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Ira Gaines
DHS- Michael Massee on 24
Ira Gaines
Name: Ira Gaines
Gender: Male
Role: Main villain
Age: 43
Birthplace: United States
Nationality: Flag of the United States American
Residence(s): Los Angeles
New York City
Education: Master of Science, Chemical Engineering/Ballistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
United States Navy Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL (BUD/S)
Affiliation: United States Navy (formerly)
Ira Gaines mercenaries
Profession: Mercenary
Hostage Rescue Consultant, Cartagena
Security Consultant, International Business Telecom
U.S. Navy SEAL
Rank: Leader of the American mercenary crew
Significant other(s): Jamey Farrell (deceased)
Father: Unnamed father
Sibling(s): Unnamed sister
Status: Deceased
Cause of death: Shot by Jack Bauer
Played by: Michael Massee
Season: 1
First episode: 1:00am - 2:00am
Last episode: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Appears in: 24

Ira Gaines is a former Navy SEAL-turned mercenary and one of the main villains in the first portion of the first season of "24".

He is portrayed by veteran actor Michael Massee in one of his better known television roles.


Early life and career[]

Ira Gaines had a father and sister who lived in Ohio. He had known addresses in Los Angeles, New York City, and London. He never married and had no children.

Gaines graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Masters of Science in Ballistics and Chemical Engineering. After undergoing the United States Navy's BUD/S training program, he became a Navy SEAL, serving from 1991 to 1995.

During the Persian Gulf War, Gaines was assigned to a special reconnaissance team responsible for recovering SCUD missiles. According to a SEAL colleague, Gaines enjoyed killing enemy soldiers, scoring at least ten kills from four or five hundred yards with his sniper rifle. On one occasion, Gaines violated orders and shot a Republican Guard commander in the head, forcing his team to exfiltrate before finding the SCUD site, an act which got Navy Command "plenty pissed."

In 1993, Gaines was given command of his own team and assigned to drug interdiction duty in Mexico, and later in Colombia. In 1995, for unknown reasons, Gaines was dismissed from his team and dishonorably discharged from the Navy, something that was incredibly rare among the Navy SEALs.

Gaines turned to work in the private sector, working as a mercenary and hostage rescue specialist. On one job in 1996, Gaines traveled to Mexico City with Bobby Laughlin to rescue the kidnapped Chief Executive Officer of International Business Telecom. After they assaulted the hideout and rescued the executive, Gaines blackmailed him on the way back to Mexico City, threatening to tell his wife about the teenage prostitute he had been visiting when he was kidnapped. This was enough to compel the executive to transfer money into Gaines' personal account, in addition to the hefty sum he received from the company for the rescue job.

Gaines worked as a hostage rescue consultant in Cartagena, Colombia from 1998 to 1999. Around this time, Gaines began working as a mercenary for hire, participating as a sniper in the Zimbabwe civil war. Other alleged criminal activities included the Cartagena Old Town Massacre in 1999, the San Diego Commuter Bank robbery in 2000, and the assassinations of Judge Carlos Novena and banker Jacques Chabon between 2000 and 2001.

Assassination attempt on Senator David Palmer[]

The Drazen brothers Andre and Alexis sought revenge against Maryland Senator David Palmer and former Army Delta Force Captain Jack Bauer, the two men most directly responsible for the mission that resulted in their father, Victor's imprisonment, as well as the deaths of their mother and sister. Against Alexis' advice, Andre hired Gaines to carry out the assassinations, believing an American mercenary crew would be best suited to a job in the United States. The mission was set for the two-year anniversary of Operation Nightfall, which coincided with the California presidential primary, when both Bauer and Palmer would be in Los Angeles.

The preparation for the assassinations took more than a year. Through his associate Kevin Carroll, Gaines recruited a small army of criminals, mostly drug convictions that Carroll had overturned during his work as a crooked DEA agent, including Eli Stram, Dan Mounts and Greg Penticoff. Much of the plan was formulated and executed at a ranch compound near Placerita Canyon Road in the north San Fernando Valley, purchased by the Drazen's shell company Luca Univox. Gaines' funding and payment for the mission was arranged by Drazen financier "Ted Cofell (which was actually the assumed identity of former Soviet spy Borvo Sobrinna).

