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September 3, 2015

Burn Notice: Question and Answer

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 12th 2009 9:40AM
Bruce Burn Notice(S03E02) I love Sam Axe, which is another way of saying Bruce Campbell makes watching Burn Notice a pleasure. Especially an episode like this one that was all about the chemistry between Sam and Mike when working undercover on a case with a nut job criminal intent on leaving Michael swimming in a pool of his own blood.

It's not just Sam that keeps me coming back for more from this show, or the tense but compelling subtext between Fiona and Michael's "is it love?" relationship. By and large, Burn Notice is smart TV. It shows me scenes I haven't seen before on other shows or on the big screen. More on the specifics after the jump, so if you don't want to know because you haven't watched yet, be warned.

I've watched thousands of hours of film, believe me, but reverse interrogation was something new to me. So was the analysis of how to tail someone when Fiona was following Jimmy to Hibiscus Island.

But it was the interrogation that was the centerpiece, and as Sam pointed out, it was a very risky maneuver. Santora's level of violence, in fact, was borderline frightening, especially after the way he beat up the kidnapped boy's father. A lot people get turned off by scenes like this; I don't like it much either, but I think it's realistic. This guy was a kidnapper who was ready to kill the child because he'd seen his face, so he was already looking at hard time. He wouldn't hesitate to stab or shoot first.

As I mentioned at the top, it was really Sam that made the interrogation work. His improvisation about the gun and the way to kill Michael was clever and it worked. The look of the room for the interrogation was also really great -- big, airy, but lit with pools of light including one on Michael in the chair.

There was a new wrinkle in Michael's world in the person of Detective Paxson, Miami P.D. She's a stalker with a badge, determined to snare Michael for the many, many escapades that he's pulled in and around South Beach. She mentioned the three cars he blew up last season for starters. It was refreshing that she was completely unaffected she was by Michael's charm, a point that Fiona was quick to note. Paxson should be a tenacious adversary that we see more of in the weeks ahead. Michael's worst nightmare, indeed.

Did you notice the parallel between the bored henchmen watching baseball and the lame surveillance detail watching Michael's storage unit. In both instances, especially the "water saw to create a back door plan," the guards were definitely the B team.

Other points of interest
-- As comic relief, Michael's birthday party was nice. Sam's gift was appropriately sentimental, a pricey 5-pack of Belgian beer. Fiona's romantic bayonet from WWI, used for hand-to-hand combat. Even better was that she was inspired by Madeline's sage advice: "Loving Michael is always trench warfare."

-- Note to Madeline: next time, buy a birthday cake for Michael. Publix Supermarket has a great bakery that does wonderful things with butter cream.

-- Sam's cherry red Buick is gorgeous, but it's not an all inconspicuous for stakeouts.

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1. The detective was awful. Really bad. A bad actress with worse lines. Make her older and smarter. This just seemed like a vapid model-turned actress with no characterization. Tricia Helfer may not be a good actress but she can do malice and sexual tension far better than Moon Bloodgood.

2. The criminals on Burn Notice are idiots. I'm getting sick of 99% of the criminals being so stupid they couldn't tell a con a mile away.

3. No problems with Michael being no longer protected? It takes away from the drama if there's no threat to him.

4. Why must all the clients be 2-d characters? Just nix this entire plot structure of liven in up. The actor playing the dad was obviously not very good at playing straight so add some dimension to the mom and dad characters - she left him for a dude. She loathes him. He's still trying to be happy and he hid that the kid went missing. Add something to the clients if you must stick with "moron in need of help" for every episode.

Someone needs to take the burn notice concept but do it right - with death and for-profit motives. This robin hood crap on every show (including the insufferably awful Royal Pains) has got to stop. Is there anything beyond Dexter where the main character is beyond squeaky clean and banal?

June 14 2009 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Love this show and I can already see the momentum building from episode 1 to 2, but.........

I wish they didn't cast somebody so beautiful to play Dectective Paxson, especially after having beautiful Carla as Michael's nemesis last season. There's enough sexual tension on the show already between Fiona and Michael. Maybe the character will grow on me, but I wish they had used the opportunity to cast a Columbo-ish or Det. Jane Tennison-ish ("Prime suspect") character rather than go for another "pretty face". Or perhaps an hispanic actor/actress -- this is Miami afterall.......

June 14 2009 at 6:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This was another great episode however did anyone notice that the BMW 650 was parked at the house. If someone stole your car why would they bring it back to your home??? Must have been done for advertising....

June 13 2009 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So will there no longer be Royal Pains reviews?

June 12 2009 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the buick is great for stakeouts! seriously, most people looking for someone watching them would look for dark vans, cars or suvs, not a cherry red (pun intended) buick convertable. And in Miami at that its not out of place at all. Now if you were talking about tailing someone, that would be a different story, which Sam did say he did, so unless doing it very well, would be easy to spot that it was following you after some time.

June 12 2009 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Another amazing episode last night! i loved the look on Michael's face when he ate his mothers b-day cake, priceless! And i thought Fi was fantastic, especially in the final scene.. Looks like its gonna be another great season!

June 12 2009 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Looks like Dutch is making a cameo next week! He might be part of the season long story-arc that's missing thus far.

June 12 2009 at 12:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You know, I've been a little bored with these first two episodes. Something is missing for me that I can't place.

June 12 2009 at 11:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to Jimmy's comment

I thought the exact same thing as you - WOW they come up with some of the most clever plotlines that are out there yet totally believable! Who would have thought to set up Jimmy as Flowers? Use a water saw (are those things even real?!).

The tension between Michael and Fiona is the best coupling since Moonlighting. I pray they dont get together until the last episode!


June 12 2009 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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