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Episode 109: Hard Bargain

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Hard Bargain
Season 1, Episode 9
Hard-bargain
Air date August 23, 2007
Written by Alfredo Barrios, Jr.
Directed by John Kretchmer
Episode Guide
previous
Wanted Man
next
False Flag
Hard Bargain is the ninth episode of the first season and the ninth episode overall.


NotesEdit

SynopsisEdit

A house-sitter's fiancée is kidnapped and held for ransom. Nick, the house-sitter, hires Michael to rescue her, since the kidnappers mistakenly believe Nick can afford to pay a $5 million ransom.

Spy FactsEdit

  • Work around spies for a while, and you learn to be careful when it looks like you're getting what you want. That's when you tend to let your guard down - get careless. Calling the cops on someone can teach you a lot: a foreign agent will run, so might an armed assassin. A bureaucrat's gonna... act like a bureaucrat.
  • Bureaucrats live for respect. East of the Balkans, that means a bribe. In the West... it's more about showing you know they're in charge. 
  • About forty percent of kidnapping victims are released safely. These statistics are affected by a number of factors, including the nationality of the kidnappers, the age of the victim, and whether a hostage negotiator is employed. The odds go down sharply if no one has any money to pay the ransom. 
  • A kidnapping is a business deal. The bad guys have negotiating power since they're selling the life of a loved one. But then again, they have a market of one, so they :have"to work with you. 
  • Working with untrained amateurs introduces an element of risk. It's a risk you have to live with in a lot of operations, although you often found yourself wishing everybody went through Green Beret training in high school.
  • Once a kidnapper knows you're on to him, he'll try to contact his partners, to have the hostage killed. At that point, you have a choice: you can start choosing wreaths for the hostage's funeral, or take a hostage of your own. 
  • The art of turning someone into a double agent is delicate. The target has to be put into a fragile psychological state. Fortunately, fragile psychological states are a specialty of Fiona's. 
  • It's always easier to turn someone who works for a criminal gang into a double agent. The more secretive and ruthless their side is, the better. You work on their fear that any hint of disloyalty, will get them killed by their own people 
  • From Karachi to Bogota, every kidnapper's favorite resource is a corrupt employee... An employee can handle alarms, police, you can get financial information, bank accounts. You've even got a fall guy if anything goes wrong. To a professional kidnapper, a good man on the inside is worth a lot... and a bad man on the inside is worth even more.
  • The thing about doubling anyone is that the more they do for you, the deeper they get. The deeper they get, the more you can make them do. Great if you're running them, but hard on the source. The suicide rate is – above average. 
  • GPS devices are becoming more and more common these days. Mostly they're for nervous parents tracking children, but they're perfectly good for other uses.
  • Running a double agent is a relationship; there's a give and take. Mostly take, but sometimes you have to give.
  • Rescuing a hostage isn't about battering rams and guns. Charge through a door with a gun, and chances are the person you're trying to save, will be the first person lying on the floor dying of acute lead poisoning. So you come up with alternatives. Ingredients from the local pharmacy, mixed with aluminum foil, powdered in a coffee grinder, will make a serviceable flash grenade that'll stun anyone for a good twenty feet. Thermite is another handy tool; with a surface temperature of a thousand degrees, it's used to weld together railroad ties. It will make pretty short work of most locks, too.
  • If you can't get through a door without attracting attention, the next best thing is to attract a lot of attention. Once everyone is looking at the door wondering what's going on, you can pop in a flash grenade and they won't see anything for a while.
  • The longer you've been in the game, the more you have to be careful about underestimating an opponent. Say you don't think much of bureaucrats, don't feel they're worth your time or attention. Then a bureaucrat is the perfect person to send to kill you. 
  • There's no way to anticipate every danger; you need a backup plan for when things go wrong. That's why home-court advantage is so important.

Full RecapEdit

PrologueEdit

As Michael and Fiona stroll along the beach, Fiona is suggesting that Miami isn't such an awful place to settle down. Michael, however, wants his old life back. Fiona then reminds him her birthday is in a few days, asking if he's remembered to buy her a gift. He says he has, she tells him that a man with his employment background should be a better liar. The outing is cover, Michael is watching the man sent by Philip Cowan to review his status. Although a positive review by this man could get Michael off the blacklist, he is still cautious.

