Burn Wiki
Season 1, Episode 2
Mike westen identity.png
Air date July 5, 2007
Written by Matt Nix
Directed by Rod Hardy
Episode Guide
Fight or Flight

Identity is the second episode of the first season and the second episode overall.



Laura, one of Madeline's friends, was scammed and beaten up by a con artist. Michael agrees to help Laura at Madeline's insistence in exchange for information on two men who were asking about him.

Spy Facts[]

  • A surveillance photo can tell you a lot about the photographer. Surveillance takes planning. You have to scout the area. You need a place to sit and wait for the target for an hour-or 10. You need to take a leak now and then. Lots of chances to get seen. 
  • You can't choose your intelligence sources. Might be a heroin smuggler, a dictator... or your mom.
  • My mother's understanding of my career changes with what she wants from me. One day, she can name everyone on the National Security Council, the next day, she thinks I work for the post office. 
  • Not all bugs are the same. If it's got a battery, it's disposable, short-term. If it's wired into the house power, it's a longer-term thing. If it has a transmitter, you can figure out how close the listener is. 
  • Once your surveillance knows you're onto them, the clock starts ticking. They know you're coming, so the question for them is whether they can destroy their equipment and get out of there in time. The question for you is whether you can find them before every bit of useful information is turned into a pile of burning slag.
  • There's a reason spies don't have a lot of parties. Everybody's got a history with everyone else. 
  • Often, the best way to get intel is to provoke action, set people in motion. Pros know better, but they usually have to work with a few amateurs, and they panic. So you beat the bushes a little and see what flies out. Once your frightened amateur leads you to the pros, the work begins. 
  • Con artists and spies are both professional liars. Cons do it for the money, and spies do it for the flag, but it's mostly the same gig. They run operations, they follow security procedures, they recruit support staff and issue orders. 
  • When you go after a spy, you send another spy. The same goes for con artists. To catch one, you've got to beat him at his own game- be a better liar than he is. 
  • No matter how good your cover identity is, you've got to sell it, and that's not always easy. Sometimes you have to decide just how committed you are to pretending you are who you say you are.
  • I don't like running from cops, but it has its advantages: it builds your credibility with a criminal when you flee a crime scene. 
  • Eavesdropping and fieldwork go hand-in-hand. You wanna know what your target is saying, what he's typing into his computer. But technology can't work miracles: bugs don't plant themselves. Fact is, even the fanciest equipment usually needs help from a good old-fashioned crowbar.
  • It's always useful to be able to disable a car remotely. A cell phone, some wire you can ground the circuit on the electrical system with a phone call.
  • A good cover identity keeps the target feeling in control. You talk too much, drink too much just to let him know he's got the edge. 
  • Go after a group of people directly, and they pull together. They get stronger. Taking on a tight-knit group is about making them turn on each other. You plant the seeds of distrust and watch them grow. Of course, sowing seeds of distrust is harder, when nobody trusts you.
  • Sometimes a great plan comes together just a little bit too early. You've been in the business way too long when you recognize the sound of a .45 caliber over a phone.
  • (car explodes) That's what happens when you wire a cell phone to a blasting cap in the gas tank instead of the electrical system.
  • Whether you're in Moscow, Tehran or Miami, club girls are a good source of information. Men say things to a beautiful woman. They give out phone numbers, hotel keys. They let down their guard. Getting information from a club girl means buying drinks. It's no problem with an operational slush fund. It's a big problem if you're spending cash scrounged from your mom's purse.
  • A hit man is like a plumber, a dentist or a mechanic. Everybody is always looking for a good one. 
  • I don't much like dealing with paranoids. They get erratic, make bad decisions. Of course, that can be a help when you need them to make a bad decision. 
  • Truth is, identity theft isn't hard. A number and an ID is all you need to drain a bank account and return a lot of money to some very surprised retirees. But why stop there? As long as you're stealing someone's identity, why not use it to contact some known terrorist organizations on unsecured phone lines? Why not use it to threaten some federal judges and insult the local drug cartel? Most fun I've had in Miami. 

