Burn Wiki
Square One
Season 5, Episode 5
Air date July 21, 2011
Episode Guide
No Good Deed
Enemy of My Enemy

Square One is the fifth episode of the fifth season and the sixty-seventh episode overall.


  • Bad Guys: Brad Ramsey


Michael and the team must help a discharged sniper (Matt Lauria) whose sister was put in the hospital. Meanwhile, the team tries to find Max's killer while simultaneously fending off a CIA bloodhound Pearce. At the end of the episode the team finds out that the killer managed to hire someone who looks identical to Michael to frame Michael for Max's death.

Spy Facts[]

As a spy, you're in the information business: stealing it, protecting it, and if you have to; destroying it. Some secrets are so dangerous, that you can't allow them to continue to exist. A murder weapon that implicates you in a crime you didn't commit, for example, is a secret best kept with 4,000 degrees of burning thermite.

Whether you're operating out of a war room in Langley, or commandeering a hotel in South Beach, all CIA investigations work the same. Because analysts are tied directly into federal and local databases, they have information at their fingertips. What they don't have, is a magic button that tells them what is a real lead, and what is a dead end. That takes boots on the ground, eyeballs on the screens, and lots and lots of coffee.

Whether you're kidnapping a ruthless dictator in a foreign country, or snatching an abusive boyfriend off the street, its best not to leave a mess behind. Using your target's own car as a getaway vehicle keeps neighbors from asking about the missing owner. Plus, you don't have to pay for gas.

People tend to think spies are motivated by love of the game, desire for adventure, or patriotic fervor. The truth though, is that you don't choose a life as a covert operative unless something deeper is going on beneath the surface. Something more personal, something harder to explain, and something a lot more painful.

Jealousy is a delicate emotion. Show someone what they can't have, and they'll just resent you. Give it to them too easy, and they won't appreciate it. The key is allowing them just enough of a taste so all they want is more.

When bugging a watch, it's better to use a good looking knock-off, than its authentic counterpart. And not just because its easier on your wallet. The insides of a fake timepiece are usually smaller and simpler, leaving more room for hiding a listening device. As long as your target isn't a watch connoisseur, zinc alloy and cubic zirconia are a great way of saying "let's be friends".

In certain neighborhoods, posing as a dirty cop is a great way to confiscate information. It gives you the authority that comes with a badge, and invokes the fear that comes with being a criminal.

Protecting a target from a bullet sometimes means taking a few shots at them yourself. A near miss puts the target on their guard and keeps the real gunman at bay. But you can never predict how someone is going to react to a bullet whizzing by their head.

For a spy, revenge is a dish that is rarely served at all. The mission objective always takes priority over personal satisfaction. But if conning a scam artist into burning everything he's worked his whole life to build serves that mission, it's hard not to take a little joy in watching it all go up in flames.

A soldier on the battlefield would never dream of intentionally putting a dangerous weapon in the hands of an enemy. But as a spy, sometimes the only way to solve a problem, is trusting a bad guy to do what comes naturally. And if you help with the plan, you know exactly how to make them fail.

Full Recap[]

Previously on: Max, Michael's CIA contact has been killed and it appears that Michael is being framed for the killing. He covered his tracks to get out of the building and prepared to get himself an alibi.

Michael puts the murder weapon in 4,000 degrees of burning thermite. Jesse shows up and tells them he's pieced together credit card receipts that places the whole group in Key West on a little vacation. They try to theorize about who else would have wanted Max dead. Jesse notes that once a cover-up starts there's no going back, but Michael reminds him it already started when he cleared the key log to the murder scene and wiped away his fingerprints.

Michael meets Agent Pearce at the investigation scene. She pieces together the steps, using Michael as "the killer" and then admits she was suspicious of Michael when she heard he'd been mixed up with Max. But Michael convinces her she can count on him to find the killer. She's also his new agency contact.

Fi can't believe Michael is involved in an investigation that could lead right back to him. Michael gets a visit from a former Army sniper named Ethan who wants to avenge an injury to his sister. Michael insists that the guy Ethan is looking for, Brandon, will go to jail, not to the morgue.

Fi and Sam drop off a $2,000 check to Brandon's mother, claiming he's benefitting from a class-action lawsuit. Now they just have to wait for his mom to find Brandon or for him to show up at his mom's house.

