I was dubiously returning for season seven of “24” in light of the dwindling quality control over the last few years, and while I’m not totally on board with this CIP device plotline, I have fallen (fast and hard) for FBI agent Renee Walker.

Introduced in the first episode as an unexpected ally of Jack’s — she condones the use of torture when needed — Renee was left in the dark when Jack went rogue, mistakenly thinking he was actually a bad guy. Operating under the assumption she let two major players escape from under her nose, Renee has been a woman on a mission for the last few hours, dispensing her own brand of justice. It involved a breathing tube.

Last night she totally disregarded her boss/lover/stalkers’ directive and tried to recapture Bauer/Almeida on her own. Loves it. A no-nonsense agent is exactly what we need to infuse season seven with the kind of anti-establishment sentiment Jack can no longer bring to the table now that CTU is non-existent. And if we’ve replaced CTU with the FBI and Jack with Renee, then Janis Gold is easily the new Chloe O’Brian. Her minor infraction at the hospital is exactly the kind of baby step Chloe first dabbled in and look at her now — coloring outside the lines of the law with Bill Buchanan.

86-ing Chloe’s antisocial tendencies, Janeane Garofalo makes it totally believable that Janis hasn’t been fired since she favors meek and mild snark instead of down right insubordination. Oh, and she rocks a purple blouse like nobodies business.

Speaking of style, has a masculine pantsuit has ever looked sharper or sexier than it does on Renee? It’s just too bad Jack got it all sorts of dirty last night as he faux-shot her in the neck and was last seen burying the agent in a ditch. However, this does open the door for Renee to have a costume change — although in true “24” style, she’ll probably be too busy to swap styles opting instead to simply ditch the blazer and own the muddy look for the remainder of the season.jack-bauer