The plan involved surgically altering a professional assassin, Jonathan Matijevich, to resemble photographer Martin Belkin, so that Jonathan could enter a breakfast rally at the Santa Clarita Power Plant and shoot Senator Palmer during his speech to power workers. Gaines hired Mandy to steal Belkin's identification aboard Flight 221 from Berlin to Los Angeles, and then kill him by destroying the plane. Meanwhile, Dan Mounts and Rick Allen were paid to kidnap Kim Bauer and her friend Janet York, while Carroll, posing as Janet's father Alan York, kidnapped Teri Bauer. Jack's family was to be held as hostages in order to compel him to assist with the assassination, then place the crime against him.

Carry out the plan[]

In the early hours of primary day, Gaines was planning the mission from a safe house in the Mojave Desert, when Mandy arrived after destroying Flight 221. He offered her a drink, and asked her if she was interested in a job next summer, but she refused and insisted on seeing the money he was paying her. He asked her when he would get Martin Belkin's ID, and she told him it would be soon. Later, Mandy's partner Bridgit arrived, and handed Gaines a Polaroid of the ID card. When he asked Mandy what was happening, Bridgit explained that she had hidden the ID card in order to extort an additional one million dollars as payment. Gaines had his henchman threaten her, but realized he couldn't risk not having the card.

Furiously, Gaines told Mandy she shouldn't have involved an amateur in their business, and explained that there was no more money. He was interrupted by a phone call, then asked Mandy to explain to Bridgit what he would do to her. He stormed into a back room where Jonathan was preparing weapons, and told him they would just be a little longer. He then called Dan Mounts, who was holding Kim Bauer and Janet York in North Hollywood, to tell him he was running late.

Reluctantly, Gaines agreed to transfer an additional one million dollars into Mandy's account, and then agreed to go with her and Bridgit to find the card. Before they left, Mandy frisked Gaines and he told her he was going to miss her. He then drove them in his Jeep to a location in the desert, where Bridgit dug up the ID card and gave it to him. He then had Jonathan shoot her with a rifle, before aiming at Mandy. Gaines asked if she was interested in the summer job, and Mandy replied that she was. Gaines called off Jonathan got back in the Jeep. As Mandy looked over at her lover's body, Gaines assured her that she had no choice but to give her up.

Controlling Jack Bauer[]

Just before 4:00am, Gaines arrived in North Hollywood, where Dan and Rick were waiting to hand over Kim Bauer. Dan told him that they killed the other girl and disposed of the body. When Gaines asked if Kim had been any trouble, Rick told him that she hadn't. Gaines then explained to Kim that if she was good, he would release her in a day or two.

As Rick and Dan put Kim into the back of his car, Gaines spoke on the phone. He then told Dan that plans had changed, and that they were to drive to the compound by a different route and receive their payment there. He drove away with Kim. On the way, he was speaking on the phone when Kim starting kicking the window to attract the attention of a truck driver. Gaines pointed his gun to her head and ordered her to stop, then pulled over and put her in the trunk to avoid further incidents. On the way, he called Penticoff at 18166 San Fernando Road, instructing him to get rid of Alan York's body in a car on Avenue 26. Gaines then arrived at the compound just before 5am. He told Dan that his people had informed him Janet York had been taken to a St. Mark's Hospital. As Dan stammered an excuse that maybe "she wasn't quite dead," Gaines explained that there was no such thing as "sorta dead," before shooting Dan in the head. He then told Rick he had been promoted.

Gaines then got a shovel while speaking on the phone. He warned Rick never to lie to him, before telling him to bury his friend. He returned later to take Kim Bauer, telling Rick that his friend better be buried next time he was there. He took Kim to the compound's main building.

Gaines called Jack Bauer at St. Mark's Hospital and warned him that if he followed instructions he might see Kim again. Watching him on the hospital's surveillance cameras, Gaines ordered him to leave Teri and exit into the hospital's garage, where he was to get in a silver Ford Taurus and put in an earpiece inside. When Jack insisted, Gaines put Kim on the speaker for a few seconds to prove he was holding her. He then made him throw away his phone, which alerted Jack to the men Gaines had filming him from a nearby car. He told Jack to drive to CTU Los Angeles.

