A seasoned Shakespearean stage actor, Massachusetts native Jeffrey Donovan possesses precisely the kind of steely eyed gaze that made him an ideal candidate to portray a former government agent struggling to piece his life back together in the tense USA Network series Burn Notice.
Donovan attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, continuing his studies in New York University's Acting Graduate program, and after receiving his MFA, it was time to put his skills to the ultimate test. Frequently alternating between the stage and the screen in the 1990s, Donovan appeared in episodes of Law & Order, Homicide: Life on the Street, The Pretender, and Spin City while nurturing a feature career with supporting roles in such films as Sleepers and Catherine's Grove. A part in the eagerly anticipated 2000 sequel Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 gave Donovan increased exposure, though it was his role in the 2004 made-for-television crime thriller Touching Evil that marked the beginning of the actor's fruitful collaboration with the USA Network. Cast as a detective whose close brush with death gave him an uncanny ability to peer into the criminal mind, Donovan was a hit with viewers and critics, and went on to reprise the role in the short-lived series that followed.
While network executives may not have given Touching Evil quite enough time to find a solid viewing audience, they did recognize Donovan's onscreen charisma. After a memorable supporting role in the 2005 Will Smith comedy Hitch and numerous television appearances (including a recurring role in the popular NBC series Crossing Jordan), the USA Network gave the actor a second shot by casting him as the lead in Burn Notice. By this point, Donovan was on the verge of bona fide screen stardom, with substantial roles in such dramatic features as the 2006 sports drama Believe in Me pointing toward success for Donovan as well as Burn Notice. Donovan would also appear in several successful films over the years, like Changeling and J.Edgar.