Posted 16 February 2010 - 03:22 PM
'The7thFloor, that is pretty cool! Loved reading it!
Aliases Michael McBride
Date of birth January 7, 1970 (1970-01-07) (age 40)
Occupation Ex-spy, private eye
Frank Westen (father, deceased)
Madeline Westen (mother)
Nate Westen (brother)
Michael leaves home after graduating high school and joins the U.S. Army (he joined the military at the age of 17 when his mother forged his father's signature so that he would have permission), and joins Special Forces. He then served his country for 15 years working in Europe and the OPEC countries as a covert operative who freelanced for the CIA. While in the middle of a mission in Nigeria, he receives a burn notice from his superiors - documentation he recovers later shows it is a part of operation "Cold Sunshine". After shooting and stealing his way to an airport, Michael is dumped in Miami, with Fiona Glenanne, his ex-girlfriend.
Per the conditions of his burn notice, Michael's assets are frozen, his line of credit is destroyed, and he has no job history with which to seek employment. He is free to move about in and around Miami, but any attempts to relocate outside of the city will result in his immediate arrest. Now Michael has to try to find work that suits his unusual skillset and knowledge. He counts on old friends like Sam Axe (who was informing on him to the FBI until halfway through the first season) and Fiona to do such odd jobs, while fighting with his mother Madeleine Westen and trying to find out who burned him and why.
Michael lives in a cheap, low key loft over a nightclub, with a bed, workbench, some weights, a punching bag, no air conditioning (a challenge in South Florida), an oven (used to bake explosives in one episode), a few chairs, a mid-90's era computer, and a fridge filled with yogurt and beer (drunk by Sam). He obtained the loft in the pilot, when he helped the Russian landowner and club owner out by taking care of the drug dealer who also lived on the premises. He also spends time at hotels in Miami and his mother's house.
Bruce Campbell comments on Michael Westen: "Well, the idea is being a CIA agent, Michael Westen can take his skills, you know, MacGyver-ish type skills and make a shotgun out of a twig."
The Season 2 finale revealed that Michael was burned in order for him to be recruited by Carla's mysterious organization. After Fiona assassinated Carla, he was offered her position by a man referred to as the organization's "management." Westen refused the offer while in a helicopter over the ocean, when it is revealed that the security detail and personal restrictions he has been under were to protect him from the countless enemies he made as a CIA operative. He declined once more, and upon being offered "the door" by management, he promptly jumped out of the helicopter, free from the organization's hold.
Michael has many tools at his disposal, such as knives, guns, cars, cell phones, and power tools.
Michael had an abusive childhood. His father beat him as an obedience measure, and his mother did nothing to prevent it. His father also took advantage of him, for example, having Michael fake a seizure inside a Mr. Goodwrench store so Michael's father could steal some spark plugs. The last thing Michael's father said to him was, "I'll see you in Hell, boy." Eight years ago, Michael's father died, and only recently did Michael visit his grave, after persistent persuasion from his mother. Michael's younger brother, Nate, is a compulsive gambler who has a history of stealing from Michael to fund his addiction. However, after helping Michael out and almost dying he has turned his life around, which Michael seems to have difficulty believing. After a brief quarrel with his brother, Michael rightfully receives his father's black 1973 Dodge Charger.
Michael's romantic relationships are a significant source of subplots in Burn Notice. It is revealed in the episode 'Sins of Omission' that ten years previous, Michael was engaged to a professional thief named Samantha, but they never married and separated. Around that time, Michael met Fiona Glenanne, an IRA bomb maker and weapons expert while under cover in Ireland. Their relationship also ended when Michael was extracted, though Fiona became aware of Michael's real name and position as a US intelligence operative. Fiona now helps Michael with his various cases and his investigation in Miami, and they still have a close, if strained, relationship. While Fiona plays coy during most of Season 1, during Season 2 it is apparent to many that they are moving toward a reconciliation. When Fiona investigates a bomb makers home and a fire erupts that consumes the entire building, Michael believes that she had been killed in the fire, and discovers her alive and well at his apartment, albeit without a cellphone that was destroyed. Realizing that Michael was on the verge of a breakdown over her possible death, the two make love.
During Season 3, while Michael begins working harder towards being recalled to active service and working for a mercenary, Fiona grows more and more distant. Michael strikes Fiona as part of maintaining a cover identity and she gets real mad as only a woman who is used to blowing things up can, and Fiona claims that doing this work is changing Michael, and that she can't stay and watch it happen, and plans to move back to Ireland. In the following episode, these plans are curtailed when Fiona's brother and an exiled Irish mercenary arrive who kidnaps Fiona, and Michael's original Irish cover is blown. When Michael and Sam attempt a rescue, Fiona is shot in the arm when she jumps off the pier to escape the gunfire. Michael panics when he sees Fiona float to the surface unconscious and quickly pulls her out and is relieved when she comes to. Fiona's brother tells Michael that Fiona, now associated with a foreign intelligence operative, will almost certainly be killed if she returns to Ireland, though he tells Michael that he is proud to know his sister chose well.
Michael's family is also a source of strain in the show. His mother in particular is at times demanding and a valuable asset, and has recently been used to conduct initial surveillance. She's also revealed to have a deep understanding of psychology and interrogation, after she manages to coerce information out of a smuggler within minutes of Fiona and Sam having given up. Despite being left in the dark for much of the series, she is now much more involved and aware of Michael's operations, though she seems to accept this as a matter of course.
- Michael appears to favor the SIG Sauer P228 (9x19mm) as his primary sidearm, which is noteworthy because the P228 was discontinued after SIG began offering the P229 in 9mm; perhaps the P228 is a holdover from his days as a CIA operative. He also favors Emerson knives, using an Emerson Karambit in the episode "Double Booked".
- Michael's trademark sunglasses are an Oliver Peoples Victory. The lens are in a discontinued color, cognac, and are a discontinued size, 55. These glasses were likely made custom for the show. Although you can get them at the "see on! store".
- Michael is highly trained in various forms of martial arts, such as Sambo, which he uses when pretending to be Russian.
- Michael is fluent in at least five languages, including Arabic ("Turn and Burn"), Russian ("Comrades"), Farsi ("Devil You Know"), and possibly Czech ("Old Friends"), and has learned French and German just recently. He also appears to have some knowledge of Spanish and Urdu.
- Michael is highly skilled in first aid. In the Episode "Bad Breaks", Michael easily convinces a group of bank robbers that he is a medical doctor. In other episodes he frequently administers emergency first aid to either himself or others, and in the episode "Old Friends" he explains that he gained a basic understanding of combat medicine by being in countries without hospitals or readily available medical aid.
- Michael has a fondness for yogurt (particularly blueberry). He is often seen talking about and eating it in various episodes. In the episode "Broken Rules", he blackmails an agent by showing him multiple embarrassing photos, one of which shows the agent breaking into Michael's apartment without a warrant and eating his yogurt. To date, "Family Business" is the only episode that features no appearance or mention of yogurt. Jeffrey Donovan explained in an interview that yogurt was picked as Michael's food of choice because it's a good "spy food" - full of protein and nutrients and easy and convenient for a spy to eat during a long surveillance.
- In a promotional spot for the USA Network series Royal Pains, Michael sends a package to Dr. Hank Lawson, the main character of that show. It contains a few things Michael thinks Hank may need: a bottle of sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses, and a block of C-4 ("because you never know when you'll need a stable plastic explosive").