Nikita (TV series)
|Developed by||Craig Silverstein|
|Theme music composer||David E. Russo|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||67 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Craig Silverstein
|Producer(s)||Marc David Alpert
David Solomon (season 1)
Juan Carlos Coto
|Editor(s)||Mark C. Baldwin
John Peter Bernardo
|Location(s)||Pinewood Toronto Studios
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
|Running time||43 minutes (approx.)|
|Production company(s)||Wonderland Sound and Vision
Warner Bros. Television
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution
CBS Television Distribution
|Original channel||The CW|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i
Dolby Digital 5.1
|Original run||September 9, 2010– present|
|Related shows||La Femme Nikita
Nikita is an American television series that has aired on The CW Television Network since September 9, 2010 in the United States. Based on the French film Nikita (1990), the remake Point of No Return (1993), and a previous series La Femme Nikita (1997–2001), the series focuses on Nikita (Maggie Q), a woman who escaped from a secret government-funded organization known as Division and, after a three-year hiding period, is back to bring down the organization. The main cast also includes Lyndsy Fonseca, Shane West, Aaron Stanford, Melinda Clarke, Xander Berkeley, Noah Bean, Tiffany Hines, Ashton Holmes, Dillon Casey, and Devon Sawa.
The series centers on a secret government-funded organization known as Division. Recruiting young people with troubled backgrounds, sometimes directly from prison, Division erases all evidence of their past lives and molds them into efficient spies and assassins. The recruits generally do not have the freedom to leave the agency. While in the previous series, recruits are warned they may be "cancelled" (killed) if their progress is deemed unsatisfactory, in the new series, Division also implants in them tracking devices along with kill chips. Having broken away from the government, Division now performs operations for their own gain, hurting their country if need be. However, Nikita, a Division agent, has gone rogue after her civilian fiancé is killed by Division. She makes it her mission to bring down Division.
On the outside, she trains a woman named Alex, who then becomes a recruit inside Division, working as a mole for her mentor. Having trained Nikita, Michael, a Division operative, is ordered by his boss and Division's leader, Percy, to deal with his former student. In the meantime, Division continues training its recruits and performing operations unaware of Nikita's mole. Over the course of Season one, Nikita goes up against Division, as well as Gogol—a Russian security department and established enemy of Division—on many occasions. She is consistently supported by Alex's intelligence from inside and she slowly brings other allies to her side including Michael when he realizes the true extent of Percy's corruption as well as his own feelings for Nikita. At the end of Season one, Nikita and Michael set off on their own without Alex; having turned on Nikita after learning of her role in her father's death, Alex is exposed and left at the mercy of Division and Oversight—the government group that controls Division.
In season two, Nikita and Michael press their efforts against Oversight, seeking to destroy the group, which will also cripple Division at the same time. In the ever-changing landscape of events it is seen that, despite many turns and personal discoveries, their feelings for each other remain both deep and constant. Nikita gradually brings her old allies and teammates back together to actively fight Division which is now under Amanda's control. She was placed in charge after Percy was locked away for his actions in season one.
Cast and characters
The series borrows many characters, or at least their names, from the 1997 television series La Femme Nikita. Maggie Q portrays Nikita, the protagonist and a former spy and assassin who has gone rogue and now plans to bring down Division. Q also performs her own stunts. Shane West plays Michael, a Division operative who trained Nikita. He sees Division and its recruits as a kind of family to him, the complete opposite of Amanda, portrayed by Melinda Clarke, Division's psychologist, interrogator, and a master manipulator. Seymour Birkhoff, Division's computer genius and head technician, is portrayed by Aaron Stanford. The head of Division is Percy, played by Xander Berkeley.
In the season one finale, the audience is introduced to a Senator Madeline Pierce, played by Alberta Watson, who also played the part of Madeline in the former La Femme Nikita series (Madeline was that series' counterpart to Amanda). Lyndsy Fonseca portrays Alexandra "Alex" Udinov, a former sex slave and drug addict who was arrested after a robbery and later became Division's newest recruit. She is also a mole that Nikita is using to destroy Division from the inside. Other recruits include Jaden (Tiffany Hines) and Thom (Ashton Holmes) but their characters are later killed off by Nathan (Thad Luckinbill) and Alex respectively. Dillon Casey portrays the role of Sean Pierce, a former Navy Seal sent to Division directly from Oversight. Noah Bean portrays Ryan Fletcher, an agent in the CIA.
