|Occupation||Ex-Spy; Private Investigator|
|Place of Origin||Miami, Florida, USA|
|Relatives||Madeline Westen - (Mother)|
|Last Appearance||Game Change|
Michael was born in Miami (01/07/1967), and suffered through a horrible and disfunctional childhood with his father, Frank Westen, beating him repeatedly as a measure of obedience, as well as taking advantage of him for his own gain (e.g. by having Michael fake a seizure inside a Mr. Goodwrench store so Frank could steal some spark plugs in his quest to finish his beloved custom-built car; The Charger). Frank died two years after Michael became a spy but Michael refused to attend his funeral despite his mother's protests.
However, after being burned (spy speak for being fired from the agency), and after persistent persuasion from his mother Madeline Westen, Michael did visit his father's grave eight years after missing the funeral. He stated the "Beloved" term placed on his gravestone was "a bit of a stretch" (as Michael still hated his father), he nevertheless gruffly thanked his father for The Charger, which his mother claimed Frank wanted him to have.
The rest of his family, while unconditionally caring about him, are nevertheless full of flaws; his mother is neurotic and a hypochondriac, and his younger brother Nate Westen is a compulsive gambler and later petty criminal and con-artist, who had a history of stealing from Michael to fund his gambling addiction.
Michael joined the United States Army at the age of 17, wishing to get away from his family. He later claimed that he was happiest when he was in a different hemisphere from the rest of his family. Leaving with nothing but $50 and a change of clothes, Michael never turned back, and vowed to never return to Miami. After a stint as an Army Ranger possibly as a sniper having set the record in training, Michael became a Covert Intelligence Operative (Agent) for the CIA eventually becoming a high level field agent working in foreign nations along with government bank accounts.
For the next 10 years, Michael served the United States of America in covert operations all over the world, though mostly in Eastern Europe and the OPEC countries. He was also known to have conducted operations in Africa and Ireland, where he met Fiona Glenanne. Over the course of his career, Michael gained a considerable reputation as a peerless operative. In fact, his name became so well known in the spy world that many foreign operatives thought that he was a ghost story publicized by the Americans to cow other agencies into compliance.
Michael believes his unhappy childhood, mostly his father's responsibility, has helped make him into a natural covert operative, though as a result, it has made relationships difficult for him. With time, Michael became a cynic hardened by experience, though also soon reveals he has a soft, and sometimes vulnerable, side to himself.
His specialties were tactical analysis, hand-to-hand combat and cooking. The exact details of his missions are, as yet, unknown.
Michael was on a dangerous mission to Nigeria. At a critical moment in the middle of the mission; Michael's contact on his cell-phone suddenly informed him the mission was off; and they had a "Burn Notice" on him (identifying him as an unreliable or dangerous agent; and is effectively fired). The warlord he was dealing with did not like that Michael did not provide what he had promised and proceeded to beat him. Michael was barely able to escape from those he was dealing with. He was severely beaten before escaping to the airport where he caught a plane. Once he was on the plane, he passes out and was then effectively dumped in his hometown of Miami without money or resources, unable to leave or risk "disappearing" completely (being killed).
Having been "burned" (considered an untrustworthy entity), his bank accounts seized, and his assets frozen, Michael is cut off from all of his contacts and flagged on every government list known to man (as the skills and knowledge he possess cannot be taken back, so instead they take the resources that allow him to function, all to make sure he can never work again). This is every spy's worst nightmare, and Michael is living it.
After taking down The Organization, Michael is, officially, still burned but he is unofficially working with the CIA as a freelance spy. However, since Kessler, the leader of The Organization, killed himself before he could be apprehended, Michael is left without an answer as to why he was burned and put through such an ordeal for the last four years.
Michael continues to receive help from his ex-girlfriend Fiona Glenanne (though it seems they are in a relationship again) and friends Sam Axe and Jesse Porter, who now have a job at a private security firm. Michael appears to be more committed to relationships than before, as in a recent episode he asked Fiona to move in with him and decided to build her a shelf, providing space for all her snow globes, something she had complained about earlier in the episode.
Michael continues to uses his unique skills and training to try to find work. He makes a small living off his wits and investigative jobs, helping desperate people with problems that they can't go to the police with, as well as whoever else needs his services. These jobs come from multiple sources, such as Sam doing somebody a favour or Jesse, whose firm cannot handle a case that unique.
On a personal level, he contends with his mother, who calls him multiple times a day as she couldn't be happier to have her son back in town, and brother on a daily basis. Elsewhere he lives in a cheap, low key apartment. Now stuck in Miami, he must confront the bad memories of his childhood, and repair the broken relationships he left behind.
Having endured a horrible childhood which also involved him suffering regular beatings at the hands of his deceased father, Frank, Michael has become something of a distant character, afraid to committ to a long-term relationship or to let anyone get too close to him.
