Stephen Saunders on Day 3
|Portrayed by||Paul Blackthorne|
|First appearance||Day 3: 3:00 AM – 4:00 AM|
|Last appearance||Day 3: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM|
Stephen Saunders was the person behind the Cordilla virus attack on the United States.
Stephen Saunders was a former MI6 agent who accompanied Jack Bauer's American team on Operation: Nightfall. The mission's objective was to kill Victor Drazen. There was an explosion that was believed to kill every member of the team except Jack. However, Saunders survived and was captured and tortured by the Serbian government. Saunders escapes from Serbia. A bitter Saunders now has a plan to petrify America.
 Day 3
Saunders obtained the Cordilla virus from Michael Amador in order to curb America's military capabilities. To show the devastation of the virus, Saunders had it released in the Chandler Plaza Hotel. Saunders contacted President David Palmer and used the threat of the virus to blackmail him into doing various tasks. One task was to use the words "the sky is falling" in a press release. This phrase somehow initiated an attack on the MI6: Los Angeles Office. Saunders also came across knowledge that Ryan Chappelle was tracing him and getting dangerously close. Saunders had Palmer order Chappelle to be killed. Then, he ordered Palmer to give him the list of American Non-Official Cover agents. However, CTU closed in on him and he was forced to escape before his request could be carried out.
Saunders kidnapped Michelle Dessler in order to manipulate her husband and CTU Special Agent in Charge, Tony Almeida to help him escape. His daughter, Jane Saunders, was previously abducted by CTU to be used as leverage. Jane, perhaps the only person Saunders still cared for, was very important to Stephen. He told Tony that he would exchange Michelle for Jane.
Tony followed orders but was eventually discovered by Jack Bauer. Michelle Dessler also managed to escape by herself. They formulated a plan that involved Michelle pretending to be recaptured. They let the exchange go down. Jane, fearing her father, ran back into CTU custody. Stephen was eventually captured after almost escaping by helicopter. Jack threatened to take Jane into the Chandler Plaza Hotel unless he helped them disable the rest of the virus canisters. Stephen agreed and was taken back to CTU.
While identifying carriers of the virus containers, Theresa Ortega entered CTU to collect the possessions of her husband, Gael. Gael has previously been killed in the Chandler Plaza Hotel. Theresa, knowing that Stephen was the man who indirectly killed her husband, grabbed Gael's gun and shot him twice, killing him.