Episode 1: Pilot
Production Number: BN100
Written by: Matt Nix
Directed by: Jace Alexander
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Michael Westen is a spy, who in the middle of a deal, gets burned or cut off from all his contacts and bank accounts. He gets dumped in Miami where he has to try to survive on his spy skills while figuring out who burned him. Meanwhile, he helps out a caretaker, Javier, who is being framed by his employer for a robbery on his estate.
While on assignment in Nigeria, covert operative Michael Westen learns that he's been "burned." For a spy, it's the equivalent of being fired. A burned spy is blacklisted from all government agencies and resources; his bank accounts are frozen and his credit is trashed. Michael barely escapes Nigeria and wakes up, battered, in a Miami motel. In order to survive and fund his own personal investigation, Michael enlists the help of the only two "friends" he has: Fiona, an ex-IRA operative who also happens to be an ex-girlfriend and Sam, a washed-out military intelligence contact who the feds have keeping an eye on Michael. Agent Harris and Agent Lane don't know why they are even keeping an eye on Michael, they're simply following orders. He's also forced to deal with the family he went halfway around the world to get away from - particularly his mother, who couldn't be happier to have her son back in town.
Through a former associate Michael gets a lead on a small investigation job: a caretaker of an estate, Javier, has been accused of stealing valuable art from his employer, Graham Pyne. All evidence points to it being an inside job and Javier, with very little money to offer ($4,600), has nowhere else to turn. Michael first talks to the washed-our Army Ranger, and Pyne's head of security, Vincent, who's less than forth coming. Michael contacts Barry, a money laundered to try to track down an art dealer that might be selling the stolen artwork. However when Michael connects the dots he quickly discovers that it was in fact an inside job: Pyne orchestrated the robbery and framed Javier in order to collect insurance.
Michael confronts Pyne with the incriminating evidence. When Pyne and his bodyguard come after Javier and his son, Michael is already a step ahead of them and has set up a trap at Javier's house. Michael gives the son some advice on fighting back against bullies (or Afghan war-lords). After a trap is set by Michael, Pyne has accidentally shot his bodyguard, and Michael has enough evidence to send both of them to jail for conspiracy to commit kidnapping. With the mounting evidence hanging over his head, Pyne agrees to clear Javier's name and provide financial support to Javier and his son.
Michael finds an apartment, with Oleg as his landlord. While the rent is only $200 a month, he's forced to live right outside Club Warehouse. Through out his job, Michael also has the joy of meeting his neighbor, Sugar, a drug dealer. Michael educates us on the proper way of "evicting" a neighbor, mainly involving supplies from your local hardware store.
Meanwhile, Michael keeps trying to get in touch with his old government handler, Dan Siebels, who won't accept his calls. Deciding to get creative, Michael resorts to mailing Siebels a fake bomb in order to get his attention. The ploy works, and Michael finally gets to confront Siebels about the burn notice. Siebels believes Michael's probably been framed, but there's nothing he can do to help him. He tells Michael not to leave Miami, unless he wants an FBI manhunt after him. To top it all off, Michael returns home to find his door open and the floor covered with surveillance photos. It's not the FBI, but whoever it is, they've been tracking his every move. And they've left a message: Welcome to Miami.
The first fifteen minutes of this episode really set the stage for the entire series. Michael's voice-overs give a clear, calm voice to the chaotic action on the screen. It's also nice to see that almost every decision Michael makes has a nice logical reason, even if it's something insane like planning on convulsions of pain while you're on an airplane.We also learn what a nice guy Michael can be, even when he's stealing your car. Helpful hints for losing a trail in a car was a great example of the integration of comedy (Madeline's nagging) and action (car chase). I may have enjoyed Michael's tutorial on dealing with a bad neighbor the most. It proves that this is a guy that likes to think with his head and not come out guns blazing (like Fiona). Michael once again proved his head was his most powerful weapon when he defeated Graham Pyne with a cell phone, gun, and mirrors.The final scene, that helped to really set up the mystery for who burned Michael. Seeing all of those pictures on the ground did a great job of giving the audience the spooks about someone following them that closely. It was a great way to end the pilot.