Photo : USA
It feels like it’s been forever since BURN NOTICE has blessed television with its presence. THE FALL OF SAM AXE proved a welcome relief from my withdrawal but it almost made me miss the show even more.
It feels like it’s been forever since BURN NOTICE has blessed television with its presence. THE FALL OF SAM AXE proved a welcome relief from my withdrawal but it almost made me miss the show even more. In the six months we’ve been without, the intro to the premiere episode “Company Man” reveals that Michael Westen’s been a very busy boy.
When we last saw Michael (Jeffrey Donovan – HITCH, CHANGELING ), he was finally getting what he wanted – an opportunity to meet with his old handler at the CIA and the means to find out who burned him and why in the form of The Organization’s Non-Official Cover list. But, as we’ve learned in four seasons, means and opportunity may get you answers but usually just leads to more questions.
Photo : USA
I don’t want to get too much into the specifics of what Micheal’s been up to and spoil anything but I will say he hasn’t been reinstated but he has been working with the CIA. Grant Show (BIG LOVE, PRIVATE PRACTICE, MELROSE PLACE) guest stars as Max, Micheal’s unofficial partner, and Dylan Baker (SECRETARIAT, KINGS, SPIDER-MAN trilogy) returns as Micheal’s previously-unnamed contact/handler. Though Show isn’t rocking the spectacular mustache he had in SWINGTOWN, he was nonetheless enjoyable as Max. It was good to see him in an action role (I’m shocked he hasn’t had more honestly) and he played the character’s humor just right. I’m glad the character will be around for a few episodes. Baker is also very strong, a perfect mix of “yeah, Michael should totally trust him” with a dash of “umm…maybe Michael should be watching his back” (though that may be my paranoia talking). He also makes up for Show’s lack of facial hair with a pretty remarkable beard that stretches down his neck.
While Michael’s been running around with the CIA, Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar), Sam (The Bruce Campbell), and Maddie (Sharon Gless) have been going on with their lives while not entirely being included in what’s been happening. This makes up the non-mission side of the premiere’s plot. But not to worry, we do get to see Sam and Fi in action. We also get to see what happened to Jesse (Coby Bell), albeit very briefly. But don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll be back.
“Company Man” differs from previous season openers in that it doesn’t present us with an exact seasonal goal or Big Bad to focus on. I sincerely doubt that will last long but the point I think was to leave us feeling what Michael feels – uncertainty about the future, not knowing what will come next – and the writers and actors definitely achieved that. Speaking of the writers, I don’t think they get nearly enough credit for the amazing job they do. They deliver consistently strong character development, plot structure, dialogue, and twists and turns. I’d even go as far as to say BURN NOTICE’s weakest episode is stronger than the strongest of the vast majority of network tv (and a good chunk of cable).
For those who’ve never watched BURN NOTICE but wanted to start, this is a good jump-on point. While watching previous seasons adds extra significance, everything that you really need to know is mentioned and the episode is pretty straight-forward (though still lovingly laced with spy shenanigans and complications).
I very much enjoyed “Company Man” and I’m intrigued to see where Season 5 will take us. While I don’t exactly know where it’s going, I know there will be explosions, adopted accents, fight scenes and fun. I’ll definitely raise a mojito to that.
BURN NOTICE Season Premiere on USA Thursday, June 23rd 9/8c