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What Is 'Burn Notice'? Inside The Show That Keeps Coming Up On 'Poker Face'

"Burn Notice" is having a renewed moment thanks to the Peacock hit "Poker Face." So it's a surprisingly good time to get acquainted with the hit spy series. 

By Tyler McCarthy
Split image of the tv shows 'Poker Face' and 'Burn Notice'

A USA Network original series is getting renewed attention thanks to the Peacock hit "Poker Face" featuring it heavily. As a result, some viewers are newly curious about the action-packed spy series Burn Notice

You may have forgotten about the popular series since it aired its final, incredible episode in 2013, or maybe you’re wondering about the show Cliff Legrand (Benjamin Bratt) is constantly referencing and watching on Poker Face — he compares Charlie Cale (Natasha Lyonne) to its titular star, Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan), and it’s his binge-watch of choice while on the road chasing her down. Either way, we’re here to answer your burning questions about Burn Notice

For starters, what is it? 

RELATED: Rian Johnson & 'Poker Face' showrunners unpack that twisty season finale, tease what comes next

Burn Notice was a USA Network original series that ran for seven action-heavy seasons between 2007 and 2013. The show focused on Westen, an accomplished spy who one day finds out he’s been “burned.” In the spy world, that means he’s not only been disavowed by the U.S. government, but he’s untouchable in that no other agency or country is allowed to work with him either. Not only does he have no one to work for, but there's no one standing between him and his old enemies. 

He’s sent back to his hometown of Miami and is told he’ll be in deep trouble or even killed if he attempts to leave. So, he does the only thing a master spy can do in that situation: Put his skills to work helping desperate people while simultaneously trying to figure out who burned him and ruined his life. 

Fortunately, he’s not alone. Because he’s home, Michael is always able to touch base with his mother, Madeline (Sharon Gless), who refuses to be kept in the dark about his work despite his best efforts. Also hanging out and enjoying retirement in Miami is his good friend and former Navy SEAL, Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell). Finally, he’s joined by his on-again-off-again (but let’s face it, always on) love interest with a passion for violence and explosives, Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar).

Together, they take on the biggest baddies in Miami by way of the cloak-and-dagger tactics Westen has mastered during his years as a spy. What makes the show so appealing is that Westen narrates every episode for the viewer, offering some terrific how-to advice on budget-friendly spycraft. So, those who tune in may learn a few tricks of the trade in between all the fistfights and explosions. 

Westen is always the smartest person in the room and, thanks to his skills, is always one step ahead of his enemies. So, it’s easy to see why Cliff thinks he and Charlie are pretty similar. However, where Westen carries himself with the rigidity and purpose of a trained spy, Charlie's method of operating is a bit more like jazz, to put it nicely. 

You can decide how far the similarities go for yourself by checking out Poker Face Season 1 on Peacock right now. 

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