Amanda (Nikita character)
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|Created by||Craig Silverstein|
|Portrayed by||Melinda Clarke|
|Occupation||Spy and assassin
Division Stylist (former)
Division Director (former)
|Significant other(s)||Percival Rose (deceased)
Ari Tasarov (deceased)
|Relatives||Matthew Collins (father; deceased)
(twin sister; deceased)
Amanda Collins (formerly Helen Collins) is one of the main characters of Nikita, portrayed by Melinda Clarke. She is the main antagonist of the third and fourth seasons of Nikita, but more specifically on a personal level with Nikita Mears and Alexandra "Alex" Udinov.
Amanda is the resident psychologist and official manipulator (as well as torturer) of Division. Percy is rumored to have built his entire operation around Amanda's methods and relies on her to get inside people's heads, both during torture and to break them down to believe in Division unconditionally. As an expert manipulator, she can usually tell when people are lying to her and enjoys getting to know the recruits and their secrets. Only two recruits are known to have been able to resist being completely broken by her: Nikita and Alex. Because of this Amanda found herself both fascinated by, and frustrated with, the two women.
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Childhood and background
Relatively little is known about Amanda's life prior to Division. When introducing her to Carla Bennett Percy made the comment that Amanda was a rising star in psychological operations, which may hint at a military or government background. Though she did not create Division's recruitment program (this was done by Carla), Amanda greatly modified and "enhanced" it. Amanda ultimately developed a hatred for Carla, most likely because she felt threatened by Carla's presence, which she perceived as a challenge to her position in Division. The fact that Percy seemed to have cared a great deal about Carla may have also had something to do with her antagonistc attitude (though she would hate to admit it, jealousy has been shown to be a motivating factor in Amanda's personality). Amanda had secretly been carrying on an affair with Ari, the head of Gogol and a Division rival, for many years. Carla inadvertently saw the two of them together one night, and Amanda decided to put out a hit on her life, even though Carla had no idea who the man was.
In episode 3x18 "Broken Home" is revealed that Amanda was born as "Helen Collins" with her twin sister being named Amanda Collins. Helen was subject to traumatizing and psychologically scarring experiments implemented by their father who was trying to find a way to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Helen blamed Amanda for what happened to her, referring to her as Daddy's little Princess. Helen later plans to kill her entire family and steal Amanda's identity because they were twins. As teenagers, Amanda goes downstairs to see her sister telling her that she'd find a way out for the both of them. Helen says to her sister that she has to kill her because there was no other way out, since their father made sure that Helen didn't exist on paper (No license, no school, no birth records). Amanda refuses to do this, acts upon her guilt and tries to rescue her sister the same day. Their father discovers this, and Helen slits his throat with a knife. She then stabs her sister, saying that Amanda was always daddy's little princess and that it was only because she was born eight minutes earlier then Helen. She also says that she could have been her and should have been her, blaming her for not doing anything to rescue her all these years. Helen takes her sister's identity and burns the house down, leaving as "Amanda."
Amanda is a chameleonic character. When first meeting new recruits she tells them to think of her as a friend and confidant. Amanda spends a great deal of time with her charges, building up their mental resilience and teaching them how to conduct themselves during various missions, and she also seems to enjoy grooming their appearances. She wants them to feel camaraderie with her, which allows her to get inside their heads even more. When Amanda is angry, or feels betrayed, the facade is dropped and reveals someone who could be described as a borderline sociopath. She will torture anyone, no matter how long she has known them, if she thinks they are withholding vital information from her. She can be particularly brutal: During one interrogation she smashed Birkhoff's fingers with a hammer and then inserted needles into his nasal cavities to penetrate his brain to inject a paralytic which would have caused his mind to as she described it "wither and die".
In spite of her viciousness, however, there are moments when Amanda lets a more vulnerable and caring side of her personality emerge, and she has been shown to be capable of great empathy and kindness. As demonstrated with Alex greatly and even in the past with Nikita.
