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Past & Future Tense
Season 4, Episode 7
Air date July 22, 2010
Episode Guide
Entry Point
Where There's Smoke

Past and Future Tense is the seventh episode of the fourth season and the fifty-first episode overall.


  • Clients: Paul Anderson
  • Bad Guys: Vitali.


Michael helps former CIA operative Paul Anderson who got into trouble with some Russian spies.

Spy Facts[]

Psychiatrists have nothing on spies, when it comes to over-analyzing their friends behavior. As a covert operative, you routinely trust your coworkers with your life, so you tend to notice when they start acting strangely.

International conferences are good cover for run of the mill diplomatic spooks and black bag operatives alike. One way to tell them apart - their luggage. You don't bring a high speed film camera to an event where nobody wants their picture taken, unless you want to bypass the x-ray machines at the airport. Telephoto lenses are a great place to store the illegal silencer you're smuggling in.

Under ideal circumstances, a good interrogation unfolds slowly. But circumstances are not always ideal. If you are operating on a clock, sometimes you have to get right in your enemy's face and turn up the heat.

When you are being hunted in a crowd, your biggest advantage is your opponents can't maintain visual contact with each other. The key is to move without drawing attention to yourself. When you can, you disguise your actions as something else. When you can't, you strike fast and hard. Then, you calmly move for the exits and get the hell out of there.

Spies and politicians tend not to get along very well. Politicians see spies as vitally important in the national interest, right up to the point where they deny ever meeting them and abandon them entirely. It makes for a tough working relationship.

If you need a microphone but you only have a speaker, you don't have a problem. Both have magnets and coils that conduct sound in roughly the same way. So you can just plug a pair of headphones into a stereo's auxiliary jack and crank the volume. It's not quite good enough for karaoke, but you will be able to hear even faint noises, like the disks in a safe's locking mechanism clicking into position.

As dangerous as a high speed chase can be, there’s nothing quite as treacherous as a no-speed chase. If you get pursued into bad traffic, your operating paradigm has to shift. Your car is no longer being pursued, you are. Just because your car can’t move, doesn’t mean you can’t.

Every country emphasizes slightly different tactics with their elite troops. The Chinese Special Forces learn how to shoot with either hand. The German DSO teaches their men to rappel from helicopters. And every Russian Spetsnaz team is trained to siege secure locations by surrounding, advancing, and synchronizing their attack. Their discipline makes them hard to escape, but easy to predict.

An all-out coordinated breach has its advantages: maximum force, the element of surprise, but there are draw-backs too. If everyone goes in at once, you can find yourself locked inside before you realize your target has already left.

Full Recap[]

Jesse stood on the beach looking “at the one woman on the beach who should not be wearing a bikini” and finally admitted to Michael Westen and Fiona that he had them there doing surveillance on his old handler, Marv, who was at the Eden Roc Hotel for the International Intelligence Conference. M agreed that they needed someone with high level connections to help them find which bank they needed to look for and said he would help Jesse approach Marv.  They found Marv in the bar where M told him that Jesse had not done what he was accused of, “trust me." He also said that Jesse hadn’t stopped working on what he was doing and that now they needed to know which bank had the robbery attempt. Marv claimed he didn’t believe Jesse was guilty but that he wouldn’t help any burned spies. As Marv was walking away, M noticed a Russian wet-work team, Spetsnaz, checking into the hotel; so, Fiona said “let’s just ask one of them who they are here to kill.”  Jesse said: “Let’s get the pretty-boy runt of the litter”Alexi.  Alexi wouldn’t talk to Sam except to say that “everyone in Russian Special Forces has heard the name of Michael Westen. He’s like the boogey man, not real." M introduced himself, showed a driver’s license then spoke in fluent Russian saying that "I shot a man who looked a lot like you in Kiev, ’93, who tried to sell a warhead." Alexi eventually revealed that they were in the US to capture a former American spy, Paul Anderson (now working at Bananafish Bar), who had once had a high-level source in the Kremlin which they thought still might be in place and wanted to know about. Their leader, Vitali, was an interrogation specialist.

