Burn Notice

I remember really liking the late-2000s USA Network show Burn Notice. I rewatched it and took notes for no good reason.

This seems like a sort of desperate mid-pandemic project, but no, I opened this particular cup of yogurt in Spring 2021, when we started seeing options in New York for other things to do. Anything else at all.

Season 1

Episode 1

I remember Michael’s suits being better. I also have no memory of Lucy, was she only around for the pilot?

Episode 2

It’s fun to watch what changes when a series gets picked up. I hope they got an immediate note to tone down the freeze frames.

Episode 3

They’re trying so hard to do the expert-with-no-soft-skills thing but I don’t think it makes any sense!

Episode 4

The Brother, a classic complication

Episode 5

The procedural spycraft business will never get old I tell you what

Episode 6

I like when Michael does his innocent puppy thing, there’s a good moment at the end of this one where he gives the fed an innocent head shake

Episode 7

Aw they tried giving Michael a hat in this one and couldn’t even commit to it for a full episode!

Episode 8

The writers are pretty good at slowly weaving in obstacles over the course of an episode, and it’s really fun to watch the gang adapt. But also with this carousel of mysterious tough guys, the larger arc of understanding the Burn Notice feels like it’s either moving way too quickly or had made no progress it all.

Episode 9

This one was just okay!

Episode 10

Hey Lucy is back, and in a less nice office than I remember in the pilot? Also in Lucies is Lucy Lawless, bringing some welcome depth to the Character of the Week

Episode 11

Aww yeah a two-part season finale! I like the mounting paranoia, I wonder if they can keep it fresh and interesting

Episode 12

Daaaaamn this is a good show.

Season 2

Episode 1

And we are back in Miami! Kind of a disappointing non-resolution to the truck thing but still a fun heist. Also maybe fewer freeze frames at last?

Episode 2

Oh I don’t know, this one was fin

Episode 3

Good double con, good hijinx, good character work. This is a solid episode of Burn Notice

Episode 4

Ooh this one had some antics! A real meal of a Michael performance. Great job everyone

Episode 5

A heist and a subversion and some emotional stakes that complicate the bigger goal? Burn Notice, you shouldn’t have.

Episode 6

Method Man was pretty good, Michael’s tough Northeast accent remains very bad

Episode 7

The nerdy scientist role was truly inspired.

Episode 8

It’s Larry! I think I remember Larry? He probably comes back. An unfortunate series wrap for Zachery Ty Bryan, though.

Episode 9

I’m not sure but I THINK we got a little sneak peek of the guy that I think is the Big Bad in that roll of documents? Exciting!

Episode 10

Tensions are high! Mike and Sam do punches to each other! I thought this was the season finale but no, just a mid-season two-parter. What’s next‽

Episode 11

The phone book car! For some reason that was my strongest memory of this show but I had no idea when we’d see it. I guess at the time I didn’t know who Michael B. Jordan was though.

Episode 12

I like Seymour’s chaotic good energy. I wonder if we’ll see more of him.

Episode 13

Haha that bad guy’s plan got so messed up

Episode 14

I like that they’re gradually giving Madeline more depth

Episode 15

Another Sam! Sure!

Episode 16

Ooh they brought out the big stunts for this one! And multiple songs with lyrics! And ditched Michael’s sunglasses! We didn’t see the big bad I remember so I think from this point I just don’t know what happens. And that’s the real burn notice.

Season 3

Episode 1

Hey, a new friend for a new season! Oh wait no just kidding. Also I guess John Mahoney returned Michael’s glasses.

Episode 2

A detective!!! It makes sense that people would be investigating Michael’s antics. I wonder if the “we’ve been protecting you” thing was to cover the plot hole where this wasn’t already happening?

Episode 3

Hey a character callback, this is a move they can only make so many times but I bet by the end of the series they’ll have overextended it. Lots of risky improvisational tactics in this one, good Burn Noticing

Episode 4

We got a surprise double-cross and a bad guy redemption and a dog with a bandage, we got everything we need

Episode 5

Huh, Spencer was an interesting character. I like that the gang mostly took him seriously, I wish the show treated him better!

