I must confess to a weakness for BURN NOTICE. For all the flashy split screen editing and knowing VO – I’ve always wondered how to DIY my own X Ray machine out of a comb and some sticky back plastic – this is old fashioned American TV at its best.
Here’s how to write for it, and similar FX fluff, according to the always entertaining Ken Levine:
Start with a handsome likable actor. Heavy on charm, athletic, has a dimple, and can deliver a joke without needing a stunt double. For background, he was in some branch of law enforcement. Cop, U.S. Marshall, CIA, secret service, security guard at Warner Brothers.
And we learn he’s a real rogue. Does thingshis own way. Often gets in trouble with his superiors. He’s just incorrigible. But he’s the best cop/Marshall/CIA agent/gate guard at Warners that has ever been. Lightening fast draw, sharp shooter, explosives expert, Mensa candidate. He’s absolutely fearless but super cool. He drinks beer. He sleeps with any woman he’s assigned to protect.
As the pilot begins his rogue-ness gets him in trouble. He’s fired or reassigned. If fired, he’s trying to get his job back. If reassigned, he’s sent to the most fish-out-of-water locale you can find. Let’s say he’s from Chicago. Ship him off to the Everglades.
If possible, set the show in some sun drenched city. Miami, San Diego. Great excuse to show hot girls in bikinis, bright beauty shots, and easier to duplicate when you shoot in San Pedro, California.
Also, try to set him in a town where he has ties. Give him a hot ex-wife or ex-girlfriend that he still sort of loves and still sort of loves him. They broke up because of his rogue-ness or some fault that he has that every woman in America would ignore in two seconds to snare a prize like this.
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