Full Recap[]

Michael meets this week's client through his mother, Madeline. A neighbor and friend to Madeline, the victim, Laura, innocently entered a prize contest, then received winning notification in the mail. Having been told that contest staff would have to interview her in person, she was assaulted by these people, who also obtained all her credit and banking information, and beat her up. Her bank accounts were emptied of $50,000.00, and her son was threatening to put her in a home.

Michael only agrees to help Laura in order to get information out of Madeline about two guys who had visited her in order to ask about him, and she won't tell him anything about their visit, unless he agrees to help her friend.

Having little to go on, other than the prize notification certificate, Michael turns to Sam Axe. Although Michael knows Sam is informing on him to the FBI, he is one of the few people still talking to him and has experience in the spy game. Sam asks what the plan is, and Michael says the prize certificate Laura received contains a phony address and phone number, but the print work is good enough that there could only be a handful of shops that could have produced it.

When Michael confesses that the pay for their work will be minimal, Sam offers to help in exchange for Mike letting Sam crash at his place for a little while. Sam is temporarily homeless, after a spat with his ex-girlfriend. Michael reluctantly agrees.

Entering his apartment, Michael is flustered to see his ex, Fiona, waiting inside, having broken in. She announces (with a new American accent) that she's staying in Miami for the time being. Before Michael can think of a tactful way to get rid of her, Sam follows Michael in. Fi and Sam have tangled before, and Michael has to duck when they're arguing quickly escalates into Fi throwing a bottle at Sam's head.

There's a reason spies don't have a lot of parties - everyone has a history with everybody else.

Michael, trying to calm them both down, asks Fi to give them some privacy while he and Sam discuss their new job together - a job which Fi immediately "invites" herself along on: "Sounds like fun."

Michael's knowledge of the spy game pays off at the print shop. Fiona goes in flashing the certificate, which Sam has correctly guessed was done after hours without management knowledge. Sam and Michael wait outside, to see one of the lower-level employees spook and run. Michael follows him to a yacht and meets Quentin, the guy who is certain to have scammed the Laura, and from the looks of things, not just Laura, his business looks to be booming. Also, there are two trainees, Greg and Bonnie. After taking a few pictures, Michael leaves.

Sam again comes through with info: Quentin hangs out at a Miami bar called "Onyx". He also has fabricated a false identity for Michael as the former cell mate of Paco, an ex-partner of Quentin's. Michael heads to Onyx, knowing that in order to beat a con artist, you must be a better con artist.

Quentin is naturally suspicious of a stranger approaching him with a con deal, and Michael has difficulty catching Quentin's interest and resorts to the extreme measure of taking Quentin's own gun and forcing him outside. Michael stays in character for a parole-jumping ex-con by shooting out the tires on a parked police car, and runs, telling Quentin he will be hearing from him.

The next day, Michael will meet up with Quentin and his gang, spinning his yarn about conning people with fake bonds, giving Sam and Fiona time to wire Quentin's car, so it can be disabled remotely, and to download information from Quentin's computer. Realizing that Quentin is skeptical and is sending the partners back to the yacht, he is furiously texting Sam and Fiona to leave the yacht, but they are bickering too much to hear the phone vibrate.

Trapped by Greg and Bonnie, Sam and Fiona pull a little con of their own - they pretend to be making out in the cabin, and caught by Greg and Bonnie, Sam "confesses" that he lied about owning the yacht to get into Fiona's pants. Stunned by Fiona's pretend fit of indignation, complete with a ringing slap, the pair walk right past the two stunned apprentice con artists.

The three spies regroup at an outdoor cafe, and Michael confesses that he's met KGB agents who were easier to crack than Quentin, a new plan is hatched to drive a wedge between Quentin and his team. Sam saunters off to do his part, and Michael asks Fiona for a little help with his mother. He needs information about the men, who questioned Madeline, and thinks a little pretend peep into his private life might loosen her tongue, but Fiona has already spoken to Madeline and is salivating at the opportunity to visit Madeline.

