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Burn Notice

Season 4 Episode 10

Hard Time

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Aug 12, 2010 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
176 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Michael interrogates Simon in order to gain more information on the cipher he found. Meanwhile, an old buddy of Sam's serving jailtime ask him for help, because he thinks his life is in danger.

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  • Hard Time

    This season CSI: NY had an episode that saw Hill Harper's character get stuck in prison and have to escape people he helped put away while trying to survive. This episode of Burn Notice had that feel, but frankly it was not nearly as good.

    That is not to say that the CBS procedural is better than this show, but the prison scenes were really the only good part of tonight's episode. All the other stuff with Fiona, Sam and Madeline was just really boring. It was good to see Michael in constant action though, as it is almost like his character has toned down a bit in that regard, he became like the DA character on Law and Order, just someone who oversees things and rarely gets involved, but he definitely got involved here.

    A good Burn Notice, but it could have been better.moreless
  • Amazing episode, best of the season!

    Slowly but steadily this is becoming my favorite show. The cases are always easy to follow so that if I miss the first 10 minutes or so or if I'm multi-tasking and listening but not watching a certain scene I can still follow what is going on. On top of that the series plot is Phenominal. My favorite part is that episode by episode we learn more about Michael's burn, and it all leads to a huge cliffhanger at the end of each season.

    So why was this episode so good? It's because we met up with Simon and found out who burned Simon and how Michael got his job and why Simon is Psycho and was after Vaughn and Michael. I can't imagine anyone else besides Jeff Donovan in the role of Michael, he just takes the show to a new level. After this episode we are left with plenty of plots to watch play out such as 1) Michael/Jesse 2) Michael/Vaughn 3) Michael/Simon 4) Simon/Vaughn and 5) Michael & Vaughn/CEO Tech guy who's name I can't remember at this moment. There are so many things going on I am as excited to see the next episode as I was when I was watching the final season of Monk and Lost which puts Burn Notice in some pretty hefty company.

    I love that Madeline is getting some face time now, and how she seems to be in the loop with Michael and Jesse. In this episode Michael helps an old friend of Sam's by going undercover as a prisoner and defending him from some prison gangs who were trying to kill him. We got some good self-defense tips in this episode from Michael which is a favorite of mine although I always seem to forget them by the time the next episode comes around and I learn some new ones. I can't wait to see what Michael has in mind for this tech guy and Vaughn because I have a feeling there will be some twist and that the relationship between Michael and Vaughn will change soon. The writers are getting all of my praise here, it was brilliantly written and with this not being the season finale I can't wait to see what they have in mind for the final two episodes of the season.moreless
  • Matters escalate

    It's hard to believe that this show is almost done for the summer. But it did start earlier than most other summer shows, and the fact that the season arc is heating up makes the impending hiatus all the more bittersweet.

    The highlight of recent episodes for me has been the renewed focus on the season arc. The Kendra sub-arc was a complete waste of time, but the recent action has notched up the tension in the Jesse situation while also pulling Michael deeper into the fight against the Organization. I can't say that I picked up on all the nuances regarding Simon and his past history with Michael, but the implications were clear enough.

    The information at the end of this episode may provide an out for Michael when Jesse learns the truth about his own situation. Jesse is going to react badly, and could become Michael's worst enemy. But if Michael has compelling evidence that the same person was ultimately responsible for both their situations, then I can see things taking the unexpected route, with the current Team Westen remaining more or less intact and going after Vaughn.

    The episodic elements of the story didn't work quite so well for me. I thought Sam's scenes with Juan were played for too much sentimentality, and while there was a palpable sense of danger, I thought it was far too easy for Michael to keep himself and Juan alive. Keeping Cruz at bay is one thing, but if there were that many people under his thumb, Michael and Juan should have been fending off attacks left and right.moreless
Garret Dillahunt

Garret Dillahunt

Simon Escher

Guest Star

John Verea

John Verea

Juan Ruiz

Guest Star

Manuel Enrique Uriza

Manuel Enrique Uriza


Guest Star

Marc Macaulay

Marc Macaulay

Agent Harris

Recurring Role

Brandon Morris

Brandon Morris

Agent Lane

Recurring Role

Robert Wisdom

Robert Wisdom


Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • The character Juan Ruiz is played by John Verea, who is actually Gabrielle Anwar's ex-husband and the father of her son Hugo and daughter Paisley.

    • Featured Music:
      "Bells" by DJ Kambo (Opening scenes)
      "Ambient Intro" by DJ Kambo (Michael talks to Simon)
      "Grunge Hop" by The Glove and Kurt Farquhar (Sam meets Juan)
      "The Heist" by Will Richter (Sam leaves jail)
      "La Tierra" by Correa Bros and Kurt Farquhar (Michael offers help)
      "Conundrum" by Kurt Farquhar and Dave Bateman (Michael goes to jail)
      "Mystery Room" by Kurt Farquhar and Dave Bateman (Dangerous silence)
      "Miss En Garde" by Jon Mattox (At the library)
      "Who You Are" by The Grave Spinners (Jesse and Fi uncover the treasure)
      "Beat Down" by Dave Bateman (At the infirmary)
      "Break Glass" by Kurt Farquhar (At the infirmary)
      "Asphixiate" by Kathie Talbot (Michael meets Vaughn)

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Michael: Why tell me any of this?
      Simon: I would have worked with the devil himself to take down those sons of bitches that burned us. Sadly, the devil's not available. I'll have to pin my hopes on you. Go get'em, brother.

    • Michael: (voice-over) In the jungle, the first warning that a predator is approaching is silence. When violence is imminent, animals instinctively know that keeping quiet and still is their best shot at survival. Prison's a lot like the jungle. Silence is not a good sign. Averted eyes, stockpiled food, and guys wearing heavy coats on a warm day also indicate trouble's on the way.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Old cemeteries are great hiding places, as long as you don't mind desecrating a grave. People don't often go digging in cemeteries, and unlike buildings or houses, they don't get demolished or remodeled. Bury your stash near an old, nondescript headstone and there's little chance anyone will uncover it, unless they're meant to.

    • Michael: (voice-over) When you realize you're being followed, escaping isn't always the best option. If your pursuers don't know who you are, driving evasively, calling the cops, or pulling a gun will just send the message that you're a threat. Whenever possible, the best play is to make the bad guys think you're not someone to worry about. If they think you might be a cop who's onto them, you have to convince them you're just a harmless attorney working on an appeal.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Handcuffs, like anything metal, are vulnerable to metal fatigue. Give someone enough time to work on them, and they'll break down just like anything else.

    • Michael: (voice-over) Every environment has its rules and customs, and your survival often depends on knowing them. In Russia, you never refuse vodka, in Pakistan, you always clear your dinner plate, and in prison, you're careful about making eye contact. Too little eye contact, and you become a victim. Too much eye contact, and you become a threat. Either way, you're never more than a couple of blinks away from getting a shiv in your back.

    • Michael: (voice-over) When you're preparing to interrogate a trained operative, the most useful information isn't professional, it's personal. You need to get into the target's head, understand what makes him tick. Of course, that's easier with some people than others.

    • (Michael starts rolling up a towel)
      Juan: What are you going to do with that?
      Michael: Fight them off.
      Juan: With a hand towel?
      Michael: What? Do you have a gun?

  • NOTES (1)