Paul Schulze as Ryan Chappelle
|Portrayed by||Paul Schulze|
Ryan Chappelle is a fictional character played by Paul Schulze as part of the television series 24. On the show, Chappelle was the Los Angeles Regional Division Director of the fictional government Counter Terrorist Unit agency. He was above George Mason and Alberta Green in the chain of command. As a regional representative, he directly answered to the President of the United States. (This is disputed as in Season 1 he is given a direct order from someone at the Pentagon which he had to follow.)
24: Season 1
He was brought to CTU on Day 1 when (then Senator) David Palmer attempted to visit Jack Bauer to confront him about the failed assassination attempt. Chappelle, however, had Bauer isolated after being asked to do so by the Secret Service, plus he had to go under investigation. After trying to get Bauer jailed, Chappelle received direct orders from Washington D.C. (via Palmer's acquaintance Alan Optican from The Pentagon), and then accepted the reinstatement of Bauer until the end of the day. Chappelle was known because of his harsh determination to "follow the book", thus gaining him enemies at CTU when Jack was detained and then the agents (particularly Tony Almeida) had to break protocol to allow Jack to move on and foil the assassination attempt. After that, Chappelle left CTU. He appears in 3 episodes this season.
24: Season 2
In Day 2, Chappelle again came from Division to CTU when the current Director of CTU, George Mason, died in the line of duty, leaving the command of the Los Angeles unit to Tony Almeida. Bauer had gone rogue after finding out the possibility that a recorded audio incriminating three Middle East countries in the nuclear explosion in American soil was faked. Chappelle had orders to direct all of CTU's resources to plan the military response against the three countries, thus leaving Bauer alone. Trying to get help for Bauer, Almeida had no choice other than to disable Chappelle by having Michelle Dessler meet him at a holding room, claiming there was something wrong with Rudin. Rudin was not in the room and Tony drugged him. However, Michelle's rival, Carrie Turner, caught on that something out of the ordinary was going on and eventually reported her suspicions to Deputy Director Brad Hammond. Hammond realized something was wrong when he was unable to contact Chappelle.
After asking Tony Almeida about Chappelle's whereabouts several times, Hammond came to CTU with his own officers and took over operations. Hammond had Chappelle rescued and both Almeida and Dessler arrested. Eventually, Chappelle received orders to recover Jack Bauer as it was discovered that his lead was for real. Thus, he had to trust Almeida, who traded the information about Jack's whereabouts for a written pardon for both himself and Michelle Dessler. In the last few minutes of the day Chappelle expresses his condolences for the loss of George Mason who had sacrificed himself earlier. Tony asks Chappelle to either fire him or get out of his chair. Chappelle happily tells Tony that the District Director is pleased with their actions. Chappelle makes the gesture, giving Tony his job back and leaves CTU, also leaving Tony as the Special Agent in Charge. He appears in the final 6 episodes of the season.
24: Season 3
In Day 3, Chappelle plays a significantly larger role than in the past and is again called to CTU when Tony Almeida was shot in his neck and unable to run CTU. Chappelle attempted to capture Jack Bauer before he could deliver escaped Ramon Salazar to northern Mexico. It was later revealed to be part of a plan to recover a deadly virus.
Chappelle was put in this operation as supervisor and removed Chloe O'Brian, but had to reinstate her temporarily when a computer virus planted by Nina Myers and unwittingly activated by Jack Bauer threatened to shut down CTU's firewalls. After that, Chappelle followed the lead of a bank transaction to reach a bio-terrorist attack mastermind Stephen Saunders, who was holding the US government hostage with the threat of releasing a deadly virus into the general population.
During this time, Michelle Dessler placed an unusual request from the Chandler Plaza Hotel, where Saunders' virus had already been released. Though the hotel was quarantined, the vast majority of the guests and workers were not expected to see the next sunrise. Michelle asked Tony to send over "suicide" pills, overdoses of tranquilizers that would be made available to the virus victims if they so chose. Chappelle intercepted Tony and reminded him that this was strictly against regulations, but agreed (possibly for the first time) to bend the rules. (Some victims did in fact choose to use the pills.)
Saunders discovered Chappelle's investigation and ordered the President of the United States, David Palmer, to arrange for his execution. Palmer assigned to Jack the task of executing Chappelle. The two waited at the train yard Saunders had designated. Chase Edmunds led a raid to capture the terrorist, only to discover that the targeted safehouse was an empty decoy. Saunders' men soon roll up in a black van, leaving Bauer with the choice of either defying Saunders or executing Chappelle. Deciding that Chappelle's life was not worth the possible consequences, Jack asked him if there was anyone he wanted to call. Ryan replied by saying he had no friends except people he worked with, and he hadn't spoken to his brother in years. Chappelle asked Jack to let him die with dignity by allowing him to take his own life, but is unable to do so. Jack then said simply, "I'm sorry we let you down, Ryan. God forgive me." Ryan Chappelle was killed by gunshot wound to the back of the head at 06:59:53 am. Prior to his death in episode 18, he is absent for only 5 episodes. He appears in 14 episodes overall, counting his voice-over in episode 5 and as a corpse in episode 19. His death is honored with a Silent Clock.
Despite this character not being one of the most prominent, the death of Ryan Chappelle is considered by many viewers to be one of the most powerful and dramatic scenes in 24. Having the President of the United States order the execution of an American citizen under orders from a terrorist produced debate among fans, critics, and general viewers alike. Even though Chappelle was not written to be a much loved character, many viewers found themselves suddenly sympathetic to him when he allowed himself to be sacrificed for the good of the nation.
- Joel Brown. “Look for Stars on TRL Awards.” The New York Times, Reprinted in The Spokesman-Review. (April 13, 2004).
- Mark Dawidziak. “Another Day Awaits as ‘24’ Winds Down Third Season.” The Plain Dealer. (May 25, 2004.)
- Jeff Hidek. “I Love TV - From ‘Kirk’ to ‘Enterprise,’ the Season's Highs and Lows.” Star-News. (May 23, 2004).
- Molly Maslin Arbogast. “‘24’ Shows Ambiguity of Principles.” The Capital Times. (May 25, 2004).