Thursday, September 12, 2013

TV Review: Burn Notice [2007-2013]

“WHERE WARNING LABELS BECOME INSTRUCTIONS”
Debuting on June 28, 2007 on the USA Network, Burn Notice tells the tale of former operative Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) who teams up with his beautiful bomber with a temper Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) and hard drinking Ex-Navy SEAL buddy Sam (Bruce Campbell) to find out the answers he needs to get back into the good graces of the intelligence community. Westen works as an unlicensed private fixer to help fund his investigation of why he was burned and by whom.




MAIN CAST
Jeffrey Donovan
Gabrielle Anwar
Bruce Campbell

SUPPORTING CHARACTERS 

Sharon Glass
Cobey Bell

CELEBRITY APPEARANCES 

Michael Ironside
Burt Reynolds
Robert Patrick
Tim Matheson
Jay Karnes
Grant Snow (Melrose Place)
Wade Williams (Prison Break)
The Big Show
Charisma Carpenter


SEASON 4 MICHAEL WESTEN CLIENTS 

01 - Deals with a Biker Gang
02 - Helps a Burned Spy
03 - Clears the Miami Shipping Ports
04 - Gets Charity Money Back from Investor Fraud
05 - Defending a Doctor Against Drug Dealers
06 - Protects an Art Exhibit
07 - Protects a Retired Spy
08 - Robs a Bank
09 – Favor for the FBI
10 - Protects Someone in Prison
11 – Gets Money back from a Lady Killer
12 – Rescues 5-Year Old Girl
13 - Takes down a Serial killer/Arsonist
14 - Retrieves a Chemical Weapon
15 - Recovers a Missing Car
16 - Clears a Decrease Police Officer's Name
17 - Kill Government Agents with Brennen and Larry Sizemore
18 - Season Finale: Protect His Friends and Family from Vaughn

SEASON 5 MICHAEL WESTEN CLIENTS 

01 – Heads to Venezuela to track down the last man who burned him
02 – Helps Jesse with a human trafficking ring
03 – Helps the yogurt lady deal with loan sharks
04 – Helps get back an encrypted server containing teachers’ pensions
05 – Track down Max’s killer for a CIA bloodhound Agent Pierce
06 – Get a predator drone back from Serbians for the CIA
07 – Help a mother get a son back from a deranged father who is part of a militia
08 – Help Agent Pierce with an extraction from a Caribbean Island
09 – Interrogate a bomb-maker while Fiona and Jesse help out a scientist who was framed
10 – Stops hostage situation at an airport with preventing to be a hostage taker
11 – Extracts a bioweapons specialist and his wife for the CIA
12 – Management used burned spies to carry out operations intelligence agencies 

13 – Michael and Fiona kidnap a financial hacker for Anson
14 – Michael tracks Anson while is childhood friend dies by gang warfare
15 – Michael rescues a kidnapped scientist from an African Warlord
16 – Michael asks Anson for help tracking down a Russian assassin
17 – Anson is rebuilding the organization that burned Michael
18 – Season Finale: Fiona surrenders herself to authorities

SEASON 6 MICHAEL WESTEN CLIENTS
01 – Michael tracks down Hanson at a chemical plant as Fiona heads to prison
02 – Michael’s training officer needs help for exchange to see Fiona in prison
03 – Hanson gives Agent Pearce the identity of the person who murdered her fiancĂ©
04 – Sam is kidnapped by Rebecca who is working with Hanson
05 – Michael helps Rebecca locate her brother so she will deliver Hanson
06 – Sam rescues Barry from weapon dealers while Nate and Hanson are shot
07 – Michael and Fiona track down Rebecca while Jesse and Sam steal a meth truck
08 – Jesse tracks down the sniper rifle that killed Nate leading to Agent Pearce’s transfer
09 – Fiona works for the CIA while Sam and Jesse get closer to Nate’s killer who is a sniper
10 – Michael tracks down the sniper who murdered his brother Nate: Tyler Gray
11 – Michael and Tyler escape from Panama using a drug dealer’s plane
12 – Both Michael and Tyler work together to bring down Tom Card who later kills Tyler
13 – Michael is on the run from the CIA after killing his mentor Tom Card
14 – Michael helps a smuggler deal with a Syrian gunrunner
15 – Michael needs $800,000 to get out of the United States
16 – Michael and his team attempt to escape a factory
17 – Sam is shot and Jesse is captured while Michael plans to break him out
18 - Season Finale: Michael stops Riley and makes a deal with the CIA 


