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Say goodbye to 'Burn Notice': Series finale set for Sept. 12

Staff writer

The USA Network's spy caper series, "Burn Notice," is about to burn out for good.

The show, in its seventh season, airs its finale 9 p.m. Sept. 12.

During a media call last week, show creator Matt Nix and cast members Jeffrey Donovan and Bruce Campbell looked back (and joked around) on the show's seven-season run. The network also revealed that a main cast member will die.

Shot exclusively in Miami, with some scenes in downtown Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, the show became one of the network's top-rated shows since it debuted in 2007. It has amassed 5.36 million total viewers this season, with fans tuning in each week to watch the adventures of formerly blacklisted CIA spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan).

A cross between "MacGyver" and "Mission Impossible,'' the show has Westen hired to help people through covert operations, surrounded by a colorful team of characters, including his heat-packing, on-again-off-again girlfriend (Gabrielle Anwar), sidekick (Bruce Campbell) and quirky mother (Sharon Gless).

But fans became super-spies themselves, scouting for location shoots in downtown Miami and Miami Beach and dropping by the show's headquarters at the Coconut Grove Convention Center for autographs, photos and chats with the cast.

"For me, 'Burn Notice' has been a wonderful ride through some rocky times. I started out enjoying the lighthearted twists to the stories, and stuck with it when things got a bit darker,'' said Boynton Beach fan Karen Leckey in an email. She created the Twitter hashtag #whatburnnoticedidforme to compile fans' memories of the show. "Through it all I have been amazed at the work of the cast and crew and enjoyed watching them work in the best and worst locations we've got in South Florida."

For the series finale, viewers can expect the show's signature wild chase scenes and explosive operations as Westen decides whether to continue with the terrorist group that he infiltrated at the beginning of the season while risking his ties with his loved ones. One major character is expected to die.

"Michael has always had to balance the two sides of his life, and the final episodes are really about choices and sacrifices,'' Nix said. "It was important for me to say why the last seven years mattered."

Here are some edited excerpts from the media call.

On the loss of a major character in the season finale:

Campbell: "You know, one of the interesting journeys that 'Burn Notice' has been on is it created a family for the audiences to watch ... And though we've been humorous throughout the years, there's always been an underbelly of seriousness and tragedy. And I don't think we could probably end the series with, you know, a bow tie and smiles on everyone's faces. I think that the audience knows there has to be some sort of tragedy to show how important their journey was over the years."

Donovan: "And I believe it's called collateral damage. Once you have a group of people who have put their lives on the line every single week, it's hard to maintain that."

Nix: "It was important to me to say: Why have the last seven years mattered? Are ... those themes that we've addressed over the years, you know, are they real? And I think the answer to that has to be yes ... It's also about taking seriously the things that we've talked about and the issues that we've addressed over the last seven years."

On a character like Westen possibly having a happy ending:

Donovan: "I think if you're just telling a story that just has a sad ending, then well, that's a bummer. Like people don't — that's usually not why we go see, go turn on the TV or go to movies or whatever or read books. At the same time, if it is just happy then it really feels like the story doesn't have any weight or consequence. And so I think that it's always got to be a mixture of those two."

What does the show mean to you:

Campbell: "It was a great gig is what it was ... 'Burn Notice' was a case where it was not just something that got picked up or ran one or two seasons. It got picked up and was successful right from the [get-go]. And pretty much we had seven strong seasons. So it's the equivalent of a grand slam homerun."

What they'll miss the most:

Nix: "When you're running a show like 'Burn Notice,' we're really able to do a new kind of thing each week … And the opportunity to just come up with an idea and then make it happen, you know, it's — even if I were to do another show it's hard to picture having another show with that kind of narrative freedom. And also just, you know, the opportunity to write these characters that I've come to know so well. So I'll miss that enormously."

Donovan: "I'm going to miss the most my salary … How, you know, how much it just gave me pleasure."

Campbell: "I would say I miss most the unique nature of the show because I swore on a deck of bibles that I would not do a doctor show, a lawyer show or a cop show because they drive me insane … I like 'Burn Notice' because it wasn't any of those shows. We're cops but we're cooler than cops where we help people. We save lives but we're not boring like doctors are boring … So I will mostly miss that because it's going to take a while to find another gig that is as interesting and complex and not boring. I won't miss the heat.", 954-356-4939

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