In honor of my brother’s birthday (because he’s a fan), I’m talking about Burn Notice today.
Burn Notice has been around a few seasons so you may have caught an episode here or there. It was the first of these clean, fun shows with characters that are relatable because they grow and have emotional depth.
This one is about a spy, Michael Weston, who was wrongfully kicked out (burned) and is trying to make it right. To make money he works different jobs helping people in the kind of trouble the police can’t help with. There’s lots of explosions and cool “jobs” in this one. I love how with voiceovers they sort of explain the MacGyver way of getting it done as a spy, often with a touch of humor.
The show is clever in many ways, not the least of which is how they keep the audience coming back when Michael never actually gets what he most wants – to be back in. But the relationships he builds, often begrudgingly because he wants to be back out there again without ties, really makes this show something special.
For instance, they convey serious depth in the relationship with his mom who is played by Sharon Gless of “Cagney and Lacey” fame. There are so many nuances and adjustments on both sides – honestly it’s phenomenal writing as well as acting when it comes to their relationship and the perils it’s fraught with, yet how much they both fight for it.
Another great element relationally are his two “sidekicks.” First, Sam, an ex-spy who once turned on him has now become the person he can really rely on to get his back. He’s a lot of fun, but no less complex than the rest. And Fiona, an Irish ex-girlfriend who was a bomb maker and general roustabout for the IRA. Somehow with that resume, she still has a heart. They are ever in this love-hate struggle, and it is always engrossing. But she and Sam are his crew, the two people he can count on… his best friend and his girlfriend.
I’ve watched this in fits and spurts in recent seasons because it was too much into the jobs for the people in need and what compels me to keep watching is these relationships, but in the end I always get caught up. Because it’s worth it. And because it’s something other than hockey to talk to my brother about.