Burn Notice Creator: 'Very Different' Season 6 Will Make Things 'Vastly Worse' for Michael & Co.

USA Network’s Burn Notice left viewers with the ultimate humdinger at the close of last season, when Fiona (played by Gabrielle Anwar) – in order to wrest away the leverage that big bad Anson Fullerton had against Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) – turned herself into the feds for the bombing of the consulate. How that selfless act plays out will fuel a “very different” kind of Season 6 (premiering Thursday at 9/8c), series creator Matt Nix shares in this TVLine Q&A.

TVLINE | Coming out of the Season 5 finale, it would seem that with Fi having surrendered herself, Anson Fullerton (played by Jere Burns) has no cards left to play. Am I right?
He has whatever resources he has left over, but she has taken away the leverage that he had over Michael, so yeah, he’s pretty much out of options. Rebecca – Kristanna Loken’s character — is still around, and there’s whatever money he had. But in terms of Michael as the focus of his efforts to rebuild his organization, Anson now is basically fighting for his life.

PHOTO | First Look Poster: Burn Notice Season 6 Means Trouble!

TVLINE | Since Fiona only planted one of the explosions in the consulate, is it now a matter of proving she had no role in the larger tragedy? That Anson was behind it?
Ultimately, it isn’t about Fiona going to trial and people “proving” this or that. Fact is, Anson is a very embarrassing figure for the intelligence community, so to some extent it’s about them waking up to the fact that he is not who they thought he was. And yet they also need someone to go down for the bombing of that consulate. If Michael can get Anson, that’s a big step toward getting Fiona out of jail. It’s not the only step, but it’s a major one.

TVLINE | Oh, so it could be some time before Fi rejoins the team?
Oh yes. For a lot of reasons, many of them having to do with how the show works on the network — and I’m not blaming anyone for this — our season premieres often have to hit the reset button fairly quickly. But this year, between people sort of relaxing about serialization and the fact that we’re in our sixth year, the reset button really doesn’t get hit. So Fiona’s in jail for a while. And even when she gets out, other things are permanently changed. I mean, it’s still Burn Notice, but it’s a very different season. A very different season.

TVLINE | But since the Michael/Fiona dynamic is a reason why many folks tune in, how will you keep that alive?
Fiona’s time in jail isn’t about splitting them up; it’s about focusing on their struggle to be together. The question becomes how far Michael is willing to go for the woman he loves. They still have contact while she’s in prison, it’s just focused on the quest to get her out. The irony is that these episodes feature some of the most romantic, intense screen time they have had together. And that’s not a coincidence — their relationship thrives on conflict and danger.

TVLINE | How does prison go for Fiona? Is she prepared for it?
She’s Fiona. She can hold her own, but she’s also a very special prisoner with an enemy who is not sitting still. So, she has enemies in prison, enemies outside of prison…. Just keeping her alive is a task, much less getting her out.

RELATED | Desperate Housewives Alum Cast as Burn Notice Baddie

TVLINE | Seeing as this is your sixth season, is part of the struggle for you each year finding new ways to keep the larger mythology alive? When you launched the show, did you possibly have it mapped out this far?
In a general sort of way. It’s interesting, because the early marketing for this show, for totally legitimate reasons, was very focused on: “What is the name of the person who burned Michael Westen?” — but that had never really been my particular interest. It was a larger thing for me. But Anson really is the last guy. I wouldn’t rule out some of the characters who were involved in the burn notice coming back at some point, but there’s not going to be “a man behind the man” here.

TVLINE | But once Anson is taken down, is there still a “burn notice” in Burn Notice?
Yes. Yes, but for other reasons. And this season really shakes up Michael’s position vis-a-vis the intelligence community in general. Certain things get resolved, but ultimately Michael and everybody find themselves in a vastly worse position than they were in before. This year we really confront, “What has this quest cost Michael? And how much more is it going to cost?” And the answer is: A whole lot.

