Recap / Burn Notice S 1 E 8 Wanted Man

Client of the Week

The morning after Michael and Fiona sleep together, they get together for a day at the beach. First, Fi has a job she wants Michael to help her with; she's picking up odd jobs as a bounty hunter. Her current target has returned and Fiona is in competition with another bounty hunter to try and capture him. Michael distracts her foe while Fiona takes down the target, Tom. Upon hearing his story, Fiona insists that they take him as a client. She also begins using him to make Michael jealous, to force him to admit that they are in a relationship.

He's a liquor distributor and is friends with a hotel manager who showed him a two-million dollar brooch. Tom's access card was used the night the brooch was stolen, and he's been arrested.

Sam has drinks with Barry, the money launderer, to get information on the brooch and gets the name of a fence who can get them the information they need. Barry declines to make an introduction, though, as they had a falling out over a bad deal that cost Barry a client. Sam promises Michael will cost Cristo a few clients of his own, and Barry tells Sam how to find him.

Michael introduces himself to Cristo by breaking into his home. He also took the opportunity to search it and acquire some stolen goods Cristo had hidden in his freezer. Michael pressures Cristo into telling him who has the stolen jewelry (making good on Sam's promise in the process). Cristo doesn't know the name, just the phone number. The jewelry he keeps so he can keep up the pressure on Cristo and protect his cover.

The phone number leads Team Westen to Lawrence Henderson, owner of the hotel the jewelry was stolen from. He made some bad investments and needed the money. Thomas was just a convenient fall guy. Michael approaches him as a fence, informing him that his contacts in Europe were less than discreet and offers to buy the piece. Their plan is to get Henderson to bring the jewels out into the open so they can get him caught with it and arrested.

While they're discussing this with Tom at Fiona's apartment, Wayne, the other bounty hunter, shows up and breaks in. It's a fight Michael cannot win, so it's fortunate Fi's their to bail him out. Fi breaks a snowglobe over his head and they take Tom to Michael's loft.

Henderson is too cautious to bring it out, so Team Westen has to convince him that a large team is trying to get past his security. They leave evidence of surveillance, bribe a guard, and take out the security cameras. This works, and Henderson calls Michael in to talk about the sale. In fact, it was a trap; Henderson tortured Cristo and blew Michael's cover. Michael beats a hasty retreat.

Henderson still thinks his security is blown. With help from Barry, Team Westen learns where Henderson is likely to take the brooch. They stage a bank robbery and call the police. Then they call Henderson and get his guards to pull their guns. The police buy the frame, and they find the brooch on Henderson's person. Tom's troubles are over.

Burn Notice Arc

Michael got a copy of his burn notice dossier from Jason Bly, and it's not good. Someone put together pieces of his past with a lot of lies to make him look untrustworthy. Meanwhile, Sam has gotten his friends at the FBI to tell him about the man who put together the dossier. His name is Phillip Cowan, and he works for the National Security Agency.

Michael asks Fi to reach out to her underworld associates, the scarier the better. In his own words "I've been accused of being a major security risk; it's time I started acting like one." Fi sets him up to meet with some Libyans. Michael offers them a deal; you get Phillip Cowan in trouble with US security. In return, Michael will give them information about who blew up a Libyan gas supply depot.

The episode ends with a call from Phillip Cowan. The Libyans sent him a fruit basket and he's angry. Michael threatens to send even more problems his way unless he learns why he was burned. Cowan promises that he'll be in touch.

Tropes include:

