For the record I realize a television show can’t actually be a boyfriend. But in this case, the whole show is so great, I’m going to make an exception. ‘Cause I can’t choose just one reason to love it.
1. Michael Westen, played by Jeffrey Donovan is the series hero and CIA spy who received the aforementioned Burn Notice. Michael is determined to unravel the mystery of who destroyed his life and career and why. I love this guy. He’s smart and tough, brave and committed. When he’s not fighting government conspirators he’s helping out the little guy/gals who have big problems of their own which usually have something to do with bullying, blackmail or embezzlement. No matter what Michael’s dealing with in his own case, he drops it all to help a single mom in distress, find a missing kid, or save someone’s business. And he really, really loves yogurt.
2. Fiona Glenanne. Two words: Kick. Ass. She’s a former IRA revolutionary and demolitions expert who can blow up anything, anywhere with just a few household chemicals, duct tape and a battery, all while wearing stilettos and a mini dress. And the best part? She’s no spring chicken. I’d put her age somewhere in her mid-late thirties. She’s a full-fledged woman who knows her mind and takes no prisoners.
3. Sam Ax is Michael’s sidekick, an ex-Navy Seal with buddies in every US agency who help dig up background information and set up cover identities. Played by Bruce Campbell, Sam provides lots of levity with his witty one liners, beer bottle opening and mojito swilling. Sam’s the epitome of a go-to guy, always there when you need him, unless of course he’s been kidnapped and bound by a bunch of ruthless drug runners.
4. Madeline Westen, Michael’s chain-smoking, meddling mother played by Sharon Gless. She’s the moral center of this show, unafraid to call Michael on his issues or nudge him into doing what’s right. And let’s face it, she’s Sharon Gless, for God’s sakes. She could act out an insurance manual and make it compelling.
5. Spy craft. This is one of the coolest parts of the show. Every episode gives the viewer inside information about how spies create booby traps, conduct electronic surveillance, set up decoys, etc. I read somewhere that this information is mostly true, but for safety reasons, the show’s producers always leave out one essential element lest some wanna be spy tries to build some of this stuff at home. I guess they’ve got a point, so I’ll forgive them their omissions.
6. POV. The show is presented primarily in Michael’s point of view with snarky floating titles that introduce the bad guys and lots of witty voice overs. It’s like Michael’s private how-to manual for fledgling spies who can learn from his exploits. These narrative devises add a unique voice to the show and help it stand apart from standard action-crime procedurals.
7. Gadgets. Aside from ample bricks of C4 and trunk loads of automatic weapons, this show features some pretty cool hardware. Sometimes the gadgets are home made–smoke bombs fueled by bacon grease, anyone?–other times they’re highly specialized tools like safe cracking drills, hydraulic wedges that pop open doors, or hoses that suck air out of rooms. With toys like these, how can a spy go wrong?
8. Hooks. Shows are nothing without their hooks. If you can’t leave the viewer hanging between commercial breaks and each new episode, you won’t have many viewers. This show does it well, while always keeping a balance between its humor, action and suspense.
9. Compelling secondary characters. This is one of the major strengths of this show. Between Barry, the good-hearted money launderer; Sugar, the clueless dance club drug dealer; or Fiona’s gun dealer, these quirky recurring characters add familiarity and texture to the story.
10. True Love. Michael and Fiona are soul mates, bound by war, sacrifice, and their shared commitment to justice. They’ve been through it all and no matter what, always have each other’s back. And not for nothing, even though it’s basic cable, when these two get on-screen sexy time, it’s pretty darn hot.
So have you seen Burn Notice? What do you think? Does it make your TV Boyfriend list too? Share some comment love!