27 Lessons From the Show Burn Notice

Posted on October 31, 2013

This is a picture of the cake my dad had made when I went off to college – originally, to be a spy.  So, naturally I love the show Burn Notice. Here are some of my favorite tips I’ve accumulated from the show:

  1.   When you’re in a high speed car chase with a low caliber weapon (i.e. .22), ricocheting bullets off the ground will make them come through the floorboards. The underside of a car is the least reinforced part.
  2.   Spies have to trust people. If you’re constantly looking behind you then you’ll miss what’s in front of you.
  3.   A fake utility box is a decent hiding place. Most people won’t touch anything labeled ‘High Voltage’.
  4.   The most common cover for a spy  is as a service person. So, everybody in intelligence knows to check service personnel. Call a utility company with a problem and you’ve created the perfect diversion.
  5.   Have a few rallying points planned out ahead of time with your team.
  6.   The MOST important skill for a spy is their ability to twist the facts in their favor. The worst the facts, the better you have to sell it.
  7.   Take off the interior panels of the car doors and put phone books in them to help make a car bullet resistant. Bullet proof glass is a little spendy but worth every penny.
  8.   All security systems are either designed to keep people in or keep people out. If you’re locked in, try to find a way to hit the lock from the outside.
  9.   High profile covers rarely work. People look too close at wealthy, flashy people. A high profile person’s errand boy on the other hand, is rarely even noticed.
  10.   Garbage trucks rarely have alarm systems. If you need to attack someone who insists on driving around, do it with a garbage truck.
  11.   In close quarters a knife is more effective than a gun. Easier to handle, easier to hide.
  12.   A snatch & grab is simple enough: separate the target from security, then keep security occupied while the target is acquired.
  13.   The right bullet will get through any bulletproof glass.
  14.   Instead of answering questions, plant seeds of doubt. Are they sure their boss won’t kill them? Are they sure their team isn’t planning on killing them?
  15.   When trying to hide in water, fire can be your friend.
  16.   If you’re out manned, you need to make them think you’re bigger than you are. Explosives help with this.
  17.   You have to get rid of the notion of fighting fair. Spies aren’t trained to fight fair, they’re trained to win.
  18.   Use shallow cuts to make a decent amount of blood and use it as a decoy trail.
  19.   No matter the size of the job, you should always have a plan.
  20.   When you torture someone they’ll tell you anything to get you to stop. Reverse interregation works better.
  21.   When it comes to cover id’s, posing as a bad cop is the only way to not raise flags when you don’t do everything by the book.
  22.   Sometimes you’ll have to do something illegal to prove your cover.
  23.   When people are desperate they often fill in the blanks with what they want to hear- without realizing they’re doing it.
  24.   You can’t be afraid to get beat up.
  25.   Use compressed air to make super glue dry faster.
  26.   Car remotes are a great place to plant bugs
  27.   Just because you can escape from a situation, doesn’t always mean you should. Sometimes it’s easier to dodge questions than bullets.

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