"Work around spies for a while and you learn to be careful when it looks like you are getting what you want. That's when you tend to let your guard down, get careless. Calling the cops on someone can teach you a lot. A foreign agent would run, so might an armed assassin. A bureaucrat's going to... act like a bureaucrat."

Michael watches as the police, tipped off by him, arrive and harass the guy. As Michael and Fiona leave in the Charger, the government paper pusher, Perry Clark, can be heard telling the police that he "works for CSS".

Part OneEdit

A call from Perry Clark reveals his displeasure over his treatment by the police. He tells Michael firmly that "you're not the first field op I've dealt with, Mr. Westen. Believe me, I've been vetted every possible way.". Unconcerned, Michael implies he'd merely missed the meeting time, suggesting they arrange another. Mr. Clark will check his schedule, Michael seems unconcerned about the man's agitated state, prompting Fiona to suggest that if he makes this man too angry, he could end up stuck in Miami. Michael replies that if D.C. sent him for a review of Michael's file, he isn't too worried that he will leave without getting that done. Fiona observes that she's read the dossier, and it looked pretty convincing to her. Sam calls, he needs Michael's help on a "powder-puff job".

Riding to meet Sam's client, Michael comments on Sam's new Cadillac, a gift from Veronica. Sam thanks Michael for agreeing to help him with this job, one he got through Veronica. Michael isn't pleased by Sam's lack of discretion. Arriving at a huge house in an exclusive area, Sam predicts that, if this kind of money is involved, Veronica's friend's problem will be a "cakewalk" - the millionaire's equivalent of a cat stuck in a tree.

They are greeted at the door by an agitated young man, Nick Lam. He has a problem: by profession, he house-sits several Miami homes for the wealthy, and, naturally, he has led his friends to believe that the mansions he inhabits and luxury cars he drives are actually his own, including a girl he's met, Dawn, that he really likes and refers to as his "fiancée."

Now, Dawn has been kidnapped, and there's a five million dollar ransom demand, which is a bit more than Nick has, since he merely baby-sits rich folks' homes for a living. But, he loves Dawn and wants her back, and doesn't know what to do. Michael says he should go to the police, but Nick panics and says he can't; the kidnappers sent him a newspaper clipping, the headline of which reads "Missing Heiress Found Dead". The dead girl's parents made the mistake of calling the police, and the kidnappers warned Nick that they would know if he tried the same thing.

Nick's personality is tailor-made to get on Michael's nerves; a fluctuation between not-too-bright surfer dude and hysterical-guy-in-way-over-his-head. But he is desperate, and Michael agrees he needs help. Michael is less than thrilled when Nick confesses that the kidnappers will call him in about an hour, expecting Nick to have the money. Even less exciting is the young man's promise that they can have everything he owns, which seems to be about $15,000.00 and a surfboard collection. Sending Sam to pick up Fiona for tactical back-up, Michael stays with Nick, coaching him on how to act when the call arrives.

"About 40 percent of kidnapping victims are released safely. These statistics are affected by a number of factors, including the nationality of the kidnappers, the age of the victim and whether a hostage negotiator is employed... The odds go down sharply if no one has any money to pay the ransom."

Michael has written a script for Nick to read when the call comes. Nick is terrified that it will cause Dawn's death, but Michael insists he go exactly by the script. When the kidnappers call, Michael picks up on another line and listens in. Nick tells the kidnapper he is working on getting the money together, but says he won't pay unless he sees a video that proves Dawn is alive and unhurt. The voice on the phone tells Nick he is pushing his luck, but tells him to hold on. There is a tense pause, as Michael gives Nick a thumbs-up to say he's doing great.

"A kidnapping is a business deal. The bad guys have negotiating power, since they are selling the life of a loved one. But then again, they have a market of one, so they have to work with you."

The voice on the phone directs Nick to the Coconut Grove Mall. As soon as the caller hangs up, Nick collapses with relief.

