Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Geek Hero #5: Michael Westen

Michael Westen used to be a spy. Now he's just awesome.

Burn Notice's Michael Westen used to be a spy. Then he got fired. Now he's stuck in Miami, working as a freelance spy, helping the helpless, catching criminals, etc., all the while trying to figure out who got him burned and why. Because of his ex-spy status, Westen has a few...unique...skills. Geeky skills, and awesome skills. (Note that there's a huge amount of overlap in those two categories.)

Geek Cred:
  • Spies, being spies, have high standards of geekiness/awesomeness. As such, Michael knows a lot of things about a lot of things
    • He speaks Russian, Persian, Czech, Arabic, French, and German.
    • He also has mad acting skillz, routinely impersonating drug dealers, gunrunners, smugglers, construction workers, hotel staff, restaurant safety inspectors, crazed street thugs (you really can't make this stuff up, can you?), and more during his assignments.
      • Often, Westen can show up and act like he's in charge and have people follow. No impersonation necessary
  • Spies operate with very little specialized equipment. As such, Michael often MacGyvers together sophisticated tools from everyday stuff. A few examples:
    • Westen builds a rather effective bomb out of a microwave, aerosol cleaning chemicals, and silverware.
      • He can basically take whatever happens to be in a room and somehow build a bomb with it. He is a spy.
    • Need to wipe security computers? No problem; just build a gigantic electromagnet, hide it in a backpack, and pretend to be a security technician.
    • If Michael has a cell phone, he's about five minutes from having a listening device and/or a tracking device.
    • When his gun is broken, Michael replaces the firing pin with a hair pin. The gun works (though for only one shot).
    • In one instance, he even bulletproofs a car with phonebooks. (According to the Mythbusters, it works).
    • At one point, Westen even says that "Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart..."
      • There's no way to protest the awesome.
Day-Saving Ability:
  • Being a freelance spy, Michael Westen spends a good bit of his time helping the helpless. A few examples:
    • Helping witnesses of gang violence
    • Rescuing kidnapped people
    • Foiling assassinations
    • Capturing conmen
    • The list goes on
  • An especially dramatic example:
    • Early in his freelance spy career, Michael busts a drug dealer. Later on, this same drug dealer (named "Sugar") turns to Michael for help. Sugar's brother is getting mixed up with a gang, and Michael is the most hardcore person Sugar knows. Of course, Michael helps
      • Sugar even supplies Westen with a bunch of rolls of duct tape.
      • That's how you do it, man.


  1. yay for duct tape!!
    you made me want to watch that show! lol

  2. Cool! Burn Notice FTW!!!!

    Only (and I might be doing my math wrong) his scores appear lower that Picard's. So what's he doing in 5th when Picard is 6th? (not arguing, Westen IS cooler, but just wondering as to your reasoning)

    ETA: Google doesn't like the fact that I defected to Wordpress and wouldn't let me comment with that ID, so I'm using GoogleID for now...

  3. It's in no particular order. Later I'll do a summary page, evaluating geek cred/save-the-day-ability/overall rankings.