Six months after Michael Westen’s burn notice unofficially came to an end, he has almost exhausted the NOC list of those responsible for his exile. Only one target remains. Yet Michael is struggling to settle back into the suited/booted embrace of the CIA. Formal wear and formalities don’t suit the new Westen way of working. Fortunately the extraction of the final spy on the hit list takes Michael and team to Caracas, where he can shrug off his jacket, turn up the volume on his shirts and take a few familiar faces along for the ride.
The mission to Caracas is a surgical strike, requiring meticulous planning and flawless execution. The help Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) chooses to enlist comes in the less-than-regular-shape of underground compadres Sam Axe and Fi (Bruce Campbell and Gabrielle Anwar). Still, as long as they can obey the rules, everything will go without a hitch. Oh.
The peppy DVD menu offers an accurate preview of forthcoming attractions for those of you unfamiliar with the sun-soaked, gun-toting world of Burn Notice. It is a veritable flick-book of sea, sand, sexy girls, taut tummies and big booms. Boom! But Kessler, the last man standing in the decimated network, won’t simply surrender at the first wave of a big gun. Michael is soon back to doing what he does best, flying by the seat of his sports-casual pants, tossing back vodka shots and throwing out cheap shots in pidgin Russian as a suspicious mark trains a gun upon him. And of course he takes his mark in – there are some skills the CIA cannot teach – those burned years were not entirely wasted!
Fire-power enthusiasts needn’t fear – the precedent for a bullet-peppered 18 eps is set with a satisfyingly silly shoot out and an improvised grenade bomb. Of course Michael doesn’t get the answers he seeks so soon, there is an inevitable eleventh hour upset – the who-burned-me story arc has a few more Miami miles to cover before it reaches its conclusion. Nevertheless, this is a season that Burn Notice lovers will relish – one that sees Michael framed for the murder of one of his own and brings him face-to-face with the man who burned him. As the series progresses the priorities of the burned life he was leading pull against the demands of his CIA role. He heads up a team of his own that includes a Superman and a Terminator among its number as Burn Notice welcomes Kristanna Loken and Dean Cain to the fold. It is also a time of personal revelation as he discovers how close to home the answers have been all along and faces the prospect of saying goodbye to the woman he loves.
The explosive finale and its repercussions for Michael and Fi will leave devotees clucking for the debut of season six. The DVD benefits from a commentary on this episode – Fail Safe – by Jeffrey Donovan and Bruce Campbell. Bruce also lends his inimitable presence to a Villains of Burn Notice featurette. Look, let’s be realistic, if you’re not mad about the shallower things in life then Burn Notice is unlikely to rock your world or hasten you to the Twitter water cooler. It is brash, unrealistic, and ever so slightly rubbish. BUT it is perfect escapist television and, for those who love it, this satisfying season will tick every single box.
Burn Notice Season 5 is available on DVD from 3rd December 2012