Arriving at the mall, Michael once more goes over the plan with Nick... he is to get the tape and walk away, stressing that any indication he is not alone will tip off the bad guys. Nick doesn't seem to be grasping the details of the plan, and both Fiona and Michael explain it to him again. He's ready.

"Working with an untrained amateur introduces an element of risk. It's a risk you have to live with in a lot of operations, although you often find yourself wishing everyone went through Green Beret training in high school."

Fiona and Michael loiter in the mall, watching Nick as well as trying to identify the person most likely to be the kidnapper; they know Nick will be under surveillance. They stay in touch via cell phone. As they wait, Fiona makes suggestions as to what Michael might get for her birthday, all falling on deaf ears. Fiona sees Nick receive the call; Michael has picked out the person most likely to be the kidnapper. Unfortunately, Nick cannot resist waving the envelope triumphantly in Michael's direction, tipping off the kidnapper. As Michael runs after the bad guy, Fiona places herself in his path, partially revealing a gun hidden in a shopping bag. The guy changes direction and runs, Michael gives chase, because:

"Once a kidnapper knows you're onto him, he'll try to call his partners and have the hostage killed. At that point, you have two choices, you can start choosing wreaths for the hostage's funeral, or, you can take a hostage of your own."

Michael catches up with the running kidnapper, Lucio Velasquez, before the call can go through. After a brief fight, which knocks the cell phone from Lucio's hand, Michael allows the kidnapper to pull his gun. While he is intent on Michael, Fiona strikes him in the back with a wired taser. It's impossible to shoot or make a phone call while being electrocuted. They shove Lucio in the back of Sam's car. Fiona has the kidnapper's cell phone, Michael has his weapon.

Part TwoEdit

Nick and Michael watch the video of a terrified Dawn, begging Nick to pay the ransom. Nick apologizes repeatedly for messing up at the mall, Michael asks him - more and more pointedly - to stop talking; he's examining the video for clues, but Michael is wasting his time, there's nothing on the video that will lead them to Dawn.  Michael calms Nick down - he won't say that Nick didn't screw up at the mall, but in some ways they're better off, now that they have Lucio.  At first, Nick thinks he understands - they can swap Lucio for Dawn.  Patiently, Michael explains that Lucio is just a hired hand, not the boss, and as soon as the boss realizes they have him, the kidnappers will kill Dawn, cover their tracks, and probably leave town.  Nick almost collapses from a fresh anxiety attack, but Michael explains that they just have to "turn" Lucio and convince him to tell them where Dawn is.

"The art of turning someone into a double agent is delicate. The target has to be put into a fragile psychological state. Fortunately, fragile psychological states are a specialty of Fiona's."

Michael enters his apartment as Fiona is repeatedly tasering their hostage. He asks where Sam is, just as Sam appears, complaining it had become too loud in there for him. He has, however, tracked down the background information on their hostage. Lucio Velasquez is a Columbian national, has a rap sheet both in Columbia and the U.S., he and his brother ran an extortion racket in Columbia until his bother got caught, and Lucio ran. Smiling, Michael says it's nice to meet him. Lucio defiantly says they can taser him all they want, he isn't going to talk. Michael says they have something much more effective than a taser: a Polaroid camera.

"It's always easier to turn someone who works for a criminal gang into a double agent. The more secretive and ruthless their side is, the better. You work on their fear that any hint of disloyalty will get them killed by their own people."

As Sam, beer in hand, ducks down behind Lucio and pokes him in a ticklish spot, Michel takes a Polaroid photo in which the pair look like cozy friends. He then produces the "co-operating witness statement" on official FBI letterhead that Sam will fill out and sign for Lucio, along with a very official-looking Summons for Lucio to appear in court to testify against his boss. All this is manufactured, but Michael Westen, burned himself, knows how to burn another. He points out that Sam has ties to the FBI, and the doctored "file" looks incriminating, if his boss has his ear to the ground, he will know of Lucio's "betrayal" if need be. Lucio is terrified, asking what Michael wants. Michael says Lucio is now working for them, and if he does what they say, he will live.