Michael meets Pearce and she says she's going to have the FBI check Max's cell phone records, but Michael says he could do it faster because he's unofficial. He takes the massive binder with him.

Brandon shows up at his mom's house and Michael and Ethan meet him outside. Brandon claims he didn't hurt Ethan's sister. It was his boss, a scam artist who he stole some money from. Ethan still blames Brandon.

Michael tells Ethan he knows how to find Ramsey, the guy who beat up Ethan's sister. They decide to get into Ramsey's world and get in on a scam to uncover his scam operation. Sam and Ethan play themselves up as big-time scammers and try to tempt Ramsey into working with them.

Jesse shows up at the loft and is shocked at how much Fi has worked on the place. Michael it's "a process." Jesse shows Michael that he's traced cell phone activity around Max's place down to one call from a burner and he's going to trace it back to the bodega where it was purchased.

They draw Ramsey to a mansion where the whole crew is portraying itself as a group of scam artists who put up fake medical facilities around the world. They need Ramsey to help them break into South Florida. Michael comes in last, playing the role of the ring's boss who flew in from Pebble Beach for the meeting. He tries to convince Ramsey they aren't cops by tossing a molotov cocktail into Ramsey's car, then guiding him into a Porsche instead (saying it's Ramsey's new car if he joins up with Michael and his crew). After Ramsey drives away, Jesse tells him he'd better get his car back.

They hide a bug into a new watch they're giving Ramsey as a gift. Ethan gives Ramsey the watch. They ask Ramsey to get more details about his operation. He's going to have to talk to his people, and those conversations will be heard with the planted bug.

Jesse and Fi go to the bodega and pose as cops looking to get the store's surveillance videos. The owner wants cash but they instead threaten to arrest him for selling bootleg DVDs and selling booze to minors. He hands over the tapes and Michael takes them to Maddy so she can mark every purchase of a cell phone.

Ramsey talks to one of his men, who says Ramsey's judgment has been off lately. Ethan is upset when he hears a reference from Ramsey about doing violence to his sister, and he leaves. Jess and Fi realize Ethan likely went to the clinic where Ramsey was headed and when they get there, sure enough, Ethan has set up on a nearby roof with his sniper rifle ready to take aim at Ramsey. Fi distracts Ethan by shooting through the windshield of Jesse's Porsche, which Ramsey is still driving. Ramsey takes off quickly, doing more damage to the Porsche.

Back at Maddy's house, Ethan says he's done pretending to be Ramsey's friend and he just wanted to kill Ramsey. Maddy tells Michael that Ethan is a scared kid just like Michael once was, and he needs someone to teach him how to keep his anger under control. Michael convinces Ethan he has to pretend to be Ramsey's best friend just once more. Michael and Ethan go meet with Ramsey and convince him to turn the cops on his whole crew. Ramsey agrees to the whole deal and even goes along with burning his own house down to disconnect himself from his crew.

Before jumping on a private jet to Monaco, Ethan asks Ramsey if he has any loose ends and Ramsey admits there's a girl in the hospital (Ethan's sister). Ethan, working to keep his emotions in check, tells Ramsey to "take care" of that situation by putting some poison in her IV. Ramsey agrees and when he sneaks into the hospital, he's tackled by security just before doing anything with the syringe.

Ethan tells Michael he's going to talk to CIA recruiters.

Michael goes to meet with Pearce. He tells her about the burner and that he's already sifting through the tapes of the bodega's surveillance camera. She reminds him she and Max's family are counting on him.

Maddy is stunned when Michael comes over for a report on the surveillance tapes. She soon explains why by showing Michael the footage. It appears the man on the tape buying the cell phone at the bodega looks just like Michael -- his clothing, appearance and posture make for a near-perfect impersonation.



  • Coby Bell as Jesse Porter



  • Matt Lauria as Ethan
  • Andy Davoli as Brad Ramsey
  • Taylor Anthony Miller as Brandon DePaolo 
  • Nancy Duerr as Cathy DePaolo
  • Matthew Horohoe as Joel Davenport 
  • Richard Dawson as Carlos 


Continuity Errors[]

During "Previously on Burn Notice," Max states Michael, "Is putting up some W's lately. The right people are starting to take notice." The episode this statement comes from is quite obviously from No Good Deed. However, these sentences were never said on air.