Q&A with Burn Notice's Sharon Gless
SR: Your character and Michael have a wonderful onscreen dynamic. How did you make that work?
SG: I don't know, Jeffrey Donovan and I just show up every day when we have scenes together and we just do it. It fit the first time we tried it. There's a back history we both know about that's been written into the show—the abuse in the household from the father. That's always underneath everything, so we're given sort of a loaded situation, he and I. And she's difficult and he's also trying to hide who he is, so we have all kinds of stuff going on when we're playing the dialogue.
She's also not stupid. In the pilot, she wasn't as well-defined. But once they started shooting series scenes, the producer gave me one note. He said, "Sharon, he gets his smarts from her." I said, "Okay, I understand." So even though she's sometimes seen in maybe a victim situation with him, that he's not forthcoming, she knows him. Until recently, the character Fiona is now reaching him. But so far, over these last two years, she's the only one who's been able to get to him. She's the only one who can hit him in the heart because of his background as a child and also the line of work he's in. Michael Westen is very hard to reach.