- Maggie Q as Nikita Mears: The show's protagonist and titular character, Nikita is a spy and assassin who has vowed to destroy the secret agency that trained her.
- Lyndsy Fonseca as Alexandra "Alex" Udinov: The young woman Nikita rescued and trained to destroy Division, she also seeks revenge against Division for the massacre of her family.
- Shane West as Michael: An ex-Division agent who has fallen in love with Nikita and joined forces with her to destroy his former employers, who lied to him.
- Aaron Stanford as Seymour Birkhoff: A computer genius, hacker, and nonconformist.
- Melinda Clarke as Helen "Amanda" Collins: The show's main antagonist in the third and fourth season, Amanda is a master manipulator, interrogator, and psychologist. She is also a former head of Division.
- Devon Sawa as Owen Elliot/Sam Matthews (guest star season 1; recurring season 2; series regular season 3): A former Division cleaner and Guardian.
- Noah Bean as Ryan Fletcher (recurring seasons 1–2; series regular season 3): A CIA agent and analyst who is an ally of Nikita. He is the current head of Division as of the season 2 finale.
- Lyndie Greenwood as Sonya (season 2–present): The head technician at Division since Birkhoff's leave, romantic interest of Birkhoff.
- Michelle Nolden as Kathleen Spencer (season 2–present): the Vice President of the United States, later succeeded Charles Grayson as President in the third season.
- Ashton Holmes as Thom (season 1, episodes 1–12): A Division assassin, killed by Alex and framed as Nikita's mole.
- Tiffany Hines as Jaden (season 1, episodes 1–20): A Division assassin who regularly clashed with Alex, killed by Nathan after trying to kill Alex.
- Xander Berkeley as Percival "Percy" Rose (seasons 1–2): Former head of Division, and the show's main antagonist for the first two seasons. Killed by Nikita at the end of the second season.
- Dillon Casey as Sean Pierce (series regular seasons 2–3): A former Navy SEAL hired by Oversight to keep an eye on Division and Alex's former love interest.
- Peter Outerbridge as Ari Tasarov (recurring seasons 1–3): Former head of GOGOL, a Russian Division counterpart, killed by Amanda.
- Rob Stewart as Roan (recurring seasons 1–2): Cleaner and Percy's right-hand man. Electrocuted in fight against Alex and Sean.
Season 1: 2010–2011
At the beginning of season one, two people break into a drug store and attempt to rob it. While stealing the drugs and trying to make a get-away, the owner challenges one of the robbers. When this robber hesitates in shooting the owner of the store, their partner doubles back to shoot him before quickly running off, leaving the remaining individual to be arrested when the police show up. Once the police arrive, they pull off the individual's mask and discover that the robber is a young female who is revealed to be Alex. As she is being brought into prison, she fights the prison guards with good strength; she does not know that Michael, a Division operative, is watching. He later processes her into Division, a covert unit of the government that has gone rogue. Division recruits young and susceptible criminals into their training program and forces them to carry out their missions under penalty of death. The higher-up members of Division are worried because Nikita has come back online, meaning that she is targeting Division from the outside. What is worse is that she has a mole inside; however, at this point in the show no one in Division is aware of it. By the end of the first episode, it is revealed that this mole is in fact Alex. Halfway through the season, it is revealed that the second robber in the drug store was Nikita and that the robbery was set up specifically to attract Division's attention, so that they would recruit Alex. The two communicate through a chat program Nikita created while still at Division called the shellbox program.
As the series progresses, Nikita routinely sabotages missions that would have been major successes for Division and also saves the lives of recruits such as Sarah. More light is shed on the lives of the main characters through flashbacks, and it is revealed that Alex was sold into sex trafficking by a man who had been close to her oligarch father before his murder at the hands of Division.
Eventually, Michael joins Nikita's cause after she helps him find Kasim Tariq. He tells her a story of how he had once found the perfect home for his now-deceased wife and daughter. Tariq took that dream away from him when he killed both of them with a car bomb that was intended for Michael.
