Every time you think you’ve got Burn Notice (USA Network, Thursdays, 9/8C) figured out, its writers throw a curve – like changing Michael’s status from burned to active; like killing off one of the show’s best recurring villains (RIP Larry); like moving away from the case of the week at unexpected times; like changing up the timing on big event cliffhangers and hitting the core characters with unexpected loss; like this week’s highly irregular summer finale.
Burn Notice [USA, Thursdays, 9/8C] returns for its fifth season with a big change – Michael Westen is no longer a burnt agent. He is, once again, working for The Company – albeit as an asset rather than an agent – and looking to capture the last remaining person behind his frame-up.
For three seasons, Burn Notice’s Michael Westen has sought the person[s] responsible for his being burned and stuck in the last place he ever wanted to be – Miami. Now a menacingly charming, bullet-headed black guy with a booming voice and ten thousand dollar suits has offered to help him do just that – if Westen does a few ‘errands’ for him.
With season four of Burn Notice being released next week – and season five only a couple of weeks away – I thought it would be fun to look back at the fourth season’s best moments [and episodes].
It was an eventful season for burnt spy Michael Westen [Jeffrey Donovan]: he found himself semi-willingly working with the people who burned him – and their slick, politely nasty representative, Vaughn [Robert Wisdom] – to take care of some problems that could have caused the country a great deal of bother. Along the way, he, his friends – ex-IRA demolitions/weapons expert Fiona [Gabrielle Anwar], former Navy SEAL, Sam Axe [Bruce Campbell] and Jesse [Coby Bell], a counterintelligence agent Westen accidentally burned – and, on occasion, his feisty, manipulative mom, Madeline [Sharon Gless – who deserved her Emmy nomination] took on lesser [bit no less dangerous] opponents like: a motorcycle gang, a drug syndicate, a flirty assassin and many more.
Following the jump, my five favorite episodes and fifteen moments/reasons that season four was so much fun. Tomorrow: Fifteen Reasons To enjoy White Collar Season Two.
Despite having what is sometimes referred to as a blue sky filter, the USA Network has a number of programs that really stretch that description. Foremost amongst them is Burn Notice [Thursday, 10/9C]. The series returns this week with Eyes Open, an episode that picks up with Michael Westen [Jeffrey Donovan] in far less than his usual top condition – but there’s a missing bible and a coded list of the persons responsible for burning him and, well, he can’t let a little thing like a hole in his clavicle [his words…] keep him from taking care of business. And then there’s this seemingly unrelated explosion…
Burt Reynolds, best known for playing loveable scoundrels like Bandit in the 1977 homage to the CB/ Trucker craze “Smokey and the Bandit”, will guest star as a former CIA operative who gives Jeffrey Donovan’s character Michael Westen a glimpse into his own future on the upcoming 4th season of USA’s spy drama, “Burn Notice.”
The still handsome 74 year old actor is no stranger to working on television.Reynolds began his acting career in a guest starring role in the 1959 cop drama “The M Squad” and from 1962 to 1965 Reynolds played Quint Asper, Dodge City’s half American Indian blacksmith on the long running western series “Gunsmoke”. The rugged action made a successful transition to the big screen and became a true silver screen standout in the tough-guy role of Lewis Medlock in John Boorman’s 1972 backwoods shocker, Deliverance.
“Burn Notice” is a sexy, action-packed original series starring Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen, a blacklisted spy. After coming face to face with the group of people that burned him, Michael must figure out his next move. All while staying ahead of anyone else that may have him in their crosshairs. In the meantime, he continues to use his unique skills and training to help people in desperate need of assistance. The series also stars Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell and Sharon Gless.
Burn Notice returns to USA Network for it’s 4th season on Thursday June 4th at 9PM EST.
As the third season of Burn Notice heats, Eclipse’s own Tiffany D’Emidio had the opportunity to be one of twenty media bloggers taking part in a teleconference Q&A session with Bruce Campbell [Sam Axe] and Sharon Gless [Madeline Westen] of USA Network’s top-rated series, Burn Notice [Thursdays, 9/8C]. The topics ranged from chemistry to zombies [and Campbell had a stunningly appropriate response to that one].
How do you create and write a series like Burn Notice? What influences – from life and classic TV – go into the unique mix that is Burn Notice [USA, Thursdays, 10/9C]? Series creator Matt Nix answers these questions and more…
Tomorrow marks the return of one of the summer’s brightest lights, Burn Notice [USA, Thursdays, 10/9C]. When last we saw burnt agent Michael Westen [Jeffrey Donovan], he was caught in a freeze frame in mid-air after a bomb planted inside his door had gone off. It should come as no surprise that the winter premiere of the show picks up right at that precise instant. Nor will it come as a surprise that Westen survives – though he is banged up enough that he’s less than subtle in both his dealings with Carla [Tricia Helfer] and the con artists who benefited financially at the expense of a perhaps terminally ill boy named Jack. Westen saves Jack’s father from a terrible mistake [suicide] and after a very brief conversation, Kenny [David Barry Gray] becomes his next “side job” [as Carla puts it].
