USA Network's Burn Notice wraps season three with a real twisted finale and it's definitely worth watching and recording to DVR, because you will miss things in this episode if you blink!
A round-table interview with a packed conference call of journos provided an opportunity to interview Gabrielle Anwar (Fiona) and Jeffrey Donovan (Michael Westen). The result was a really interesting series of questions and the most amazing answers.
This is a long podcast. I did edit it but I couldn't edit too much because of the way the two actors were interacting with each other and the media. So stick with it; you will learn a great deal about these characters! Note there is a print transcript which is easy enough to read, but honestly, if you miss the podcast, you miss serious nuances and insight into both the characters and these two actors!
Transcript: Gabrielle Anwar and Jeffrey Donovan, Burn Notice
Kenn Gold of Media Blvd: Hello, I want to thank you both for taking the time today, I really love the show and your performances. It's great to talk to you.
Jeffrey Donovan: Thanks, Kenn.
Gold: First question I had, I just wondered if you could talk about, are you surprised at the success of this show? And I know at times, for USA, the show is either competitive with NBC or sometimes even through passing and are you surprised with the following that it's gotten over the years?
Donovan: Well, I think that all you can hope for is that you make something that people want to watch and then somehow keep integrity while doing that. And so I think we're very happy with the ratings definitely. I know we work really hard, so surprised, yes, we're always surprised when anything succeeds in this day and age.
Gold: Okay, great. And one for both of you, can you talk about your characters and just kind of the evolution that we've seen in your characters, and are you happy with where you guys have ended up with your characters? And if you're in charge of everything, where would you like to see them go I guess in the season or in the future?
Gabrielle Anwar: Do you think we've evolved?
Gold: I'm sure you could always do it better, I mean everybody's got to have that feel for their character.
Anwar: I don't know where we're going, where are we going, Jeffrey?
Donovan: Well, I think that, I'll speak for Gabrielle, I mean I know from talking with all the other cast mates, we're very happy with where it's going. But sometimes Matt Nix and all the other writers keep us slightly in the character dark, not because they don't trust us with the knowledge, but they're just trying to figure it out as well along the way.
When you're dealing with espionage and covert affairs, sometimes the secret is more exciting than the knowledge. If we were both in charge, I would love a deeper insight into Michael's past, that's for me. I don't know about Gabrielle, what would you like?
Anwar: I'm quite happy with Fiona's enigmatic state of being. I don't think I need to know more about, I'd love to know more about where you're from, absolutely, but I quite like not knowing. I don't like to know who I am.
Moderator: Next, we'll go to the line of Jenny Rarden with TVismypacifier.com, please go ahead.
Jenny Rarden: Hello. Thank you, guys, for speaking with us today. My first question is for Jeffrey, I read online that in an upcoming episode, Michael will be going somewhere other than Miami and that he won't be alone. Can you tell us where your character's going and why, as well as who's going with him?
Donovan: Well, obviously I can't. It's the season finale, and it's really literally in the last five minutes of the show. It's a bit of a cliffhanger. Michael's been stuck in Miami for quite some time, and there's a couple of psychopaths on his tail, and things come to a hilt. And by the end of the show, Michael is actually transported out of Miami, but I can't tell you where, but it's a bit of a cliffhanger.
Rarden: Well that's good enough, yes, we wouldn't want to give everything away. Okay, and then my second question is for both of you — when my husband and I saw the previews for Burn Notice before its first season, the thing that first caught our eye was you, Jeffrey. We've been huge fans of yours since we saw you in Touching Evil, which we loved.
Donovan: Thank you.
Rarden: The other things that caught our attention were the plot and that it was on USA, which we feel is a terrific network for bringing out new and extraordinarily interesting shows and characters. So for both of you, what first drew you to the show and to your characters?
Anwar: I was drawn to the character, Fiona, I just thought it was so brilliantly written. It was sparingly written, but so insightful. I couldn't believe that a man had actually written the script, I mean at least her character. When I first met Matt Nix, who created and wrote the script, I actually said to him, "You must have a remarkable relationship with your wife, because you have such incredible insight." So that was what intrigued me about playing a character.
