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I've seen a similar trend in Battlestar Galactica. They tortured a Cylon human agent captured on board one of the ships, and even waterboarded him. I think the idea was to show the ugly and inefficient nature of torture, that is to say, the "good guys" were justifying it because a "toaster" can't be afraid of death, etc etc., but they were resorting to these tactics for information. Just last week they questioned a suspected assassin with rather heavy hints that he was going to "disappear." Then he gets offed by the bad guys before answering questions, despite being in a prison.

I don't know if these writers are trying to educate us or immitate what's in the news. Clearly 24 is not making a good impression, though.

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