Alex Udinov -- Amanda's relationship with Alex largely echoes that of Nikita's, most notably without Amanda being completely heartbroken, for what Nikita did to her. Mostly because Alex was mentored by Nikita, and much of Alex resembles Nikita. Not only that, but Amanda also finds it hard to completely breakdown Alex. Amanda found it hard to uncover Alex's motives and claims that "...the girl's like one of those Russian dolls, you open one version of her, only to find there's another hidden inside her." Amanda finds it particularly hard to get into Alex's head, mostly from her training with Nikita and some of it from her traumatic childhood that built up walls. Amanda finds Alex sometimes unpredictable and she is, at the beginning of the series, mystified about Alex's past. She spends most of her time in season one trying to figure out what Alex is hiding from her. Not the fact that she was Nikita's mole, but her past that she rarely ever talks about. Although Amanda recommended that Percy cancel Alex in the beginning of the first season, Amanda was not necessarily out to get Alex. She seen brilliance in Alex, but at the same time, if there was any weakness or doing something she shouldn’t be doing, Amanda would take the chance to tell her to stay inline. However, Alex's relationship is more rare with Amanda compared to the other recruits. They share a deep connection that doesn't appear on the surface. But Alex often tries to exert her power over Amanda in front of the recruits, something they wouldn't dare to do. Also, Alex often back talks to Amanda, which Amanda usually blows down with ease. When Alex sneers or banters to Amanda, she seems to be amused with Alex, and her thoughts, and she calmly retorts back. Even though Alex didn't like Amanda nor wanted to like her, they are connected and show their unique version of empathy with each other. In season two, Amanda's relationship with Alex changed drastically. Amanda has a very high tolerance of Alex, something she doesn't have with other recruits. Although Alex claimed they were just business partners, Amanda comforted Alex on many occasions when Alex needed guidance for her past and future. Amanda found it harder to control Alex because she was getting impatient with Amanda, who prefers to move at a slow pace (in contrast to Alex, who at this time was impulsive and passionate about her revenge). Amanda wouldn't allow Alex to leave Division without an armed escort to protect her from Gogol. In the third season episode 11, Alex guesses what Amanda's next lesson is for her and Nikita. Amanda says Alex was right, everyone is expendable and also tries to teach Alex a lesson.
Nikita Mears -- Nikita was the first recruit that Amanda was never able to fully deconstruct, and because of this she developed a great deal of affection for the younger woman. Amanda greatly enjoyed working with her, admitting at one point that she considered Nikita to be her greatest student. Amanda taught her bearing and posture and tutored her in foreign languages. She also once gave Nikita a birthday cake. Amanda felt deeply betrayed when Nikita abandoned Division, as she cared about the girl more than she had any other recruit. At the end of season one Amanda told Alex, "I'm not going to hold onto you the way I tried to hold onto Nikita." In season 2 Amanda managed to disarm Nikita and was about to put a bullet through her head, but found herself unable to do so. Later in the same episode the two women found themselves separated by only a thin sheet of armored glass, and during an emotional moment Amanda gave vent to her bitterness, telling Nikita, "You broke my heart." Nikita responded in kind, and the two shared a quiet moment. Nikita managed to get the better of Amanda soon afterward and could have easily shot her to death, but instead simply knocked her out. In season three, Amanda claims she isn't done teaching Nikita yet. She claims she's gonna hurt everyone she loves, that's how you destroy Nikita. Alex can often be found in between Nikita's and Amanda's schemes. Amanda knows the way to hurt Nikita is to hurt the people she loves. As a result, she often attempts to manipulate Alex into distancing herself from Nikita. Amanda went as far as to completely rewire Alex's brain, in her "chair" with a needle, when she was holding her hostage. Alex was never the same afterwards and was the catalyst in bringing down Division as a whole as well as a crack in Alex and Nikita's relationship.