When you sign up for a TV show, you don't know if it's going to be for a pilot or for the rest of your life, so I wanted to play a character that I enjoyed thoroughly, and there weren't that many of them out there. So that's why I clasped onto this script with great hope.
Donovan: I got hooked on the voiceover, the first page is a voiceover, it says, "You know what it's like to be a spy?" I love the idea that not only do I get to play a spy, I get to play a burn spy, and on top of that, I can talk to the audience about what it's like being a spy. I thought I had never seen anything like that on television, so that's what hooked me.
Moderator: Next, we'll go to the line of Susan Lanoue with The TV MegaSite, please go ahead.
Susan Lanoue: I was wondering if you could tell us anything about the rest of the upcoming episodes, especially "Good Intentions" ?
Donovan: It's difficult, because a lot of it is, the penultimate episode and then the finale have a lot of cliffhangers and a lot of reveals.
Donovan: So without giving too much away, Gilroy, who's basically a psychopath controlling Michael's actions, has to deliver a plane that has a secret piece of cargo in it and needs Michael's help to do it. When that happens, you find out it actually is someone quite dangerous, and Michael unfortunately allows him to escape. And then the finale is about trying to capture this psychopath that's loose.
Lanoue: Alright, and what was it like working with Carlos Bernard in the episode?
Anwar: Fantastic. He's such a wonderful man and a fantastic actor, it was an absolute pleasure.
Donovan: I didn't really work with him much, so it was all Gabrielle and Carlos. So I only met him in brief, I think at the lunch table.
Moderator: Next, we'll go to the line of Joshua Maloni with NFT, please go ahead.
Joshua Maloni: Hello, guys, thanks for your time today. Let me ask you both, you both obviously had success in film, and a lot of times when that happens, people are less likely to want to do television. What do you like about this particular medium and why do you keep coming back to television? What do you like about this?
Donovan: I think that, especially with cable, it's an avenue to be creative. I think why people are drawn more now to cable shows than ever is that they take more risks, they're creatively pushing the envelope. I think that the networks have to answer to a bigger advertising calling, whereas the smaller cables have lower ceilings that they can bump their heads on. So I think that's why I keep being drawn back to television, because I think it's one of the most creative outlets.
And if you think about it, we make 16 one-hour movies a season. You don't get any opportunity like that in movies. I mean, I can't say I'll be able to do 16 movies in the next year, and so that's how I see it. How about you, Gabrielle?
Anwar: I like the stability, the continuity of having a lifestyle where I know I can pay my rent at the end of each month. And also I have these children that I am raising and it's nice for all of us to sort of know that we're going to be in a specific place for a certain amount of time. I've never known that in my career. So I'm really quite grateful at this point that I get to have the sort of double existence and I can rely on both.
Maloni: Right. And Gabrielle, I apologize if you've already been asked this, but take us a little bit inside Fiona's mind with regard to Michael's pursuit of the truth of trying to erase the burn notice. What is her sort of threshold? How long can she wait for him to sort of fulfill this quest that he's on?
Anwar: I don't know. It's really not up to me is it? I have my own personal threshold and it was at the end of season one.
Donovan: Wow, wow.
Anwar: I think it's going to be a real testament to her patience and adoration of Michael, which I don't think she would admit either.
There's a lot more to the transcript but if you want to read more, head over to my blog and you can read it there — every single word — really!
Enjoy these BC-exclusive video clips from the finale!
Promo for the Burn Notice season three finale:
Scene #2 from the season three finale:
I love the series and never miss it. I have no problem watching repeats and if you are really into the Michael Westen spy game, then you need to play "Covert Ops" on the USA network site. The new game is Covert Ops: Vegas Heist featuring Seth Peterson who plays Nate Westen and it gives fans the opportunity to win a car and other prizes.
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