TVLINE | Aw, now you’ve got me worried about Ma.
[Laughs] The question becomes, How much can Michael ask of his friends? How much of their lives are they supposed to devote to his quest? As we’re resolving a lot of the questions associated with Michael’s burn notice, his situation actually becomes far more intense and far more dire. It’s been exciting working on this season because the episodes are just very different. They are largely focused on very high-stakes, very personal situations for Michael and the other main characters. Those episodes tend to be fast and intense, with immediate, life-or-death stakes, the kind that have always tended to be our favorites to make, and often turn out to be fan favorites as well. It’s all very focused on the team this year, which is very exciting.

Burn Notice fans, are you excited for what Season 6 has in store?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. DJ Doena says:

    Can’t wait. One more day to go. :)

  2. Hmm….. I’m not sure how I feel about this. It seems that the show is taking a big step in turning away from Mike and Co. helping people that need help but can’t help themselves and giving Michael some “me” story lines. A big part of the success of the show is the sympathy that Mike’s continuous striving to protect other people has created. I’m not sure that will survive a whole season about Mike doing something for himself. A spy is someone who lives a life in shades of gray and the only thing that firmly established Mike, Sam and Fi as “good guys” was what they were wiling to do for people. Not for money but because it was right. The show has been gradually veering in this direction for a while now and I kind of miss unselfish Michael. Don’t get me wrong, I love this show but I’m just a little nervous about a wholesale desertion of the team as a force for the underdog and the desperate and going into full fledged spy mode. I guess we’ll see.

    • AgentVee says:

      This is exactly how I feel.

    • Laura says:

      I agree with Lauren. For those reasons and the fact that Taryn Manning will be in prison with Fi, I’m not sure if I even want to watch this year. I was on the fence at the end of last season but i think Taryn pushed me over the edge since I can’t stand that actress. I want to put the TV on mute every time she opens her mouth.

    • Anna says:

      Well said Lauren!

    • I agree with you too Lauren. I also enjoy the moments of humor on the show and from what I gather from this article that’s probably going to be missing this season.

    • Autumn says:

      TVLine should forward Lauren’s post directly to Mr. Nix…I think many Burn Notice fans will agree with her take on the new direction, I certainly do!

    • Lori Fugate says:

      Totally agree with you Lauren…I didn’t like last season (5) at all and was disappointed in the direction of the show. The HH (head honchos) need to go back to what made the show work — as in the previous seasons 1, 2, 3 & 4. I understand the need to keep the show going but they shouldn’t have deviated so far from the basis of the show.

    • bob says:

      I totally agree with Lauren

    • Shelley says:

      I agree also. Shows need to innovate, but one aspect of the show I’ve always liked is they’ve never lost that “helping folks” component–and bringing in new and interesting people who they do help.

      Too often, show writers and creators get bored, and when they do, they “play” … and they leave fans in the dust.

      • Tom Mc says:

        Ok, let me be the first to say I don’t agree with Lauren. :) There have been many times in the past when I thought the formulaic structure of the show has been a distraction. “We are in dire circumstances, but oh by the way, Mike’s Ma has a cousin who knows somebody that lives across the street from a woman whose husband is in trouble with the mob…so we have to drop everything and help!” I think after 5 seasons it isn’t a bad idea to try something different…”very different.” I love the show and will watch anyway, because as long as Mike, Fi and Sam are there, *I* am there!

        • Bob says:

          And I agree with Tom – let’s see how it plays out.

          • prinz says:

            At some point though, in order to be able to help others, you have to handle your own business. I think Michael and the team need this year to be focused on them. Each week for five years Michael & Company have helped the helpless. This familiar aspect, the show as a typical and predictable procedural with its own mythological twists now and then, has always taken precedent and that has worked well. That’s what procedurals do.

