After last week’s reveal that CIA Agent Jesse Porter had turned in his government-issued badge in favor of private security consulting, the question on everyone’s mind is: what exactly is Jesse up to? Turning to the man who knows the answers, Coby Bell took time out of his busy film schedule to provide an exclusive glimpse into Jesse’s world.
When asked what was really up with Jesse’s new security consulting job and whether it was a freelance or one-company kind of gig, Coby laughingly said that it is all in the hands of the writers right now. He is just along for the roller-coaster ride. He acknowledged that it was a way of keeping Jesse free to help with whatever comes up in the wild BURN NOTICE adventures with Michael, Fiona and Sam. It also provides Jesse with a source of legitimate income and a way to bring in new clients. As a bit of tease, Coby shared, “We never really talk about the company Jesse works for. You know about it, but we never really go there.” Based on that response, it sounds like there is either something shady going on or the writers are keeping that particular door open for a later date.
When asked if there is one word he would use to describe Jesse, Coby initially laughed and said, “Sexy!” Then he added, “Bad-ass! They’re all bad-ass!” Either one would suit Jesse just fine given his sultry persona on screen and his confidence in some very tricky high-stakes situations.
Sharing a bit about what makes Jesse tick and his motivations for getting further involved in the double-life of being a quasi-spy and a seemingly normal guy, Coby noted that when it comes down to it, for Jesse it is all about, “His bravery and his willingness to stick his neck out for others.” He elaborated by explaining, “In the second episode that Jesse was in, we found out that Jesse’s mom worked the graveyard shift at a convenience store and had been killed when he was 9-years-old. But no one did anything. This is what drives him to go get the bad guys. He first started as an agent, like Michael, but he was too gung-ho. He wanted to bust all the bad guys and not just the one he was supposed to be targeting. So that put him behind a desk — but he prefers being in the field.” So with so much anger over the futility of the system to punish those who inflict pain and harm on others, Jesse is drawn to the murky world outside of the law where punishment is swift and certain. He is more vigilante with a heart and a cause.
Describing what would be the perfect woman for Jesse, Coby thoughtfully revealed that she would have to be, “Someone who could handle a gun – and she would have to have some form of bad-assery!” To fit into Jesse’s world, she’d need to be just as confident, capable and driven as he is, with the soft-side of humanity embedded in her soul as well.
Then pointing out a few things that fans may not yet know about Jesse, Coby shared that not only does Jesse wear a size 16 shoe, Jesse is venturing outside of his protective shell a bit more this season. As Coby revealed, “He’s a lot more fun this season. Last season, he was all grumpiness from being burned and he had to earn his way in with Michael, Fiona and Sam. This season, he’s friends with them. — and he’s a lot more loose and fun. He gets to be funnier.” For Coby, this was a nice change of pace as he added, “I’m comfortable with comedy so I enjoy that a lot.”
Being immersed in the faux spy-world takes its toll, so when asked where he would like to have an episode or some scenes of BURN NOTICE filmed outside of Miami, Coby was quick to give a shout-out to Long Beach, California where his family lives. He would love the chance to work a little closer to home and not do as much commuting. Transcontinental is great for spies, but for the working actor, all those frequent flier miles are taxing!
Thinking back over the past few seasons of BURN NOTICE, and talking about all the crazy stunts that he has participated in on the show, Coby shared that one of the craziest stunts he got to do was, “Last season, I got to blow up a house. But I was in the shot so I had a walky-talky detonator – and Jesse just decides to blow up this guy. So they had to film me with the house blowing up behind me.” Ruefully shaking his head over the memory of it, Coby happily said, “But we have great stunt people — they do all the crazy, crazy stunts.”
Then talking briefly about his larger than life castmates, Coby only had great things to share about them all. He shared, “Gabrielle’s wonderful. She’s a wonderful human being. We have lots of laughs and since she has three kids and I have four, we like to talk shop about them.” As for Bruce Campbell and Jeffrey Donovan, Coby said, “I’m tight with Bruce. He’s funny! And, Jeffery, people don’t realize how funny he is. He has a very dry sense of humor.”
Finally, as to what to look forward to as the fifth season continues, Coby said that he is looking forward to, “discovering Jesse through what the writers are writing.” As for the rest of it, Coby excitedly shared, “Gosh, we’ve been filming so much non-stop. It all kind of blurs together. There’s so much going on. But it’s going to be a great season!”
On that high note of enthusiasm, Coby hopes that you will continue to tune in and see what surprises are in store for both Jesse and the rest of the BURN NOTICE team this season. There are guaranteed to be more explosions, gunfights, romance and spy intrigue. BURN NOTICE airs Thursday nights at 9:00 p.m. on USA Network.
Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to TheTVAddict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).