USA's "Burn Notice" returns for its second season at 11 p.m. Thursday, chronicling the further adventures of fired spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan), his ex-girlfriend Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar), his hypochondriac mother (Sharon Gless) and his best friend, Sam (Bruce Campbell).

Season 1 ended with Westen hoping to learn why he was fired; Season 2 finds him with a new handler, Carla (Tricia Helfer, "Battlestar Galactica"), who gives him assignments. But her role is likely to remain secondary to those of the other women in Michael's life, especially that of his mother.

"The writers have brought her more into a personal connection with Michael Westen," Donovan said in a teleconference with reporters. "You're going to see more of a true mother-son relationship, less antagonistic than you saw in season one. She's becoming a bit of an ally."

As the season goes on, Donovan said, viewers will see his character reflect more on the life he used to have. "I think it's going to get deeper, actually."

As for whether Michael will get back together with Fiona, Donovan only laughs. "That's a crazy relationship that's going to have its ups and downs."

The show's premise, Westen's spy missions and penchant for creating "MacGyver"-esque gadgets, probably get viewers' attention initially, but Donovan said the ongoing stories keep the series viable.

"You get hooked on really becoming involved with Fi and Sam and Michael and Mom," he said. "If you care about them, I think that brings you back."