Burn Notice pulled out the big guns (and explosions and fights) for its summer season finale. In “Desperate Times,” Michael finally faced the man who killed his brother.

The Players:

  • Director: Renny Harlin
  • Writer: Craig O’Neill
  • Cast: Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell, Sharon Gless, Coby Bell

Episode Title: “Desperate Times”

To catch Nate’s killer, Michael enlists someone he’d rather not turn to: Agent Card (i.e. the CIA). But for closure and spy honor, he sucks it up and asks for help. He lands an off the books mission to head to Panama and track down the perpetrator. Of course, when you’re dealing with espionage, things aren’t always as they seem.

The Good:

  • Maddy’s Return: After a noticeable absence, Maddy finally returns when Michael slips her info about his assignment in Panama. She looks awful – in exactly the way a grieving mother would. Her hair is flat, she wears no makeup and if looks could kill, she wouldn’t have any sons left. She turns in a biting performance and is a highlight of the episode.
  • Maddy Blackmails the CIA: Maddy doesn’t just return with a pop; she returns with a bang. A CIA-blackmailing kind of bang. Using the information Michael gave her, she blackmails Card into showing her the classified file about Nate’s murder. As Card points out, she blackmailed him without batting an eyelash. So that’s where Michael gets his moxie!
  • Michael Agrees to Leave the Spy Game: You might be thinking, “What? How is that good? The show is called Burn Noticem, not Retired Spy in Miami.” It’s good because it guarantees that the show still has somewhere to go. The minute Michael promises Fi this is his last moment (and means it), you know everything’s about to go to hell.
  • Card’s Real Play: Michael catches Tyler Gray because he’s Michael Westen and he always gets his target. Unfortunately, he was never supposed to catch the elusive Tyler. He was sent on a suicide mission because (BUM BUM BUM) Card orchestrated the whole thing. Now he needs Michael out of the way. Gray reveals that it was Card who hired him and a quick call to Card confirms it. Michael and his team leave the building Card told them to stay in just moments before it explodes. This leaves them stranded in Panama with a new spy-tastic mystery to solve.

The Bad:

  • Season Finale: The bad is that we have to wait until November to find out what happens next.


“Desperate Times” was exactly the ending this season needed. Michael was getting too comfortable with the CIA. Having his mentor double cross him is a plot twist that forces him back to his resourceful ways. Plus, Maddy was a total bad ass this week and you know how we feel about that. Now it’s just a waiting game until November.

Rating: 9/10

Burn Notice airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on USA.

What did you think of this week’s episode?