Guilty Pleasures

I have watched season one of this show on  Season two starts July 10th.  The following is the wiki description of the show:

Burn Notice is an American television comedy-drama series created for the USA Network. Season 2 will premiere on Thursday, July 10, 2008.

The title refers to the burn notices issued by intelligence agencies to discredit or announce the dismissal of agents or sources who are considered to have become unreliable. The television series is a first-person narrative (including frequent stream of consciousness voice-overs providing nuggets of esoteric exposition) from the viewpoint of covert-operations agent Michael Westen, played by Jeffrey Donovan.

After fleeing a Nigerian operation blown apart by the sudden and unexplained non-cooperation of his U.S. contact, Westen finds himself in his hometown of Miami, Florida, USA, attended to by his ex-girlfriend but abandoned by all his normal intelligence contacts, under continuous surveillance, and his personal assets frozen. Extraordinary efforts to reach his U.S. government handler eventually yield only a grudging admission that someone powerful wants him “on ice” in Miami; if he leaves the city he will “heat up fast”, i.e., he will be hunted down and taken into custody, whereas by staying there he can remain relatively free. Consumed by the desire to find out why he’s been burned, and by whom, he goes to work as an unlicensed private investigator and freelance spy for anyone in town who can pay him any money in order to fund his personal investigation into his own situation as a blacklisted agent.

Jeffrey Donovan plays Michael Westen, the show’s focal character. Michael is a covert operative who has been “burned” (i.e., tagged as an unreliable or dangerous agent) who now finds himself in his hometown of Miami, unable to leave. With his assets frozen, Michael is forced to live off his wits and any small investigative jobs he can find while he pursues the person or persons who burned him. Highly skilled and extremely clever, Michael displays his abilities by quickly thinking on his feet, improvising electronic devices from commonly available commercial equipment such as radios and cell phones, and by using ordinary items such as duct tape or cake frosting in highly unorthodox ways in order to complete a job. Michael has two black belts (or as he put it in one episode “thirty years of karate”) and is “rated with anything that fires a bullet or holds an edge.” He believes that his unhappy childhood, largely at the hands of an abusive father, helped make him into a natural covert operative, but made relationships difficult for him. Michael presents himself as a cynic hardened by experience, but soon reveals a soft, and sometimes vulnerable, side.

Gabrielle Anwar plays Fiona Glenanne, a former IRA operative and Westen’s ex-girlfriend. Fiona re-enters Michael’s life when he was dumped, half-dead, in Miami, and she decides to stay, quickly making herself valuable to Michael. Highly knowledgeable about guns and explosives, Fiona provides support to Michael on his investigations and at times, assists him in mission to find out who burned him. In the pilot episode, Fiona speaks with an Irish accent. In the second episode, she changes to an American accent, along with a change in her style of dress, in an effort to distance herself from her past and blend in, showing her own ability to adapt. Fiona is both a complement to Michael and his match in many ways, both intellectually and tactically. Series creator Matt Nix has said about Michael and Fiona’s relationship:

The thing about the relationship with Fiona is…They are two people who really don’t have anybody else that they can be with. Anybody else is going to be afraid of what Michael does, and it sort of turns her on, and anybody else for Michael is going to be uninteresting. He is attracted to her, but part of what we explore over the first season is that they really are attracted with each other, and yet there is a reason they broke up. She is an incredibly chaotic person who just thrives on disorder…Violence is foreplay for her.

Where Michael is concerned, Fiona is not entirely willing to let go of their past relationship, which continues to simmer, at least until she understands why he left her with no explanation.

Bruce Campbell plays Sam Axe, an aging semi-retired intelligence operative and former Navy SEAL. With a low amount of cash-on-hand to his name, Axe spends most of his time sleeping with rich, older Miami women in exchange for food and shelter. Sam and Westen are old buddies; Sam is also Westen’s last, tenuous contact in the official spy community. Sam presents himself as “the guy who knows a guy.” It is revealed in the pilot that he is also an FBI informant, reporting on Westen under duress. Knowing this, Westen is able to pass false information to the FBI through Sam, who is glad to become Michael’s double agent.

Sharon Gless plays Madeline Westen, Michael’s mother. She is a chain-smoker and a hypochondriac. Although seemingly hard-hearted, she is family-oriented and shows her full support to her sons in times of need. Until recently, she has had only infrequent communication with her adult son, who does not relish her company. Despite this, her appeals for help are Michael’s one great weakness, and have the ability to persuade Michael to do as she wishes.

The “Pilot” episode by Matt Nix won a 2008 Edgar Allan Poe Award, honoring the best in mystery, in the category Best Television Episode Teleplay.  Burn Notice Season One released on DVD June 17, 2008.[5] The four-disc set includes cast/crew commentary on every episode.

1 thought on “Guilty Pleasures

  1. Okay, based on the first three grafs, I/we watched the pilot last night (waiting for Mad Men…). Yeah, it sucks you in. LOVE hulu!

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