Michael and Fiona have a lot on their hands on Burn Notice.
With the dynamic duo doing the dirty work for an archnemesis, Michael’s mother Madeline joining in more on the fun and fighting bad guys week in and week out, it’s no wonder they’re quarreling hundreds of feet up in the air.
“We’re trying to catch up with how deep this man has dug this grave,” Burn Notice star Gabrielle Anwar shared with The Hollywood Reporter of the gang trying to overcome the immovable obstacle that is Anson, the guy who burned Michael. “There’s plenty of hope, but this character is a significant match for Michael’s wiles.” So much so that the fifth season will culminate with a big decision for Fiona, Anwar says, of where she stands with Michael and most importantly, this blackmailing scheme they find themselves in the middle of.
Anwar talked to THR about that season-ending moment, why Fiona is hoping for Michael to save the day (again) and why her character will never settle.
The Hollywood Reporter: Fiona is in a very different situation than she’s used to. Are there any new struggles that she will have to deal with?
Gabrielle Anwar: Well, I think that Anson – beautifully played by Jere Burns – has both Michael and Fiona by the balls. I don’t think they’ve ever been this vulnerable, probably not only with each other, but with themselves, so I think that they’ve been so caught up in not realizing just how committed they’ve become without becoming official in their relationship. Their relationship has transcended levels of intimacy that neither of them has allowed themselves to experience before. Anson, who’s rather adept at screwing with one’s mind, has been able to really manipulate the situation due to both of their extreme vulnerabilities.
THR: Can you speak to any specific issues that may be brewing between the two because of Anson?
Anwar: Fiona doesn’t like to be manipulated. It’s not her favorite position to be in in life. She is feeling incredibly frustrated that she has let her guard down to such a degree that she’s allowed this conniving, formidable character to infiltrate her life, and is now pulling the strings. She’s managed to involve Michael in all of this, simply because he is so invested in their relationship after multiple of years of endeavoring to not be invested in it at all. There’s something huge at stake. It’s a unique and unusual situation to be in; they have an eclectic and well-rounded history in which to draw solutions from, I think both of them are left somewhat floundering because this is such an emotional form of blackmail.
THR: And that’s always the worse kind.
Anwar: Isn’t it? It definitely tests your integrity and humility at every degree, but it’s always fun to watch on television.
THR: How deep are they in and how is she staying afloat at this point?
Anwar: There’s a part of her that’s succumbed to the inevitable, and it’s Michael that is propelling her forward into some state of optimism. Michael can get anyone out of any situation, so there’s always that element of fantasy and romantic conclusion that Fiona is grasping for. She’s also not willing to sacrifice Michael for her own well-being. I think that’s what love ultimately is. She has a decision to make toward the end of the season on where she stands, where he stands and where this blackmailing situation stands – It’s all really horrifying, it’s a really gnarly situation for all of them to be in.
THR: Do they hatch a plan to get out of it?
Anwar: We’re trying to catch up with how deep this man has dug this grave. There’s plenty of hope, but this character is a significant match for Michael’s wiles.
THR: So they don’t know the entire picture, because it seems like they’re way in over their heads.
Anwar: I think so. Certainly that’s how I’ve approached playing it that last few [episodes]. That’s where Fiona’s been coming from.
THR: Will Michael and Fiona uncover things about Anson that they’ll use?
Anwar: They keep delving below the layers of Anson so they can try to find a way to start retaliate their own form of manipulation. But he’s been at this for a long time and he seems to know Michael better than Michael does, certainly better than Fiona, which is why it’s terrifying. They’re persistent in their attempts to unravel Anson and they do discover things about him and they follow plenty of trails, but again, this is a character that is a master at deception.
THR: Is there an aspect to Fiona that you’re still intrigued by that you haven’t figured out?
Anwar: I think that would be represented by the writing, because there are some episodes that I read, and I’m caught off-guard by how Fiona handles the situation or the outcome of the episode, which I find intriguing. I’m not at a place where nothing is surprising me after five years of reading these scripts. I don’t know what I would do from a creative standpoint if that were the case. We have a team of talented writers, so hopefully, they will continue to reinvent these characters as they evolve. I’m not sure which comes first: the chicken or the egg. I think the writers are pretty good eggs … or chickens.
THR: Do you think Fiona has a long way to go in life?
Anwar: I hope she has a long way to go! I can’t stand the idea of her becoming stagnant and settling. I think she’s on a mission; I think she’s a perpetual rebel with a cause. I hope she keeps changing and creating new choices and forging different paths as opposed to walking down the same road over and over. I hope that’s where she’s coming from, because that keeps it interesting for me.
THR: What will Fiona learn about Michael by season’s end?
Anwar: Fiona discovers that she may not have a ring on her finger and a picket fence and puppies, but she has this man’s loyalty and there’s no kind of materialism that can represent that as his actions do. By the end of the season, a very profound recognition is there: commitment to one another.
THR: What’s coming up as we wind down the season?
Anwar: There’s a lot more noise. More of the same, but better.
Burn Notice airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on the USA Network.