We've seen spies deal with parental issues before, on Alias, but that's when the whole family was in the business. The spy on Burn Notice has a civilian mom, played by TV legend Sharon Gless.
Sharon Gless on Burn Notice
"This character is not like any character I've ever played," said Gless. "In Queer As Folk I did play the mother. This is more the mother from hell. She loves him, but I mean, she is a real thorn in his side. And the fact that he's dumped into Miami is the last place he wanted to be because she lives there. I like her. She's fun. She's a lot of fun. She manipulates him, and she's smart. She's smart, like he is. I guess they're going to be doing some stuff with that."
Jeffrey Donovan plays a spy "burned" by the CIA, so he works odd jobs in Miami until he can get back in the game. You can imagine how he feels about having mommy hanging around. "I love the fact that she's not at all like Debbie Novotny from Queer As Folk. She's much more devious. Very bright and will do what she can to get his attention and manipulate him. And I don't know what all you have planned for me to insinuate myself into his life any more than I have. It's certainly the thorn in his side. He left Miami because of her."
In real life, Gless and Donovan get along swimmingly. "I love him but I think she loves him too. She just wants to be a part of his act. And it was more than just that. I mean, I took the show because I love the fact that he's dumped into this town and kept alive. What I love is that he takes these jobs that he doesn't want. It's sort of beneath his training, but he does it for money."
Since she's not really his mom, Gless can also appreciate the other attributes of Donovan. "He's so sexy and so adorable, and there are soft edges to this character who could do anything to anybody. I'm having such a good time. Most actors my age aren't even working, and I've been very blessed. And I think I hit pay dirt again."