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Down & Out
Season 6, Episode 14
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Air date November 29, 2012
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Best Laid Plans

Down & Out is fourteenth episode of season 6 of Burn Notice.

Synopsis[]

Michael arranges to be captured by a Syrian intelligence officer in order to rescue an inept smuggler; Riley offers Madeline a deal in hopes of tracking down Michael.

Spy Facts[]

  • When you're a fugitive, it's tempting to flee the country and worry about the details later, but it's also a great way to get caught. Since most countries now require biometric I.D's, the first step in getting out of town is getting good documents. You can't just go somewhere new, you need to BE someone new when you get there. 
  • There's a reason fugitives are so paranoid. When you're on the run, even the smallest change in your environment can put you on high alert. But then again, sometimes being paranoid pays off. 
  • Even if you evade the FBI, ATF, and DEA, a life of crime is tough to explain to the IRS. That's why many career criminals have a day job. It gives them a cover I.D., access to equipment, and a real W-2. It also makes them easier to find if they won't answer your calls. 
  • Counterintelligence, broadly speaking, is the practice of spying on someone who's spying on you. With a little patience, you can learn a surprising amount about your enemies just by watching their own surveillance teams. It starts with carefully observing who's at what location, when they're there, and how often. Once you have a list of possible candidates, you cross-reference with people from other surveillance sites. If anybody shows up more than once, it's a safe bet it's not just a coincedence. It's a lot easier to keep your secrets if you know who's after them.     
  • Flashbang grenades may not be deadly, but if one goes off nearby, it can cause temporary blindness and hearing loss. The combination of those effects is enough to stun even the most hardened soldier. But if you can take cover in time to protect your vision, you can still stay in the fight. You may not be able to hear your enemy, but if you can see him well enough to pursue him, then it's just a matter of not letting the ringing in your ears distract you from taking him down.    
  • Electroshock torture is a messy business. While most of the damage is internal, the electric arc that's created can burn anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 degrees. If you want to look like you've been tortured, but aren't willing to hook yourself up to a car battery, a curling iron can create similar burns without the risk of stopping your heart.  
  • Surveillance doesn't always have to be covert to be useful. Sometimes the best way into a target's life is through the front door. There are advantages to being obvious when the goal is less about information gathering, and more about intimidation. There's nothing more jarring than realizing that your every move is being watched.
  • Spies will use whatever they can to get behind enemy lines: stealth, deception, and even capture. A prisoner of war can learn about enemy morale, supply, and location. Of course, the first thing you have to do is convince your enemies you're worth more alive than dead.
  • Most intelligence agencies lack the resources to set up safe houses all over the world, which is why they depend on expat civilians to lend their homes or businesses for missions abroad. If you're a former Syrian intelligence officer, the local Syrian restaurant can make a handy base of operations, and save you a few bucks on lunch. 
  • If you think someone might be following you, the temptation is to drive erratically. It may force the tail to reveal itself, but it also reveals you're onto them. A better approach is to drive very conservatively. Go below the speed limit and linger at stop signs. You won't win any fans on the road, but it'll help you lose your tail. If they think you're simply an overcautious driver, it'll catch them off guard when you suddenly take a risk.  
  • When planning an escape, patience is key. Someone without training might jump at the first chance to strike, but that's exactly the wrong time because that's when your enemy's the most alert. In fact, the best time to make your move is after you've let plenty of other opportunities go by. The other advantage of patience is it gives you a chance to find out if the situation has changed. 
  • When an operation goes seriously wrong, you have to decide quickly whether to bail out, or keep pushing and try to salvage what you can. Bailing out is less risky, but when it means leaving someone behind to die, sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and roll the dice. 
  • Counter-intelligence usually starts as a subtle game of cat and mouse. Your adversary pretends not to be watching you, and you pretend not to notice. But the longer it goes on, the more inevitable it becomes that you'll end up in open warfare. 