After Jonathan got ready, Gaines told him to get going so as to not hit traffic. He then ordered Bauer, stopped at a traffic light, to stop looking at some police officers, and drive straight at the green light. He let Jack know about a key card he had left under the car's visor. Jack arrived at CTU just before 7:10am, and Gaines instructed him to replace the key card that Milo was working on decryption with the one he gave Jack. He then listened as Nina Myers told Jack they had identified the corpse of Alan York, the man who was supposedly with Jack's wife. Gaines had to fire a gun into his microphone to shock Jack into co-operating. He told him again to find a way to switch key cards, before calling Kevin Carroll to warn him that Teri knew his real identity.

Later, Gaines was looking through a file when Rick came in to tell him Dan was buried and that there was nothing left for him to do. Rick said he could be paid whenever, and that he should leave, but Gaines told him he had a few more jobs for him, and then they could talk about when he could go.

At CTU, Jack tried to write a note warning Nina that he had been bugged, but was stunned to realize that Gaines had access to CTU's surveillance and could see what he was doing. He made Jack shred the note or he would kill Kim, and Jack managed to destroy the note just before Nina entered the office. Nina reported that Milo was close to decrypting the card; Jack told her to have Milo stop until he could join them. Gaines then watched as Jack went downstairs, distracted Milo, and switched the cards. He then told Jack to get in touch with Secret Service to get himself priority clearance at Palmer's breakfast, and then Division to post himself out for the next hour.

A short time later, Milo deduced that the cards had somehow been switched, and told Nina that Jack was the only one who could have done it. Nina went up to the office to confront Jack about it, while Gaines warned Jack to do something about her. Eventually, Jack pulled a gun on Nina, and Gaines hissed for him to get her out of the CTI building. Apologizing to Nina and explaining that Gaines had his family captive, Jack secretly put a flak jacket on Nina and escorted her out of the building, telling Tony Almeida that they were going to a meeting at Division.

Assassination attempt[]

Gaines called Jonathan, telling him Jack was on his way to Santa Clarita Power Plant. He ordered Jack to stop at a bus stop, where a man handed him a briefcase. Jack refused to continue without speaking to his wife, so Gaines put Teri on. He then explained that the situation was only temporary and she would be released soon, and had Teri taken to Kim. Gaines then contacted Jamey Farrell on her PDA, asking if Milo knew he was working on the wrong card. He told her that Nina Myers was dead, and to make up a story to explain her absence.

At the power plant, Gaines helped Jack through security as Aaron Pierce asked him to turn on the laptop in the briefcase. He then told Jack to keep moving through the crowd before waiting at the buffet table. Gaines watched on broadcast television as Senator Palmer and his wife entered the main room of the plant.

After a while Gaines told Jack to head towards the southern wall. On the way, Jack attempted to slip a note to Palmer campaign worker Jessica Abrams, so Gaines called Jared to take care of it. He guided Jack past Alan Hayes to Medical Station 3, where he made Jack wait while Jonathan came to collect a gun concealed in the briefcase.

Once Palmer started making his speech, Gaines instructed Jack to wait outside and accept Jonathan's gun once the assassination was done. Although he warned Jack not to intervene, Jack caused a scene by trying to grab Agent Hayes' sidearm, and Palmer was shielded from the shot. Gaines angrily ordered Eli Stram to kill Jack's wife and daughter, but he received a call from Jamey - who had been uncovered as a mole by Nina and Tony - telling him that Division had orders to arrest Bauer. He then radioed Eli, telling him that he still needed the women alive.

Aftermath and final hours[]

Gaines then tried to find the location of either Jonathan or Jack by calling his associates. Jamey Farrell called him to tell him she had been forced to remove his tap on CTU's surveillance, and that Jack was being taken to Division. About an hour later, Gaines called Jamey again, but received no answer, as Jamey had just lost consciousness from her apparent suicide attempt.

