Burn Notice Spy Tips – Season 1 Episode 1 (Pilot)

Spy Tips on Car Chases, Safe Cracking, Losing a Tail, and more

In a fight, you have to be careful not to break your little hand bones on someone’s face.

When you’re being watched, what you need is contrast, a background that will make the surveillance stand out. An FBI field office is full of guys in their 40s. At most south beach business hotels, it would be tough to tell which middle aged white guy was watching you. So you stay in the place where everyone is a jell-c-shot away from alcohol poisoning. If you can see someone who can walk a straight line, that’s the Fed.

Need to go someplace you’re not wanted? Any uniform store will sell you a messenger outfit and any messenger can get past a security guard.

Figuring out if a car is tailing you is mostly about driving like you’re an idiot. You speed up, slow down, signal one way, turn the other. Actually, losing a tail isn’t about driving fast. A high-speed pursuit is just gonna land you on the six o’clock news. So you just keep driving like an idiot until the other guy makes a mistake.  

Whether you’re a coke dealer, a thief, an arms dealer, or a spy, you need someone to clean your money. Which makes a good money launderer the closest thing you can get to a yellow pages for criminals.

Doesn’t matter how much training you have. A broken rib is a broken rib.

I never run around in the bushes in a ski mask when I’m breaking in someplace. Somebody catches you, what’re you gonna say? You want to look like a legitimate visitor until the very last minute. If you can’t look legit, confused works almost as well. Maybe get a soda from the fridge or a yogurt. If you’re caught, you just act confused and apologize like crazy for taking the yogurt. Nothing could be more innocent.

Cracking an old-school safe is pretty tough, but modern high-tech security makes it much easier. Thing is, nobody wipes off a fingerprint scanner after they use it, so what’s left on the scanner nine times out of ten is a fingerprint.

The point is, blackmail is a little like owning a pitbull. It might protect you, or it might bite your hand off. That’s why it pays to make sure you know what they’re thinking, and that means eavesdropping.

To build a listening device, you need a crappy phone with a mike that picks up everything. But you want the battery power and circuits of a better phone. It’s a trick you learn when the purchasing office won’t spring for a bug.

Once somebody sends a guy with a gun after you, things are only going to get worse. But like it or not, you’ve got work to do. For a job like getting rid of the drug dealer next door, I’ll take a hardware store over a gun any day. Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart.

Every decent punk has a bulletproof door. But people forget walls are just plaster.

People with happy families don’t become spies. A bad childhood is the perfect background for covert ops. You don’t trust anyone, you’re used to getting smacked around, and you never get homesick.

Air bags save a lot of lives. But they also put you out long enough to get your hands cable-tied to the steering wheel.

You have to lose some fights so you can learn to win. I mean, look at this. I got the crap beat out of me. I have two black belts, and they kicked my ass. So you got nothing to be ashamed of with me, okay? I’m the champ of getting beaten up. But I’m also very good at winning. You want it to stop? The key to fighting a group is taking out its leader. Take out its leader, they’ll all leave you alone. It’s bully psychology.

When you work solo, it’s about prepping the ground. Home-court advantage counts for a lot. Most bad guys expect you to just sit there and wait for them like those are the rules or something.

If you’re going to put prints on a gun, sticking it into somebody’s hand isn’t going to do it. Any decent lawyer can explain prints on a gun. But try explaining prints on the inside of the trigger assembly.

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