In our interview with Bruce Campbell [Westen’s right-hand man, Sam Axe] mentioned that he thought the show had a core of innocence, like The Rockford Files. Actually, I’d take that a couple of steps further and suggest that Burn Notice is a mash-up of Rockford and It Takes a Thief – only the hero is I Spy’s Kelly Robinson [in an upcoming interview, Nix talks about the way classic TV influenced the show].
In Do No Harm, the Season 2.5 premiere, Westen, who was pretty banged up after surviving the explosion, decides that he’s not exactly in the mood for subtle –something to do with almost dying [attempts on his life, he says, “are like snowflakes. Each one is different – and icy cold]. This puts Sam a bit on edge, and makes Fiona [Gabriel Anwar] a hair crazier than usual. It also means babysitting duty for Westen’s mom, Madeline [Sharon Gless].
The episode – which was written and directed by creator Matt Nix – seems to move a bit faster than usual. Probably because of Westen’s decision to forego subtlety. Also probably because of a twist in regard to his would-be assassin. Mostly, though it’s the combination of the above and con artists who target fatally ill children. As a result, the voiceovers aren’t quite as matter-of-fact as usual. There’s just a slight tonal difference, but we can tell Westen’s objectivity isn’t exactly intact.
Nix proves to be a capable director. He keeps the pace up and knows when to let the show’s trademark humor relieve the tension. Because he is so good, it should come as no surprise that Do Not Harm is one of the series’ best episodes, to date. After all, there’s compromising of the writer’s vision.
Final Grade: A
USA’s popular spy series, Burn Notice, is returning this week [Thursday, 10/9C] and we had the opportunity to chat with Bruce Campbell [crusty, semi-retired spy Sam Axe] on what to expect in Season Three. Campbell didn’t dip into any classified intel, but it was definitely a fun interview…
Burn Notice’s first season concluded with former spy Michael Weston trapped inside the cargo trailer of an eighteen wheeler. When season two begins tomorrow [Thursday, USA, 10/9C], the little exercise in claustrophobia results in Weston [Jeffrey Donovan] being given an assignment – over the phone – by the mysterious Carla [Tricia Helfer] before the trailer is opened onto a scene of carnage. Spies. Whatcha gonna do?
Breaking and Entering, the second season premiere, deals with stealing information from a civilian military [mercenary] company. If it’s not done by a certain time, it will result in the death of the wife and child of the man who set up the firm’s security. The carnage that greets Michael when he clambers out of the trailer is what remains of the computer expert, Richie’s effort to flee. Plus, there’s always Michael’s manipulative mom [Sharon Gless], fellow ex-spy and buddy, Jack [Bruce Campbell] and ex-girlfriend/former IRA demolitions expert, Fiona [Gabrielle Anwar] to help and/or hinder. Topping that, Carla is one of the people who had Michael burned in the first place!
The follow-up ep, Turn and Burn, finds Michael helping a young woman with a stalker problem – by the number two man of the local drug kingpin! Even worse, he gets manipulated into attending a “counselling session” with his mom. [Oh, the humanity!] And these are just the side gigs! His assignment from Carla is to get a computer key card copied – and that requires a special kind of expert…
Burn Notice was probably the best series of last summer, in terms of pure entertainment value. It certainly filled the requirements of the USA “characters wanted” brand – though Michael is the most normal of the characters [it’s his mom and Jack who are the real characters!]. If anything, it seems that the series has gotten smarter, funnier and maybe even a bit edgier this season.
The first two scripts are killer and the ensemble certainly makes the most of that. Each ep is paced just quickly enough to maintain interest without trying to do too much too quickly [a real potential problem here]. Donovan has really done a nice job of keeping the balance between nice and twisted in Michael’s character. He gives the show its calm center in the eye of the hurricane that is his mom, Jack, and Fiona [though Fiona seems to have calmed down a bit from last season – let’s see how long that lasts]. Tricia Helfer nicely underplays Carla’s menace, thereby seeming even more dangerous, and she definitely adds a bit of spice to Michael’s life – which makes it even harder for Michael to find out who she really is – and who she works for.
If you liked Burn Notice last season, you’re going to love it this year.
Final Grade: A