This latest season, while appreciably more series than the first five -- containing a multi-episode arc where Fiona was in prison, after which Michael's ne'er-do-well brother Nate (Seth Peterson) was killed, culminating in a cliffhanger ending brought about by a surprising betrayal by a trusted colleague -- is still, nonetheless, the same "Burn Notice." It's managed, as a show, to be at once always exactly what it is, thus a reassuring constant for longtime viewers, and to evolve so that it never endured post-sell-by-date repetitious stagnation.
At the one point at which it seemed to be regressing to that state, the show managed to introduce a major new character without joining what Indiewire's own Matt Singer amusingly dubbed “The Poochie Legacy” (from the "Simpsons" episode when a new, hip character was introduced on "Itchy & Scratchy" to disastrous effect). In a lengthy narrative strand in which Michael was coerced into “burning” another agent, Jesse (Coby Bell) assumed what became a permanent place in the main cast, with Michael being thrust into the position of helping Jesse find the man who "burned" him, without revealing that he himself was the (unwilling) culprit. The added narrative conflict, as well as the parallel to Michael's own experience with having been burned, got the initial Jesse arc off to a strong start, and his integration within the principal cast ended up being remarkably smooth.
There's also no reason for its audience to stop watching. "Burn Notice" deserves a great deal of credit for being what it is so perfectly. There is always a place for well-crafted character-based escapism on the big and small screens. What "Burn Notice" lacks in subtext and artistic ambition it more than compensates for with emotional warmth and the meticulous skill with which its diversions are assembled. It's not easy to make things look as easy as the "Burn Notice" team does on their show. There's something to be said, and there should be a place at the table for, a work as sublimely and artfully diverting as "Burn Notice." It's a show that defies superlatives, but is an achievement worthy of recognition.