When intelligence agencies want to cut ties with one of their assets, they issue a “burn notice” discrediting their agents or sources who are considered to be unreliable or compromised. Burn Notice is the story of Michael Westen, a former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier and CIA contractor who finds himself burned, his connection to all organizations rapidly terminated. Burned spies have no network, no money and no professional identity. With all of his assets frozen, Michael must survive on his cunning, taking whatever small investigative gigs he can scrounge up as an unlicensed PI while he tries to track down who burned him and why.
While under constant surveillance by those who burned him, Michael faces a choice: stay in Miami and be a semi-free man or be hunted down and jailed. While trying to earn some scratch, he comes to blows with all sorts of criminal contingents—rapists, kidnappers, drug and arms traffickers, you name it—all with the help of ex-girlfriend Fiona and Sam Axe, a semiretired covert operative and former Navy SEAL played by cult hero Bruce Campbell.
Burn Notice produced seven seasons and a TV movie. Its blend of action and drama against a beautiful backdrop of Miami, Fla. made it a colorful blend of sex, danger and violence, which proved to be a hit for the USA Network between 2007 and 2013.
Here’s how to watch Burn Notice streaming online.
How to Watch Burn Notice Online & Stream the Complete Series
In the United States, Amazon Prime is the only streaming service with every episode of Burn Notice in its library. Here’s how to watch:
If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch every episode of Burn Notice on your computer right here, or you can watch on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app.
If you don’t have Prime, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial here. Once signed up, you can watch every episode of Monk on your computer right here, or you can watch on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app.
How Many Burn Notice Seasons Are There?
Michael Westen spent seven seasons trying to track down who burned him, clocking in at 111 episodes.
Burn Notice Season 1
12 Episodes | June 2007 – September 2007
Season 1 introduces us to the series’ main characters: Michael’s ex-girlfriend Fiona Glenanne helps him out along the way, as does Michael’s best friend Sam Axe, a retired NAVY seal. Michael’s mother, Madeline “Maddie” Westen, is a huge presence on the show along with her hypochondriac tendencies. Once he finds himself “burned,” Michael Weston begins his hunt for the man responsible. FBI Agents Harris and Lame (played by Marc Macaulay and Brandon Morris) enter to keep tabs on Westen, but are later replaced by Jason Bly. By the end of the season, the FBI has backed off of his case, and Michael discovers that Phillip Cowan was responsible for the burn notice, though the order to burn him goes much higher. Before Michael can get any critical information, Cowan is shot and killed. The season ends with Michael being contacted by a mysterious woman.
Burn Notice Season 2
16 Episodes | July 2008 – March 2009
Michael meets Carla (Battlestar Galactica‘s Tricia Helfer). Michael starts a professional relationship with her, using her to get to the people who burned him. Michael completes tasks for Carla despite Fiona and Sam’s disapproval. Carla eventually breaks into Madeline’s house multiple times and has Michael’s brother arrested. When Michael gets closer to learning Carla’s end-game, he’s almost killed as his loft explodes. Michael finds Carla’s handler, Victor Stecker-Epps (Michael Shanks), and discovers that Carla killed Victor’s family and that he has enough evidence to use against her. Carla kills Victor before he can do so, while Fiona takes out Carla before she can blow up Victor’s boat with Michael still on it. Michael meets “Management” (John Mahoney), the leader of a professional black ops syndicate, but tells him he wants out, ending the “protection” that Management claimed was being secretly provided for him.
Burn Notice Season 3
16 Episodes | June 2009 – March 2010
Michael meets Tom Strickler, an agent to the spies who tells him he can have the burn notice lifted but at a high cost. Michael makes a tough decision when he must kill Strickler in order to save Fiona’s life. Michael meets a CIA agent named Diego Garza who gives him information, but Garza is quickly offed after running his mouth. Later, Michael is approached by Mason Gilroy, a psychopath who confesses to the murder of Garza. Gilroy wants Weston to help him break a prisoner out of a high security facility. The prisoner is Simon Escher (Garret Gillahunt)—the man responsible for the crimes Michael was framed for. In the final scenes, Michael is arrested and taken to a mysterious room.
Burn Notice Season 4
18 Episodes | June 2010 – December 2010
Michael begins working for the people who burned him, later burning an agent himself, a counterintelligence agent named Jesse Porter. Michael discovers a coded book that contains a complete list of those who burned him. Jesse finds out that Michael burned him, and amid that drama, along with being forced to kill a mutual target of his and Management’s, Michael loses the coded book of names. Allies and foes shift betraying each other throughout the season, which ends with Michael being taken to Washington D.C. to meet an unidentified man who greets him by saying, “Welcome back.”
Burn Notice Season 5
18 Episodes | June 2011 – December 2011
Now working with the CIA as a consultant, Michael is tasked with finding and arresting a list of Management agents. While tracking down the final name, Michael and partner Max find that the man is dead, which continues to consume Michael. Max is eventually murdered and another attempted frame job on Michael has him hustling to find the real killer. A new bad guy shows his face, the man behind Management’s still-active syndicate, Anson Fullerton, and he blackmails Fiona in order to control Michael. Michael and his team commit crimes on Anson’s behalf, but once Fiona turns herself in, Michael begins to pursue Anson without worrying about her safety.
Burn Notice Season 6
18 Episodes | June 2012 – December 2012
Fiona is arrested while Michael works with Tom Card (John C. McGinley) to gain visitation rights and eventually have her released. The gang eventually captures Anson with the help of Michael’s brother Nate, but shortly after CIA hits the scene, Anson and Nate are shot dead. Michael and his friends start to hunt down Nate’s killer and Card approves an off-book op in Panama to take him down. It’s revealed that Card hired Tyler Gray to kill Anson and is now planning a move to kill Michael and his friends. Michael eventually kills Card, making him and his entourage the target of the CIA’s Olivia Riley, who’s been working with a drug cartel to try to take Michael down. After Sam, Fiona, Jesse and Madeline are arrested, Michael makes a deal once more in exchange for his friends’ and family’s freedom.
