I've always interpreted this particular dilemma as a prime example of
Burnside's apparent philosophy, "If _I_ do it, it's necessary and
justifiable". He's an extremely dangerous man, and we are faced with the
dilemma of trying to sympathize with him (because he is the major character)
and, at the same time, hoping that SOMEBODY stops this paranoid madman. I
believe that he is fully aware of the paradox between his words and his
actions; it simply is irrelevant as far as he is concerned. After all, it
only applies to others; he is above such petty distractions. The only thing
that saves him from losing all perspective is his complete dedication to his
Sandbaggers, and even that falls by the wayside occasionally.
>(2) The character of Burnside continues to fascinate. I love it that it is
>only the women (Diane, Maryann, Karen) who are able to tell him the truth
>about himself, even though he refuses to hear it. One interesting thing
>about Burnside is that the truth (usually about himself) makes him angry.
>Whenever his friends (or enemies) try to help him he resents it.
What I really want to know is what Karen ever sees in him? Laura is
plausible, due to her problematic past, but Karen, the gutsy American? Are
we expected to believe that all women around are suckers for cold, ruthless
men? (Thank God there was never any romantic interest expressed by either
of the secretaries--although Diane was a little too maternal and soft toward
Burnside to be believable.)
>(3) The most (perhaps the only?) admirable trait about Burnside is his
>loyalty to the Sandbaggers. This, of course, is double-edged, since he will
>cause havoc and, in the case of Alan Denson, cause suicide, to keep them and
>protect them. This example shows that the true motive is often a selfish one.
True. Somebody please tell me WHY it is so imperative that Caine knows
that there is a plan to rescue him from the hijack, when Caine already knows
that Burnside will unhesitatingly sacrifice an operative if that is what it
takes? (Jake and Laura are prime examples, and Caine doesn't seem convinced
that Burnside didn't kill Tom Elliott...)
>(8) Finally, the seeming death-wish (in terms of losing the job) that
>Burnside has is maddening at times. He seems to do himself in deliberately,
>but then they always give him another chance. I think it's because they all
>know he's good, if often foolish, and also because he will take the chances
>they dare not take themselves. One thing he has that they do not is the
>ability to see ahead to the possibility of success, where they only seem to
>be able to concentrate on what might go wrong.
It's difficult to say why Burnside keeps getting second chances.
Perhaps the vacancy caused by Edward Tyler's almost-defection caused enough
havoc in the S.I.S.; getting rid of another director in that short time span
would be catastrophic. You'll recall, his actual job doesn't actually seem
to be in that much danger until Gibbs appears on the scene, and Gibbs knows
him for what he is. I think that Tyler's death is all that saved his job
for awhile, and he knows it.
Anyway, this posting is far too long, but then again, there hasn't been
much activity in this group recently, anyway. Thanks, Denise, for waking us
up a bit!
"Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing"
Unknown, 20th Century
Nothing stated should be construed as in any way being
the opinion of my employer, as I haven't got one...