            And, as predictably, it sounds like Lauren and others here are comfortable with the existing format. Why not? It has worked for 5 seasons. But that’s what procedurals do, make audiences comfortable. You don’t have to think a whole lot about it while watching and the tension is manageable. But when I read Lauren is “a little nervous” about the change in narrative direction and that she appears to be speaking for a great number here who are in agreement with that sentiment, then to me that’s a sign that the writing is getting too predictable and maybe stale. I for one am glad to hear that the showrunner is going to shake things up and ratchet up the intensity by going in a different direction. How far in a different direction of course remains to be seen.

        • okiearkie says:

          Me To…..I love the team and they are a tad funny, even when they are in trouble!!!!1

        • I think they’ll probably cut Jesse. Not because of the character or because the bosses want to “shake things up” but because Coby Bell is now the star of The Game on BET and I’m sure that is a hellish schedule for him.

        • So, let me say right off the bat that I am not a fair weather fan nor am I a timid procedural TV consumer. My interests are almost insanely varied. I go from Dance Moms, to the Closer, to Game of Thrones, to Downtown Abbey, to Once Upon A Time, to things like LOST, Eli Stone or Pushing Daisies (still mad it was cancelled). No I’m not crazy, I just love the medium of television. When I say I’m nervous I mean exactly that. Not that I’m not going to watch or that I think the creators are idiots or anything else. Burn Notice has always been different than a typical spy movie or tv show because of the “Robin Hood” aspects of it. If I want to watch a self indulgent story line about a burned spy trying to pull his and his friends butts out of the fire I’ll just watch the Bourne Trilogy. More expensive special effects and amazing car chases. To me Burn Notice has always been about the struggle between Mike trying to get back to his career of “the greater good” working for the CIA and the good he can do right at home in Miami with Fi, Sam and his mother. Being a super spy he tries to do both and sometimes doesn’t succeed. It humanizes him and it’s a real struggle. You see him contemplating a life with Fi where he can see his mom on a regular basis and hang around with friends. A life not in the shadows working alone. He sees that it can be a good thing and it is something he deserves. Turning the show into one big spy flik is a serious down grade in quality for me. I’ll try it of course because I’ve loved this show since it premiered but I have concerns.

          • Pat Graney says:

            Good point. I think the Cody Bell is expendable; he’s an excellent actor but I want more time for Bruce Campbell, the main reason I watch the show. . and I am SO sick of the Sharon Gless character smoking; it’s disgusting. I want to change the channel sometimes. I realize it’s part of the character, but smoking is SO low-class and so not shown much on tv anymore. I wish Burn Notiice would “get with the program” on this.

        • Elizabeth says:

          I like where the show is going and I will not stop watching. The dynamics of the cast works very well together and it really shows now considering the circumstance. I absolutely love this show and cannot wait to see where this season ends!

    • I agree completely with Lauren…it is just too bad the powers that be do not listen to the fans. Why try to fix what isn’t broken.

    • susan in az says:

      I agree. I will miss the hero aspect of Sam especially. He has always been my hero since Brisco County. Mike and Fiona and what about Mom!?!?! Well maybe adding Mr. Dr. Happy pants from Scrubs will add something to the stories to make up for it.

    • Jordan says:

      I read somewhere that a fan favorite, a main character will die this season too. So you know that means, Sam, Jesse, “Ma,” or Fi are not going to be coming back. I was really disappointed to hear that, I don’t want any of the cast to die, or leave the show. I love the way it is now. It seems all my favorite shows are doing this. Krya Sedwick is leaving the Closer, and the spin off is going to be called “Major Crimes.” Criminal Minds did not renew Paget Brewster, “Emily Prentiss,” contract, so she won’t be coming back, they are signing Jeanne Tripplehorn from HBO’s Big Love. They tried that the season they brought in Rachel Nichols for AJ Cook and Paget Brewster, Emily and JJ. Didn’t work, brought them both back and it was a great season. I just don’t want to see this happen to Burn Notice. I can”t see this team without one of it’s members. Killing off a major character, a fan favorite, it’s always a mistake. I hope it’s not the end of a great show like it is now. I hate it when the suits start messing around with things and don’t listen to the fans. The loyal fans make the shows and rating stay high, but then they start to monkey around, and that’s when things go wrong. I don’t want any of these characters to be killed off, but it’s going to happen.

