Can a hit show that showcases torture and stars a badass hero who flouts the law survive in the dawning political era of Barack Obama, asks The New York Times? "24" begins its seventh season on Sunday with a two-night, four-hour premiere after a season of lagging ratings. Jack Bauer, the counterterrorism agent played by Kiefer Sutherland, is an archetype of the Bush years, and became a lightning rod for critics who said the show validated torture and had negative repercussions for U.S. troops in Iraq. Executive producer Howard Gordon said the show, which opens with Bauer being investigated by the Senate for torture, would remain relevant. "If we’re going to take the blame for Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, I think we should at least get the credit for Obama. It’s the other side of the same coin," said executive producer Howard Gordon. Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Liguori said he isn’t worried, citing 12 million viewers of a two-hour prequel in November.