Michael demonstrates indominable will and resourfulness to accomplish his goals. He virtually lost everything he worked so hard to build as a spy when he was burned such as his official CIA position, finance, reputation, and freedom having been confined to Miami. Yet he does not douse in self pity or any destructive behavior but immediately starts building himself to works towards ascertaining the truth behind his burn notice which would take a very long time and many set backs and failures.
Despite, or perhaps because of this, he's a very skilled spy, using his abilities to help others in trouble. Unlike any fellow spies he's met who kill for profit. Michael has a strong sense of empathy and refuses to kill anyone unless it's really necessary or if he's been pushed to a point which is shown when he shoots Tom Strickler in "Long Way Back". He's also extremely protective of his friends, family and clients, looks after their interests, and is unwilling to let anyone endanger them even if it does mean giving into his enemy's demands sometimes.
Skills & TalentsEdit
Michael is highly skilled and extremely clever. displaying his abilities by quickly thinking on his feet, improvising electronic devices from commonly available commercial equipment (e.g. radios, cell phones etc.) and using ordinary items (ranging from duct tape to cake frosting) in highly unorthodox ways in order to complete a job.
Michael also became an expert martial artist, with around 30 years of training and experience in karate. Westen has also demonstrated proficiency in the Russian martial art Sambo. He has received special operations training and remarked that he "holds a rating with anything that fires a bullet or holds an edge".
Michael speaks several different accents that help him act out different persona, including Southern accent, Boston accent, Irish accent, etc. He has shown proficiency and fluency in Russian, Farsi, and Arabic.
Michael has profound knowledge in the art of war that helps him create strategies and tactics in various combat situations such as seizing, breaching, defending, high-speed chasing, and capturing enemies. Almost more than half of his preformed plans often has to be altered due to unknown factors such as intrusion of new enemy personel, reduction of collateral damage, or entering unfavorable terrains. He has demonstrated incredible improvisation skills that often turned the tides of the battles.
Michael often uses pyschological warfare as the key component of his missions. He often prioritizes finding out enemy weaknesses and focuses on intimidating the enemies into hiding or deceives them until they are forced to fight the local law enforcements, rival enemies, or each other. To orchestrate such plans, he is aware of the behaviors, structures, and rules of various types of criminals such as local drug lords and international arms dealers as well as the those of law enforment agencies and other clandestine services such as the police, FBI, and NSA. He has also studied interrogation tactics that are effective without the use of brutal coercion.
Though not on par with a medical professional, Michael has sufficient knowledge of the human body to apply emergency treatment on the field and gauge the physiological changes of operatives in calmer situations such as stake-outs to intense firefights.
In addition to his trade-craft, Michael has also studied civilian life and behaviors such as the innerworkings of night clubs. His knowledge of banking and finance has proven pivotal to his missions.
Perhaps his most important skill is his ability to blend in and lie by assuming different identities which has helped him infiltrate criminal organizations located in both foreign and domestic.
Background Information & NotesEdit
- Michael appears to favor the SIG Sauer P228 (9x19mm) as his primary sidearm which is known to be easy to conceal. In season four, he appears to have changed his weapon to the larger and more modern Heckler and Koch P30 (9x19mm) which has a bigger capacity and superior ergonomics than the P228. The P30 is given to him by Cole, the former US marine turned hitman in season 4's "Centre of the storm", to replace the P228 which Cole disposed of and as a reward for helping him escape from his ruthless clients.
- Michael appears to favor Emerson knives, especially the Karambit, though which one is hard to identify. He threatens Larry with it after Larry uses Mike's name to get close with the Drug Cartels. In one episode, however, he uses a Benchmade 3300 Infidel.
- Michael's signature sunglasses are made by Oliver Peoples, and the style is called "Victory". In the episode "Broken Rules", Michael claimed he got the sunglasses from an Algerian special ops soldier he tangled with who "didn't need them anymore."
- Michael seems to have a fondness for yogurt (particularly Blueberry) as he is often seen talking about it and eating it in various episodes. In the episode "Broken Rules" he blackmails an agent by showing him multiple embarrassing photos, one of them of the agent breaking inside Michael's home without a warrant and eating his yogurt. Later seasons have reduced the emphasis on Michael's favorite snack, but yogurt still makes occasional appearances. In the episode "Mixed Messages" we find out Michael picked up his yogurt habit from his training officer, Tom Card . While at Card's office we see him still enjoying yogurt.
- Michael usually wears an Armani suit similar to Leonard Shelby in Memento.
- When secretly breaking into a person's home, Michael tends to snack on food items in the person's kitchen, such as tortilla chips and yogurt.
- Michael also tends to whistle whenever he's impressed.
- His car is a black 1973 Dodge Charger which was destroyed in "Last Stand" when he detonates a large amount of explosives to buy time for them to get away from "The Management's" Tactical Team.
- For someone who grew up in Miami, Michael doesn't speak Spanish.
- Michael snores when he sleeps. In the pilot episode, when Fiona wakes up Michael after his flight to Miami, a portion of air movement during his breathing is obstructed. You can also find the same section in the prologue narration at the beginning of each episode.