Jeffrey Donovan

Dan Littlejohn/USA Network

I giggled and cheered my way through the first episode of Burn Notice, which premiered Thursday on USA, and based on the email I'm getting, so did many of you. In order to find out a little more about the spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) who came into the heat of sweltering south Florida, I rang up Matt Nix, the show's creator, to chat about spy codes, chasing skirts and what's in store for Michael in Miami. Read on for more...

What drives Michael Westen?
It's like asking what drives The Fugitive—is it just finding the one-armed man, or is there more to it? I think, certainly, there is an element of "Who burned me and why, and how do I get out of this situation and back to what I was doing?"

Does he have a code?
I think in terms of his code there is a line in the pilot, "A spy is a nice name for someone who is a criminal working on foreign soil.” He has a lot of the skills of the bad guys—spy skills are basically bad-guy skills. We send spies over to other countries to break into places and steal things and do a lot of stuff you are not supposed to be doing, and so he has a lot of those skills. He is not someone who runs around saying "How can I help?” Yet at the same time, if he finds himself in a situation where he can help somebody, he knows he is in a position to do good. Ultimately, he can never actually resist that opportunity.

What's up with Michael and Fiona? He seems ambiguous about her—she's drunk and all over him, and he's all, "Go home."
The thing about the relationship with Fiona is…They are two people who really don't have anybody else that they can be with. Anybody else is going to be afraid of what Michael does, and it sort of turns her on, and anybody else for Michael is going to be uninteresting. He is attracted to her, but part of what we explore over the first season is that they really are attracted with each other, and yet there is a reason they broke up. She is an incredibly chaotic person who just thrives on disorder…Violence is foreplay for her. 

And Bruce Campbell's Sam is the perfect Miami character. He's drinking and chasing skirts, but he's also a semi-effective retired spy. Is he sort of the surrogate father figure/drunk uncle Michael never had?
I think Sam emerges as Michael's buddy; his friend who also has this additional dimension of being Michael's last tenuous thread into the official spy community. Sam's the guy who knows a guy, but the other big thing for him is that Sam was getting bored drinking and chasing skirts—he still wants to do fun stuff… 

And do good…

So, season one, I presume, is Michael trying to find out why there was a burn on him, and if he's out, why they didn't just kill him? What happens after that question is answered? Does he stay in Miami? Does he go back to his old job?
We didn't want to do the perpetual unfolding single mystery that runs out of steam halfway through the second season that you have to keep pushing it along. Basically, by the end of the first season Michael knows much about what happened to him and why, and yet the discovery of what happened to him and why does not result in him being able to go back to Afghanistan. It allows for him to stay in Miami and complete 100 episodes. [Laughs.] That's the goal there.

So, what did you guys think of Burn Notice? Is it going to make it to syndication? Post your thoughts in the Comments below and then come back for the spoiler chat on Monday for more Notice news!

—Additional reporting by Jennifer Godwin

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