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Burn Notice, if you don’t already know, is a wonderful TV show, set in Miami, on USA Network.  Its focus is Michael Westen, a spy who was burned.  Michael has spent many years and several seasons trying to find out who burned him.  I wondered, in the beginning, how the writers could stretch that out and keep us interested long enough to keep the showing going.  And what would happen when Michael finally found out who burned him?

Part of the way they have kept me hooked is by dragging out the process.  Most episodes are about a job where Michael says he’ll see what he can do to help people who are in trouble.  One or two pieces of the burned puzzle are revealed each episode.

But now, in the 6th season, Michael has his position back at the CIA and knows who burned him.  How can it keep going?  Yet, I am still on the edge of my seat during each show and can’t wait for Thursday nights.

Here are some of my humble reasons why:

1.  The Crew
Michael is good, but no one is that good. In this business you need back up.  What a team he has!  Sam Axe, ex-Navy Seal and especially clever spy in his own right.  Sam always wears Hawaiian shirts and prefers a Mojito, but will gladly take a beer.  He adores women – especially rich ones.  He uses the alias Chuck or Charles Findley, whenever the need arises.
Fiona Glenanne is Michael’s girlfriend (though I have to say I liked it better when she was chasing him).  “Fi” is an extremely thin, but beautiful woman in the style of Emma Peale or Anna Devane.  Stronger than most men and more clever, having the weapon of her sex that they don’t.  An explosive expert, Fiona is happiest when she’s blowing things up with a big gun.
In the process of finding out who burned him, Michael had to burn another spy.  When Jesse Porter got over what he did, they become good friends.  Jesse has a good job with a security firm and can occasionally lend Michael equipment.  Though Jesse is less experienced than Michael in this spy game, he is still a reliable and smart partner in any of Michael’s cons.

2.  Michael’s Mom
Madeline Westen, Michael’s widowed mom is a pistol!  She lives in a cute little Miami house. She wears brightly colored shorts or pants sets with big hoop earrings to match.  There is often a cigarette in her hand.  Madeline is fierce and courageous.  She has pitched in to help Michael on many dangerous missions.

3.  The Extended Family
A person like Michael gets to know a lot of a certain kind of people.  Like Barry the money launderer.  Michael often has an assortment of quirky characters he can reach out to, including agents, both capable and fumbling.  Sam has well-earned connections and can be counted on to have a buddy who can dig up crucial information. Fiona knows a lot of seedy people, including gun dealers who can supply any arms or explosives she may have a hankering for.

4.  The Cars
Jesse has a Porsche that he reluctantly lends to Michael for a scheme.  Fiona drives a fast Hyundai (a sponsor of the show). Sam’s girlfriend of the moment usually has a fancy car he can use when needed.  Michael owns a Charger which belonged to his father (also a spy) all refurbished and souped up.  Many episodes include at least one exciting car chase.  Fast is good, but clever is better.

5.  Miami
Burn Notice never lets you forget they are in Miami, flashing over beaches and ocean, shopping districts and high rises.  On some, but not all episodes, clips show us some of the better female bodies on the beaches.  Miami is a colorful and exciting setting.  Its many coves and warehouses, as well as high end homes and shining office buildings, play a vital role in the stories.

6.  Excitement and Explosions
With fast cars and explosions, sometimes shoot outs, the writers and directors keep us on our toes.  It’s hard to fall asleep when Burn Notice is on.  You can tell how much fun they’re having with all this.  Even someone like me, who could care less about special effects, is hooked.

7.  Michael, himself.
The is no show without Michael.  He is a complicated and interesting character.  A super spy as we have come to find out.  Michael is well-schooled in the art of spying, (and happy to share what he knows with friends as well as the audience) but he is also very smart and can think on his feet to get out of any situation. There are several “characters” in Michael in can pull out as needed.  He tries to be cold and reserved, annoyed by his mother, for a long time avoiding or ignoring Fi’s advances.  But Michael loves the people in his life deeply and would do anything for them.  He’s generous with appreciation for a job well done. No one is better at making a phone, a bomb or a clever ruse than Michael.  I will say, I liked in the earlier shows, how Michael would gather a few supplies from Radio Shack, find some scraps in the garage and build a fairly sophisticated tracking device.  The show spokes people said they heavily researched these things (and I believe were careful not to reveal all the ingredients for making a bomb, for instance).  These days he has more resources and can get the real things.

8. Writers Continuing to Excite and Leave Something Hanging
I have to give credit to the writers and creators who have managed to created cliff hanger after cliff hanger.  They’ve pulled Michael and his friends along, gave them sharp turns, sent them leaping ahead and then flying back. They’ve built the suspense perfectly and managed to create a new wrinkle at just the right time.

I believe these 8 items, plus the fabulous actors which grace the screen every episode are what make this an exceptionally good TV show.

I can’t wait for the next episode!

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