The Infamous Brad looks back over season one of Burn Notice, the only show I’m currently following with any regularity. He’s an aficionado, and sees things I’ve missed.
The first time I watched these, I was taken by how well written they were, how witty and wry the voice-over narration was, by how well series creator Matt Nix is paying homage to the great “Florida caper” writers John D. MacDonald and Carl Hiassen, how many great throw-away references to classic non-fiction spy literature he threw in for those of us who share his obsession with the subject, and especially just how much fun Bruce Campbell and Gabrielle Anwar were having with their parts. And lord knows, I’m a sucker for watching actors have fun with their parts.
This time through, something different struck me, and it’s the way in which the three main characters of Fiona, Michael, and Sam personify one of the ugliest moral and political dilemmas of the War on Terror. Sam is (or at least was) a government agent, CIA covert ops at the end of and right after the Cold War. Fiona is (or mostly was) a terrorist, an Irish Republican Army bank-robber and gun-runner….Michael, though, is neither a terrorist nor a government agent, he’s a private contractor. And it makes him feel awkward that Fiona looks at him and sees “one of us,” and that Sam looks at him and sees “one of us.” And in fact the main plot of the first season is driven by just how fine the line is between being the kind of mercenary Michael is and the kind of international criminal mastermind and terrorist Fiona is.
Read the whole thing and catch up on the first season. And don’t bother trying to call me on 3 July, when they’ll marathon the whole season back to back, or the evening of 10 July, when the 2nd season premier starts.
Burn Notice is on the USA Network. [Warning: Loud Trailer automatically plays. Scroll down to find the player on the right margin. That said, as trailers go, I really like this one.]