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Monday, January 25, 2010

Burn Notice still an ember

     USA's Burn Notice returned this week for more episodes about the spy Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan) who was burned and dumped in his hometown of Miami.  The show is in it's third season, and while it continues to have some really exciting stuff, it is bogged down by a weekly client story.  Each week Michael decides to help someone, the client, with their problem.  You would not believe how many bad people are in Miami!  Michael makes them all go away by the end of each hour.  That's the thing that's holding back the show.  Otherwise, there are still a lot of good qualities in the drama, not the last of which are the actors playing Michael's two cohorts, Sam (Bruce Campbell, The Evil Dead films) and Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar, The Tudors).

     The story that is most interesting is Michael's own.  Only a few minutes of each episode are devoted to Michael trying to figure out who burned him, why, and clear his name, and yet those are usually the best ones.  The plot has been advanced quite a bit over the years.  Most recently Michael had been talking to someone in the CIA, but his contact was murdered as the show went on break.  Often, season premieres and finales spend more time on this serial plot, although this week's did not.  Instead, it focused on taking down insurance fraud.  Yawn.  The clients seem to be getting a little repetitive.

     There was a great twist, though, as Michael's mother, Madeline (Sharon Gless, Queer as Folk) befriended an asset, causing many problems in Michael's case.  For Gless fans, it was a real treat, as her Cagney & Lacey co-star, Tyne Daly, played said asset.  The mother role started fairly small, not even appearing in every episode, but had gone notably over time.  While Madeline is often a character that gets in the way and seems superfluous, she had had some shining moments, usually when she gets involved in the action.  This week was one of her best, and gave her a reason to be in the show.  If the writer's keep this kind of story going for her, she may become better appreciated.

     Burn Notice will continue with new episodes Thursday nights at 10pm on the USA Network.

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