By Tom Comi
What is about spies that is so attractive to both men and women? Although the life can’t possibly be as thrilling as depicted on the popular USA Network series Burn Notice, there is something intriguing that draws us in like insects to a light.
Perhaps it’s the secrecy, the excitement, the element of surprise or a combination of each. Regardless of the reasons, viewers of both genders and of all ages will be glued to their sets tonight for the highly-anticipated, Season 5 premiere of TV’s premier spy show (9pm ET). Arguably, the most attractive element to Burn Notice is that lay people like us really have no clue how accurate it really is. James Bond movies aside, we are at the mercy of the writers, actors and crew to place us in this action-packed world we would otherwise not know.
It certainly seems real. There are bad guys, guns, explosions, car chases and all the other things you would expect in a spy drama. And while almost every episode revolves around life and death, the producers will never be accused of taking themselves too seriously. And that’s what makes this show so much fun to watch.
USA Network prides itself on its “Characters Welcome” slogan, and that’s exactly what we get here. The vastly underrated Jeffrey Donovan plays Michael Westen, a spy who was abandoned by the government in the 2007 pilot. Since then he has set up shop in Miami in an attempt to find out who burned him while also taking on jobs to make ends meet. Joining him for this fight are ex-girlfriend Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar), former spy buddy Sam (Bruce Campbell), another burned spy, Jesse (Coby Bell), and his chain-smoking mother (played brilliantly by Sharon Gless).
When you combine one of the best ensemble casts in television with great storylines and non-stop action, you can understand why Burn Notice ranks No. 6 amongst all cable shows with an average of 6.5 millions viewers per episode. Each week Michael Westen uses his MacGyver-like skills and training to bring down the bad guys, and through narration by Donovan we are granted an inside look at the life of a spy.
Granted, it won’t make any of us the next James Bond, but it sure is fun to play along every week.
Credit: Virginia Sherwood/USA Network