Full Recap[]

Previously on Burn Notice: Michael shot Card (John C. McGinley) between the eyes after Card killed Tyler Gray (Kenny Johnson). Michael went on the run and CIA heavy hitter Olivia Riley (Sonja Sohn) is on Michael's heels. But Jesse, Sam and Fi helped get Michael out of Riley's grasp and she vowed to hunt him down to the ends of the Earth, and he said he'd see her there.

Down and Out: Sam gets his new identity, "Randy Weems," and he's annoyed after seeing his new passport, provided by Fi's ID guy. Sam's girlfriend Elsa (Jennifer Taylor) shows up and says she was delayed by construction at the end of the marina. Sam checks it out and realizes their cover is blown. The construction workers are actually agency guys. The Coast Guard is coming by sea.

Sam asks Elsa for her car and tells her to tell the CIA agents that her car was stolen. She also has to tell them she doesn't know Sam. After one last kiss, Sam has to go with Michael, Fi and Jesse.

Michael apologizes but Sam doesn't want to hear it. He tells Michael to "just drive." Michael barely squeezes Elsa's SUV through the road block that was in the works and they get away. Riley emerges, upset at the fact that the gang has again eluded her.

Sam tracks down his old buddy, Dixon (David Fickas), at his day job to ask for another little favor. He needs Dixon to get in touch with a smuggler he knows, named Schmidt. Dixon says Schmidt is in hiding. Sam starts to speak loudly about Dixon's life as a hacker and Dixon agrees to help if Sam will just be quiet.

Maddy is taking photos and notes about who's keeping surveillance on her house and Michael's loft. She finds the same guy at both places and figures he's the main guy who wants to find Michael.

Dixon takes Fi to meet Schmidt (Patton Oswalt), who is reluctant to help and is looking to get off the grid. He's upset with Dixon for bringing "the most radioactive man in Miami" to his doorstep. Schmidt doesn't want to say much about why he's in hiding, but says there's "a big scary guy who wants to grind me into dust."

Schmidt goes to the kitchen to make Sam a drink, but instead tosses a flash-bang grenade at them and attempts to escape. Michael tracks him down and turns Schmidt's gun against him. Michael says they'll help with whatever problem Schmidt has, but they'll need his help getting out of the country.

Schmidt tells them he's "marked for death." He says that a year ago, a Syrian woman comes to him looking for help to escape an abusive marriage. It turns out she's was married to Jabbar Hamady, an ex-Syrian intelligence officer gun-runner who has a problem "letting go." Schmidt tells Michael and the crew that if they can get rid of Jabbar Hamady, he'll get them new identities and anything else they need. Sam agrees, but requires that Schmidt get him a new identity of Chuck Finley. That's non-negotiable.

Sam and Michael strategize, but Michael again tries to sympathize with Sam about losing Elsa. Michael proposes luring Hamady to Schmidt's last remaining warehouse. When Hamady and his men arrive, they're going to run into a "disgruntled employee" of Schmidt's.

Michael gets into position to look like he's been tortured and Fi puts a hot curling iron on his back to simulate the marks that would be made by shocks from a car battery.

Meanwhile, Riley shows up at Maddy's place and asks her why she was around Michael's loft taking photos. Riley advises Maddy that if she's helping Michael, she could be guilty of a federal crime. Riley asks Maddy to sign a form saying she'll cooperate fully with the CIA's investigation. Maddy goes it easily. Riley asks Maddy to call if she hears anything. Riley tells Maddy that some men outside were checking that her phone lines are working correctly. They also were searching the rest of her house.

Hamady and his men burst into the warehouse and after a brief gun fight for show, Sam, Jesse and Schmidt leave, with Michael staying behind as if he was in the process of being interrogated by Schmidt. Michael is looking to gather some intel on Hamady. First, though, he has to convince his enemies he's worth more alive than dead.

Michael says he used to work for Schmidt and says he can help them find Schmidt. The first armed man says Michael "lives for now," and they will take him to Jabbar.

Michael is brought in a hood to a Syrian restaurant to meet with Jabbar, who says Schmidt took something from him. Michael convinces Jabbar that he knows where Schmidt lives.

