New Intel on Burn Notice's Final Episodes and the Big Finale Death: 'Nothing Can Prepare You'

Burn Notice Finale DeathWhat you’ve been watching unspool on USA Network’s Burn Notice in recent weeks is pretty much on par with what series creator Matt Nix had in mind when he first pondered how the spy drama would one day conclude.

“What Michael (played by Jeffrey Donovan) has been going through this season, in dealing with James Kendrick (John Pyper-Ferguson) and his organization, was in my mind from maybe not the pilot but that first year,” Nix shared with TVLine during a conference call. “I had a sense that we needed to land in a place that wasn’t just about Michael fighting another bad guy but was really about Michael wrestling with the demons in himself and tempted in a way to become the very thing that destroyed him in the beginning of the series.”

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Perhaps the only deviation from Nix’s very early notions about the series finale and what viewers will see happen over the final two episodes (airing Sept. 5 and 12, at 9/8c) is the impact of friends and family. “Over the course of seven years you discover new things,” Nix admits, “and the emphasis on the team and the way that family came together … was a much bigger element than I anticipated at the beginning.”

And yet, there shall be a death in this family before all is said and done.
Burn Notice-Season 6Next Thursday, as Burn Notice fires up its final hour, Michael will need to face the last of his demons — and to do so, sacrifices will need to be made and lives risked. It all leads to “an explosive conclusion that one beloved character will not survive,” USA Network has revealed.

There’s probably no pat, “When you’re a spy…” tip to bust out that will make this blow easy for longtime fans. And yet, it’s true to the series’ DNA.

As series lead Donovan explains, “Burn Notice created a family for the audiences to watch, and though we’ve been humorous throughout the years, there’s always been an underbelly Burn Notice - Season 7of seriousness and tragedy — and I don’t think we could end the series with a bow tie and smiles on everyone’s faces. There has to be some sort of tragedy to show how important their journey was over the years.”

For Nix, the mission was to answer the questions: “’Why have the last seven years mattered? Are those things that we’ve addressed over the years real?’ I think the answer to that has to be yes.” And since burned CIA agent Michael Westen has forever juggled his “work” with “family” (oftentimes with harrowing results), “The final two episodes are about choices and sacrifices and not just about being sad or killing off the character,” Nix says. “It’s also about taking seriously the things that we’ve talked about.”

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How can Burn Notice fans brace themselves for what the series finale, titled “Reckoning,” is packing? Bruce Campbell, who plays Sam, has a bit of bad news: “There’s nothing that can prepare them.”Burn Notice - Season 7

But before Burn Notice can even tee up that shocking swan song, Michael must first escape from the dire dilemma he put himself in when last we tuned in. Having tipped off his CIA cohorts to James’ top-secret plans — yet ultimately for naught — Michael put Sonya (Alona Tal) in her boss’ literal crosshairs. And James was rarin’ to pull the trigger, until Michael ‘fessed up that the mole was him.

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Will another classic bit of fast-talking by Michael somehow save his hide? “I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying Michael does not die at the end of Episode 11,” Nix answers. “But it’s not simply a matter of weaving another little web of lies.”

Instead, the super-spy’s salvation — in whatever form that now may come — will demand “a very different turn for Michael,” Nix teases. “I think it will surprise some fans, but it’s ultimately all about addressing these things that have emerged over the years and these elements of Michael’s character.”

Want more scoop on Burn Notice, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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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138 Comments
  1. Maxefforts says:

    There are two good endings. One more dark than the other. Fiona dying and Michael waking up and going nuts is one. All revenge in the last episode. Or we could see a fake death like Batman 3- best bet is going with a simliar ending to Batman 3. Why end it depressing? It’s Nix’s call. Or a bizarre ending that stirs everyone and he just turns evil so to speak. Just depends how they unfold it, not how it ends. Sometimes ending it twisted, is the way to end it because it makes it more like reality instead of the usual happy ending. Sopranos, had a bad ending. Big mistake. I hate those. I like Mike ending with Fiona somehow. But I’d like a realistic dark ending too.

  2. Sam says:

    With the gun shot and fade to black in the second to last episode this week, who now does not think it will be Fiona? That will be so sad if it actually is next Thursday.

  3. User says:

    Hope it’s Fiona. Really don’t like her.