Before the little family dinner, Michael meets Quentin once more at Onyx, where Michael sidesteps a verbal trap from Quentin about their "friend in common," Paco. Michael has a 50/50 chance of guessing correctly about Paco's habits, and is correct, but it's still a close thing.

Speaking to Sam, Michael learns that Sam has his disinformation plan in motion. He has fabricated offshore bank accounts for Greg and Bonnie and has plane tickets in their names. He plans to plant this on the yacht to arouse Quentin's suspicions about his own team.

Arriving at Madeline's dinner, Fiona completely freaks Michael out by playing into Madeline's desires for a committed relationship for Michael one of which she knows all the details. Fiona gives her more than she bargained for, even admitting to wanting to be a "June bride", to Michael's pronounced discomfort. Michael gets Madeline alone, and having met his "girlfriend" and knowing Michael is working on helping her friend, Madeline finally talks about the men, who visited her. She says, they asked a lot of questions, particularly whether she and Michael were close. Knowing this to be untrue, he asks her, why she'd say that, and Madeline replied that it seemed nicer than the truth. In the midst of an uncomfortable moment, Michael's phone rings.

Taking the call outside, it's Quentin, and he is freaked. He has found all the stuff Sam planted, but sooner than the plan called for. Michael hears Quentin cock a gun and tells him not to do anything stupid, he's coming. Sending Sam ahead, and telling him not to leave Quentin, Sam sees Greg and Bonnie leaving and Quentin following. Sam decides, the best plan is to use the remote to disable the car. Unfortunately, Fiona's IRA training caused her to wire the car to blow up with Quentin only a few feet away. Deciding, there are better places for him to be, Sam leaves in a hurry.

Back at Michael's, Fiona is soundly scolded for blowing up the car and reaming Sam, because the Feds are back on his tail. To make things worse, Quentin is so freaked out that he isn't taking Michael's calls. Michael returns to Onyx and convinces one of the regular club girls to give out a more private number of Quentin's. Quentin answers this number, but tells Michael that he's in hiding. Michael suggests they meet, so Michael can help him take care of his problems.

Michael plants into Quentin's mind that the problem is Greg and Bonnie, and he knows someone, who would take care of them for a mere $50,000.00, but only through a wire. Quentin bites. Michael calls Sam to let him know, it's time to get Greg and Bonnie out of town for real.

On the yacht, Greg and Bonnie are paranoid because Quentin is missing. Sam and Fiona con them yet again, arriving and introducing themselves as Detective Cagney and Detective Lacey, with Miami PD. They claim they have been monitoring their activities, and in order to save themselves, they need to consider ratting Quentin out. Bonnie wants to talk, Greg wants a lawyer, but Sam and Fiona leave, giving the apprentice con artists time to decide, to do exactly what Sam and Fiona need them to do run.

Michael arrives at Quentin's hiding spot and makes him even more paranoid by pointing out the Feds, who are actually tailing Michael. This pushes Quentin over the edge. Quentin hands over his bank wire information, along with ID to prove Michael is Quentin. Thinking, Michael is sending payment to the friend, who can "handle" the situation, Michael instead assumes Quentin's identity and takes all Quentin's ill-gotten gains and returns them to their rightful owners. Just for kicks, he also uses Quentin's name to call some known terrorist organizations, issue death threats against some federal judges, and insult the local drug cartel. Michael calls it the "most fun I've had" since landing in Miami, watching with satisfaction as Quentin is arrested in his hotel room.

Michael and Madeline visit Laura, the original victim, who is simply raving that all of her money had magically reappeared, he asks for a mere $500.00 for his trouble, but after a glacial look from Madeline, settles for $300.00 and a promise that Laura won't enter any more contests.

Following him outside, Madeline gives Michael his other $200.00 worth. Madeline confesses to having received a phone number by the men who visited her, one she hasn't called.