Michael asks where Dawn is being held. Lucio swears he doesn't know.  As Fiona picks up the taser and Sam grabs the camera, Lucio hastily explains that his job for Reyes, the boss, is to locate potential victims in clubs and rich neighborhoods, but Reyes pulls the kidnapping with others, and uses a separate group to guard the hostages, effectively forming cells who each know only their small part in the operation.  Michael coldly tells the Columbian that if Dawn dies, he will too, especially if he is lying. Lucio swears he isn't lying, but admits it is past time for him to have called and checked in with his boss, and if he doesn't do so immediately, Reyes will get suspicious. Michael suggests he tell Reyes that he forgot to call because he broke his foot walking down stairs at the mall. Lucio is puzzled, he didn't break his foot... but, obligingly, Fiona assists, stomping firmly enough on the kidnapper's instep that bones can be heard breaking.  Michael cuts Lucio's bonds and assures him that the broken bones won't prevent him from being able to walk, before handing Lucio's cell phone back to him.

The three explain to Nick that they need to use one of his employer's Mercedes and one of their swanky homes. Nick says there's a penthouse that he watches, but asks what the point is. Michael explains that Lucio doesn't know where Dawn is being held, his job is to spot potential victims. They plan to give him a rich society wife (Fiona) with a disgruntled bodyguard (Sam). Lucio will take the information to his boss, and Sam will refuse to assist the kidnapper in taking his "employer" unless he is shown the location where the boss keeps his hostages. They need the house and car to give Reyes a target he can't pass up.

"From Karachi to Bogotá, every kidnapper's favorite resource is a corrupt employee. An employee can handle alarms, police, you can get financial information, bank accounts, you've even got a fall guy if anything goes wrong. To a professional kidnapper, a good man on the inside is worth a lot; and a bad man on the inside is worth even more."

Lucio has led Reyes to Fiona and Sam. Following them from the penthouse, Reyes sees a rich woman, carrying an over-priced and no doubt highly pedigreed lap dog, who spends the day shopping in exclusive boutiques, while her chauffeur/bodyguard/dog holder/porter is looking increasingly unhappy at the treatment being dealt out by his mistress. Having checked the name of the penthouse's owner (Fiona's supposed husband), Reyes is predictably excited to learn that the man is worth $200 million.

Limping to the meeting place, Lucio is surprised when Michael steps out of the shadows. The "double agent" is nervous, convinced he is about to be killed. Michael reminds him that's the point of doing a good job; to stay alive. Lucio answers that Reyes in interested in the rich lady and wants to talk to Sam; when asked about Dawn, he says that Reyes is growing impatient for his money, and has told Lucio to call them with a 12 hour deadline. Michael replies that Lucio is to tell Reyes that Nick's family has hired a hostage negotiator, and the guy wants to talk to Reyes in person. Lucio is incredulous, Michael reminds him that he must do this, but all he needs is for Reyes to bite on the set-up kidnapping job and to make sure he also meets with the negotiator, once they locate Dawn, his job is done. Michael disappears, leaving Lucio trying to light a cigarette with shaking hands. Michael understands:

"The thing about doubling anyone is that the more they do for you, the deeper they get. The deeper they get, the more you can make them do. Great if you're running them, but hard on the source. The suicide rate is... above average."

Meeting Perry Clark in a public restaurant, Michael listens to the man rant about whether or not he has satisfied Michael's sense of paranoia that he is who he says he is by now. Michael agrees that he has. The paper-pusher is anxious to return to D.C., and wants Michael to come to his office in Fort Lauderdale, since Michael's file has issues regarding national security. Michael replies that he can't leave town for the next few days. Clark questions whether or not clearing his name is really a priority for Michael. Assuring Clark that while it is very important, he can't leave Miami for a few days due to his "day job", suggesting they meet at Michael's apartment in two days. Sarcastically, Perry Clark asks if Michael needs a sense of home field advantage. Michael assures him he simply can't leave Miami; Clark agrees to meet at the apartment in two days time.