Episode 6

An unwilling accomplice, a Madeline hero moment, and most importantly: an episode-long sunglasses bit!!!

Episode 7

An extremely serious child actor oh no, an extremely ridiculous last-ditch scheme oh yes!

Episode 8

Great twist! That’s all bye

Episode 9

Oh no uh oh uh oh uh oh!!!!

Episode 10

Hey Madeline you did a great job, I’m sorry you couldn’t stay friends with Tyne Daly

Episode 11

OH the theatricality! But wot’s the deal with this British bloke

Episode 12

Hey Sugar’s back! But wot’s the deal with this Australian bloke oh never mind

Episode 13

The gag where someone describes a new character and then the freeze frame title for the character uses that same description has gotten pretty old. I don’t even remember if that happened in this episode, I’m just tired of it

Episode 14

I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that the end credits song always always makes me think of Elvis’s “Burning Love”

Episode 15

The carousel of Bad Powerful People who Know the Answers continues spinning. I am trying to remember how we got from the beginning of the series to here and I just can’t! Is it continuous? Are we getting closer to the center of the web? Who knows?

Episode 16

Oh I don’t know, I don’t really buy the stakes of this show anymore! But I’m going to keep watching because I am an intrepid TV blogger-journalist

Season 4

Episode 1

There was just a glimpse of a guy at the very very end of this episode and he looked so familiar to me. I was trying to remember why, and after some quick spy stuff (searching the web) I think it’s because I remember him from this show! But I don’t remember him from this show‽ We’ll see!

Alternate synopsis: Looks like Matt Nix found my short story, Harry and Bunny Share a Mojito

Episode 2

Hell yeah Jesse is bringing some new energy and new drama. Characters welcome!!!

Episode 3

Madeline’s evolution is a joy to behold

Episode 4

Maybe Michael isn’t the leader anymore! Oh wait no don’t worry he totally is

Episode 5

Guess who’s back / Back again / Sugar’s back / Also another tiny example of Mike not being the ringleader

Episode 6

Buddy seems like a fun new contact for future shenanigans. I knew the thief was a smoke screen, it’s a shame the gang can’t see how their lives are presented on TV to better predict when things are going too easily

Episode 7

Look at all these big names! Must have been sweeps week!!!! Michael’s credibility keeps diminishing though uh oh

Episode 8

I was not prepared for this love triangle subplot and I do not buy it even a little bit

Episode 9

A hurricane is a fun set piece, good job

Episode 10

A prison is another fun set piece! Also we have yet another name of a Powerful and Dangerous Man

Episode 11

Uh oh more contrived love triangle nonsense!!

Episode 12

God I hope we see that submarine again

Episode 13

Michael’s got his sunglasses back baybee

Episode 14

A good old twisty callback, that’s the Burn Notice specialty

Episode 15

Oooh family dynamics all over the place! Also a cool team maneuver which is kind of a family dynamic if you think about it

Episode 16

I was worried we would lose Richard Kind soon, what a delight, thank you for your service

Episode 17

Aw shit we’ve reached the endgame people!! Except there are three more seasons after whatever happens next so stakes don’t feel so high honestly

Episode 18

Deus Ex Sam bayBEEEEE I’m getting tired of this show uh oh

Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe

Not an episode, just a feature-length made-for-TV movie

Not awful*!

* Assuming you ignore all the dialog with the two people from the clinic. An intensive study in the “So that just happened” tone of 2000s televsion.

Season 5

Episode 1

Oh we are not in Miami anymore! Oh we are back in Miami

Episode 2

As Madeline was delivering her last line of the episode, a Google Maps car drove by in the background

Episode 3

Jai-alai is cool, Michael is making bad choices, Nate is taking care of himself! Good job Nate

Episode 4

I like the young hacker character, I hope she comes back someday and they have to grudgingly work together. Also seeing the car heroically squeal into frame was very fun

Episode 5

I like this Michael doppelgänger subplot! Also Mike’s hair has been real floppy lately

Episode 6

I guess this is why the movie exists! What are the odds this is literally the only reference we ever get to that story in the regular show

Episode 7

Apparently the floppy hair was a character choice because Sam mentioned that it’s not floppy anymore, but I missed exactly when or why this started

Episode 8

This one had everything: tropical jungles, exploding teddy bears, Gavin Rossdale

Episode 9

Haha cheese fries nice

Episode 10

Madeline did such a good job in that hostage situation!

