BURN NOTICE Finale “Guilty as Charged” Review

Burn Notice

The BURN NOTICE summer finale “Guilty as Charged” is the one where Michael Westin doesn’t win and keep winning.

Following up on last week, Jesse, now knowing Michael burned him, wants to shoot him. Meanwhile, Michael plans to kidnap industrialist and terror-crime mastermind John Barrett, dangling Simon’s bible with code as an offer. Then, a criminal defense lawyer for scumbags comes to Michael for help; his little girl’s been kidnapped by one of his clients. Eventually, she’s rescued, tricking the kidnapper into thinking some minor crook is his brother he wanted out of jail. Michael, Sam and Fi set up a small island-ish area at the end of a pier-road to fake the Bible turnover and take Bennett. But Vaughn, told to stay out of it, of course shows up with his men and it’s a shootout in which one of Bennett’s muscle boys grabs Michael and he’s shot by someone with a rifle – Jesse – and so is Michael in the process, in the upper chest (or upper back, really). Bennett herds him into the SUV he arrived in and in a desperate move, bleeding profusely, Michael makes a grab for the steering wheel to send the SUV out of control until is rolls and crashes. Bennett appears dead and Michael could be dying from his wound as he black out. The last thing he sees is a figure in boots grabbing Bennett’s metal briefcase with the bible inside. Now that’s a cliffhanger.

This was a fast moving episode with loads of tension-building scenes. Robert Patrick’s Bennett is one scary character because he’s not a cartoon villain of the week and projects power, a man who manipulates and controls. The main story of the kidnapped girl was almost secondary as we waited to see what would happen with Bennett, though seeing Michael’s initial plan fail was a nice turn, plus the crew dud get a miniature sub out of the rescue, which they planned ot use to make off with Bennett (another plan gone wrong). Jeffrey Donovan’s Michael is at the core of “Guilty as Charged” and he’s in hardscore spy mode for much of it. Bruce Campbell and Gabrielle Anwar have their Sam-Fiona patter down, though there was little in the way of lighter glib moments this time out. When Fi and Maddie (Sharon Gless) try to talk to Jesse (Coby Bell), it’s a terse, tense exchange and best when Fiona talks about how Michael first lied to her Sam spied on Michael and they’ve all forgiven each other and also Maddie says she’s tired of having to wait for Jesse, out of cigarettes (she smokes like a factory, not a chimney) and is trying to keep her son from being shot. Introduced this year, Bell’s Jesse has become an essential cog in the machinery, so it’s hard to imagine his story just wrapping up with a restored job. Watch, he’ll turn it down and stay with the team. Add to this mix of character’s backstabbing Vaughn (Robert Wisdom who does friendly slime so well), still something of mystery, but clearly not be trusted at all.

Of course, Michael’s not going to die from his wound (you know that ain’t gonna happen) and perhaps Jesse does let go of the anger after getting his chance to shoot Michael and save him at the same time. Here’s betting Bennett’s alive too and will be seething and on the offensive. We won’t have to wait until next summer to see how it wraps up (and that’s likely to be over several new episodes) as Burn Notice returns in November.

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