Penny Johnson Jerald as Sherry Palmer
|Portrayed by||Penny Johnson Jerald|
|Appearances||season 1, 2, 3|
Sherry Palmer is a fictional character on the television series 24, played by Penny Johnson Jerald. She is the wife, later ex-wife, of US President David Palmer and features prominently in the first three seasons.
24: Season 1
Originally a recurring guest character, she was married to United States Senator David Palmer — an African-American with a chance at the White House. Although it appears their relationship is loving, David begins to doubt whether he can trust Sherry after he learns that she covered up their son Keith's accidental killing of the rapist of his sister (their daughter) Nicole, and is willing to continue the cover-up in order to protect his chance of winning the election. His suspicions are confirmed when she opens a safe and destroys what she believes to be Keith's tape incriminating Carl Webb, where the tape is a decoy placed by David Palmer. Over the course of the first season (taking place over one day, as each season of the show does), she revealed herself to be willing to do anything, including committing treason and murder, to secure her husband's presidency. At one point, she coerces Palmer's speechwriter, Patty Brooks, to attempt to seduce him into having an affair in order to feed off information from him and report it to her, as she feels her husband is not confiding in her enough. Many of her actions showed little regard for the potential consequences to those besides her husband; she reports that he survived the Drazens' attempt to kill David with a bomb in a cell phone despite Jack wanting the terrorists to believe that Palmer was dead so that Kim would be spared. She expressed no hesitation or regret for her actions, saying that she wished to protect her husband's candidacy, causing Palmer to realize that she had lost touch with what it meant to be part of a family. At the end of the day, Palmer tells her he is going to file for divorce. In addition to many personal reasons, he indicated that she was not fit to be First Lady.
24: Season 2
Between Day 1 and Day 2,the Palmers divorce. Sherry unexpectedly appears at the Oregon retreat of her ex-husband (now president) on the day of a nuclear threat to Los Angeles. At first, Palmer trusts her claims that members of his staff are seeking to undermine his administration, which help him unravel a conspiracy against him from within the government. However, her questionable actions lead some — including Palmer's aide Lynne Kresge — to continue to be suspicious of her, and it is revealed to David that he is being manipulated by Sherry. By the end of the day, she has proven that she still had feelings for her husband by assisting CTU agent Jack Bauer in bringing down the terrorists. Although arrested for her acts of treason, Palmer would later assist her in discreetly being released.
24: Season 3
Day 3 began with President Palmer in L.A. for a debate against his political opponent, Senator John Keeler. Midway through the season, Sherry Palmer returned — this time at Palmer's bidding to help him shake off Alan Milliken, a key campaign contributor who was now threatening to sabotage an important health care bill unless he fires his brother and chief of staff Wayne for having an affair with Milliken's wife. Palmer instructs her to find evidence to use against Milliken, and she finds Kevin Kelly, a man who was paid to keep quiet about Milliken's role in his daughter's death. When Kelly mysteriously disappears, Sherry goes to the Milliken residence to speak with his wife Julia and obtain his cell phone. He comes downstairs and she yells at him, causing him to have a heart attack; she then prevents Julia from giving him his medication, effectively murdering him. Sherry persuades Julia not to report it and convinces her ex-husband that if he reported it to the police, he would be implicated as well. Palmer lies to the Chief of Police and gives her an alibi. Disgusted by what she had done, he then tells her to get out of his life forever.
Seeking revenge, Sherry subsequently goes to Keeler and offers him proof that she was indeed present when Milliken died (the bottle of Milliken's heart pills with her fingerprints on it) and that Palmer had therefore obstructed a murder inquiry by giving her a false alibi. Keeler could then use this to blackmail Palmer into discreetly leaving the presidency, allowing Keeler an easy win in the upcoming election. Palmer and his Chief of Staff Wayne Palmer find this out, and Wayne and Bruce Foxton, a professional evidence retriever, sneak into her home to try to steal the evidence while Palmer distracts her elsewhere. Sherry, however, grows suspicious, even as Palmer agrees to remarry her, and returns home, where she is knocked unconscious by Foxton, who retrieves the bottle of pills. Wayne flees the house with the evidence, but Julia, who had been left as the only suspect in the murder of her husband, arrives at the house, shooting Sherry dead and turning the gun on herself. Although Palmer is now technically in the clear, his horror at being involved in the deaths of Milliken, Julia and Sherry forces him to discreetly leave the race for re-election.