Burn Notice = A-Team

I was reading an excellent piece from GeekDad (sum ergo lego) on the original The A-Team television show and why is was “awesomer” than other, similar shows of that era, when it struck me: Burn Notice is the 21st century version of The A-Team.

For those of you not familiar with Burn Notice, here is the relevant bits from the USA Network show overview:

When spies get fired, they don’t get a letter from human resources.

They get BURNED…

This summer, USA Network presents the third season of Burn Notice, a sexy, action-packed original series starring Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen, a blacklisted spy. After coming face to face with the group of people that burned him, Michael must figure out his next move. All while staying ahead of anyone else that may have him in their crosshairs. In the meantime, he continues to use his unique skills and training to help people in desperate need of assistance.

For those of you not familiar with The A-Team, a pox upon your souls.

Burn Notice hits all the major themes of The A-Team. Main character are in hiding from the government, who trained them. Despite their persona non grata status with the authorities, they use their special skills to aid the innocentish victims of the bad guys. And, most of their tools are strictly DIY. Oh yeah, there are lots of explosions too.

They even redistribute the character traits of BA, Face, Murdock, and Hannibal amongst the Burn Notice main characters of Michael, Fiona, and Sam.

Michael = Hannibal/Face (with yogurt = iconic cigar)

Sam = Face/Murdock

Fiona = BA Baracus

Dodge Charger = BA’s Van

The only major difference I can find is that Burn Notice makes a point of tying up loose end bad guys with a neatness that The A-Team never seemed to get around to[1].


  1. Yes, I ended that sentence with a preposition. In fact, I did so intentionally, in order to raise your pedantic, grammatical ire, get you to follow the footnote, and then feel like a putz as you realize that I just played you like a fiddle.
  2. If you would like to explore a thesis in “Recurrent Themes in Popular DIY Vigilante Television Programs” for your masters degree[3], I say go for it; but I’m sure GeekDad and I would appreciate a friendly acknowledgment.
  3. If you have already written this thesis and I am inadvertently repeating your conclusions, I would really like to know what masters degree program you graduated from, and are there any openings?

Author: Josh Witten


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