Michael Westen
played by Jeffrey Donovan
  • Character bio
  • Actor bio

Most people would have been thrilled to grow up near the warm, beautiful beaches of Miami, but Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) is not most people. As soon as he turned 17, he left home to join the military, hoping to never come back. After years of serving as an Army Ranger, Michael found his true calling as an officer in the CIA.

But after 10 years of working as a covert operative, Michael lived every spy's worst nightmare. While in the middle of a dangerous mission in Nigeria, Michael learned he'd been burned. When a spy gets fired, he doesn't get a call from human resources and a gold watch. In Michael's case, they jeopardized his life, froze his bank accounts, dumped him in Miami, and flagged him on every government watch list known to man. They couldn’t take away his skills or what was in his head, so they took away his assets and his resources to make sure he could never work again. They burned him.

In order to survive, Michael enlisted the help of the only "friends" he has: Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) his trigger happy, ex-girlfriend, Sam (Bruce Campbell) a washed-out Navy SEAL who used to report to the Feds on Michael's activities, and, Jesse (Coby Bell) an ex-CIFA agent, who learned to embrace his new life as a highly-paid, private security consultant. Michael was also forced to deal with the family he went halfway around the world to get away from — particularly his mother, Madeline (Sharon Gless)

While Michael tried to solve the mystery of who burned him, he helped out whoever needed his services — usually desperate people who couldn't go to the police. Using his Special Ops training, some duct tape and his sardonic humor, Michael became a reluctant hero.

Michael eventually learned that his burn notice wasn't just some clerical error or the work of one corrupt government official, instead, it was ordered by a secret organization that used burned spies to carry out their illegal missions. Faceless, nameless, and resourceful, the people who burned Michael seemed to be an almost invincible enemy. That is until Michael acquired a list of every person involved with his burn notice, hunted them down, and dismantled their entire operation.

With the people who burned him gone, Michael rejoined the CIA, but his return was anything but joyous. Michael was betrayed, hunted, and became a fugitive, dragging everyone he cared about down with him. Unwilling to allow his friends and family to spend the rest of their lives on the run, Michael turned himself in.

Now, in exchange for the freedom of his friends and family, Michael is going deep undercover inside an elusive terrorist network. But his attempts to protect the people he cares about may result in him losing them forever.

Jeffrey Donovan stars as Michael Westen in the hit USA Network original series BURN NOTICE.

Renowned for his versatility and striking presence, Donovan has made a name for himself through memorable performances on both stage and screen. Donovan appeared in Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar," where he starred in the role of Robert Kennedy opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Naomi Watts. Donovan starred in the poignant 1920's era drama "Changeling" opposite Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich for director Clint Eastwood, which was produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard.

Donovan has also starred in the production of "Don't Dress for Dinner" at the Royal George Theatre in Chicago. He received rave reviews for his performance in the Marc Camoletti sex farce most notably from the cities leading paper citing "...leading man Jeffrey Donovan recalls Cary Grant with his sexy charm, athleticism and gift for deadpan humor."

Donovan has also been seen on the big screen as a captivating leading man in the Joey Lauren Adams film "Come Early Morning." Written and directed by Adams, the film premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. Donovan received high praise for his performance as Cal, the romantic lead opposite Ashley Judd.

Donovan appeared on the big screen in a memorable cameo in the blockbuster romantic comedy "Hitch" opposite Will Smith. Other film credits include Barry Levinson's "Sleepers," "Purpose," "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" and "Bait." Donovan made his feature film debut in "Throwing Down," which won the grand prize at the Hamptons International Film Festival.

In 2004, Donovan earned critical acclaim for his starring role as Detective David Creegan in the USA Network original series TOUCHING EVIL. His television credits include HBO's original film "When Trumpets Fade," recurring roles on "Crossing Jordan," "Spin City," "The Beat," and "The Pretender," and notable guest appearances in "CSI: Miami," "Law & Order," "Homicide: Life On The Street" and on USA's MONK.

Donovan executive produced and directed his BURN NOTICE co-star, Bruce Campbell, in the original USA Network prequel movie BURN NOTICE: THE FALL OF SAM AXE.