Answering the phone as "Andrew Chambers", Michael speaks with Reyes, who tells him there is a sniper trained on him, asking why he shouldn't just kill him. Cool as ever, Michael picks up the sniper's location quickly, replying to the kidnapper that if he does, the family won't pay anything. The voice on the phone asks how he knows "Chambers" isn't a cop; Michael replies that cops don't offer themselves as potential hostages, and they can't afford Armani. Opening his jacket, he asks Reyes coolly if the sniper's scope is good enough to allow him to read the label. A yellow Porsche pulls up, and Reyes says "Nice suit, Get in." He has arranged for "Chambers" to have a massage as they chat. Michael praises Reyes for being smart enough to put him in a situation where he knows he isn't wearing a wire. As the massage begins, Michael tells Reyes that the family will not do five million, he thinks he can get them to bite at one million. Reyes is angry, that's twenty percent of the asking price. "Chambers" casually points out that Reyes might have selected the wrong victim, Dawn isn't a family member. Reyes will settle for three million, "Chambers" thinks he can make that work, but the family will need 72 hours to think it over. Reyes will give them 48 hours. Michael agrees, that should be enough time. As he realizes the kidnapper has disappeared, he looks at the masseuse and asks if Reyes paid her for the entire hour. Delighted by her affirmative nod, he settles in to enjoy the treat; it's not like Nick can pay anything. Plus, by getting Reyes to lower his asking price, he is sure he will bite on the kidnapping of Fiona, and take Sam to Dawn's location.

Fiona is sitting with Nick, and she's attracted to a large cabinet displaying an assortment of handguns. Asking Nick if one in particular is a Makarov. Nick has no idea, the home owner is into guns, not him. Fiona is nearly purring, telling Nick the gun is a Soviet-issue sidearm, from 1951, calling it a beautiful piece. Nick is unimpressed, and both are relieved by the arrival of Michael. Fi asks how it went, Michael reports that he bought them 48 hours, he will speak to Lucio tonight, and Lucio will set up a meet between Sam and Reyes, so Sam can locate Dawn.

As Lucio and Sam speak on the phone, Sam arrives with an inexpensive cell phone, the kind parents buy so they can keep tabs on the location of their children. Lucio thinks Reyes is tired of waiting, Michael reminds him that if Dawn dies...Lucio can finish the sentence for himself. Taking the GPS chip out of the cell phone, Michael installs it neatly into the heel of Sam's shoe, covering the job nicely. Sam is at the computer and, as Michael finishes, he asks if it's working. Sam agrees it is, adding that Michael could "follow him all over Miami with that thing."

Sam meets with Reyes to plan Fiona's "kidnapping". Plying the dirty employee to the hilt, Sam convinces Reyes he must see how the hostages are transported and where they are kept, convincing Reyes by adding that now, as they conspire, they are both on the hook for life without parole. So whether Reyes likes it or not, they are partners. Sam insists his boss' wife must not be hurt. Reyes gives in, as the watching Lucio shakes his head. Sam and Reyes are on their way to the hostage location, Lucio calls Michael to tell him as much. Michael is tracking Sam via the GPS device. Sam arrives at the hidden location, and pretending to still have concerns, finds out that Reyes has 24 hour security at this place, and listens to him brag that in five years, he has only had one unintentional death. Sam is satisfied, the deal is on. Lucio bangs on Michael's door, surprised to be met with a gun in his face. He didn't call because he has to talk to Michael face to face, telling him he's done all he can. Reyes is now impatient to get on with the kidnapping of Fiona, and has sent Lucio to tell Michael he has only two hours to get the money for Dawn.

Part Three Edit

Returning to a hysterical Nick with this news, Michael emphasizes the positive, now they know where Dawn is being held, and can get to her first. Nick now wants to call the police, but Michael asks if he truly thinks the cops can plan a rescue in less than two hours? He asks Nick to get him the Yellow Pages and locate a pharmacy and a gardening store, he has shopping to do. Nick, typical of his generation, is unable to absorb the notion of flipping through paper pages: "Yellow Pages? Bro, I have a computer."

"Rescuing a hostage isn't about battering rams and guns. Charge through a door with a gun, and chances are the person you're trying to save will be the first person lying on the floor, dying of acute lead poisoning. So, you come up with alternatives. Ingredients from the local pharmacy, mixed with aluminum foil, powdered in a coffee grinder, will make a serviceable flash grenade that will stun anyone for a good twenty feet. Thermite is another handy tool. With a surface temperature of 1000 degrees, it is used to weld together railroad ties. It will make short work of most locks, too."