Michael calls the number, answered by an unfamiliar male voice. The brief, mysterious conversation with the unknown man tells Michael, that they know he's been busy, they are watching him, and they will be in touch.



Guest Starring[]


  • Josh Randall as Greg
  • Cindy Taylor as Bonnie
  • Marc Macaulay as Agent Harris
  • Elayne Wilks as Laura
  • Brandon Morris as Agent Lane
  • Mike Benitez as Printer
  • Craig Bonaventura as Rocker Kid
  • Oona O'Connell as Club Girl


  • Consulting Producer: Michael Wilson
  • Produced by: Terry Miller
  • Supervising Producer: Mere Smith
  • Supervising Producer: Alfredo Barrios, Jr.
  • Co-Executive Producer: Nick Thiel
  • Co-Executive Producer: Jeff Freilich
  • Executive Producer: Mikkel Bondesen
  • Executive Producer: Matt Nix
  • Created by: Matt Nix
  • Associate Producer: Erik Lee
  • Executive Story Editor: Craig O'Neill
  • Executive Story Editor: Jason Tracey
  • Casting by: Wendy Weidman, CSA
  • Casting by: Barbara Fiorentino, CSA
  • Casting by: Rebecca Mangieri, CSA
  • Miami Casting: Ellen Jacoby, CSA
  • Director of Photography: Roy H. Wagner, A.S.C.
  • Production Designer: J. Mark Harrington
  • Edited by: Steven Lang
  • Unit Production Manager: Terry Miller
  • First Assistant Director: Melanie Grefe
  • Second Unit Director: Oscar Aguirre
  • Score by: John Dickson
  • Production Supervisor: Ek Keratsis
  • Costume Designer: Danny Santiago
  • A Camera Operator: Mike McGowan Jr.
  • B Camera Operator: Al "Tiko" Pavoni
  • Gaffer: William Smaling
  • Key Grip: Tom Smaling
  • Art Director: Craig Siebels
  • Set Decorator: Barbara Peterson
  • Location Manager: Jennifer Radzikowski
  • Transportation Coordinator: Larry Crenshaw
  • Construction Coordinator: Michael Metzel
  • Make-Up Artist: Susie Mendez-Pfister
  • Marine Coordinator: Don Abbatiello
  • Hair Stylist: Couqui Collazo
  • Property Master: Charlie Guanci, Jr.
  • Production Accountant: Chad McQuay
  • Script Supervisor: Betty Bennett
  • Production Sound Mixer: Scott Clements
  • Script Coordinator: Peter Lalayanis
  • Production Coordinator: Simi Wein
  • First Assistant Camera A: Mike McLean
  • First Assistant Camera B: Peter Farber
  • Best Boy Electric: Robert Cates
  • Best Boy Grip: Dave Robinson
  • Transportation Captain: Melvin Turner
  • Stunt Coordinator: Artie Malesci
  • Special Effects Coordinator: Kevin Harris
  • Assistant to Matt Nix: Kate Sargeant
  • Post Production Supervisor: Tony Lara
  • Assistant Editor: Doug Hannah
  • Supervising Sound Editor: Albert Ibbotson
  • Music Editor: Kevin Bassinson
  • Re-Recording Mixer: Sherry Klein
  • Re-Recording Mixer: Fred Tator
  • Assistant to Jeff Freilich: Conchi Tellechea
  • Telecine and Electronic Assembly by: Cineworks Digital Studios, Inc.
  • Telecine and Electronic Assembly by: Laserpacific Media Corporation
  • Special Thanks to Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Legislature for Florida's Entertainment Industry Financial Incentive
  • Post Production Sound by: Larson Studios
  • SRS Circle Surround provided by SRS Labs, Inc.
  • Camera Systems by Cinevideotech


Continuity Errors[]

  • When Fiona and Michael have dinner with his mother, you can see the strap on Fiona's dress is off her shoulder, in the next camera angle the strap is back on her shoulder.