Burn Notice

Season 3 Episode 5

Signals and Codes

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Jul 09, 2009 on USA
out of 10
User Rating
243 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Michael helps a mathematician with preventing the firm he works for from selling government secrets.

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  • Michael has to help a mentally unstable man who works at a govt. agency prove his boss is selling secrets to foreign countries resulting in the death of two American spies abroad. He gets some unlikely help from Sam and Fiona as well his Mom, Madeleine!moreless

    This is a 'very very boring' episode! I was waiting for the point when the action would start but I was disappointed. Michael does not engage in fisti-cuffs with anyone in this episode, not even with Fi whom he always has trouble with! Although something gets blown up, it doesn't break the monotony. The mentally unstable man gets boring pretty quickly and the main villain does not seem that villainous. In fact, she kinda almost got my sympathy with the way Michael was playing around with her. She should have been portrayed as a more ruthless character and a bad person who would not hesitate to do a dirty job herself instead of delegating out.

    Fiona and Sam are unfortunately under used in this episode. There are no twists and turns with unexpected jumps that keeps your interest. The client in this episode has the charisma of a block of cement and my sympathy for him faded after the first 5 minutes. Rest of the movie he was just this annoying repetitive idiot who speaks in the same tone of voice. And he doesn't even SOUND mentally unstable! All in all, not one of the better episodes from the creators of Burn Notice. Not comparable to some of the memorable episodes of Season 1.moreless
  • Rainman?

    Burn Notice's third season has been a bit mediocre (by Burn Notice standards) but this was an action-packed episode that featured some great guest spots and a plot that kept you guessing until the end. Michael's client reminded me of a mix between Dustin Hoffman in Rainman and Charlie Day's character in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which can be viewed as nothing but a compliment. I'm a little upset that Moon Bloodgood wasn't on this episode, hopefully she's not done with the show.

    One of the problems this season is that after 30 episodes the show has gotten a bit formulaic, but this installment showed that Burn Notice can still be original, creative and highly entertaining when they try.moreless
  • Westen and Weston

    First it got me confused, then angry, at the end I still was smiling. This crazy Spencer character was played so extraordinary well but because of that, at the same time really stressful to watch. I had trouble to stay with it to the End. Nothing special in this show, neither the story about Michaels Burn Notice gets a kick, or is there any other interesting thing. The Alien subject ist a little too much for me, but in the end it's good Burn Notice entertainment.

    Michael Westen played by J. Donovan and Spencer played by Michael Weston, now if that's not a laugh!moreless
  • Michael and Sam are approached by a man who is obviously brilliant but definitely in need of psychiatric help. He has some disturbing knowledge of spy's that have died and Michael, Sam, and Fi take him on as a client to help him get his friends killer.moreless

    Interesting episode with Michael still bound and determined to get back to spying for a living. He has figured out there is some covert Black Ops planes flying out of a local airfield and he and Sam stake it out. He recognizes a plane and manages to get the scoop on what is going on. More on that later.

    Michael and Sam are shooting target practice and when they come out of the gun club they are accosted by a man who claims to know Michael is a spy. To shut him up they put him in the car so they can speak with him.

    Michael Weston plays Spencer which is quite a coincidence since Jeffrey Donovan plays Michael Weston. Spencer is a brilliant Mathematician who can see patterns and come up with codes from studying information. The only problem is he is mentally ill. He believes that the spy's who are being killed are human, but that the guardians who are killing them are aliens. The team takes him on as a client because his friend Brad was killed. He is able to give them info on an operative named Shannon who has had a number of spies killed including one Sam had worked with in the past. The episode is worth watching and to get into the intricacies of the case here would take another ten paragraphs. Let's just say it gets complicated. Michael and the team ends up helping Spencer in the end.

    On the spy front Michael meets the man running the Black Ops, a spy by the name of Diego Garza who is quite forthcoming about who he is and what he does. It seems his superiors let him know about Michael. I believe we will see more of Garza as Michael tries to get back into the CIA's good graces. Garza does tell Michael that they are reviewing his file.

    All of this seems to be leading Fiona and Michael's relationship down the drain. At the end she tells Michael without any real conviction that she is with him on whatever he wants to do. Then she walks out.

    We'll see how this all works out in the end. Michael's Saving American Lives speech was believable but he does seem a little too focused for his own good. Good episode all the way around. Thanks for reading...moreless
  • Not my favorite plot

    The episode was good, with great moments from all the members of the cast, but I have to say... Not my favorite.

    I got quite desperate at first with Spencer and his Rain Man-like performance, but I guess it was his way to get through to all of it and overcome his friend's death. It was great to see Fiona 'translate' everythings Michael say to Spencer. Funny that she was the patient one, when her personality says something else.

    Sometimes I feel sorry for her because she's trying really hard to get Michael into the normal life, to forget about the burn notice, but he seems determined to find out all about it. I just hope that one day he gives her the time she deserves.moreless
Katherine La Nasa

Katherine La Nasa

Shannon Park

Guest Star

Michael Weston

Michael Weston

Spencer Wachowksi

Guest Star

Otto Sanchez

Otto Sanchez

Diego Garza

Guest Star

Paul Tei

Paul Tei

Barry Burkowski

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • The real name of the actor that played Spencer Watkowski in this episode is Michael Weston, which is the name of the main character on this show.

    • When Sam lures Shannon away from her office to go to the conference room, she closes her door and jiggles the handle to make sure that it is locked. However, the door didn't lock by the handle, it had a dead-bolt above the handle, and the swing-style handle moves freely.

    • Featured Music:
      "Sour Blood" by Edgard Jaude (Opening scenes)
      "Salsa Mariachi" by Ray Santos (Spencer tells his story)
      "En Memoria De" by Hermanos De Alma (The ambulance takes Spencer away)
      "Pump Audio 93308" by Carne Cruda (Michael meets Barry at the pool)
      "Dias" by Bayonics (Michael meets Spencer again)
      "Sweet Heist" by PolyWooD (Michael, Sam and Spencer at the cafe)
      "Hey You" by Dan Silver (Michael makes a bump key)
      "Pump Audio 83126" by Mark Fain (Rescue operation)
      "El Embajador" by Jimmy Bosch (Spencer meets the gang)
      "Ora Tica" by Jamila Cooksey (Closing scenes)

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Michael: This job, what we just did, saving American lives, this is the type of work I was made for, Fi. It's what my old job gave me a chance to do every single day. So, no, getting back in isn't just a way to survive, to protect the people I love. It's what I want. And if you truly care about me, you should damn well want for me what I want for myself.
      Fiona: If that's what you want I'll be with you.

  • NOTES (2)

    • International Episode Titles:
      Czech Republic: Zašifrované zprávy (Coded Messages)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Latin America: December 15, 2009 on FX
      Australia: February 3, 2010 on Ten
      Sweden: April 4, 2010 on TV6
      Norway: April 19, 2010 on Viasat 4
      Czech Republic: May 19, 2010 on Prima COOL
      United Kingdom: September 29, 2010 on FX/FX HD
      Germany: December 6, 2010 on Vox
      Slovakia: October 24, 2012 on JOJ Plus
      Finland: November 19, 2012 on MTV3