This Thursday on Burn Notice (USA Network, 9/8c), in order to nab a bio-weapons specialist who’s doing the Russians’ bidding, Michael and Fiona go undercover as rich marrieds at a South American resort. There, they target their asset’s beautiful and emotionally vulnerable wife, played by Charisma Carpenter. The Whedonverse alumna spoke with TVLine about how this episode will be super-satisfying for fans, shared tales from its “hardcore” set, and offered her qualified take on pop culture’s new vampire craze.
TVLINE | So, what are you playing here on Burn Notice – the wife of some nefarious type or something?
[Laughs] Well, of course! As always. Tom Gallop (The Bourne Ultimatum) plays a smarty-pants physicist who went to work for the Russians, and now the FBI wants us. I guess they want us both, for some reason – I don’t know why I’m valuable to them, but hey, I’ll go for it! Basically, I hate my husband now because our lives are boring and run by the Russians — he doesn’t want to spend any money or do anything – so I’m this unhappy trophy wife, which is a bad combination. You don’t want a trophy wife to be unhappy.
TVLINE | How does your Nicki figure into Michael and Fiona’s plan?
The only way to access both of us is through me, and because they were listening in on our hotel room arguments, they find out that I need some “extra attention.”
TVLINE | They prey upon her marital unhappiness?
Exactly. And the way Michael and Fi team up in this one is like Mr. & Mrs. Smith, so the people who usually watch Burn Notice are really going to like it. It’s a lot of Fi-and-Michael time, posing as a couple.
TVLINE | You got to work a good amount with Jeffrey Donovan and Gabrielle Anwar?
Yeah, the four of us [including Gallop] are together a lot, and it was a lot of fun. We run and jump into a marina, and as we come out we’re being shot at – and since Fiona is really good with weapons, there’s a lot of shooting back; Gabrielle and I are poolside in bikinis; and there are a lot of kind of “Cordy moments.” [Burn Notice co-executive producer] Lisa Joy wrote it, and I had some great lines. Like, when I’m very upset with the Russian bodyguard, I say, “Is it Get Lost O’Clock yet?” [Laughs]
TVLINE | Would people be surprised to know how non-fierce Gabrielle is off-screen?
She is totally Earth mother — to meet her is to love her. She’s incredibly gracious and welcoming, and she’s very concerned for others. Like, I was running in these platform heels, and on the fifth take my heels literally went over my head. I took a digger so gnarly, into this gravel – and they didn’t stop! I was like, “OK, I guess we’re not stopping….” [Laughs] It’s hardcore on that set. But Gabrielle was like, “I’m really embarrassed! This is not acceptable. Is she all right?”
TVLINE | Can you tell us what’s going on in the two pictures TVLine has posted?
They’re from just before a ballroom scene, where a very sexy tango happens. Like I said, fans are going to love this episode.
TVLINE | Nicki looks so forlorn in one of the pics, sitting alone on the hotel bed…. [Click at right for larger image]
Well, she’s all dressed up and has no one to enjoy it with! This episode is just going to be so epic, I’m really excited for the fans. I know how [Angel] fans would react when the storyline was centered around Angel and Cordelia, so Burn Notice viewers are not going to be disappointed. And I’m in it!
TVLINE | USA Network is pretty good about recycling their guest stars. What other show of theirs would you like to drop by next?
White Collar! And Suits is really good, too. Gabriel Macht has got “something” about him. He’s not a traditionally good-looking guy, but I really like his confidence. It’s like yes, his character is arrogant, but there’s something else there that’s mysterious and sexy. I like it! It makes me want to know more.
TVLINE | Lastly, do you kind of have to laugh at the vampire craze that is so hot these days, when you and the Scoobies were doing it like 15 years ago?
I’m not surprised. I deduce the popularity to be all about the chemistry between the people. On Twilight, the chemistry between Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart … I mean, clearly they’re together [in real life], and it’s palpable in the way they look at each other. That’s what drew everybody in and made Twilight so incredibly popular. It is about that universal feeling of love and connection, understanding and protection, and sex, and that’s so visceral in Twilight. As far as True Blood goes, what I’ve seen of it is very sexy and raw. That cover they did for Rolling Stone brought out a dual side of me — offended that my son would see it on the one hand, yet intrigued by how daring it was with the sexuality on display. All that, plus blood.
TVLINE | The very idea of “feeding on” someone can be so metaphorically sexual.
Also it’s a very dark part of our nature, to destroy the weaker to survive. That appeals to a very central part of our humanity – how far will you go to survive?