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William Devane as James Heller
|Last appearance||24: Live Another Day|
|Portrayed by||William Devane|
|Appearances||4, 5, 6, 24: Live Another Day|
Heller has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Yale University. He is characterized as a loyal public servant, serving in the Army as a pilot and air defense artillery officer, obtaining the rank of Captain, and became a reservist upon his retirement from active duty. He was CEO of Anderson Aerospace before serving as a Congressman and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and the Commission to Assess National Security Policy. He was also director of the President's Economic Stabilization Program. Heller was appointed Secretary of Defense under President John Keeler and retained this position under President Charles Logan. Viewers of the TV series learn in season 4 of 24 that Heller is the father of his senior policy analyst, Audrey Raines, and that he is a widower. His son Richard frequently participates in anti-government/anti-corporate protests, much to his father's chagrin; Heller refers to his son's ideology as "6th Grade Michael Moore logic."
Heller is characterized as a true patriot; when his former special advisor, Jack Bauer, requests his assistance to remove Logan from office, Heller objects, saying that the country does not deserve to go through a long impeachment process. He attempts to cut a deal with Logan which would have resulted in his resignation as president.
Despite being middle-aged, Heller has been shown to be extremely adept at combat, being able to proficiently handle an AK-47 during the first escape attempt from his kidnappers on Day 4 and the Heckler and Koch USP9 Jack Bauer gives him in the second attempt. He is also able to knock Bauer out stone cold on Day 5 by striking him on the neck.
24: Season 4
Before season 4, Heller hires Bauer as a special advisor following his dismissal from CTU. During that day, Heller and his daughter are kidnapped by a terrorist group, who plan to broadcast his execution over the internet. Bauer rescues them, however, and Heller coordinates CTU's pursuit of terrorist leader Habib Marwan. After spending several hours directing operations in CTU-Los Angeles, he is eventually transferred to Division when the threat escalates. Neither Heller nor his daughter are part of the tight circle that helped fake Jack's death to avoid an international incident with the Chinese.
24: Season 5
At the start of season 5, Heller is attending a summit in Japan. While on his private jet on the return trip, Audrey telephoned him and told him that it was urgent that he redirect the plane to land in Los Angeles. Jack meets him at Van Nuys Airport to give him evidence implicating President Logan in the death of David Palmer. After hearing the recording, Heller feels the best course of action is to personally meet with Logan and try to quietly force his resignation. He leaves the recording with one of his security officers and orders Jack and Audrey to be kept in custody until he returns. After he leaves, Christopher Henderson locates Jack at the Van Nuys airport and forces him to surrender the recording while holding Audrey at gunpoint. Heller's plan backfires when Logan, notified by Henderson that the tape has been recovered, informs Vice President Hal Gardner that he is forcing Heller's resignation because of his unsubstantiated allegation that he was complicit in Palmer's death.
After Bauer captures Henderson, Henderson reveals he has his men on standby to kill Heller. The men have orders to kill Heller if Henderson does not make contact with them every 15 minutes. Jack calls Heller to ask him if any of Henderson's men are visible, and Heller informs him that a man from a hovering helicopter has a laser sight on him. Bauer is insistent on letting Henderson go to save Heller. Heller, however, sacrifices his life for the sake of the mission. He asks Bauer's forgiveness for not trusting him earlier, and then says, "Tell Audrey I love her." He then hangs up, and in a suicidal gesture, drives his car off the cliff into a lake. His car is last seen impacting the water of the lake.
It is later revealed that Heller survived the crash and is in intensive care.
24: Season 6
In season 6 of 24, Heller returns at 1:56 AM after he learns of his daughter's condition. When he sees what state she is in, he tells Bauer to stay away from her. He threatens to file a legal restraining order to make sure that Bauer will never see her. Nadia Yassir tells Jack that Heller moved Audrey to a civilian hospital.
In the closing minutes of Day 6, Bauer arrives at Heller's beach house, holding Heller at gunpoint and demanding to know why Heller didn't try to get him out of China. Heller insists that he did, but those efforts met with failure. Bauer tells him that he did not try hard enough, and that he wrote him off as an "acceptable loss." Bauer also says that Heller doesn't blame him for Audrey's condition but the fact that Audrey would not give up on Bauer regardless of what he told her. Heller admits that Bauer is right, and he deserves better, but Bauer is not interested. Additionally, Bauer demands to know where Audrey is, and Heller refuses, which enrages Bauer further. Heller calmly lets Bauer know that no matter how badly Bauer wants to regain his life, he will be drawn back into "the game and my daughter's going to pay the price...like your wife did!" Enraged, Bauer threatens to kill him, but Heller then implores Bauer to let Audrey go. After a few moments with Audrey, Bauer agrees with Heller, and bids Audrey goodbye for the last time.
24: Live Another Day
On October 4th 2013 it was announced that James Heller, along with Audrey Raines, is returning in the upcoming limited series 24: Live Another Day for the show's start on May 5, 2014. TV Line reported on January 13, 2014 that James Heller (played by William Devane) is now the leader of the free world — and his daughter Audrey (Kim Raver) has a role in his administration. This confirms that Heller will in fact be portraying the President of the United States.
- "Bio: James Heller". FOX.com. Retrieved 2009-04-15.[dead link]