Oh, Burn Notice. You lure me in with the explosions, but I keep you around because your characters are just so much fun to spend a Thursday night with.
Now that they know where Anson is operating, Michael is determined to listen in to what he's up to - by breaking into the nearby defense firm. Tracking his calls leads them to...Benny, Madeline's boyfriend?! Michael tries to break the news to his mom, but Maddie decides she'd rather find out for herself. She's crushed when she finds photos of her son and his friends inside her new sweetheart's pad, never mind that Benny seems remorseful when Michael hears him on the phone. Unfortunately for Benny, he doesn't get redemption - he gets blown up via package-bomb from Anson, while a terrified Madeline watches from outside.
Meanwhile, Agent Pierce has intercepted some phone calls of her own and wants Michael to run an operation with Sam and Jesse to find out what's up with an abandoned chemical research facility in Liberia that suddenly has long-range missile components in it. She thinks a guy named Resnik (Rick Gomez from Band of Brothers) may have gone rogue, but in fact, he's being held hostage by a warlord named Kamba (that's Bones' Jonathan Adams) who also kidnapped Resnik's daughter Sophie. When Sam and Jesse go undercover to help Resnik out, Kamba takes Jesse hostage, too. Whoops.
How are Michael, Sam and Fiona going to rescue Resnik, Jesse, and Sophie plus get the blueprints for the missile Kamba is having built? Sam convinces Resnik to have a convenient accident with a burner so that Sam and Jesse have to stay in Kamba's compound to help him, even as the dictator brings Sophie to the compound and sets a two-hour deadline. Plan B sees Sam try to convince Kamba that one of his own men is responsible for the various delays in his missile-building plan. Once he's agreed that it's time to bail on the joint and his minions, they set the missile to blow and then catch the warlord off guard. The CIA rescues the Resnicks, despite being unhappy about losing the technology, and Pearce is pleased with Michael's operation management skills.
"Necessary Evil" is another solid Burn Notice episode, with some genuinely tense moments and spot-on performances. Sharon Gless's face when Madeline finds surveillance photos of Team Westen in her boyfriend's place is heartbreaking. Likewise, Rick Gomez is a great guest star; when Kamba has a gun practically screwed into Resnik's nose, you can see how defeated the poor guy is without a single word of dialogue. I almost didn't recognize Jonathan Adams as the week's villain - he's so different from Bones' Dr. Goodman. One of the things I always look for in good acting is what an actor or actress does on their own - in those moments when there's nothing specifically scripted for them to rely on - and we see a lot of that this week.
It's also the directorial debut for Burn Notice writer/producer Alfredo Barrios Jr. Congratulations, Alfredo! This show has a really versatile creative team. Jeffrey Donovan has acted and directed; Ben Watkins has written and acted; and Alfredo and series creator Matt Nix are both writer-directors. It's great to see a show where the same people are involved in differing stages of the creative process; that's got to help with consistency, especially with a series that's a few years old - at the point where many series start to show their age. Burn Notice isn't there yet. It's still so watchable, I don't think it will be for a very long time.
(c)2011 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.