February 20, 2006, - 2:54 pm

“24” vs. “Sleeper Cell”

By Debbie Schlussel
Tonight is yet another exciting episode of my favorite show, “24” (my favorite, except for the silly Kiefer Sutherland apology to extremist Muslims).
On this site, I’ve repeatedly lamented the lack of movies about terrorism in which the terrorists are 1) Islamic (as in most of real life), and 2) not sympathetic (also, as in real life).
At the request of friends and readers, I spent the last week watching tape of Showtime’s “Sleeper Cell,” which aired at the end of last year. (I will post a review soon, also at the request of readers. I liked it in general, but have my objections.)
“Sleeper Cell” and “24” have been compared to each other by the New York Times and other media. And they are similar. They are among the few Hollywood outputs that actually show terrorists who are 1) Islamic, and 2) not sympathetic.
But after watching last week’s episode of “24” and all ten episodes of “Sleeper Cell,” I noted something else: Hollywood not only won’t produce many of these shows, it also is not very creative in its choice of plots and actors.


Agents Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and Darwyn Al-Sayeed (Michael Ealy) Share the Same Terrorist (Henri Lubatti) (center)

Both shows draw from the same pool of both. Last week’s “24” showed terrorists trying to put anthrax (or some other poisonous chemical) into the airducts of a shopping mall. Same exact plot in an episode of “Sleeper Cell.” The malls, both in the L.A. area, even looked identical. Then, I noticed that actor Henri Lubatti, who plays a Bosnian Muslim terrorist in “Sleeper Cell”, looked familiar. In fact, he played a Kosovar Muslim terrorist in Season One of “24”.
Same plots, same actors playing Slavic Muslim terrorists. That’s what you get when most of Hollywood says “hands off” regarding the truth in the War on Terror, ie., not a lot of variety and a small pool of actors and ideas.

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4 Responses

I ahte to disagree with you Deb but 24 rcks, and Jack Bauer is one fo the greatest characters to come along in a while. You are entitled to your opinion but on behalf of Jack Bauer fans everywhere, “I disagree.”

raymondb.voteswagon.com on February 20, 2006 at 10:08 pm

[On this site, I’ve repeatedly lamented the lack of movies about terrorism in which the terrorists are 1) Islamic (as in most of real life), and 2) not sympathetic (also, as in real life).]
Just curious, did the simple idea of watching an artistically good movie ever enter your mind?

InplainviewMonitor on February 20, 2006 at 10:51 pm

Thanks for this great article Debbie…and noting the Slav Muslims it is coming near to the anniversay of the Bosnian Serb massacre of around 12000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in July 1995.
Most of the war criminals are still to be brought to trial.

Jesus_Christ_the_Saviour on February 21, 2006 at 4:39 am

Remember the Arab Terrorist types in the movie; “True Lies”? That laughingly accurate portrayal of their “shoot-’em-up antics” was decried by “American-Arab” interests and Hollywood has relented from “going there” ever since. Tom Clancy’s: “The Sum of All Fears” was one of the more probable “arab-terrorist’ plot lines that “could” happen here in the USA pre-post-9/11. And that got re-written in a NYC minute to portray the bad-guys as ‘White Supremacists’ guys. The truth hurts, that’s why it’s neccesary.

P. Aaron on February 21, 2006 at 4:21 pm

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