At 9:30am, Gaines was still trying to get in touch with Jamey when he received a call from Andre Drazen, flying into Los Angeles aboard a private jet. He asked why the Palmer situation was not taken care of, and Gaines told him that they planned to find Jack Bauer, who had escaped from the Secret Service, and use the threat of killing his family to coerce him into killing Palmer just as before. Andre told him he was coming to check on the situation personally, and if there was no progress then Gaines would lose his payment and perhaps more.

Gaines then got to work scanning police frequencies and checking hospitals to locate Bauer. At 10:20am, Andre arrived at the compound and asked if he had been found yet, to which Gaines said no. Andre warned that if Gaines didn't find him in the next half hour, he would pull the plug on him and start implementing his contingency plan. At 10:50am, when the half hour was up, Gaines told Eli to get the drivers to make their final preparations and kill the women. Eli went to kill them, but unknown to Gaines, Teri and Kim overpowered and killed him with his own gun.

After Andre left, Gaines had his men start packing up the equipment. He spoke with Andre on the phone, assuring him he would be out within the hour, then he asked Rick to find out where Eli was. However, at 11:30am, he noticed Rick still hadn't gone, so he sent him again. A little later Gaines was talking on the phone, and asked Joe where Eli was. He then noticed Rick trying to take one of the vans, so he went down to ask what he was doing. Rick lied that Eli had sent him to get the van in order to move the bodies of the women. Just then, Neil Nagi radioed to tell him that he had found Kevin Carroll unconscious in his car in the north grove. Gaines got into the van and had Rick drive him there.

When they reached Kevin, Gaines woke him up to find out that Jack Bauer had gotten to Ted Cofell, and then Kevin had led him onto the site. Suddenly, Rick drove away in the van, so Gaines radioed his men to tell them to seal the gates and raid the compound's "guest house". He got in a Jeep with Kevin and Neil, but arrived too late to find a dead Eli and the Bauers missing. They drove away, and caught up with the Bauers' van at the perimeter of the compound. Gaines took Neil's sniper rifle and shot out their tires, before ordering his men forward. After a shootout, Jack blew up the van, killing two of Gaines's men and sending the rest ducking for cover.

Gaines then instructed Neil to take the jeep and cut Jack off at the service road, and the rest of the men to come up behind them. He hit Kevin in the stomach with his rifle, angry that he had led Jack to the compound, then led him into the woods in pursuit of the escapees.

Later, Gaines spoke to Andre on the phone, informing him that Bauer had showed up at the compound and was still in the vicinity. Andre told him to bring Bauer's body, and then perhaps he would allow Gaines to fulfill the original deal and assassinate Senator Palmer. Carroll warned him that he had heard Jack phoning the compound's coordinates to somebody, and that reinforcements would likely be arriving soon. Carroll insisted that they escape while they had the chance, but Gaines explained to him that if they failed to kill Jack, Drazen would have them eliminated.

Later, Gaines had all his men circle back to section 5. However, shots suddenly rang out through the woods, and he tried to find out who was shooting. Maxton and Neil were the only two who didn't check in, but then Maxton called to give Gaines Neil's last location. They went there, and he found Neil's body with the radio missing. He realized Jack had been listening in to their communications. He then found the family by a reservoir, and shot at Kim Bauer with his rifle. Jack then led him away from the women, and Gaines pinned him down behind a tree.

While Kevin went to get a clear shot, Gaines repeatedly shot at Jack. However, Jack used a reflective piece of metal to temporarily blind Gaines, before running out and shooting him in the hand. Gaines fled, pursued by Bauer. As he started to lose blood, Jack tried to convince him to explain who was behind the vendetta against him and the Senator. Gaines told him he didn't know anything about his employers, only that they would kill him if he failed. Finally, Gaines was cornered and Jack told him to give himself up peacefully, offering him protection from Drazen. Gaines did not think so, and after wishing Jack luck, spun around to shoot him. Jack killed him with a P228 bullet to the heart.

Background information and notes[]

  • In the 2013 Indian remake of 24, Gaines' counterpart is Yakub, a mercenary hired to assassinate Prime Minister candidate Aditya Singhania and is portrayed by Ankur Vikal.