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TV Review: Burn Notice Season 4 Premiere – “Friends and Enemies”

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Wow… Season 4 already? Time flies when you're following the exploits of a burned spy and his friends and family in Miami.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the saga of Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan), here's a quick summary of this awesome series on the USA Network. Michael is a burned spy, meaning he is no longer trusted by his handlers and dumped in Miami with no resources until they figure out what to do with him. In Miami, Michael reconnected with his old girlfriend (and ex-IRA operative) Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar) and a semi-retired FBI agent Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell). Together the trio try to help clients get out of their trouble so Michael can investigate who burned him and possibly get back into the good graces of his former employer.

In addition, you meet Madeline Westen (Sharon Gless), Michael's chain smoking worry wort retiree mother. And occasionally we see his brother Nate (Seth Peterson) show up on the scene with some new get rich scheme or asking for help getting out of trouble.

Over the first three seasons, Michael had been courted by an organization simply known as "Management" who want to use his skills for themselves. They somehow engineered Michael's "burn notice" in order to get him into a position to recruit him. Michael isn't fond of Management to say the least and managed to cut them loose back at the end of Season 2 even though that decision caused a few issues of its own.

In Season 3, in order to stop an insane plan by Mason Gilroy (Chris Vance), Michael gets close to Gilroy and professes to "help" him with a grand plan. That grand plan turned out to be releasing insane former agent Simon (Garret Dillahunt) whose horrific exploits Michael was framed for, thus causing his burn notice.

At the end of Season 3, after Gilroy met an untimely end, Michael reluctantly contacted "Management" and worked with them to stop Simon before too many innocent people died. And in the season finale, after stopping Simon, both he and Simon were taken into custody. In the very last scene, Michael is moved somewhere and put into a chair. When his hood is removed so he can see, he finds himself in a nicely appointed office wondering what he was doing there and who he'd encounter.

Between the end of Season 3 and the beginning of Season 4, Michael has spent his time in a lovely prisoner holding facility. Fiona, Sam, and Madeline have no idea what happened to him. And in the very first scene, Michael is placed into a well-appointed den with lots of bookshelves and fine antiques. He's introduced to Vaughn (Robert Wisdom) who presents him with some interesting papers…

Can Michael work with Vaughn long enough to get to the bottom of whatever evil scheme Management is working to help or hinder? Only time will tell. But once Michael returns to Miami, he's thrust into the middle of a little situation that Fiona and Sam managed to cook up while he was gone.

Somehow lawyer Winston (Rich Sommer) managed to help a woman divorce a member of a biker gang and get her to safety. The biker gang didn't like that much and has put a price on Winston's head. And once you've annoyed one member of a biker gang, it's likely you've miffed them all. So Michael has to help Sam and Fiona clear up that mess and help Vaughn get some information he needs.

Looks like Season 4 of Burn Notice will be full of some interesting twists and turns for Michael and the gang. I'm happy that Management is back in the picture again. Though evil, they always seem to present some unique moral quandaries for Michael to navigate.

Be sure to tune in on the USA Network on Thursday, June 3 at 9/8 Central for the season premiere. I can't wait to see what creator Matt Nix and his awesome cast have in store for us this time!

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About Fitz

Fitz is a software engineer and writer who lives in Colorado Springs, CO, with his family and pets, trying to survive the chaos!
  • anon

    sam is not FBI he is navy seal

  • Daniel C.

    Sam Axe is a retired Navy SEAL with ties to the FBI. He didn’t work for the FBI himself.

  • http://writer.fitzhome.com Fitz

    @anon & @Daniel C. – Though I don’t think that distinction was ever really made and it’s been suggested that Sam worked *with* the FBI, it’s a subtle difference I guess. Either way he has ties to the Feds. :)