“My name is Michael Westen. I used to be a spy.”
For seven years, on Thursday nights, those words were the beginning of the 60-minute thrill ride that WAS Burn Notice. Until now. Show runner Matt Nix has decided to go out while still on top, and bring this masterpiece of a show to a close after seven seasons. I don’t know how I will get through writing this, but I will do my best. You all know that I normally do a very vague plot outline, and I don’t give anything away. Tonight, I just want to celebrate, and be thankful for seven fantastic seasons:
Jeffrey Donovan (Michael Westen) was absolutely brilliant as the title character, playing many different parts while undercover. Part James Bond, part MacGyver, he also used his mastery of accents, both foreign and domestic, to assimilate into various situations, and to take care of business. Throughout much of the series he helped those in need in a different mini-story each week, all the while trying to figure out who burned him, and in later years, bring them down.
Gabrielle Anwar (Fiona Glenanne) was wonderful as Michael’s on-again/off-again lover with a penchant for blowing things up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more believable couple on screen, save for Ross and Rachel on Friends, and the on-screen heat between them was intense. Bruce Campbell (Sam Axe) was Michael’s best friend and former Navy SEAL who was always ready to help, and brought levity and wit to the show. He was often underestimated, and those people paid dearly for that mistake. The fact that he was rarely without a mojito made him even more lovable.
Sharon Gless (Madeline Westen…Maddie) played Michael’s mother and was in many ways the glue that held everyone together. She started out as your typical Miami retiree, but by the time the show ended, she was an important part of the team, sometimes in the background, and could damn near field strip an M-16. And in later episodes she displayed a toughness some of us only wish we had. She has been nominated for ONE Emmy during the series’ run, and that alone is a crime. She should have a shelf full of them, and after her performance tonight, I pray she gets one. Her character was especially tough for me to say goodbye to.
Coby Bell (Jesse Porter) came on board in Season Four as a burned spy. This was actually caused by Michael, and after some rough going, he became a valued member of the group. While not my favorite at first, I grew to love him as much as the others, and I am just as sad to see him go as I am everyone else.
Along the way we met quite a few guest stars as friends/foes, like Tricia Helfer, Tim Matheson, Robert Wisdom, Alona Tal, Navi Rawat, Jay Karnes, and John C. McGinley. Every single one of them played their parts to perfection, and truly added something to their various story arcs. I can’t believe that this has all come to an end. I won’t lie to you people. I cried. And I cried a lot as bit by bit, things got wrapped up, and some said their goodbyes. I’m teary-eyed as I write this.
Burn Notice was one of the greatest television shows I’ve ever had the privilege of watching, and I am so glad that Michael, Fiona, Maddie, Sam, and Jesse came into my living room and made me laugh, cry, and sit on the edge of my seat week in and week out. Thank you, Matt Nix for sharing this story with us, thank you to the actors who brought it to life, and thank you to USA for believing in it. It was an honor and a privilege to watch. ~dc