The Checklist: Burn Notice (S1 Ep9) “Hard Bargain”
For those of you who are not familiar with the show Burn Notice, here’s a little background about the show… Burn Notice centers around a former spy named Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan). Westen is burned or blacklisted by the intelligence community, his entire existence is wiped out and he is left in Miami to fend for himself. While he tries to figure out why he was burned and who did the burning, he uses his extensive training to help people in need with the help of his best friend and former Navy SEAL, Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell) and his ex-girlfriend and arms dealer, Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar).
Burn Notice ran on the USA Network from 2007 to 2013 and it was a show I would watch religiously and a show I look forward to revisiting as part of our Checklist feature. In this installment of The Checklist I’ve selected the 9th episode from Season One entitled “Hard Bargain” to take The Checklist challenge so we can find out just how Burn Notice this episode is.
- Synopsis: Michael, Sam and Fiona help a young man named Nick Lam. Nick’s fiancee Dawn has been taken by some professional kidnappers led by a Colombian National named Reyes. Dawn is being held for ransom because the kidnappers believe that Nick is wealthy and successful, but in reality he just has a job house sitting for very rich people. Nick doesn’t have the ransom money, but he does have enough to hire Michael and the team to help save his fiancee. In other news, Michael makes contact with a government bureaucrat that may be able to get him off the blacklist.
1. Does Michael narrate a spy “how to” video?
There are certain elements of Burn Notice that always reminded me of another Checklist favorite, The A-Team. One of those elements was when Michael would narrate how an every day person like you or I could do things the spy way. In “Hard Bargain”, Michael teaches us that we can make our very own flash grenades out of items you can find at your local pharmacy and gardening stores including aluminium foil that has been chopped up in a coffee grinder.
As a bonus, we also get to see how you can take the GPS device out of a cell phone and hide it in the sole of a shoe so you can track a member of your espionage team. These moments on Burn Notice always reminded me of The A-Team’s building montages. 1/1
2. Does anyone eat yogurt?
If you asked Michael Westen what his favorite snack was, he would likely tell you it is yogurt. His fridge always had yogurt in it, which made it easy pickings for anyone who stopped by his place. In this particular episode it is Fiona who is enjoying some yogurt over at Michael’s. 2/2
3. Does Fiona blow anything up?
Only a small explosion, but an explosion none the less, as Fiona blows the lock on a door. But have no fear Fiona fans, she gets pretty explosive when she knocks a broad out with the butt end of a shotgun, breaks a guys foot and uses a taser gun. 3/3
4. Does Chuck Finley show up?
Sam Axe’s favorite alias, is Charles “Chuck” Finley. And while Sam does pose as a disgruntled bodyguard for a snooty socialite in this episode, he never introduces himself or is never called by name, so while we could assume he gave the kidnappers the name Chuck Finley, The Checklist bylaws won’t allow us to score this as a Finley appearance. 3/4
5. Were there any notable guest stars?
Any action adventure show worth its salt needs to have a never ending parade of notable guest stars… this particular episode of Burn Notice had two pretty notable guest stars. First off, the government weasel that Michael hopes can help reinstate him to active spy duty is played by Arye Gross. Gross has some action credentials to his credit including a role in Minority Report with Tom Cruise and as Turbo in Exterminator 2 with Robert Ginty and Mario Van Peebles.
The character Reyes is played by Steven Bauer. Bauer is probably most known for his work in the Pacino classic, Scarface. But over the years he has dabbled in the action entertainment world including the 1995 movie Body Count that also starred Brigitte Nielsen, Sonny Chiba, Jan-Michael Vincent and Robert Davi! 4/5
- Final Score = 4/5 (80%) “Hard Bargain” worked hard, but couldn’t quite achieve 100% Burn Notice status.