  4. SuperSeaton says:

    At this point, I feel it will be Maddie (99% sure). Jeffrey Donovan tweeted something to the affect, “RIP S,” which although could imply Sam, could also imply Sharon Gless. Think about the family element that underlies the overall story arc. Michael has his new family of Fi, Sam, and Jesse, but throughout the series, the one constant was Maddie – and her insistence on the importance of family in Michael’s life. You could also look at Sam, Fi, Jesse, and Maddie as separate extensions of Michael: Sam represents being honorable and straightforward; Fi represents being passionate and the willingness to fight; Jesse represents loyalty and determination; and Maddie represents the soul and love of others. This season has been all about Michael losing his soul to the very organization he worked so tirelessly to get back in to. That void was replaced by James and Sonya, darker reflections of Michael and Fi, respectively. With the actual death of Maddie, Michael will have that cathartic moment where it all comes back to his remaining family. One last indication to me that it would be Maddie is the fact that Fi burned down Maddie’s house. The house being another analogy to the family, and the member of that family that we identify with the house is Maddie.

    Well, there’s my prediction. Whatever the outcome, this show has been must-view television for me since day one. I was really hoping for a couple of more seasons, but I can’t say I blame them for leaving after this one, and on their own terms – I might add. The show has maintained its essence, and has grown in a way that seems plausible. In my opinion, it has never “jumped the shark,” but has remained consistent to the characters and the storyline for these past seven seasons. Burn Notice will definitely be missed by this viewer; here’s to the possibility of a Sam and Jesse spin-off.

  5. adrian says:

    i think mike and fi will die

  6. awesomeness says:

    It has to be sam or michael because they showed them folding a flag and they only do that for military personnel.

  7. awesomeness says:

    and sam saying alright brother lets do this and it showed a new character shooting a shot gun at mike and his end falling back, but it also show mike and fe kissing so fe dint die at the end of the last episode, it all depends on how you turn the information

  8. LM says:

    It’ll be Sam. I read on another website that the show’s creator leave the ‘romantics’ happy regarding Michael and Fiona.

  9. Sherry says:

    My take on the end is that Michael dies, not in the physical sense, he goes to the ‘dark side’ and becomes the leader of the cult. The Michael we knew is dead, evil Mike goes on.

  10. Aaa says:

    I think it’s either Sam or Michael because in a recent comercial a cut scene shows a casket with an American flag being put on it meaning Sam,an ex navy deal, or Michael an American CIA agent

  11. Bill says:

    Did anyone else notice their are two coffins in the first preview they showed?
    One draped with a flag and one right next to it covered in flowers.. Plus in all the interviews Matt Nix and Jeff did they said one main character dies so if we are to believe them then that would rule out Michael and Fi.. My best guess and I could be wrong is that its Sam in the flag coffin and Elsa in the second.
    Whichever way it goes can wait till Thursday night!!

  12. spotteddog says:

    Two possibilities:

    1. No one really dies, Michael is still wacked out on drugs during James’ test and has imagined everything since that episode. Calling Bobby Ewing…

    2. No matter what happens, the CIA would always be after Michael. Best solution? Fake deaths for Michael and Fiona, hence the two coffins

  13. Christy Flores says:

    I really think/hope it is a fake funeral for Mike and Fi so they can have a real life together without the CIA.

  14. oldresorter says:

    Maddie will die so Fi and Mike can adopt Charlie and live happily ever after.

  15. Ellen Chiboucas says:

    Sorry Sharon, but I hope it is Madeleine Weston who makes a mother’s sacrifice and is the one to go, because I would like all the other characters to live.

  16. Vinny says:

    WTF ….don’t tell us what happens asshole!

  17. Cassidy Quinn says:

    I know Matt Nix doesn’t want a happy ending, but I think it should be somewhat happy. I don’t see why they have to kill someone. They killed Nate for no reason. Well, to push Michael off the edge, but I feel like the show was trying to be too intense and interesting and nerve wracking. It was good already. I don’t want anyone to die. I think it’s only fair that Jesse dies, because he doesn’t matter as much as the others, but he won’t die because of that reason. Someone important has to die for a significant reason. :((((((( I feel like maybe they don’t have to end happily, but not badly. Maybe them JUST making it (idk) out alive, then Michael and Fi kissing. Not like, oh let’s all go live happily in the sunset, but more like dramatic and showing that Mike and Fi actually get together. I LOVE BURN NOTICE!

  18. Michele says:

    I am deeply grieved over Maddy’s demise although I kind of expected it seeing Michael’s
    tears. Yet I somehow knew someone would escape and the charges would be dropped.
    Knowing Michael is safe and not having to look over his shoulder any more is a
    relief the same goes for Jesse and Sam. If there is a spin off I will be there.

  19. I think of all the series final episodes, this was one of the best ever. They summed the whole thing up nicely, with a sad & yet satisfying end…. I can’t wait to rewatch it all from the beginning.

    • Michele says:

      1) Am I the only person who misses Maddie? 2) Who actually “burned” Michael (too
      many suspects?) 3) All are free, cleared of charges, no more looking over their
      shoulders. In anticipation of a spin-off; how about that writers?

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