Sam Axe

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Samuel Axe
Burn Notice character
Sam Axe-Burn Notice.jpg
Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe
First appearance"Pilot"
Last appearance"Reckoning"
Portrayed byBruce Campbell
In-universe information
AliasCharles "Chuck" Finley
OccupationFreelance independent contractor,
CIA civilian intelligence asset,
Former: Navy SEAL
FamilyAmanda, wife (estranged)

Commander[1] Samuel "Sam" Axe, USN (ret.) is a fictional character in the television series Burn Notice and TV movie Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe, and is played by Bruce Campbell. He is the best friend of "burned" ex-spy Michael Westen, the main character in Burn Notice.


Sam served over 20 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL and "retired" with full benefits at the rank of Commander in February 2005, as part of a graymail deal which kept the true events of potentially embarrassing Operation PROVIDE SUPPORT in Colombia a secret. The deal included a first-class air ticket to Miami, Florida, a change of clothing, and an ice-cold beer.[1] In Miami, Axe helps Michael Westen with freelance work, having known him since at least 1992, and a job they did together in Poland. Sam's value to Westen often involves his seemingly infinite list of contacts. With a low amount of cash to his name, Sam has a string of "sugar mommas" with whom he connects in exchange for shelter and spending money.

Sam frequently uses the cover name "Chuck Finley" after the California Angels pitcher, whom he frequently and successfully wagered upon;[1] coincidentally it is also the name of a coworker of Bruce Campbell's father,[2] who also was, according to The Press Democrat, once friends with the real-life baseball player.[3]

Sam Axe as Chuck Finley[edit]

"Chuck Finley" is an alias and cover identity Sam Axe uses in many episodes of Burn Notice. "Chuck Finley" also turns into "Charles Finley" when Sam feels that his cover needs to be more sophisticated and up-scale,[4] and is often a con-artist as well as a "legit" persona.[5]

Overview of Chuck Finley[edit]

Chuck Finley made the first appearance in the third episode of the first season of Burn Notice, "Fight or Flight" as the attorney of character Cara Stagner, a waitress at the nightclub below Michael's loft.

However, chronologically as per the series, Chuck Finley appears first in the prequel The Fall of Sam Axe. Axe adopts the Chuck Finley alias for the first time at a "secret CIA intelligence facility" in Colombia while calling for help from a military base in Santa Marta; in this case, the alias is "Deputy Assistant Intelligence Director Chuck Finley" from the NSA headquarters.

When Axe is asked by aid worker Amanda Maples why he chose the name "Chuck Finley", Sam replies: "Made a lot of money betting on him back in the day. I'm thinking it's a lucky name,"[1] The scene from "The Fall of Sam Axe" shows Sam holding an undated edition of a fictitious sports magazine called Sports Action, with the cover page heading "Pitching Giants: Remembering Chuck Finley". Apparently, "Chuck Finley" has been named after the baseball pitcher that Sam Axe frequently and successfully bet upon,[1] although the name is more widely known in baseball from the championship Oakland A's teams of the 1970s, owned by the colorful Charlie Finley, and this fact might also be a source of the name, as anyone in Axe's age group would know the man's reputation.

Chuck Finley: The Character[edit]

In an interview, Bruce Campbell has stated that Sam Axe uses Chuck Finley to convince people without dragging the Sam Axe character, who has a past career as a U.S. Navy SEAL, into the matter.[6]

Bruce Campbell has mentioned that, coincidentally, it is also the name of a former co-worker of his real-life father.[7]

In an interview about Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe to Darryl Morden of Buzzine,[5] Bruce Campbell has mentioned the following:

Morden: "What about Sam's con-artist persona Chuck Finley? Will we see more of him on the show or in the prequel movie?"
Campbell: "Oh yeah, Chuck is all over the place. Chuck Finley is forever." [And Chuck was also on giveaway Burn Notice t-shirts handed out to fans attending the panel.]

Appearances of Chuck Finley in episodes of Burn Notice[edit]

Chuck Finley has made appearance in the following 21 episodes of Burn Notice through to Season 5.

Season Episode/Series Title
  • Episode 03
  • Episode 08
  • Episode 11
  • Episode 12
  • Episode 13
  • Episode 03
  • Episode 07
  • Episode 12
  • Episode 02
  • Episode 08
  • Episode 12
  • Episode 13
  • Episode 14
  • Episode 15
  • Episode 03
  • Episode 08
  • Episode 09
  • Episode 11
  • Episode 13
  • Episode 14
  • Episode 06
  • Episode 09
  • Fight or Flight
  • Wanted Man
  • Loose Ends Part 1
  • Loose Ends Part 2.1
  • Loose Ends Part 2.2
  • Trust Me
  • Rough Seas
  • Seek and Destroy
  • Question & Answer
  • Friends Like These
  • Noble Causes
  • Enemies Closer
  • Dressed to Kill
  • Good Intentions
  • Made Man
  • Where There's Smoke
  • Center of the Storm
  • Blind Spot
  • Eyes Open
  • Hot Property
  • Enemy of My Enemy
  • Eye For An Eye

In all the episodes, Chuck has taken different professions which suited the situation, ranging from a lawyer or police officer or doctor, to motivational speaker or Glades homeowners association member.


  1. ^ a b c d e Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe
  2. ^ "Get Burned" DVD commentary feature for episode "Fight Or Flight"
  3. ^ Murphy, Mike (July 24, 2009). "'Burn Notice': Who is Chuck Finley?". The Press Democrat. Santa Rosa, California. Retrieved August 8, 2017. And to hear Bruce Campbell (who plays Sam) tell it, Chuck Finley was a friend of his dad’s back in the day.
  4. ^ Murphy, Mike. "'Burn Notice': Who is Chuck Finley?".
  5. ^ a b Darryl Morden (August 8, 2010). "'Burn Notice' TV Star By Day, Cult Film Hero By Night". Buzzzine. Archived from the original on January 16, 2011.
  6. ^ "Burn Notice: Bruce On Chuck Finley". USA Network. Archived from the original on 2011-08-23.
  7. ^ "Get Burnt DVD commentary feature for episode 3: Fight or Flight". Archived from the original on 2011-10-01. Retrieved 2011-07-04.

External links[edit]