24 Plays With D.C.’s Time-Traffic Continuum

There’s an amusing article up at the Washington Post, wherein the author points out all the hilariously inaccurate and wholly fabricated locations that 24 has used during its first season set in my ridiculous hometown of Washington D.C.

The traditional, “In what universe can you get from the White House to Foxhall Road in five minutes?” complaint rears its head. This is familiar to those of us in L.A. who laugh our asses off at the thought of getting from downtown to Burbank in ten minutes in the middle of rush hour traffic.

I will grant you, the “bad guys scuba diving up to the White House” was pretty damn ridiculous, since unless the entire swamp that sits beneath the city instantly liquefies, there will be no bad guys scuba diving up to the White House.

The geographic monkeying is still not as bad as it is on some shows, like when Bones relocated Arlington Cemetery to the other side of the Potomac for their pilot.

But 24 is at least somewhat plausible in its D.C.-ness. I’ve actually been pretty impressed the way that the squat parts of L.A.’s downtown have stood in for D.C.’s legislatively height-challenged buildings.

There’s definitely aspects of it that are unrealistic, but really, there are aspects of every show in which you have to suspend your disbelief. Longtime 24 viewers with any knowledge of L.A. geography whatsoever know that the Time-Traffic Continuum is never, has never been, and never will be respected by the show.

And now, those with that same knowledge of D.C. are learning that for themselves.

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