      • Andy says:

        Ya I truly hope it isn’t any of the core group. If Bruce Campbell or Gabriella Anwar goes it will kill the show. One of the best episodes ever was “The Fall of Sam Axe”. The way these characters all fit together is just too good to lose any one of them. Sam Axe is me, he is simply the best. Mojito swillin, cougar chasin gigalo with a serious streak of honor and 2 splashes of bad ass!

  3. Courtney says:

    I’m SOOO glad that the whole Anson thing isn’t going to feature so prominently any more. I never liked him as a storyline, the character really had nothing that endeared him to the audience & the whole thing felt a little rushed to me. And I’m glad that they’re finally starting a season that doesn’t involve Michael coming back after saying “goodbye”. That was getting a little old.

    I’m excited about Fi being in prison but I too have reservations about the show becoming too much about Michael & his own issues. But I’m willing to trust Matt Nix on this one, after all he has given us 5 pretty good years of the show.

    • Jordan says:

      Who do you guys think Matt will kill off this season. He said it’s going to be a major character, which to me means, Fi, Jesse, Sam, or Maddy, Michael’s mom. I hate the fact that it’s going to be one of these characters, Matt said a main character/fan favorite. I hate when the suits do this to good shows. Criminal Minds got rid of two main characters, AJ Cook, and Paget Brewster. They did bring them back last season, but now Paget Brewster, (Emily Prentiss) is leaving for good. She left at the end of this season, and they are bringing in Jeanne Tripplehorn from HBO’s Big Love as an FBI Profiler. I believe in the old saying, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I don’t want to see Burn Notice get rid of any of the main characters…this is a great show, and it works because everyone adds something different to their characters. Matt Nix will screw up Burn Notice for the loyal fans, and the show will never be the same..what a shame. That sucks.

      • Yeah, Jordan, I agree that losing a main character this season – in addition to shifting the traditional “Help the poor, desperate, client in need” focus to a more personal “Michael is in complete crisis” mode, could risk fan interest, perhaps even causing the show to “Jump the
        shark”. I also support Lauren’s statement, and also agree that the show is more appealing
        to me with the characters working together as one unit, achieving a common goal – which is usually to rescue or resolve the problem(s) of the client.
        As did Jordan, I did read that a main character will be written off of the show this season, and if I had to make a guess..I would think that Coby Bell’s character, Jesse, would be the casualty – based on the “Last one hired, first one fired” theory… After all…Jesse didn’t join us until season 4, and after only 2 seasons, we know just about everything there is to know about his character – a brief childhood including details surrounding the death of his mother. Of course we know he was with the CIA and burned by Michael, he sought revenge – and got it. The majority of character detail all occurs in season 4. I wasn’t so sure that I’d be able to accept a new member of the Burn Notice team 4 years into the series, but truth be told, I feel that it turned out to be a great fit and ended up complementing the story on the whole, wonderfully!!! I am usually unable to accept a cast change so far into a series, but Coby Bell brought another handsome, amusing, animated, and determined “renegade – type” character to the table with Jesse. With the introduction of Jesse’s character, he insists on finding the source of his “Burn Notice”, and vowels revenge. So,…here we are….2 seasons later, and Jesse’s determination to ‘get back in’ seems to be waning. He seems to be just, “content”, and not quite as ready to ‘clean house’. So I’m not really sure which direction the writers are going in with respect to Jesse’s character.
        I also know – and you all may also know – that Coby Bell is also working on another project regularly, (I believe it is on BET) the name of the sitcom is called, “The Game” and if I’m not mistaken – and I may be!!! – I think he portrays a professional football player.
        So, that’s pretty much my long-winded spin on things!!! I appreciate all of the long hours/days, and hard work that the most awesome cast and crew of “Burn Notice” put in for all of us devoted fans!!! I certainly DON’T want to lose ANY of the cast, but, at the same time-to whomever it may be that is leaving us..I would first like to thank him/her for the awesome quality of entertainment that he/she has provided, and I certainly wish the best of luck and continued success on any and all future endeavors!!!! BURN NOTICE ROCKS!!!! :)

