Oline H. Cogdill


Gabrielle Anwar, Jeffrey Donovan. USA Network photo

This is how mystery fans—whether in novels, movies or TV—help each other: We are shameless about introducing our friends and family to new works.

Several months ago, I mentioned to Kate and Brian about this terrific new television show I was enjoying called Burn Notice. It’s a spy show, sure, but it is also a witty detective show; a bit The Rockford Files, a bit MacGyver.

So Kate did what any good editor does—she asked me if I wanted to do a review.

And I did what any good critic does, I wrote one.

Which, she tells me, inspired Kate to watch the series and, yes, become a fan.

Burn Notice is about Michael Weston (played by Jeffrey Donovan), a spy who was fired—or got his “burn notice”—during a covert sting operation. Without money or a government agency to back him, he’s forced to make his own way after being dumped in his hometown of Miami. His only backup are Fiona Glenanne, (Gabrielle Anwar) a former girlfriend who cut her arms-dealing teeth in the I.R.A., and Sam Axe, (Bruce Campbell) a retired spy who’s not above informing on Weston, especially if a free dinner and drinks are on the agenda. There’s also a brother who’s had more than a few scraps with the law and a mother (Sharon Gless) who clearly adores Michael but also knows how to manipulate him.

Burn Notice mixes wide swaths of humor with a serious plot and a breathtaking view of South Florida. To make a living while trying to find out who “burned” him, Weston plays private detective.

For more information and TV schedule, visit usanetwork.com/series/burnnotice/

This article was originally published on the Mystery Scene Blog, February 2009.