Acceptable Loss
Season 5, Episode 17
BN 517
Air date December 8, 2011
Episode Guide
Depth Perception
Fail Safe
Acceptable Loss is the seventeenth episode of season five of Burn Notice. Penultimate episode of Season 5.




  • Ian


Michael wants to find out more about Anson's plans, but this requires the help of a former enemy. Meanwhile, an old friend contacts Jesse, asking him to help bring his diamond-smuggling employer to justice.

Spy FactsEdit

Full RecapEdit

Michael and Madeline are at Frank's grave, and Maddie tells her son that she believes Anson is responsible for Frank's death and wants Michael to stop him before more lives are lost. Michael and Fiona are in D.C., hot on Anson's paper trail. They head into a law firm and rummage through files, and Fi finds one that links Anson with Vaughn. The file contains a series of numbers which Vaughn might be able to decipher.

Michael realizes that they'll need Vaughn's help, so he asks Pearce to request Vaughn be transferred from Guantanamo to a high-security prison in Tampa. Meanwhile, Jesse meets up with an old friend, Ian, who is seeking to retire from his government work. He was the right hand man to an Indian diplomat named Yash, who's set up a very lucrative diamond-smuggling trade on the side. Ian's name is on all of the authorization documents, so if the operation is discovered, he'll take the blame. He wants Jesse to help him bring Yash down. Jesse agrees to help.

Sam and Jesse set up surveillance on Yash, and it seems like he has a deal very close to completion. They don't have much time, so they plan on just stealing the money from the buyer. After that happens, Jesse can go undercover with the money and broker and deal with Yash himself.

Meanwhile, Michael goes to meet Vaughn. Vaughn will only help if he gets full immunity and an easy release out of prison. Michael says he can't promise that because he doesn't have enough influence.

Jesse pretends to be potential buyer Mr. Ray, and at first Yash is suspicious despite Ian's positive recommendation. Yash insists on seeing Ray's diamond-cutting operation. Jesse quickly calls on Sam to set up a jewelry shop as their base. After looking over the shop, Yash agrees to start dealing with Mr. Ray.

Jesse and Ian head back to Yash's mansion, and Sam and Fi are outside ready to set the explosives to take down Yash. However, the building is reinforced with steel, so there's no way the plan will work. Instead, they plant a bomb on Jesse's Porsche as a distraction, in order to give Jesse and Ian time to flee. Sam comes in and tells Mr. Ray about how he found listening devices in the jewelry shop after Yash's visit. Jesse accuses Yash of trying to kill him as soon as the money exchanges hands.

Yash has already shipped the evidence back to India, so the team doesn't have a chance to bring him down for the smuggling. Ian reminds them that diplomatic immunity is waived if the diplomat murders a citizen of the country, and Ian wants to sacrifice himself. Michael and Jesse immediately balk at this idea, but Ian confesses that he has pancreatic cancer, and it's terminal. He wants to clear his conscience before he dies, and he needs to destroy everything that Yash forced him to build.

Jesse meets with Yash again to claim that Ian planted the bomb in order to take the money and the diamonds for himself. Yash is easily convinced that Ian is the culprit, because he'd have access to all of Yash's finances. Jesse wants to bring Ian in again, to perhaps broker a deal with him.

Ian arrives at Yash's mansion, and he "shoots" Jesse (with blanks as blood packs planted on his body burst). Jesse feigns dying, and Ian shoots at Yash before fleeing from the home. Yash runs after him, pulling out his own gun. Meanwhile Michael calls 911, and the timing of the police's arrival coincides with Yash shooting Ian dead. Yash is taken in for murder, and Ian finally brings his boss to justice.

Michael heads back to the prison to speak with Vaughn and to give him an ultimatum. Michael will have all of Vaughn's enemies transferred to the same prison unless Vaughn explains what the numbers mean for Anson. Vaughn admits that the numbers mean that Anson is trying to rebuild his organization, the same group that burned Michael. Vaughn warns that Michael might be too late to stop Anson. But when Vaughn also asks for Michael to stop the prisoner transfers, Michael coolly says that that might be too late as well.


  • Michael: Breaking into a diplomatic residence that's well guarded even with weeks to plan, it's iffy. With a few days, impossible.
    Ian: I thought impossible was what you did.
    Jesse: He's heard a few Michael Westen stories.


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