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Burn Notice

Michelle Fordice | Tuesday, February 3, 2009

With a smart script, plenty of action, and great characters, “Burn Notice” is a great show to take a break with. Fast and fun, it makes few demands and offers plenty of entertainment. The show is all about what a spy does after being been burned – instantly cut off because he’s been marked as unreliable and left in a city with no assets, free unless he tries to leave. Of course, for former spy Michael Weston (Jeffery Donovan), being burned is just the beginning, as he tries to discover who filed the notice. Eventually, he is contacted by Carla (Tricia Helfer), representing the organization that burned him. Through her threats to his family and life, and her better knowledge of the situation, she manipulates Michael into doing jobs for them. In the meantime, refusing to take money from Carla, Michael works as a freelance investigator and all around problem fixing man for people who have no one else to turn to, providing the episodic element of the show. Tune into the USA Network for more than a second and you’ll be bombarded with their “Characters Welcome” campaign. Alongside the Emmy darling “Monk” and other personality driven shows like “Psych,” “Burn Notice” holds its own in this quest for excellent characters. Michael’s sardonic humor, ability to build an X-ray machine in the back of his car with a broken TV, and inability to deal with his mother, Madeline (Sharon Glass) make him more than interesting to follow. Michael’s on-again-off-again girlfriend, Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar), steals every scene she’s in. A former IRA agent, who first met Michael on a mission in Ireland, Fiona adds emotion – and firepower – to Michael’s manipulations of the bad guys. Sam (Bruce Campbell), Michael’s friend and former Navy Seal, is happily in the midst of his retirement, enjoying all the booze and babes Miami can provide, when Michael gets dumped in Miami. For a time, he feeds selected information to the FBI about Michael, but eventually as they lose interest he transitions to full time go-to guy for the former spy. “Burn Notice” also does a great job of making a character out of its setting. By immersing itself in the fashion, scenery, and soundtrack of Miami, the show gives a voice to the city Michael is stranded in. “Burn Notice” loses nothing over the mid-season break. Two episodes in, the series has not lost any momentum. The show ended last fall with Michael being thrown out of his second floor apartment by an explosive rigged to his front door. He is soon picked up by Carla and told to search for the person who tried to kill him, as several of their operatives suffered the same fate. Likely to be the focus of the rest of the season, Michael accepts this task with more willingness than usual, curious to discover the identity of Carla’s enemy. The show promises to match its first season.