Burn Notice's Lauren Stamile: Pearce 'Doesn't Fully Trust' Michael

The last couple of times a new female character was introduced on Burn Notice (USA Network, 9/8c) — Tricia Helfer’s “Carla,” Moon Bloodgood’s Detective Paxson — it didn’t turn out to be smooth sailing with Michael. But in Lauren Stamile’s Agent Pearce, Michael may have finally found a way back into the CIA’s good graces, if only he can get her on his side. The lady suit will be sticking around for a while — Stamile is scheduled to head to Miami to shoot her eighth episode in a few weeks — and with that comes possible answers and more complications for Michael.

TVLine chatted with Stamile about what it was like teaming up with the boys in this Thursday’s episode, whether Pearce is Michael’s key to official CIA-dom, and why Fiona and Michael fans have nothing to be worried about.

TVLINE | What’s going on in this week’s episode?
The CIA has become very interested in getting Michael’s help with other cases because he can work off the books. In [tonight’s episode], Pearce enlists the help of Michael and Jesse in what starts out as a very simple mission that quickly turns very unsimple. [Laughs] We take a detour from the Max’s murder storyline and go onto something new.

TVLINE | Anything in the episode we should keep an eye out for?
What’s really fun about this episode is that — in the way that Michael and Jesse and Fiona and Sam get to roleplay and pretend that they’re other people — I get to do a little bit of that. That’s a nice departure from sitting in the office with a bunch of files. And I even have a little bit of an action scene, which could be scary. I’m eager to see how that turned out.

TVLINE | It sounds like Pearce is making friends and allies out of Michael’s team too.
Yes. And she’s very interested, particularly, in why Jesse has stuck by Michael’s side. She really respects Michael, but she doesn’t fully trust him. A good spy fully trusts no one. She wants to see why exactly Jesse has decided to stay loyal to Michael, considering that Michael was the person that got Jesse burned. It’s very interesting. In the same way she respects Michael, she respects Jesse. They are forming a very interesting allied relationship.

TVLINE | But she’s probably not going to win over Sam.
[Laughs] I don’t know. I gotta say, it’s very hard not to like Sam. But I don’t know how much he likes Pearce. My character does get to interact more with Sam in later episodes. While she doesn’t quite trust [Michael’s team], she respects the hell out of them. Because they’re all really good people.

TVLINE | She does appear to have a better working relationship with Michael now than when she first appeared on the scene.
Absolutely. It’s because she’s seeing, first of all, Michael’s very willing to help her. He’s very involved in helping to solve Max’s murder. Also, he had been very willing to help her with these other cases. Michael’s a complicated guy, but at the end of the day, everything he does is really with the best intention in mind, and she sees that.

TVLINE | Michael’s stalling her on the investigation into Max’s death. Is that going to cause tension? Is she going to push him for answers?
Yeah. As the season goes on, she’s not frustrated with him, in particular. But she’s very frustrated with herself that she hasn’t been able to solve this case more quickly. I don’t think she’s used to being so challenged. As we go toward the end of the summer season, things are going to come toward a resolution. That is definitely going to make the relationship between Michael and Pearce more complicated.

TVLINE | Does she ever come to view him as a suspect?
Let me phrase it this way: In the world of the CIA, everybody is a suspect, even your best friend. In a lot of the research I’ve done, they say over and over again, when you work with the CIA or any of those related agencies, you’re being paid to be lied to by everybody. So don’t really fully trust anyone at all.

TVLINE | Will Pearce open the door for Michael to re-enter the CIA in an official capacity?
That’s going to depend on how Max’s murder case is resolved. She can definitely be his way in and can very quickly be his way out. She’s a big key to that.

TVLINE | You’ve romanced some of TV’s most handsome men: Joel McHale on Community, Patrick Dempsey on Grey’s Anatomy. Which one gets you the most vocal response for from fans, good or bad?
I would say it’s all pretty equal. I notice it mostly when I’m in the airport of all things, which is weird. I would say the most controversial response I get is, of course, for Grey’s Anatomy, given the nature of my role on that. [Laughs] A lot of people come up to me and say, “I just did not like you. You should never have come between the two of them.” I’m like, “I understand. I was a fan of the show myself before that happened and couldn’t believe I was coming in between [Derek and Meredith] either.” [Laughs] I was definitely happy to see that on [Burn Notice], I’m not going anywhere near the relationship between Michael and Fiona. Those two have enough drama on their own. They don’t need me making waves.