M found Anderson and had to rescue him from the four Spetsnaz who were left. Back at the loft Anderson called Fiona a “beautiful creature” and M had to keep him focused. M decided to help Anderson telling him that what he needed now was a new name, a pension transfer and to be put back on the “do not touch” list. Their plan was to use some “dirt” that Anderson had on a congressman Cowley to coerce him into making it happen. Sam would separate Cowley from his entourage then meet M, Anderson and Fiona at Cowley’s house on Key Biscayne. True to form Fiona kept intruding to have a heart-to-heart about "poor Jesse" right in the middle of the mess. She stormed off and Sam told M that “I still love ya… and have fun with the ghost of Christmas future” (meaning Anderson). Fiona bumped into Marv pretending to be an old acquaintance and invited him to her room as a business meeting. Jesse told Fiona that no matter what she said about “healthy” behavior he “wasn’t stopping until the people who burned him were six-feet under.” Cowley rebuffed Sam scoffing that he was only one of his constituents, so Sam needed to bring in Madeline. She said she would be glad to help because she had always wanted to slap Cowley for his “obnoxious good old boy shtick.” Anderson kept telling M that "You remind me of me." He asked, “You wake up 3 or 4 times in the middle of the night? It never gets better, after a while you just start collecting ghosts!” Rum helps, he said.

M used explosives on a kill switch to detract Vitali while Anderson went into his apartment to get the documents he had on Cowley; although, he couldn’t remember the combination (the day his mother died) so M had to crack it. Anderson had Crowley’s signature on a document to a Marine General urging illegal deployment into Bogota in 1988 where 14 were KIA and Cowley had covered it up. Vitali was having satellite support to track M so kept up with them. M and Anderson only escaped by untying a boat from its trailer in a traffic jam, which then dropped on the Russians. Jesse was able to convince Marv to find out which bank was hit on the 4th of last month; but only if he never saw him again… ever. He’d give the info to Fiona. Smug Cowley already knew who M was and that it must have been his idea to shake down a sitting congressman. He revealed that he'd already taken care of Anderson's issue. He had blackmailed a general who had been caught diverting money into admitting to the Bogota scandal, which made Andersons blackmail useless. He said he was going to see that Sam and Madeline were audited by the IRS every year for the rest of their lives and heap dirt on Ms grave, “just for the hell of it.” Anderson decked him out cold.

It took M rescuing them all from Vitali’s team to get Cowley to help Anderson. Vitali’s men whined to to him to let them surrender because “he was Michael Westen and there is only four of us.” Cowley heard Vitali threaten that there would be more Russians come until Anderson told them what he knew. Anderson shot Vitali and M had to back him down at gunpoint. "You're telling me it's illegal to shoot Russian assassin's on American soil now?"

Sam pointed out that Cowley could both help Anderson and look like a hero; or, be a traitor who had helped MW draw in Russians. He agreed saying "maybe next year I'll run unopposed." Anderson was going to be Paul Vandermark in Newport and said he might write his memoirs so M could publish them after he was gone. M found that Anderson’s memory was going – not just because he drank. Anderson told M that “all you really have in the end… are your stories.” Marv brought the details for the bank robbery, Miami Trust, to Fiona and wanted her to tell Jesse that he knew he was innocent. He gave her a paper which showed that there had been a duplicate key card used on that day; but, video surveillance tapes had all been confiscated. Fiona destroyed the paper then turned on M for her slugfest claiming that M only cared about the “idea of people” and not about those who had his back every day.




  • Richard Kind as Marv


  • V.J. Foster as Vitali
  • Steven Klein as Alexi
  • John Doman as Bill Cowley
  • Burt Reynolds as Paul Anderson
  • Antares Davis as Regina


  • Michael's drivers license says that he was born 01/7/67, weighs 185 pounds, and is 5'11".

Continuity Errors[]

  • In the first episode, Madeline said Michael broke out of his room at 6 to see the Star Wars. This can't be, since Star Wars came out in 1977, making him just over 10 when he sneaked out.