Burn Notice Season 7
13 Episodes | June 2013 – September 2013
Michael’s deal to free his friends earns him an assignment from a high-ranking CIA official, Andrew Strong, who believes Michael is the only one who can complete a dangerous mission against Randall Burke, a suspected leader of a freelance terror ring. After feeling betrayed by Michael for events in the previous season, Fiona moves on to a new job with a new bounty-hunting boyfriend. Burke sacrifices his life in order to save a woman named Sonya who he says is “the key to everything.” They work to get Sonya deeper into her organization, and while they do, Michael meets a higher-up named James, who welcomes Michael into his “family.” Michael kills Sonya to protect Fiona which makes James retaliate by sending men to kill Maddie, Charlie (Nate’s son) and Jesse. Maddie sacrifices herself to protect them while James blows up his own building. Michael and Fiona escape but are presumed dead. The series ends with Michael and Fiona married and raising Charlie in a small Irish town.
What Are the Best Burn Notice Episodes?
In a series full of backstabbing, betrayals and covert operations gone wrong, Burn Notice has some standout episodes that are just a cut above the rest. Here’s a list of the best Burn Notice episodes.
Season 2, Episode 13: “Bad Breaks”
Madeline asks Michael to help her friend, a female executive at a bank who has a stalker. When Michael goes to the bank to help her out, Agent Bly follows and the two become hostages when the stalker shows up with plans of robbing the bank.
Season 2, Episode 16: “Lesser Evil”
It’s the ultimate showdown between Team Westen and Carla, who shoots down Victor just as he’s about to leave the country. Westen and his crew deals with Carla. As he’s dying, Victor hands over an important piece to Michael’s puzzle, which helps Michael negotiate with the nefarious “Management.”
Season 3, Episode 11: “Friendly Fire”
An old teammates of Sam’s asks him for help in bringing down a murderer with a history of preying on kids. Michael goes undercover in order to get the guy to come out of hiding, convincing a local gang leader to help them out with the mutually beneficial operation.
Who Are the Actors in the Burn Notice Cast?
Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen
Michael is the main character and narrator of Burn Notice. After being burned, Michael spends the series trying to find out who framed him and ruined his career. Donovan is also known for his roles in Hitch and Changeling. He also directed the show’s TV movie Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe.
Gabrielle Anwar as Fiona Glenanne
Fiona is a former IRA operative and Westen’s ex-girlfriend. She’s a firearms and explosives expert who supports Westen in missions and his overall efforts in finding who burned him. Anwar is a British actress known for playing Margaret Tudor on The Tudors, and also dancing a very well-known tango with Al Pacino in Scene of a Woman.
Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe
Sam is a former covert operative and Navy SEAL who’s an old buddy of Westen. He also proves to be Westen’s last contact in the spy community. Campbell is a cult film hero, starring as Ash Williams in the Evil Dead franchise in addition to appearances in Maniac Cop, Bubba Ho-Tep, and on TV, Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
Sharon Gless as Madeline Westen
Gless plays Westen’s meddling mother whose self-importance reins supreme, despite her constant support of both of her sons. As the series goes on, Michael comes to appreciate her strength. Gless is a 10-time Emmy Award nominee who played Sgt. Christine Cagney in the police procedural Cagney & Lacey.
Coby Bell as Jesse Porter
Jesse is a counterintelligence expert who Michael unwittingly burns. He gradually joins Michael’s team despite tension between the two after Jesse finds out Michael was responsible for his burn notice. Bell has had main roles in The Gifted and The Game.
Who Are the Top Guest Stars on Burn Notice?
Some major players popped in and out of Michael Westen’s life throughout the show’s seven seasons. Here’s a list of the most important Burn Notice guest stars.
Burt Reynolds as Paul Anderson
In Season 4’s “Past & Future Tense,” Michael helps Reynolds’ Paul Anderson, a former CIA operative who’s in trouble with a gang of Russian spies. Reynolds has been in the business for 60 years appearing in Gunsmoke, Smokey and the Bandit, The Cannonball Run and more. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting role in Boogie Nights.
Danny Trejo as Felipe Vega
Trejo plays a no-nonsense gang leader in Season 3’s “Friendly Fire.” Trejo can be seen in movies like Desperado, From Dusk till Dawn, Con Air and Machete.
John C. McGinley as Tom Card
Card was Michael’s mentor, trainer and ex-handler from his CIA days. Though Michael once had respect for the man, it was revealed that Card sent Michael on a suicide mission to Panama and ordered the hit on Anson that ended up killing Michael’s brother Nate. McGinley is known for a slew of films such as Point Break, Platoon, Any Given Sunday and Battle of the Sexes.
Who Are the Writers & Creators Behind Burn Notice?
Matt Nix: Burn Notice Creator, Executive Producer and Writer
After writing a handful of short films, Nix created and wrote Burn Notice for the USA Network. Currently, he works on FOX’s The Gifted, an X-Men connected TV show where he serves as creator and showrunner.
Where Burn Notice Ranks in the Television Pantheon
While espionage stories are a dime a dozen, Burn Notice kept viewers captivated thanks to its jaunty tone and tone-in-cheek plots. It received a nod from the Boston Globe for its light, breezy comedy and “GQ-handsome” lead, while the Los Angeles Times called it “fast paced, bullet-pocked and extremely clever.” If you’re looking for a fast-paced action series that’s bingeable, comedic and explosive, check out Burn Notice.