  • Acceptable Break from Reality: How does Michael do laundry? Tom lampshades this, Michael shines it on.
  • Actor Allusion: The Libyan's final meeting with Michael is in a car, with the Libyan behind the wheel.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Subverted. When Tom goes in for it, Fi turns her head and sends him packing.
  • The Big Guy: The other bounty hunter, played by a former NFL linebacker. He's huge. Lampshaded several times.
  • Blindfolded Trip: Michael's trip to meet with the Libyans.
  • Break-In Threat: How Michael introduces himself to Cristo, the fence.
  • Brick Joke: Michael jokingly suggests to the Libyan he speaks with that they get Cowan in trouble with his superiors, maybe by sending him a fruit basket. At the end of the episode Cowan calls Michael, furiously asking why the Libyans are sending him a fruit basket.
  • Chekhov's Gun
    • Fiona's snowglobes. Gets fired twice. First, when she breaks one over the head of the giant bounty hunter who broke into her home. Second, when Michael buys her one as an apology at the end of the episode.
    • Also, the half-step Michael trips over in the first five minutes. He takes advantage of that to trip Wayne, the bounty hunter, later.
    • The jewelry Michael liberates from Cristo is handy later in establishing his cover ID as a high end fence. It returns again when Sam gives it to Barry in payment for information.
  • Choke Holds: Michael attempts one on Wayne, but he's too big and just pulls Michael off his back, and starts choking him.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The Libyan threatens Michael with this, Michael tells him it wouldn't work. Also hinted as the eventual fate of the people who blew up the gas supply depot.
    Libyan: The security services in my country are not known for being gentle.
  • Cold Cash: Cristo hides some jewels in his freezer, where Michael finds them. Michael lampshades this and points out it's too common a hiding place to be useful.
  • Continuity Nod: The episode opens with the two things that happened at the end of the previous, Michael and Fi slept together, and Bly gave Michael his faked dossier before leaving Miami.
  • Distressed Dude: There's absolutely no way Michael could beat Wayne in a fight. The guy's huge. Fiona has to save him.
  • The Ditz: Fiona's target, the client of the week, Tom. He's wanted by the police in connection with a crime and jumping bail, and he goes back to the scene of the crime.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: That brooch is 2 million dollars of diamonds set in platinum.
  • Frame-Up
    • Tom's been framed by the owner of the hotel.
    • Michael's burn notice is also a frame job. It pieces together bits of real information about Michael's past with lots of dangerous lies.
    • Finally, Michael stages a frame to make it look like Henderson is trying to rob the bank. It doesn't need to stick; he just needs the cops to find the stolen brooch in his pocket.
  • Friendly Sniper: Sam once again takes up a rifle for the cause.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Pushing on Henderson's security sends him into a tailspin and he ends up torturing Cristo and blowing Michael's cover.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Invoked by Fiona, who spends the episode making Michael jealous in retaliation for dismissing their night together as not a Relationship Upgrade.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Sam and Henderson ham it up. Sam really wants that drink, and Henderson waves it around like it's a glowstick at a rave.
  • Home Field Advantage: Michael points out how useful this is in the narration, as Wayne trips over something Michael tripped over earlier in the episode.
  • Human Shield: Michael uses Henderson as one to escape from Henderson's security.
  • I Am Very British: Tom spends some time teaching Fi about baseball. She mentions that it's really nothing like cricket.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Sam's cover as Mike's middle man is very professional, which means he's not allowed to drink. Sam hates it. Word of God has it that when the actor playing Henderson learned that's where Bruce was taking his portrayal, he ramped up his handling of the alcohol props.
  • Improvised Weapon: Michael takes Henderson hostage with his neck-tie and a ball point pen.
  • Indy Ploy: Henderson moves in unexpected directions, scotching Michael's plan.
  • Ironic Echo: "I didn't think we were in a relationship, Michael."
  • Jumped at the Call: When Michael asks if Sam is going to help, Sam says "Of course, when have I ever said no?"
  • Kick the Dog: The fire that burned down Henderson's bar almost killed a bus boy.
  • Kill It with Fire: Before Henderson bought the Victor, he owned a bar in New Orleans that had a similar cash flow problem and was hit by a "very convenient fire".
  • Lethal Joke Item: The head of Libyan security sends Cowan a fruit basket.
  • Noodle Incident: Something happened in Iran.
    Michael: Oooh, let's avoid people who use "Michael Westen" and "jihad" in the same sentence.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Michael walks into a room and sees Cristo sitting their, badly beaten, and knows his cover's blown.
  • Only One Name: Cristo the fence. Sam and Barry also go back and forth listing celebrities: Madonna, Charro, Sting, Fergie, Pelé, Spider-Man, Liberace.
  • Properly Paranoid: Henderson has a lot of security. Fair enough, he has enemies.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Michael's cover wears a pale rose shirt and a stronger pink pocket square.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Michael tries to deny he and Fiona are in a relationship, to her disappointment.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Sam uses his FBI buddies to find out Phillip Cowan's name, and his cop buddies to find out who stole the brooch.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: He, in this case. Sam ditches the Hawaiian shirts for a nice suit and shaves.
  • Surfer Dude: Michael briefly pretends to be one to distract the other bounty hunter. He says "dude" a lot.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Tom Mckee returns to the scene of the crime. In a car with his name on the license plate.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: It's official; Sam and Fiona are on friendly, talking terms. Sam walks in and lets Michael know that Fiona's unhappy about how focused he is on his dossier.
  • Why We Are Bummed Communism Fell: Sam hasn't had this much fun since East Germany.
  • Your Favorite: Fiona makes Michael tuna with tahini.