Schmidt is upset with Sam about his house and all his possessions now being part of the plan. Jesse shows up and says he paid a kid to ride his bike by Maddy's house. She'd propped a rake against the garage that's their signal to have a meeting.

Maddy ditches the agents tailing her car and meets with Fi. She reports that Riley paid a visit and knows about everything, and bugged the house. Maddy also reports that they had someone following her. Fi gives Maddy a burner cell phone to use if she needs to contact him. Maddy asks Fi to promise that she and Michael won't again leave without saying goodbye. Fi promises and they share a tearful hug.

Sam and Jesse talks about where they'll go when this whole thing is over. Sam suggests Antigua and Jesse says there's no way he's going there or anywhere in the West Indies because of a bad girlfriend experience. He'll tell Sam the story if they get out of the U.S. alive.

Schmidt calls Sam and Jesse from his warehouse where Jabbar's men have found him and are trying to track him down. He went in hopes of salvaging something of his investment, thinking they would have already been gone. They bust into Schmidt's office.

Michael is patiently waiting at the restaurant for a chance to strike when Jabbar brings in Schmidt, who was captured at the warehouse.

Jabbar has taken Schmidt and Michael into the kitchen and heats the blade of a knife to start interrogating Schmidt. Michael steps up and offers to help Jabbar. He says he was a special forces interrogator and can get a truth serum delivered if he can make a phone call. Jabbar agrees to have his men get a phone.

Sam, Jesse and Fi are sitting around wondering where Michael is when Michael calls and plays up a conversation about needing this chemical. Sam figures out it's a poison, not a truth serum, and says they'll need an ambulance, too. Sam asks Fi to call her EMT friend to be waiting nearby.

Michael tells Jabbar he needs to get Schmidt into the freezer because the serum works better when the body is cold. Michael gets a second alone with Schmidt and tells him that as soon as he injects the chemical into him, he needs to resist for a moment and then tell him where he hid Jabbar's wife.

Sam arrives with the poison. They inject him. Schmidt plays up resisting before answering the question of where Jabbar's wife is hidden. Schmidt says she's in Cyprus and reveals her name. Jabbar has his lieutenant make a call to Cyprus to confirm Schmidt's information.

Sam calls from the freezer and says Schmidt appears to have reacted badly to the serum. He claims Schmidt is dead. Michael and Sam convince Jabbar after his men confirm that his wife is, indeed, in Cyprus to let them dispose of Schmidt's body. They quickly shuffle him into the waiting ambulance and head to a hospital.

Michael tells Fi that they're going to need the biggest armed response they can get at the restaurant. Fi dials the burner phone she gave to Maddy and Michael tells Maddy to say, aloud, "1212 Bayshore Avenue. I can be there." Michael knows the CIA is listening and will send a big response team if they think Michael is the person at the restaurant.

In the ambulance, Schmidt's pulse is gone. They revive him. Schmidt asks if he was dead and Sam asks if he really wants to know. Schmidt says no, so they say little. But then Jesse says, "Yeah, a little. You were a little dead."

Riley drops in again to see Maddy the next day. She says was surprised to have found a Syrian spy at a restaurant in Miami. Maddy thinks that "must have been some catch," but Riley says it was more of a consolation prize. She'd heard "somewhere" that Michael might be there. Maddy acts surprised and says, "Well, guess you can't believe everything you hear."

Riley tells Maddy to tell Michael the next time she sees him, that Riley is coming for him. And if Maddy keeps helping him, she'll come for Maddy, too.

Schmidt tells Michael and the crew that they might have to foot some of the bill for their overseas escape. Michael confirms it'd be the four of them. Fi tells Michael he might want to double check the head count.

Sam is outside, lamenting the fact that the last time he kissed Elsa she was crying and he left her to be interrogated by the CIA so that they could escape.

Michael apologizes once again, and asks Sam if he's going to escape with them. Sam says he's going to need to think about that.

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