Some shows stretch their premise and credibility beyond the point of believability, thereby ruining the fun and driving off the audience. For season 5, Burn Notice tweaked the basic story slightly and managed to be even better as a result.
That also means the review will spoil the end of season 4. There’s no way around that.
Season 5 picks up a few months after Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) has gotten back into the good graces of the CIA. While he’s not fully back on active duty, he’s been involved in missions to help take down the organization that burned him. It looks like they’ve got them all, but something doesn’t feel right to Michael. His friends Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell), Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar), and Jesse (Coby Bell) tell him to let it go. Even his mom Madeline (Sharon Gless) thinks it’s a chapter he can put behind him.
And then his contact at the CIA is murdered and Michael is being framed for it. Obviously, someone isn’t quite done with him.
Meanwhile, Michael still reluctantly takes on cases to help people who are being threatened by dangerous criminals. Over the course of the season, Michael and his friends take on human traffickers, a loan shark, corporate spies turned hostage takers, and a diplomat dealing in illegal blood diamonds.
Okay, so for the most part this season feels like business as usual. Michael and his friends go up against dangerous criminals and use their spy skills to take them down against overwhelming odds. The little tweak is that now Michael is at least working unofficially with the CIA, something he’s been working for since season 1. Frankly, the story of his burn was becoming so convoluted; it needed a reset and somewhere new to go, so I’m glad they took this step. For the first time in a couple seasons, I was able to follow that ongoing part of the story from week to week and get sucked into the show all over again.
Of course, the “case of the week” aspects of the episodes are as strong as ever. If you just watch to see Michael and the gang take down the nasties they go up against week in and week out, you won’t be disappointed at all. There are still plenty of explosions, gun fights, car chases, and impossible odds – everything that keeps my heart pumping for the run of an episode. Basically, you get an action show each week.
By this point in a series, the actors and writers know the characters, and that’s certainly the case here. While the show is definitely more focused on plot than character, we still get some amazing character moments that remind us why we care about the core characters. And the actors do a great job of bringing those moments and all the others to life.
Season 5 actually consisted of 18 episodes, two more than usual, and all of them are present in this four disc set. Of course, you get them with wide screen picture and full surround sound. In the way of extras, there's an extended episode, gag reel, deleted scenes, and a featurette about the villains of the show including interviews with the actors who played them.
So if you are a fan of Burn Notice, you’ll need season 5 to get the next chapter in Michael’s life. And you’ll enjoy every thrilling second of the journey.