Michael makes the goodies this time, and hands the bag off to Fiona and Sam, who are off to rescue Dawn. Michael is going to talk to Reyes, in an attempt to stall for more time in case they need it. Neither Sam or Fiona like the idea of Michael going in alone without backup, but he points out that there's only Nick, asking if they like that idea. They do not, and the final stage of the job is underway. "Call me when you've got Dawn." he says jauntily, climbing into the Charger.

"Andrew Chambers", after being patted down, hears Reyes demand to know where his money is.

Sam and Fiona have arrived, and can see Dawn tied to a bed. There are two guards, one male, one female.

"Chambers" is trying to stall for time, asking if Reyes will accept bearer bonds in lieu of cash. Reyes is defiant, he wants cash, nothing else. The Columbian pulls out his phone to order that Dawn be killed. Michael calmly takes it out of his hand and drops it off the balcony. Reyes pulls a gun. "Chambers" is cool: "Go ahead. Shoot. Good luck hiding the body. My guess is that the cops show up first, because that is a very loud gun you're holding. I am just trying to make this deal. Look at it from the family's perspective. They shell out three million in cash, and then what? It raises flags at the bank, with their investment advisors, their employees. People piece it together that they paid you off." Reyes has had it, "That is not my concern!" "Chambers" continues, completely unruffled: "But it concerns me, because if word gets out that this family paid a ransom, other guys like you will come out of the woodwork. I need to make sure that this never happens to this family again. They're going to call me any second. Would you mind taking that gun out of my face?"

"If you can't get through a door without attracting attention, the next best thing is to attract a lot of attention. (Fiona tapes the container of thermite to the lock, and lights the fuse. It blows a huge hole in the door.) "Once everyone is looking at the door, wondering what's going on, you can pop in a flash grenade, and they won't see anything for a while." (Sam drops the homemade grenade through the hole in the door, while Fiona readies her shotgun.)

Once they hear the bang, Sam kicks the door open, confronting the male guard, who immediately surrenders. The female guard grabs for her own gun, and Fiona is delighted to kick the gun away and smash the guard in the face with the butt of her shotgun. While Sam holds the male guard at gunpoint, Fiona gently unties Dawn, soothing her, promising it's over now.

"Chambers" is still attempting to get the kidnapper to agree to bonds; "...unlike stocks, bonds are financial instruments." His phone rings. Reyes says to tell the family it's cash or she dies. Over the phone line, Michael is pleased to hear Sam telling him they have Dawn, and the job is over. "Chambers" keeps talking after the line goes dead: "They won't do stocks or bonds. Yeah, I explained the difference. I understand." Turning to Reyes, Michael tells him the family won't pay cash, and though the hostage negotiator is still trying to negotiate, Reyes screams for him to "GET OUT!" Michael walks out, wearing a huge grin on his face.

Rushing over to the hostage location with one of his goons, Reyes is stunned to see the huge hole in the door. Kicking open the door, he can't believe his eyes as he finds his two guards tied to the bed. In the distance, sirens are blaring, closing in rapidly. Reyes tries to reach his car, but the police are there. It's too late. Reyes has no money, no hostage and is looking at a long prison term, along with three members of his gang.

Nick is trying to thank Michael, and is still trying to pay him in surfboards. Glad to hear the car arrive, Michael tells Nick he thinks Dawn is home, and walks outside. Sam and Fiona get out of the car, and open the back door for Dawn. Sam says the hospital checked her out, she's fine. Dawn asks for Nick, Michael replies that he's inside. Fiona adds, "You guys should talk." Sam nods in agreement. As Dawn heads for the front door, Michael gives Sam a wry look: "Cakewalk, huh?" Sam, painfully aware that he has nothing else, makes a half-hearted offer to loan Michael his new car anytime Michael wants.

Nick rushes out on the porch to meet Dawn, who lures him close with a sweet, adoring smile... then punches him in the face, screaming that he lied to her. Nick feebly pleads that he loves her, and Dawn replies with another punch, before storming away. For whatever reason, Fiona looks proud. "Another happy ending." deadpans Sam, as he and Michael smile at the scene.  Nick isn't a bad guy, but they silently agree he deserves a lot worse than that for causing Dawn to be kidnapped.

