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Featured TV on DVD Review: Burn Notice: Season Five

July 8th, 2012

Burn Notice: Season Five - Buy from Amazon

Burn Notice is a show I've been following from the beginning. I've gotten a chance to review previous seasons and even the TV movie. Can the latest season maintain the high quality level fans have come to expect?

The Show

We'll start with a quick recap of show. The basic premise involves Michael Westen, a C.I.A. agent who was framed for a number of horrible crimes, which meant he was burned. That's spy-speak for fired. For the first few seasons, he tried to track down the people who did this to him, with the help of a few friends: his ex-girlfriend Fi; an ex-Navy seal, Sam Axe; his mother, Madeline, and last season he added another former spy, Jesse Porter (Coby Bell). He kept getting closer and closer to the truth, which leads to the end of last season.

At the end of season four, Michael finally learns about the organization that was responsible for burning him. So how does this pay off in season five? Poorly, unfortunately. Michael and his new C.I.A. handler, Max (Grant Show), work their way up the organization's pecking order, but this happens between seasons and we don't get to see much of it. And when they finally get to the top guy, it ends in a suicide. That's not very satisfying. Quite quickly after that, the main plot thread of the seasons begins when Max is killed and Michael is framed. It's a really good frame job, so it is fortunate that the lead investigator, Agent Pearce (Lauren Stamile), asks him to be an integral part of the investigation. It does make sense. After all, not only is Michael a very trusted member of Max's team, but he's also off the books. He can do the missions and follow leads no C.I.A. agent can, because it is so much easy to disavow someone who isn't actually working with them. He's able to steer the investigation away from him, which is tricky, because nearly every lead he gets points to him. Like I said, it was a really, really good frame job. When it looks like he's finally cracked the case... That's way too far into spoiler territory.

In addition to the main story arc, most episodes touch one-off cases, some of which are through Michael's C.I.A. job, others touch on some elements from the past. Michael's brother, Nate (Seth Peterson), returns; Barry (Paul Tei) asks for help, but this time its for his brother; Larry comes back, again. There are even two episodes that have call backs to The Fall of Sam Axe. I asked in my review that Ilza Rosario would come back as a guest shot, and they listened. Okay, I wasn't the only one who made that suggestion, and I'm nearly 100% sure they didn't have my review in mind when they did that, but I'm still happy they did. The fun guest spots continue with Aviva playing a hacker and Charisma Carpenter playing the wife of a bioweapons engineer.

The overall quality of season five is amazing. I don't think it was quite the best, as I didn't like that early stumble. Granted, it does payoff in the end, but it is still a weakness.

The Extras

The extras are a little light. Things start with deleted scenes on all four discs. There are also some outtakes on disc one, an extended version of Army of One, an audio commentary track on the season finale, and finally a featurette on the villains in the show. It's not a terrible, but it is a little disappointing.

The Verdict

Burn Notice remains one of my favorite shows. It combines the best elements from the spy, heist, and con-man genres. Season Five is maybe a tiny step down from season four, and the extras are weaker, but it is still worth picking up.

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