Burn Notice

USA Network / Dan Littlejohn

OK, here's the deal people: You have to watch Burn Notice tonight on USA Network at 10 p.m. I don't usually lean too hard on you with TV recommendations, because believe me, I don't want to watch homework either, but the thing with Burn Notice is that you are going to love it.

I've been recommending Burn Notice to people since it premiered last season, and I am proud to say that I have a perfect record of, "Oh my gosh, thank you for telling me about Burn Notice! It's so great." And it really is just that: great. Burn Notice is funny, smart, fast-paced and just freaking cool—this is not homework, this is a free pass to the carnival. Go ride the tilt-a-wheel! Seriously! You probably won't throw up at all!

[Jumps down from soapbox.] Anyway, since I'm a devoted fan and devoted to bringing you scoop about all our fave shows, I dialed up extremely awesome creator Matt Nix and interrogated him for a few secrets about season two. (Actually, I just asked nicely and the dear man talked at length about everything I wanted to know, but hey, interrogation sounds both cooler and more on topic.)

Click in to find out about the fate of Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) and spy-girl love Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar), the threatening new hotness that is Tricia Helfer's character Carla, and what Michael's dad has to do with the burn notice that started this whole thing in the first place...

Season Two, Woo-hoo! OK, fearless leader, do you have a grand plan for season two? Says Matt Nix, "I really want to answer that, 'No I'm just kind of winging it.' This season is about the interplay between Michael, Carla and the company. It's about his need to play along with them enough to find out more, but constantly probe for more information so that he can do something about his situation, which is sort of a delicate balance. In general, with regard to Carla and all those people, this season that conflict is how far can Michael push it? And hard are they going to push back?"

I, for One, Welcome Our New Cylon Overlords: Tricia Helfer is in the house! The artist formerly known as Cylon model number six on Battlestar Galactica has arrived to play the lovely, duplicitous and kind-of-scary Carla. Between you and me, we won't actually be seeing Carla that much this season. She's onscreen a bit in the first two eps, but most of her work will be on the phone with Michael. She won't be back until late in this first pod. But that's OK, she's making an impact anyway, as something like Michael's evil Yoda for this season. According to Matt Nix, "Actually, she's much taller than Yoda. She needs to make it clear to Michael that she's willing to rain down hell if he bucks too much—thus, her sort of amused tolerance of Michael's attitude toward her. She needs to make it clear that she's in the power position and that she expects certain things to be done, and those things will be done or there will be serious consequences. But she still needs Michael to be Michael." See, evil Yoda, training up a new protégé of the Sith Lords!

Gabrielle Anwar, Burn Notice

USA/Justin Stephens

Game On-Again, Off-Again: Fiona and Michael are still together in season two, but sadly not in the hot-monkey-sex way I was hoping for. According to Matt Nix, mostly, "They keep building bombs and giving each other smoky looks." Hey, go with what you know, right? According to Matt, "I think with regard to Fiona—last year it was this sort of question on the table of 'Can we be together?' And this year the question on the table is more 'Can we be apart?' The answer to both, of course, is no. Obviously they're very bad at that."

Girlfight! By the way, Matt says there's a good chance we'll get to see Fiona versus Carla sometime in the future: "I think it's a pretty good bet that Fiona and Carla will meet. We haven't written the scene yet, but it seems awfully pregnant with possibilities, doesn't it?"

Espionage Is Not a Chromosomal Disorder: One of the things that's always intrigued me is the question of Michael's missing dad. Specifically: Is he somehow involved in the burn notice? I asked Matt about this, and for an answer, he gave me a pretty categorical, but amusing nuh-uh. Matt says, "Obviously there's more to explore with the dad, but I think there has arisen this convention in American spy fiction that spy is a genetic condition, that spies are born to spies. The fact is, that's not really true. To me, it's a lot more interesting to say, "No, spies are born in circumstances. Spies are made, not born. So certainly, will there be things to explore in the father? Absolutely, but those big reveals like it's his dad, those are really suited to shows who can sell big reveals like that, but we can't do that. Moreover, I would just point out there's a little show called Alias, and the dead parent was a spy in Alias. We're not going to do that."

Watch the season-two premiere of Burn Notice tonight at 10 on USA, and then post what else you want to know about the show in these-here comments. I'll make sure to get you answers in an upcoming item!

—Additional reporting by Jennifer Godwin

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