Michael (I used to be a spy) Westen was in Warri Nigeria to pay a drug kingpin, Boris, $750,000 to stop blowing up oil refineries in the Nembi Oil Field. He called his handler to report the ABA money transfer number (0210010175…); but was hung up on because he had been… "burned." He escaped the beating from the drugee's by feigning that he would take them to the money; but, escaped by luring two guards into the bathroom, where there were hard surfaces, for a fight. Eventually he made it to the airport where the airline said they were "instructed" to take him to Florida and dump him in a cut-rate motel. Unconscious.
His EX-girlfriend, Fiona Glennan, was called by the maid who had seen the "next-of-kin" number in his wallet. Awakened by Fiona's kick, he was dogged by two FBI surveillance men, and his mother who he tried to avoid. He tried to check into the Chadwick hotel requesting: no view, facing the wall, no windows, far from the elevator, close to exits; however, the clerk advised that his bank accounts were frozen with a "government related code." Dan Siebels, MWs handler for 15 years (trained together, has a Lucite plaque on his desk with a bullet hole in it, drinks sprite) refused any contact with him. So he moved to a "girls gone wild" motel where anyone tailing him would stand out.
He paid two kids to tell a cop that one of his FBI tails had tried to make them sit on his lap. While the tails were busy being rousted by the cop, Michael was able to escape their watch. He made contact with Lucy (ex-spy) who was working at Securi-corp and told him that he had been flagged on every government list; but, after giving her "puppy dog eyes," she gave him a contact for a "job" to earn some cash with Sam Axe, a former friend, who had lately been "sponging off of every rich divorce' in the greater Miami area."
The job was with Javier, a caretaker, who offered $4,600 to clear his name for a robbery of $22 million in jewelry and antiques from the house of his boss Mr. Pyne, a condo developer. Neither Pyne nor Vincent, his security man, were really helpful to Michael in his search. Sam found Michael an empty storage loft above a nightclub called "The Warehouse" for $200 a month. The landlord, a Russian immigrant named Oleg, gave disclaimers that "all night there was boom boom" from the nightclub and that a drug dealer lived downstairs. Oleg had actually heard of Michael from Russian spies who claimed that Michael Westen was really one name for many people – and we learn that Michael can speak Russian without an accent. Fiona gave MWs cell phone number to his mother, Madeline, a chain-smoking hypochondriac who had him steal a car to take her to the doctor at the hospital on 20th street. She ragged on him for missing his father's funeral by 8 years – and we learn that MW was abused as a child, had been sending doctor money for her many illnesses and that his brother, Nate, "went to pot" after MW had left. MW packaged up some pipes and chemical fertilizer to send to Dan Siebels in order to get him to call back. Javier's son David wanted MW to "shoot the people who had robbed Mr. Pyne." Mikes rules for clients are that "I follow it wherever it leads, I finish what I start and we do it my way."
Sam set up a meeting with Barry, a money launderer, who gave him the name of an art dealer/fence who would know about possible stolen art in the area. M had to kick some drug buyers off the steps to his loft one evening when he got home. Dan finally called back and said that M was on "all FBI watch lists" and that he "couldn't leave Florida without SWAT teams and reporters showing up on his lawn." He refused to have any further contact with M but advised him to "lay low." M Met Sugar, the drug dealer leaving below him, who tried to hassle him for sending the customers away; and M had to subdue him, although it was quite easy. Walter, the art dealer, needed a little convincing to tell him that a condo-developer had tried to discretely sell those stolen paintings, overpriced six months prior. MW broke into Pyne's safe and obtained evidence of Pyne's illegal dealings. Then he told Javier that his boss was trying to frame him for an insurance scam. After MW confronted Pyne he had Sam and Fiona help him plant a bug in Pyne's car.
Fiona began haranguing MW about "personal relationship" issues and MW said that they had tried before and their relationship just wasn't enough (she was robbing banks for the IRA). Then Fiona beat up an attempted assassin sent by Sugar which made her amorous; but M had to tell her that "violence is foreplay for you but not for me." Sam has good intelligence contacts and sent Vincent on a wild goose-chase when he tried to find out about M. Then to prevent Sugar from continuing to come after him, M shot through Sugar's door, wounding him in the knee. He gave him bandages and 20-minutes to clear out. M went to Madeline's house to deliver a prescription as his voice-over said: "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." Madeline wanted him to go see his brother who wouldn't return her calls so that they could all be together for Christmas. M had parted with his brother after he had gotten a telephone book thrown at his head. When they were six, their father locked them in their room to prevent them seeing the Star Wars movie, so they took up the floor and sneaked out through the heating vents. M said he has had "thirty years of Karate, combat experience on five continents and a rating with every weapon that shoots a bullet or holds an edge."
M then had to save David from being kidnapped by Vincent under Pyne's orders. He offered to be the driver of a fellows car, which didn't have airbags, then crashed into Vincent's car setting off his airbags to stun him long enough to cable-tie his hands to the wheel. Taking David back to the loft, he found that the kids at school had been bullying the boy so gave him pointers on how to defend himself using tactics. He told David that he had two black belts and still gets beaten up. Sam met with the two FBI tails, agent Lane and Harris, and M interrupted their meeting. They only told M to "don't go thinking you got nothing to lose, you got friends, you got family." Sam said they had his pension tied up. The told M he could do anything he liked as long as "you stay where they can see you and don't cause any trouble." MW told Sam: "Don't sprinkle sugar on this bull and call it candy." All he wanted from Sam, he told him, was for him to tell the FBI just enough and keep them out of his business. Sam agreed. M set up a trap for Pyne and Vincent in Javier's house, so that when they entered Pyne was blinded by a mirror and tricked into shooting Vincent. M then put Pyne's prints on the gun and let him listen to a recording of his plotting David's kidnapping from the bug that they had planted. Pyne agreed to Ms demands that Vincent would confess to the robbery, Javier would get "5 years severance pay with benefits and dental and never see them again – and throw in a college fund for David." M would hold all the blackmail documents and "be watching." M then watched as David followed his advice about fighting back to the bullies at school. He needled Lane and Harris a bit by asking to borrow their binoculars to see David's tactics better. Then when he got back to the loft he found the floor littered with surveillance photos which had been taken of him by someone other than "normal" feds – along with a "Welcome to Miami" greeting card.