If you have ever wondered how the spy business works then Burn Notice is set to answer all of your questions. This informative, often funny, even uplifting show examines the life of former agent Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan). Realizing that there is a burn notice (a termination from the spy world) out on him, Weston sets out to try and figure out who wants him out of the organization. Whilst doing this he is completely cut off from all his sources of money, so he is forced to take jobs helping people as the ultimate private detective (just don't call Weston that). He is aided in his work by Sam (Bruce Campbell), an ex military intelligence operative who is also supposed to be watching Weston for the FBI. Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar), Weston's ex-girlfriend who is still in love with with him, also pops her head in from time to time, and lastly, Weston's mother (Sharon Gless), doesn't know what her son does for a living and considering that she is a hypochondriac that is probably better for all concerned. As we see Michael aid those who need his services, he also breaks down his job, his equipment, and how spies are often able to go in and out of places completely undetected.
Having watched a lot of shows that the networks are putting out there, I must say that I was quite impressed with Burn Notice. It is filled with interesting dialogue, solid characters, and it seems to be humanizing the spy figure without calling undue attention to the idea that that is what it is doing. The writing on the show is top notch and while it is ironic, it doesn't seem like it playing things for laughs only.
Having seen Jeffrey Donovan in Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, I must admit that I wasn't impressed. As such, I stayed away from him and when I saw he was in Burn Notice, I was equally nonplussed. Yet, he is terrific here. As Michael Weston he really puts on a good show as a detached former spy. He is ruthless when he needs to be, charming when he needs to be, and overall seems to nail who this character is. Also standing out is Bruce Campbell as Sam. This has got to be one of Campbell's most normal performances, yet he plays it very strongly. He doesn't do the typical mugging that he is known for, and at no time did I catch him winking to the camera like, "Hey, I'm Bruce Campbell, now I'm on a TV show." While still funny, it was refreshing to him so understated. Sharon Gless and Gabrielle Anwar acquit themselves well, but their roles seem designed to flesh out Weston's character more than anything else. All in all, the cast for Burn Notice really does a fine job of pulling this show off.
Recalling such great TV as The Rockford Files and Kolchak: The Night Stalker, USA Network has given us a solid anti-hero for the 21st Century. It will be interesting to see where Burn Notice goes from here, but with multiple people wanting Michael Weston's head it doesn't seem that there will be any shortage of episodes to turn up the heat.
Dont't forget to also check out: Burn Notice