Ep. 54: Burn Notice

In the first of PopD’s “Writing Communities” series, we look at action-adventure on the sun-bleached streets of Miami. Were we burned by Burn Notice?

[Listen now] | [Go to iTunes]

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Lucy says: 4 Pops ~ Lucy’s comments are coming soon.
Lucy’s rating breakdown: Protagonist: 4, Main Cast: 4, Supporting Cast: 5

Alastair says: 4 Pops ~ A solid premise and good execution is enlivened by a great cast of characters. The occasional false note isn’t enough to detract from a strong protagonist and a great supporting cast. Good, if not great.
Alastair’s rating breakdown: Protagonist: 4, Main Cast: 4, Supporting Cast: 4

Poll: Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Read the chat transcript here!


Story: A spy recently disavowed by the US Government uses his Special Ops training to help others in trouble. Creator: Matt Nix

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7 responses to “Ep. 54: Burn Notice”

  1. I’ve always liked this show. I’ve also always liked Fiona, although since I’ve kept on top of it fairly well, the more recent seasons are a lot fresher in my mind than the earlier ones, and that probably makes a difference. As far as her violent tendencies contrasting with Michael’s approach to things: I think they talk about this explicitly a little in the later seasons (I think it’s the episode where his ex-fiancee the thief dhows up). Michael’s first instinct is to manipulate, prevaricate or outright lie to people because that’s fastest. Fiona is extremely direct and extremely honest, and while she can obviously lie to make the plan work, I think it’s clear that doesn’t come naturally to her (like there are some cops who are not good at undercover). The fact that this trait often expresses itself in violence is partly because she’s dealing with bad people, and what they do makes her think they deserve to be beaten, but she’s also that way with Michael and Sam, she just doesn’t hit them most of the time. I don’t think Fiona is just an illustration of Michael’s dark side. He has a tendency to let the fact that he lies all the time as part of his job bleed into his personal life, and she pushes him to be more up-front with her and with his family, when he would rather evade, avoid or occasionally deceive even with the people he’s closest to. Yeah he’s smart, and I admire the fact that he can manipulate people so well, but being that good at lying can have unfortunate consequences.

  2. I started watching this show ONLY because of my deep and abiding love for Bruce Campbell. i stayed because the show is really fun and clever. A few sore spots for me, particularly all the horrible accents they used to have Michael do (this man… he should NEVER be allowed to do an accent. Never), and the constant breaking up of Fi and Michael, both of which issues seem to have been resolved in later seasons. I love Burn Notice. It isn’t perfect, but it’s damn close.

    And now, off to listen to the podcast and see if y’all agree with me! ;P

  3. I liked these episodes enough that I’ll probably try to check out the series even though there are some issues. I’m soooo glad that the mom and Fi were rewritten after the pilot. They both pissed me off and were specific weak points in the community.

    I’m not usually a big fan of voice overs [in fact, that was the only thing I didn’t like about Chicago Code] but I liked the MacGyver quality. I love learning new things from the least likely sources.

    Michael strikes me as a bit slick, in a pretty boy kinda way, but I’m guessing no one notices in Miami. Oddly enough, I don’t think he’d ever have been recruited for covert operations because nothing about him or his presence says ‘covert’ to me. But what do I know.

  4. @Katie: I hadn’t thought of that particular point of comparison between Michael and Fi, but it’s an interesting one. I haven’t seen an episode where they really emphasise it, but I’ve got a way to go with the series. I think you can argue that both Fi and Sam relate to Michael’s personal life as well as his professional — Fi keeps his grounded in emotional honesty, and Sam shows him how to enjoy the moment, and actually be happy. It’s a complex and interesting relationship.

    @Valky: I agree completely about Michael’s accents. In fact, the show has a bad record when it comes to accent work of any kind — so much so that it’s almost an in-joke!

    @Stephanie: This show is a great example of making stylistic choices work in your universe. The voice-overs, the still frames, the montages of bikini-clad girls on the beach — they all add to the heightened sense of reality. And it’s all so very 1980s.

    And you’re right: as a spy, at least Sam has the refuge in audacity thing working for him. Michael just stands out.

  5. Ah, the accents…just wait until you see the one where he pretends to be Irish for half the episode…

  6. I don’t think Sam worked directly for the CIA. He’s a retired Navy Seal, and it’s clear he did some undercover work, but I don’t think he was ever a spy. I think that shows up in how reluctant he is to use old Navy buddies if it’s going to betray them in some way. In one show, he even refuses to do what Mike asks and solves the problem his own way. I think that’s one of the reasons he has so many relationships; he’s not a lone wolf spy the way Michael is.

  7. Oh yes, Katie, I’ve seen it. The one with Fi’s brother? AWFUL. But Alistair’s right, at this point, the accents feel more like a wink to the audience than earnest attempts at accent work.

    @Jenny: that was the point I came back to make after listening!