Jeffrey Donovan as Burn Notice ‘ex-spy’ Michael Westen will be calling it a day at the end of season seven. The popular USA network action drama starring Donovan, Bruce Campbell, Gabrielle Anwar, Sharon Gless, and Coby Bell has decided to go out on a high note and finish the show while it still delivers a punch.
Burn Notice currently runs in 60 countries worldwide and has a huge fan base. The show debuted in 2007 as the top scripted series in the targeted demographic of adults 18-49, 25-54 and in total viewers. It has seen its ratings rise throughout its run, reaching a series-best of 7.6 million viewers in the middle of the third season.
The show dealt with the (mis)fortunes of ex-spy Michael Westen who is given his burn notice after a mission in Nigeria goes bad, he is kidnapped, beaten and on the run. He winds up in his hometown of Miami Florida and he hooks up with his ex-girlfriend, a former IRA operative named Fiona Glenanne (Anwar) and a close semi-retired colleague from the CIA, Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell).
The title of the series refers to the burn notice issued by intelligence agencies to discredit or announce the dismissal of agents or sources who are considered to have become unreliable. When spies are burned, their connection to an espionage organization is terminated, leaving them without access to cash or influence. In essence they become a “non-person.”
According to the narration during the opening credits, the burned spy has no prior work history, no money, no support network – in essence, no identity. This narration, done by Donovan, continues throughout the episodes and takes the form of a training monologue for new agents.
Sharon Gless played Michael’s mother Madeline a chain smoking retiree who constantly interferes in his life, but who has on occasion, proved helpful.
Actor Coby Bell was brought in during season 4 of the show and he played Jesse Porter a counterintelligence whom Michael unwittingly burns and after the character finds out he stays to work with Michael.
In April 2011, USA produced a stand alone television movie Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe, starring fan-favorite Campbell and directed by Donovan. Additionally, a digital graphic novel, A New Day, was recognized with an AdAge Vanguard Award in 2011.
Though USA is closing the doors on the award winning drama, the network is open to considering more Burn Notice programs in the future, perhaps in different settings or locations. In April, sister network Esquire announced it would air Burn Notice as a weekday strip in the early evenings.
Jeff Wachtel, USA Network co-president said, “From day one, Burn Notice’s characters, storylines and mythology have consistently captivated a massive audience, and this final season will raise the stakes even higher, leading up to a spectacular series finale.”
The news comes as USA network prepares for the season premieres of its returning series and the debut of rookie drama Graceland. The network’s current longest-running series, Psych, will wrap up its seventh season May 29 and has already been renewed for a season eight.
Season seven of Burn Notice will premiere on June 6 the USA network.
By Michael Smith