All of this does not make Suit happy, and he admits that when it comes to Michael's cover, they have a "serious problem" in the form of their mystery man. Suit has decided it's time for them both to go back to Miami, but obviously, doesn't want either of them being seen by Michael's old friends while they're chasing the spook. "I understand it's him or me," Michael says, and ominous music plays over the end credits in case you weren't sure that he's serious.
"New Deal" plays a lot like a part one, rather than a full-fledged premiere. It accomplishes the basic season-opening goals of bringing the team back together (mostly), introducing the new important players for the season, and raising a few questions that we need to answer. Adrian Pasdar and Jack Coleman are interesting additions, so far better than some of the characters we met last season (with the exception of Lauren Stamile's Dani Pearce, who would be lovely to see back even if that probably won't happen). And our enigmatic villain is just creepy enough for us to want him gone, which is the point.
Like ABC's Rookie Blue, the show uses its time-jump to hook one of its leads up with a new love interest other than the person we know they're meant to be with. The idea doesn't work as well here as it did on Rookie Blue, for a variety of reasons, like that we don't really have a clue who the "third wheel" is or what entirely contributed to the downfall of the old relationship. Considering all the things Fiona and Michael have endured, it seems like there should be a bit more of an explanation than her just being upset over his decision to get back into the CIA. Yet as their romance is a huge part of the show, it's safe to expect we'll get that answer and some resolution, too. It would be shocking if the show ended without Michael and Fiona back together.
The only two things that are disappointing about the premiere are that it lacks the usual Burn Notice humor (this might be the first episode in the show's history without a witty title somewhere), which for this series is like having half a show, and that we don't get a lot of information as to where all this is going. There's a difference between maintaining suspense and being too tight-lipped, and "New Deal" tilts a bit toward the latter. The show doesn't need to give away Burke's entire game plan in the premiere, but not having the faintest clue what he wants makes it hard for us to legitimately be concerned, or even afraid of him. The only reputation he has is being an ex-colleague of Michael's. It's not the best introduction to a villain Burn Notice has ever had. But the important thing is that it all pays off in the end.
Speaking of the end, it's not that surprising that this is Burn Notice's last season. USA has been launching more and more original series over the last few years, and we saw last season how there just isn't room for all of them (rest in peace, Fairly Legal and Political Animals). From a business standpoint, networks tend to axe older shows when things get crowded. That aside, the series has also been on the air about five seasons longer than most TV programs, and next week it hits the one hundred episode milestone that's crucial for syndication, so it doesn't have much left to prove, either. Add that to the fact the show's stretched its mythology about as far as it can, and all signs have been pointing to the end. The good thing is at least we know the finish line is coming, and can brace ourselves. Here's hoping there's a strong ending to a show that's been good to its fans, its network and TV for a long time.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.