Michael at last is meeting with Perry Clark. The bureaucrat enters Michael's apartment, chattering nervously, admitting he's never been to a subject's apartment before, he's not even sure it's allowed. Michael thanks him for bending the rules. Clark says he's in a hurry, and wants to get right to work. Michael can tell his side of the story, he'll get back to him. Opening his briefcase, he asks Michael for a cup of coffee. Surprised, Michael says he thinks he has instant, and walks over to the sink.

"The longer you've been in the game, the more you have to be careful about underestimating an opponent. Say you don't think much of bureaucrats, don't think they're worth your time or attention. Then a bureaucrat is the perfect person to send to kill you."

Perry Clark slides a garrote out of the briefcase, and Michael barely has time to throw his hand between the wire and his throat. The pair struggle, but for every move Michael tries, Clark has a counter-move. "Wow. You're pretty good." Michael admits, still showing a bit of sarcasm. "Let go." encourages the assassin, "It'll be less painful for you. It will look like you hanged yourself. No surprise, really. No job, no money." Michael manages to flip both of them backwards, landing on top of his attacker.

"There is no way to anticipate every danger, you need a backup plan for when things go wrong. That's why home court advantage is so important."

Still holding on tight, Clark remarks that things would have gone much more smoothly if Michael had just kept their original appointment in Fort Lauderdale. Michael sarcastically mutters his apologies for inconveniencing his attacker.

With his left arm pinned behind his back, Michael is forced to slip his right hand free of the garrote and take the full pressure of it on his throat, while he punches through the cabinet under the sink where his pistol is duct-taped to the pipes. Placing the gun against the assassin's chest, he pulls the trigger, a point-blank gut shot. Clark, or the man impersonating him, staggers to his feet, and after staring at his bleeding abdomen in disbelief, runs out the door before Michael can fire another round - though a gasping Michael is too weak to do anything except pass out.

EpilogueEdit

Later that night, Fiona is helping Michael repair the cabinet door, as he talks to Sam on the phone. Sam reports that the cops found his attacker in an alley, he'd bled to death. He had no ID on him, and his fingerprints weren't in any government database, making him officially a ghost - non-existent. At the very least, he'd impersonated the real Perry Clark. Sam asks Michael if he thinks the guy who burned him sent the assassin. Michael does.

Fiona admits that Michael was right about "Perry Clark," and he must be proud of himself. Michael isn't - he wanted his burn notice resolved so badly that he'd talked himself into ignoring his instincts. Fiona gently caresses the angry red mark around his neck, and Michael tells her that he's okay. "You almost died." she says softly. "That's happened before." he jokes, closing the repaired door. Fiona asks if she isn't allowed to worry about him, to be concerned. "You can worry about me, Fi." he says, his eyes soft now. That's good enough for Fiona, who teases him, "You mean like Nick was worried about Dawn?" "Hopefully not quite like that," is Michael's reply. Fiona chides Mike not to be too hard on Nick - he was head-over-heels in love with Dawn, as afraid of losing her to the kidnappers as he was of losing her if she found out he was just a house-sitter.

Opening a drawer, Michael changes the subject, admitting that he'd talked to Nick about Fiona. He pulls a gun out of the drawer, topped with a huge red bow, and hands it to her. "A Makarov" she says reverently, "is it the same one?" Fiona caresses the gun gently, and then points it right in Michael's face. "Nick convinced his boss to sell it to me at a discount." This prompts Fiona to say "Thank you, Michael". Her emotion is genuine, she is happy, and Michael looks pleased. "Happy Birthday, Fi."

CastEdit

MainEdit

GuestEdit

  • Kelvin Lu as Nick Lam
  • Steven Bauer as Reyes
  • Gonzalo Menendez as Lucio Velasquez
  • Rachel Yeager as Dawn

TriviaEdit

  • Sharon Gless does not appear in this episode.
  • The script originally called for Michael to be the one who broke Lucio's foot, but having Fiona do it was ad-libbed during the shooting of the scene.

Continuity ErrorsEdit

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