SEASON 7 MICHAEL WESTEN CLIENTS
01 – Michael has been gone 9 months working for the CIA
02 – Michael saves Fiona who is being held hostage  
03 – Michael and Burke steal a truck of satellite equipment       
04 – Michael and Burke rescue Sonia from a Russian secret prison in Cuba
05 – Michael and Sonia escape from the Russians who are chasing them
06 – Michael and Sonia deal with hackers who sold her to the Russians
07 – Michael meets the terrorist organization he is supposed to bring down
08 – Michael does a job for James and the CIA finds out who he really is
09 – Michael is asked to protect a Middle East target from a terrorist attack
10 – Michael kills a former ally while he also saves Fiona’s boyfriend
11 – Michael admits to James he is working with the CIA 
12 – Michael chooses between joining James or the CIA
13 – Series Finale: Michael’s mom sacrifices herself to get James

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – 5 OUT OF 5

SPY TACTICS
- Don’t control the hunter just scare off the prey
- Get car with low center of gravity and light frame to flip other car over         

- Make smoke bomb with household items
- Showing up on time means you are 15 minutes late
- Learn how to do a thumb lock
- Distrusting people are the most easy to manipulate
- Well place kick right under the knee will cripple an opponent
- Electrical fence need insulation spray and fiberglass handle bolt cutters 
- Perfect alibi and perfect accounting books confirms you are dealing with a liar
- Predators are overconfident around people they think of as prey
- Overlap with City, County, and State causes confusion when you claim jurisdiction
- Use blanket and flare gun when being chased by assailants
- Protection detail is about observation broken locks, block motion sensors 
- Fast driving needs fast breaking allowing you to keep you foot on the gas longer
- Spies have used Bibles to send hidden messages when pair with proper text
- Parking garages have tight corners so you are better on foot than in a vehicle
- Being followed then make yourself not a threat: Do not call cops or escape
- Every environment has their own rules and customs – Know them
- Old cemeteries make great hiding places
- Silence is not a good thing in the jungle 
- Law casebooks make excellent shielding against minor attacks
- Fight with back against the wall creates a bottleneck of single file attackers
- Submerge explosive volatile chemicals with oil to prevent it from triggering
- Surveillance busted either run or has a reason to be there
- Running errands is a great way to know if you have a tail 
- Ventilation system is the weakest point in any structure
- First priority of police is lock down perimeter and secure area
- When pursuing someone force someone to go faster than the terrain allows
- Successful sieges does not involve attacking but tricking your enemy to come out
- While interrogating suspect, keep eye on research and eye on suspect to test reactions
- Create infinity illusion using mirror, glass, and reflective window tint 
- To be accepted its best to be helpful before screwing over the people you are helping
- Use hacking software on hotel to get free pay-per-view

IMPROVISED WEAPONRY
- Digital scanner better than a digital camera 
- Wrap a metal chain around two power lines to complete a powerful electrical circuit
- Fire extinguisher, metal shavings, and a hint of chemistry can take out a wall
- Burned rubber in AC duct creates smoke signal from a distance
- Handcuffs can be used as leverage to break wooden furniture just apply pressure 
- Handcuffs can wear down given time for someone to work on them
- Fill light bulb (10% light/90% heat) with a flammable liquid and plug into the socket 
- Oxygen tank, alcohol, ether, heat, and your imagination
- Air Conditioner, household cleaning flammable products, add heat and pressure
- Radio Frequency Tags for tail their targets effectively
- Infrared paint to see in the dark
- Wrap belt around hydraulic arm on a door to lock 
- Cut magnesium flare to create extreme heat with right fuse
- Set off sprinkler system with a smoke bomb to set off the metallic sodium package
- Create 4 hour road block with kerosene and smoke bomb
- Use outlet to plant a bug for unlimited power source



BURN NOTICE: THE FALL OF SAM AXE [2011]

Directed by Jeffery Donovan the movie serves as a prequel to the main Burn Notice series. Commander Sam Axe is sent to Colombia to investigate a suspected terrorist camp the Espada Ardiente after sleeping with the wife of an admiral. However things are not what they seem and Sam hides out at the same suspected terrorist camp he was sent to investigate. 

SERIES HIGHLIGHTS
- The Espada Ardiente team-up with Sam to protect a local clinic
- Sam holds two CIA officers hostage on behalf of a suspected terrorist group
- The origin of the Chuck Finley alias is revealed as well as the Espada Ardiente
- Commander Sam Axe gets an honorable discharge with his full pension intact

RECOMMENDED – 4 OUT OF 5