan over to the terrorists threatening to detonate a nuclear bomb in New York City. This incident was kept hidden from President Taylor. Kanin was discovered during the arrest of Weiss and General Brucker, and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
He rejoins President Taylor's cabinet, recommending that she work with disgraced ex-President Charles Logan at getting the Russians back to the table following Hassan's widow succession of her late husband. He is aghast to discover that, on Logan's advice, she is not only hiding evidence of the Russians' involvement in the day's events, but allowing Logan to stop Jack Bauer from revealing this evidence. When he realizes that President Taylor has no intention of changing her mind, he offers his resignation.