Michael Westen
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Michael Westen

Burn Notice

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About Him

Grew Up... in Miami with his parents Frank and Madeline. His father would physically abuse Michael and exploit him for his own illicit activities, for example forcing Michael to make a scene in a store so Frank could steal. Oddly, his rough upbringing prepared Michael well for his future career. As he puts it, "A bad childhood is the perfect background for covert ops. You don't trust anyone, you're used to getting smacked around, and you never get homesick."

Living... back in his hometown of Miami in a trashy apartment above a nightclub. He’s not too concerned about his present living conditions; he has a lot more pressing issues to worry about.

Profession... private investigator/freelance spy. Michael was an undercover CIA agent until he was blacklisted – or given a “burn notice” – without any explanation. With the help of his ex-girlfriend, Fiona, and his friend, Sam, he now works as a private eye and all-around problem-solver to pay the bills, while simultaneously investigating his ousting from the CIA.

Interests... eating yogurt. He just can’t get enough.

Relationship Status... single, at least technically. Michael has a very complicated relationship with Fiona, often implying how important she is to him but never really giving her the commitment she wants or feels that she deserves. He is too wrapped up in learning why he was “burned.” Michael has little interest in dating other women, though, and he and Fiona are clearly attracted to and care for each other.

Challenge... surviving. Michael's entire existence is an incredible challenge. Upon being blacklisted by the CIA, his bank accounts were seized, his assets frozen, and he was flagged on every government database. Ever since, he has lived in a state of fear where everyone around him may be an enemy and every move he makes could lead to potential confrontation. To Michael, even "a sunny beach just looks like a vulnerable tactical position with no decent cover."

Personality... complicated. Michael has to do a lot of questionable things in his line of work, but he still has a strong moral compass. For example: "I don't like stealing cars, but sometimes it's necessary. I have rules, though. I'll keep it clean, and if I take your car on a workday, I'll have it back by 5." He is extremely quick-thinking, able to get out of many a grim situation, and rarely falters in the face of danger. Michael is confident betting big when the stakes are high and regularly proves that he seeks justice for the right reasons.

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