Burn Notice

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Name: Burn Notice
Creator: Matt Nix
Date(s): June 28, 2007 – September 12, 2013
Medium: television
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: IMDB
Official Site
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Spies don't get fired. They get burned.


Freelance spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) receives a "burn notice" while on assignment in Nigeria. When he is dumped by his agency in his hometown of Miami, with no money or resources to his name, Michael works as a freelance spy/private investigator to fund his investigation into who burned him and why. Aided by his old friend, ex-Navy SEAL Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell), and his former girlfriend Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar), an IRA-trained gunrunner, he helps various people in trouble using his expert spy tricks and street smarts, Sam's connections, and Fiona's love of violence and weaponry. Meanwhile, he also has to deal with someone who's even tougher and more irritating than the people who burned him -- his mother (Sharon Gless), and occasionally his loser brother, Nate (Seth Peterson).

In the fourth season, another burned spy, Jesse Porter (Coby Bell) is added to the team.

The show has been described by various people as a fun, modern mix of MacGyver, The Rockford Files, and The Equalizer, among others, with a soupçon of The Worst-Case Scenario Handbook. Michael narrates the show in voiceover, which allows him to teach the audience about various spy tricks by explaining what he's doing. These are often the highlight of the show, and many fans now throw in "I learned that from Burn Notice" when they offer advice on day-to-day difficult situations.

Burn Notice Fandom

The fandom started out slowly at first, but as more and more people caught on to the show, it has continued to grow. In the Yuletide challenge for 2008, it was one of the most-offered and most-requested small fandoms. It remained a Yuletide fandom in 2009, with only 3 stories written. It has a very small number of stories on fanfiction.net for a currently airing series.

There are a plethora of possibilities among the main characters, and some strong guest characters, for fanfiction. Still, the most popular subjects seem to be spystuff, Michael and Fiona, Michael and Sam, and Michael, Sam, and Fiona together as a threesome, so slash, gen, and het are all fairly popular. Some fans like to pair Sam, who canonically mooches off older women for his living these days, with Michael's mom.

Fiona and Michael were together in their past, and during the first season of the series, Fi is anxious to resume their relationship, while Michael avoids it for many reasons, not the least is that Fi thinks violence is foreplay, while Michael doesn't, and that he doesn't want her to be hurt by being romantically involved with a burned agent -- it's easier to think of her as an asset and work with her without entanglements. This leaves much room for fans to play with their relationship in fiction.

The introduction of Jesse in season four led to the start of what appears to be a cononical love triangle.

The show lends itself to crossovers with other similarly themed canons like White Collar, Leverage or the NCIS and CSI franchises.

In 2013, a fan wrote about her Yuletide request and why she would appreciate a Michael Westen/Sam Axe story:

Michael's world is often pretty grim, angsty, and tense; Sam's is usually pretty cheerful, friendly, and laid-back. I love seeing how effortlessly those two worldviews fit together as they work together toward the same goal, or even just hanging out. I'm fascinated by how far back they clearly go, and how often their paths not only crossed (I loved Michael's casual cameo in The Fall of Sam Axe), but merged, so they wound up working together -- Michael doesn't seem to have any other Navy SEAL buddies, just Sam. And over the years, they've clearly developed brocooli. <3 They're each other's chosen family, and from what we've seen, that isn't usual for either of them. Michael especially doesn't choose family lightly, and doesn't make friends easily; Sam makes friends easily and is loyal to them, but it's all more casual buddy stuff -- Michael (and the rest of Michael's chosen family) is where he's put his heart. They'd do anything for each other, and not just because they owe each other their lives countless times over. They even sometimes manage to tell each other how they feel, in their own awkwardly sincere way, instead of coming at it sideways through teasing. And for all the darkness of the last couple of seasons, their relationship just got tighter and stronger, and Sam, more than anyone else, was the rock Michael could always depend on, no matter what – both to be there for him, and to call him on his bullshit when needed. It’s possible I melted into a puddle of goo during the end of s6, when Michael was just clutching at a dying Sam and freaking right the hell out. [1]

Notable Fanworks



  • Burn, Noticed, an episode-by-episode rewatch and review podcast of Burn Notice, started in July 2019



Communities and Archives


  1. ^ Dear Yuletide Writer, posted by Arduinna on October 13, 2013