  4. Kat says:

    Like everyone else I agree with Lauren. However, I’ll continue to watch the show. I’ve been with it from the very first episode and I’m not abandoning them now.

  5. Sandy says:

    I have to agree with Lauren also. I liked the fact that Michael and friends helped others in need. I’m not sure that I like this new direction, but I will give it a few episodes. I liked the dynamic all of the characters had together, especially Michael and Fiona, and I’m not sure that is going to continue in this season. Have to take a “wait and see” approach to this.

  6. Lyn says:

    Kind of surprised that everyone here is hungering for more and more episodes that find our intrepid crew using all their efforts to find lost little children, help people whose stupid spouses/friends/siblings have gotten themselves in trouble, and perhaps rescue cute kittens from trees. I don’t mind the do-gooder vibe, but I’d be thrilled to see more plot lines that are more edgy, suspenseful, even dark. I like to see Michael & gang really challenged.

  7. Kevin says:

    I’s say lets take it easy and see how the season even STARTS.

    To me the show had started to feel like the A_TEAM or something…lets help folks this week, next week and so on…

    It actually feels like actions have consequences….remember FI has a past as a terrorist or colluding with terrorists, its at least interesting they acknowledge her past in a real way.

  8. Justin says:

    I like what Lauren said, but one way or another, I always look forward to this show no matter what. While I like the whole “Help a person in need” premise, every season shows that actions have consequences, which is a part of the show that I love too. Everything isn’t just all smiles and giggles. There are actually downsides and drama to being the good spy. Anson is not on my favorites list either, but he made a very good villain to me, which is what virtually EVERY show needs.

  9. bob says:

    I like to see Michael’s mother involved in the show as well.

  10. Cob says:

    I’m surprised everyone is so upset about the idea of moving the show in a new direction. Personally, I’m excited to see what it’s like when you take a character like Michael Westen and put the squeeze on him in from all directions, new directions. And, Don’t think the show will have lost all of its quaint charms, people. It’s the storyline that changes, not the style (in theory anyways).

    Maybe I’m different in that I don’t tune in for the formulaic show but, for the character development, to see what challenges the characters face, to see how things will change, not for the consistencies. Life is not consistent and it’s good to shake it up. Plus, I like the idea of seeing Michael and Sam and Jesse as a bad ass hit squad. Up to this point, it has been rare to see the whole team coordinating on a single task (task, not goal). I think it will be interesting to see. Plus, John C McGinley. Even if the premier sucks, I’m going to at least watch his story arc.

  11. Bob says:

    I’m glad to get away from plots with Michael constantly trying to get out from under the “Burn Notice” and finding “the man behind the man” – it was getting to be a little too much. I’m interested in seeing what new direction Nix moves with the show.

  12. Jerry says:

    Agree with Lauren. When the story line starts looking inward at the characters, the show has started its downward spiral.

  13. gay lynn harris says:

    I found the show to be everything I hoped it would be and I’m looking forward to each episode unfolding….

  14. Judy says:

    I love the show,a fan from the beginning.Matt is a very smart guy and hasn’t steered us wrong.I trust him to keep us entertained and coming back for more.

