Question: I must admit, I am a huge fan of sudsy spy serials. I really enjoy Burn Notice on USA. I think it is fun and light, as summer TV should be. One thing is driving me crazy, though. Wasn't there a show in the '80s called The Equalizer that was almost the exact same premise? I was very young when Equalizer was on, so I can't remember clearly, but I thought it was about a spy who got shut out for some reason and started helping civilians. Am I crazy? Is Burn Notice an updated Equalizer?
Answer: It's more like Burn Notice is an ironic Equalizer. If memory serves — the show ran for four seasons from 1985 to 1989 — Robert McCall (memorably, moodily played by Edward Woodward) voluntarily retired from his secret-agent job and put himself on the market as a one-man justice league. He wasn't fired. Tonally, the shows couldn't be more different. The Equalizer strikes me as having been dead serious (although not without wit in its characterizations), whereas Burn Notice is more of a snarky lark, as much comedy as thriller.