Burt Reynolds Burt Reynolds

Who's cooler than Burn Notice's Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan)? How about Hollywood screen legend Burt Reynolds, who shows up tonight (9/8c, USA) as an ex—CIA operative targeted by the Russians after he lets slip some Cold War—era info that's still top secret.

As a fan of Smokey and the Bandit and Sharky's Machine, Donovan says the chance to work with the star of those films was a "dream come true." He adds, "Burt was incredible with his generosity. He loved talking about the old days [and] how movies used to be made—it was a great education!" When the cameras weren't rolling, the actors shared dinner and talked about the theater Reynolds started in Jupiter, Florida. "I want to continue that tradition down in Miami," says Donovan.

Even at 74, Reynolds can play a convincing badass, according to Burn Notice creator Matt Nix, who reports, "He's still a guy who can get into some fisticuffs—he didn't shy away from any of the physical stuff."

That didn't come as a surprise to Nix: "This is his wheelhouse. It's an action show and, in some ways, Burn Notice owes a lot to the stuff that Burt Reynolds did 20 years ago."

Michael Westen, however, may want to treat the story of Reynolds' character, Paul Anderson, as a cautionary tale. "He's alone, working at a bar and washed-out," says Nix. "He's not exactly burned—he's a little toasty." Nix considered naming the episode "Ghost of Christmas Future," and it doesn't take a master spy to see that Mikey doesn't appreciate what he's got, especially with his sexy comrade-in-arms Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar). Laughs Nix, "[Paul] wants to know what Michael is doing not getting on that." So do we!

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