  15. Chuck says:

    I bet it’s Sam because Sam has almost died twice in this season. It sucks though because he’s my favorite character. CHUCK FINLEY IS FOREVER

  16. amberkenny says:

    Love this show, just finished season 5 had season 6 saved on my dvr now first 2 episodes got erased! I’m devestated! Until reading these comments I didn’t know any of this, I am excited, always excited to see what Michael and Co. Are going to do, Michael needs this, fi needs this Sam and Jesse will do just fine. I happily will go in the future where ever this road takes us, I’ve watched every episode from pilot to season 5 finale in last 3 months, totally hooked.

    • I was out of work for surgery, on short term disability for 4 mos. and my daughter set me up on Netflix. I watched seasons 1-4 then found season 5 and watched it….I have seen episodes 1-3 of season 6 and I love the show…..It has peeled the layers back to show us Michael’s emotion for Fiona……..I have to watch it when I can being that I don’t get usa at home………I’m with amberkenny……love the show!

  17. Mike Norris says:

    I agree about killing off main Characters I thought it would be Jessie for some reason other than who it was – Mr. Nix or writing staff / Marketing / advertising executive – Iif you read this send me an email I have an excellent Script for Burn Notice

  18. synnova colbert says:

    As a nemesis for Michael, Anson was perfect. He could get into Michael’s head, then slice him up. I would love to see Armand return…..cool, suave, sinister. He would make a great fiendish foe, or even a help for Michael, though, it would be a “watch your back” kind of thing. Pearce seems to be more CIA-like now, not FBI-ish. I like it her better. The story lines will be broader, and can be much more dark. Like the CIA, spooks belong in the dark, and there is a scariness to the things in the dark…….mmmm……can’t wait.

  19. vanessa landsbury says:

    ok……what’s going on here….where’s madeline…??? I know she blames michael for his death being the kind of business that he’s in…but…let’s not do away with madeline…..I don’t know why they would kill a “so-called” family member off….just to keep Jesse the “wanna-be” michael…

  20. Brian says:

    Sooo ready for season 6 to be out on netflix i love this show

  21. Anton Servasi says:

    Ummm the only thing i have to say is…… NOT EVEN ABOUT BURN NOTICE!! ;D
    Uhh for the people who might be aware of the Comedy Central show Ugly Americans. The word Humdinger…. shouldn’t be used to describe a CLIFFHANGER. ‘Humdinger’ is a another word for ORAL SEX on a man…. So yeah… i’m not sure how Burn Notice’s last season was, (couldn’t catch it on TV) but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Michael poppin his head out of the screen to give everyone a bj!…..

    • Jean Hansen says:

      No, hon—that would be a ‘hummer’ :)
      Humdinger was used correctly about the cliffhanger. If ‘Ugly Americans’ was using it to mean oral sex, then it’s just them who does.

  22. Leila says:

    Off topic question … will Coby Bell be back for the full season, and going forward? He appears in some trailers/promos but not others.

  23. Sukafia says:

    Great show, I’m addicted to it. Just finished watching Season 5, i can’t wait to go get Season 6, i hope there will be a Season 7, 8, 9 and 10.

  24. Jay Doris says:

    I love this show just like many others they have done a great job from the beginning until now seems as if they know what they are doing and as to the comment on the smoking about being low class not for nothing at one point in history only the elite smoked it might be a little exsive the way they have her smoking but not a low class just because you don’t smoke criticizing or calling people low class because of a cigarette to me the only low class is people like you that have nothing better to do then to complain criticiz people. People need to mind there own business and keep there negitive comments to there self and not for nothing were would or government be without the tax off of cigarettes and alcohol there would be a lot less jobs for everyone so before you act like Romney think about everything that Go’s with the issue not just about yourself

  25. Adam says:

    new episode sucked terrible acting……patton oswald… comon man! good show and im a big fan but don’t f it up by putting douchy celeb cameo’s or atleast don’t go cheap by putting fat whiney d list celebs in there. it just makes your show look cheap…your better than that.

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