‘Burn Notice,’ Season One

January 2, 2012 8 Comments

Regardless of this airing on a cable network, Burn Notice is probably one of the most enjoyable shows presently benefitting from ratings today. If you don’t like the camaraderie between this band of do-gooders, then you probably won’t like this series. Although, I cannot imagine why!  

Burn Notice, Season One (2007) TV Show Review

Spies don’t get fired, they get burned.

Michael Westen (Jeffery Donovan) has a reputation as a spy. Right now, he’s in Africa about to complete a job that usually would go down without a hitch, only when he makes contact, the operator informs him he has been blacklisted: basically from now on, he no longer exists. Time is running short before his African gun-running captors realize he’s no longer worth anything to them, so limping and bruised, Michael escapes their custody, and barely makes the next flight out of the country, only to be dropped on the sandy beaches of Miami. There he expects to stay off the CIA’s grid, and who knows what other agencies.

‘Burn Notice,’ Season One. Review of the 2007 USA Network show about a spy who is burned. All text is © Rissi JC and RissiWrites.com

With all his personal records either erased or confiscated, Michael’s very identity is questioned.

So… “trust” must be placed in anyone still willing to talk to you. For Michael that consists of his “trigger-happy” ex, Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) and buddy, Sam (Bruce Campball) who’s informing on him to the FBI. And if you’re really desperate: there’s family. Mom Madeline (Sharon Gless) is the last person Michael wants to deal with just now, especially considering she thinks she has a disease, she wants him to make peace with his brother (Seth Peterson) and to top it off, Michael wants to find out just who issued a burn notice… In the meantime, a burglary suspect needs help clearing his name and Michael finds he has a knack for using his skills to do something good: help people.

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I’ll admit seeing this was a bit of a stretch considering I knew next-to-nothing about the framework of the series. All it took was one season and I wound up loving the show for its cleverness and witty characters. Its approach is very unique in comparison to other shows of its variety. For the most part this is thanks to the characters, who have rapidly become some of the most likable on television today. From the opening titles, the characters had me “hooked.” (Michael being the primary, considering you rarely see any of the other billed stars in the pilot.) There has never quite been another character like him; his “noble” mission to help those in need of some, shall we say, intimidating intimidation, makes him one-of-a-kind (especially by his escapades and comical quirks, like when he “steals” cars or makes his own “gadgets” with things from the hardware store).

All around, he’s just a genuinely “good” guy whose one weakness – like most of us – is family and friends. As for Fiona… well, she just does her thing. She attempts to get Michael to open up and discuss their past, but somehow Gabrielle makes her one of the strongest female leads. Going against what her appearance would suggest and her snappy responses, beneath that tough shell, there’s a vulnerability that defines her character. And that is what makes these individuals so engaging; the actors found a niche that brought to life fantastic character personas that bring audiences back each time.

Set in Miami, the tone has some cool filming of quick succession shots to say nothing of its natural beauty. Each episode has voice-over commentary, which lays out the cases and players. Likewise, outdoor scenes make for some gorgeous cinematography — palm trees, sweeping architectural structures, sidewalk restaurants, and the beach. For all my heaping admiration, the show is flawed. When it does stumble, it more than compensates through the constructive concepts. (Favorite episodes include; “Fight or Flight,” “Wanted Man,” “Hard Bargain,” “Loose Ends,” and the pilot.) If you like White Collar or Covert Affairs (the same network), this show is worth a look. 

Burn Notice is clever and witty with characters that in spite of their flaws, you just cannot help but love, but at the same time features a serious intrigue in relation to Michael’s quest for answers. Only do prepare, the end leaves you hanging.

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

You can find Burn Notice, season one digitally on Amazon Video

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CONTENT: “Old Friends” deals with an 18-year-old unknowingly entering a prostitution ring. Restraining from anything overly intimate, Fiona and Michael spend the night together near the end of “Broken Rules” [implied; they wake up together, sheets carefully placed]. There’s profanity and crude terms; they abuse “Jesus” as well as other deity. Violence ranges from a lead getting shot in the shoulder to hand-to-hand combat. Gun butts knock out people, punched, kicked, and just threatened in general. Explosions are a “normal” part of the show; suicide is once implied. Drinking is prevalent in certain cases. It’s said Michael’s father was a drunk and perhaps even abusive at times. Fiona wears numerous inappropriate clothing; a lot of scenes also take place in clubs. The show has a standard TV14 rating.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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8 Comments

  • Ella January 2, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    I have wanted to do this one…..just haven't gotten around to it. What appeals to me is its being a serial–you know, how you can't miss one episode? I like that sort of thing!!

  • Rissi January 4, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    This is an awesome show, Ella! I just love it. Charity once told me that it was hard to tell (teasing, of course) how much I loved this show by my reviews – which, oh dear, must mean that I tend to gush about it. ;D

    I think the show gets more "serial" the further into it one gets. At first it is less important to watch every episode (although I'd recommend it). Enjoy if you do see it!!

  • Trinka January 4, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    I don't really watch this show much, though my dad does. I sometimes catch one or two with him :) The few that I've seen are {in my book} almost as good as NCIS :) Ahh, I love that show… :)

  • Rissi January 4, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    I love this show, Trinka – and it's one of my dad's favorites, too. =) He really enjoys the genius of it as far as Michael creating something from nothing. Burn Notice has a lot going for it and I love the banter between the characters.

    NCIS is brilliant – love, LOVE that one, too. =D

  • Ruth January 5, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    Yet another favorite of mine — something tells me you will probably not be surprised to hear that. :)

  • Rissi January 5, 2012 at 3:29 AM

    REALLY?? That is awesome, Ruth! I didn't remember reading anything about this show on your blog, so I didn't know you enjoyed it, too. Glad you do though. =)

    USA has a grand reputation and I am really glad that there are several I am able to enjoy from them – I've come to realize that they are a network station that has standards, even if they are marginal.

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