Burn Notice

Season 4 Episode 12

Guilty as Charged

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Aug 26, 2010 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
166 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Michael teams up with Vaughn in order to bring down John Barrett, the man behind the Bible book code.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Adam Scott asks for Michael's help, after his daughter has been kidnapped.

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  • Michael has to save a 5 year old girl before the big showdown with Barrett.

    I have to give the writers credit for a very straightforward approach to Jesse this episode, which was a relief versus all the ways it could have been handled. His showing up at the end, and even shooting Michael to save him was beyond predictable, but I will get into that in a bit. Regardless, altogether, I thought the Jesse subplot was handled with a minimalist amount of melodrama, and I appreciated that.

    The weekly job for Michael was well-conceived, interesting considering his client wasn't exactly a good guy, and intelligently handled. Michael Rooker is always a great bad guy, so excellent casting there, and of course, you can't beat the urgency of saving a 5 year old girl.

    The Barrett subplot was well-handled until the final showdown. I believe that Burn Notice has struggled during the big moments the last couple seasons. The action at the end did not flow well nor make a lot of sense. Sam and Fiona were supposed to be stationed "at the bridge." They didn't appear to be anywhere near that. They appeared to be just in a field, and what exactly did they do during the action? Why were they there again? Jesse very predictably pops up with a sniper rifle. He takes out the guy holding Michael by shooting through Michael's shoulder. He is capable of being that accurate, and yet, after that, he immediately becomes useless. Though Michael now only faces Barrett and one other guy with a pistol, Jesse and Sam, both equipped with sniper rifles, can't manage to take them out. Barrett's goon holds Jesse off, by laying down and firing a pistol, which would have no hope of hitting Jesse from that distance. Sam and Fiona apparently do nothing but watch and narrate events. Then Barrett somehow gets Michael into his SUV, which couldn't have happened without Michael's help, and proceeds to drive through his own men and the CIA road block like nothing. Whuh?

    I was fine with Michael causing the accident at the end. It is kinda funny how the guy who causes the accident, on TV, always ends up being better off than the other person. Regardless, the ending with Michael passing out while someone unseen took away the bible was intriguing and a good set up for the next season.moreless
  • A slightly disappointing summer finale

    Despite some of the set-up at the start of the episode, most of the time was devoted to the self-contained kidnapping case. I have to wonder if that was deliberate, designed to convince the audience that Michael gets in perilous situations all the time with minimal harm to himself and his clients. Because otherwise, it seemed to waste a lot of time that could have gone to complicating the Barrett situation.

    The end of the episode was certainly exciting enough, and while it seems rather obvious that Michael will survive, it should be interesting to find out who took possession of that briefcase. A safe bet would probably be either Jesse or Vaughn, which would tie in nicely with the season/series arc. I think the final act of the episode supports the notion that Jesse's desire to kill Michael was a red herring, and that they will simply be uneasy allies against Vaughn and "The Company".

    If there was one aspect of the kidnapping case that worked very well, it was the prison break ruse. Of course, it once again brings up one of my minor complaints about the series. Michael continues to be the go-to guy for these sub-legal operations, and it makes it very hard to believe that he wouldn't end up running into an enemy that knows all about him or at least some of his recent activities.

    Perhaps that is just a minor concern; perhaps this is something that has been addressed in earlier seasons, before I was watching the show. Certainly there are nuances to Michael's history and interaction with "The Company" and "Management" that I simply don't know. And perhaps that has something to do with the impression that Michael gets away with too much. If nothing else, there is still a lot left to understand about Michael's burn notice.moreless

    This episode had a huge cliffhanger at the end, with Michael getting shot by Jesse, but the bullet went through his chest, just above his heart, to the guy behind him, and killed him. Michael was brought away and he caused a car accident. Then some guy comes and takes the bible. On that bombshell, it ends. Well, the buildup to this epsiode, with Jesse getting burned by Michael, and his meeting with Simon 2 episodes back, and so on, greatly built up to this. Even the whole Carla-Management thing from Season 2 built towards this, but with this 'Summer Finale' it just wasn't that good. I liked it, but it all seemed to rushed and the ending, while making me curious, does not make me want to see the rest of Season 4 right away.

    Still, the Jesse thing is a really good story, and you wonder whether he tried to kill Michael or help him at the end. Anyway, bottom line, it didn't have that epic burn notice feel others have had during Finales but it was a big setup to whatever is planned for the actual end of Season 4. I look foward to November.moreless
  • 8/26

    Not as good as most of the season finales, and half season finales, prior to this, but still a fine hour of television no matter how you spin it. Robert Patrick has guest starred on a lot of shows lately, but he was the perfect new villain for Michael, as these old veteran actors, like John Mahoney before him, always play well off Jeffrey Donovan.

    Jason "going rogue" only lasted one week, I wish we got more from that. But there was gunfire, there was action and there was a character with the same name as the very funny Party Down actor Adam Scott. Not much more you can ask for from this show.

    Strong episode to leave us wanting more until B Note returns in November.moreless
Danny Pino

Danny Pino

Adam Scott

Guest Star

Michael Rooker

Michael Rooker

Dale Lawson

Guest Star

Tommy Groth

Tommy Groth


Guest Star

Robert Wisdom

Robert Wisdom


Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Featured Music:
      "Arrive Act One" by Methodic Doubt Music (Opening scenes)
      "Cuerpos Calientes" by Beat Chamber (Michael receives an offer)
      "Troopers" by Kurt Farquhar (Running errands)
      "Anticipation" by M.A.D Music (At the nightclub)
      "Deposit Box" by Danny Saber (Strategy discussion)
      "En Memoriam De" by Hermanos De Alma (Fiona talks about Jesse)
      "Masonic" by Kurt Farquhar (Assault gone wrong)
      "Screamer" by Kurt Farquhar (Fake prison van)
      "Intrepid Introspection" by M.A.D Music (Hostage exchange)
      "Monster Party" by Brian Rogers (Hostage exchange)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Michael: (voice-over) There's a cold math to blood loss. The more you lose, the weaker you get. And when you're on a clock like that, it pays to act, no matter how desperate your plan might be. Because if you wait, you may not have the chance.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Fire engines and ambulances use traffic control devices to make traffic flow their way. They're fairly simple strobing at a particular frequency that can be picked up by the traffic light. It's very illegal to use if you're a private citizen, but remarkably useful if you need to turn a red light green or, with a little rewiring, turn a green light red.

    • Fiona: You smoked an entire pack in an hour. You have any idea how bad that is for you?
      Madeline: It's probably better for my health than waiting around for some burned spy with a grudge.

    • Michael: (voice-over) One simple but effective trick for identifying a tail is known in the spy trade as running errands. You drive to different locations and stop, going about ordinary business in areas with open parking lots while your team follows, keeping track of the cars at each stop. It doesn't matter how good your tail is. At a certain point, they're going to pop up more than once.

  • NOTES (1)