Episode 11

This was a fun destination episode, lots of good set pieces, thank u burn notice

Episode 12

ANSON IS HERE! I remembered him from my first watch but thought he came in much much earlier. What a good reveal what a good show

Episodes 13 & 14

Oh Crap, A Bunch More Bad Stuff Just Happened

Episode 15

I did not clock Benny as an important figure with any sort of emotional significance to the Westen family but RIP I guess

Episode 16

Beatriz’s milquetoast cameo probably marks the final reference to THE FALL OF SAM AXE

Episode 17

Suicide by dirty diplomat is pretty fucked up imho

Episode 18

Oh no, they played sad piano music over the end credits instead of the song that isn’t the Elvis song! This is serious!

Season 6

Episode 1

A different intro! A different outro! Everything is so grim but also maybe there’s hope! I feel like they have to abandon the Client of the Week structure this season but I guess we will see

Episode 2

Hey it’s that actress from the prison show playing a prisoner again (or before? I will not cross-reference the chronology)

Episode 3

The prison subplot is a welcome change in tone and pace

Episode 4

Sam just said “global manhunt” let’s gooo

Episode 5

The global manhunt became a Miami gig in like 90 seconds but it’s okay, the pace of this season is fun

Episode 6

Oh no Nate!!!!!!!

Episode 7

I like Fiona’s new thicker eyebrow look this season

Episode 8

This episode was kind of nothing except an excuse to get rid of Pearce I guess, she kind of had fun chemistry with Jesse, oh well bye

Episode 9

I didn’t see the twist coming! There’s no reason I shouldn’t have.

Episode 10

Oh SHIT! That’s Burn Notice baby!!!!!

Episode 11

Haha they brought the intro back

Episode 12

It’s always embarrassing to be reminded how much our heroes love the state

Episode 13

Well? I really didn’t see any of this coming. There’s still one and a third seasons left of this show, please don’t resort to unveiling a heretofore unseen Biggest Bad, please I’m begging you

Episode 14

Patton Oswalt, thank you for your professionalism

Episode 15

Madeline is really going for it lately

Episode 16

Honestly I’m here for Michael’s monster turn, but I don’t think they will commit to it

Episode 17

OH NO SAM!!!

Episode 18

Oooh Michael you love the government so bad

Season 7

Episode 1

We made it a whole episode without Mike strutting around Miami but it’s clear that that’s literally the most they could imagine staying away. Also the running joke about him not knowing any Spanish is honestly the funniest thing this show has ever done

Episode 2

Wow emotions! This episode maybe has the most complex story of the whole series, including the movie

Episode 3

Ah yes a bigger bad

Episode 4

I’m not gonna lie to you, episode log. I wasn’t really paying attention to this one and I’m not sure why we should care about this new person.

Episode 5

What are the chances we never see Carlos again? What are the chances that cool hacker comes back next episode?

Episode 6

No cool hacker cameo and…we are back in the loft‽ Come on.

Episode 7

This was cool, and I’m wondering if this biggest bad is maybe actually good??

Episode 8

Maybe not?

Episode 9

Uh oh! Just kidding I don’t care very much

Episode 10

Oh no that guy left

Episode 11

The Simon fight was nasty. We had a hint of a Michael turn but I’m worried (certain) we’re now setting up for a Michael redemption

Episode 12

Michael’s turn could have been interesting if we had any idea what James’s mission actually was. The vagueness could also be an interesting plot point, like he got swept up in the trappings of purpose because of his conditioned nationalism, but I don’t expect this show to make that point. It felt like a joke hearing Madeline exclaim, “Are you telling me my son is a traitor‽” Anyway let’s finish this.

Episode 13

Goddammit, Fiona’s last line got me. I saw it coming but I am a simple human with a lizard brain! My final thought is: there was an incredible three-season show trapped somewhere in this mess but I had fun watching the rest of it anyway, and I appreciate you reading all of this. Okay bye!


I did it. I can’t believe I actually finished the whole thing.