Alex is forced to kill her rival, Jaden, after Nathan (Alex's neighbor and love interest) accidentally reveals in front of her that Alex has told him of her true occupation as an assassin. Back at Division, Amanda tells Alex that Division now operates with new cochlear implants that are virtually undetectable by even the wearers, and Jaden's implant recorded Alex calling Nikita shortly after she killed Jaden. At this time, Division finds out that Alex is Nikita's mole and is thus interrogated. It is revealed that Alex's family was killed by a Division strike team and that Nikita was the agent who killed her father. This revelation turns Alex against Nikita. Michael is locked away in Division as well after attempting to help Alex escape.
Michael escapes courtesy of Birkhoff (Division's head technician) and joins Nikita who had just escaped from the CIA headquarters. As the season ends, it is shown that Amanda has disabled Alex's killchip and wants to recruit her into Oversight (Division's leadership and funding stream). Michael and Nikita try not to worry about the future as they drive off into the oncoming storm.
Season 2: 2011–2012
At the end of season one, Nikita and Alex's relationship had been shattered. There is tension between them and Alex has a difficult time trusting Nikita again. Meanwhile, Nikita and Michael's relationship was restored. Now that they're on their own, Nikita and Michael are on the run with a hard drive called "the black box". It contains Division's darkest secrets and conspiracies, which include 6 government agents' dirty secrets. Together, they plan to right the wrongs that Division has committed over the years, one mission at a time.
Season 3: 2012–2013
Division is now officially under government control and under the leadership of Ryan Fletcher, tasked with hunting down rogue agents, nicknamed the "Dirty Thirty", who refused the recall order. Division discovers the mysterious group Percy was seeking to join. Amanda is now rogue.
Season 4: 2014
Nikita was renewed for a shortened fourth season on May 9, 2013. It will premiere in midseason, consisting of 6 episodes.
|Season||Episodes||Air date||DVD release date|
|Season premiere||Season finale||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|1||22||September 9, 2010||May 12, 2011||August 30, 2011||September 19, 2011||October 26, 2011|
|2||23||September 23, 2011||May 18, 2012||October 2, 2012||October 1, 2012||February 13, 2013|
|3||22||October 19, 2012||May 17, 2013||N/A||N/A||N/A|
The CW had long been interested in an action-adventure series centered on a strong female character. On January 27, 2010, The CW ordered a pilot episode of Nikita. The 2010 television series is more closely tied to Luc Besson's 1990 French film Nikita than the 1997 television series, La Femme Nikita. However, the series does borrow many characters, or at least character names, from the previous television series.
During the 2010 Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles on July 29, 2010, executive producer Craig Silverstein said he was approached by Warner Bros. who owned the rights. Silverstein said, "My first thought was I love Nikita. My second thought was, 'it's been done.' Could it be done fresh? Could we have a take where you didn't know where this story would end?" As a result, two major changes have been made, one of which is the decision to have the story take place after Nikita has escaped. Maggie Q stated, "No one's told her story after the fact. No one knows where she is going." In addition, a new character, Alex, is introduced who has an unexpected backstory. The series is a mix of a weekly mission/counter-mission, and a story arc running through the first season that explores Nikita's relationships with Alex and Michael.
While presenting its 2010–11 season schedule on May 21, 2010, The CW officially confirmed the pick-up of the series and announced its intention to air Nikita after The Vampire Diaries on Thursday nights. In October 2010, Entertainment Weekly announced that the series would receive some tweaking to attract more of a female audience, including a new character and potential love interest for Nikita. However, the network promised the core of the show would remain the same. Later that month, the show was picked up for a full season, which would total 22 episodes. The CW have admitted they took gambles this year but said they were "thrilled that [it] paid off for us."
On May 17, 2011 Nikita was renewed for a second season by The CW in the 2011–12 fall season. It was later announced that they would move the show to Friday nights at 8:00pm, pairing it with Supernatural, beginning Fall 2011. The second season premiered on Friday, September 23, 2011.
On May 11, 2012, The CW renewed the series for a full third season.
In February 2010, Maggie Q was cast as Nikita. Executive producer Silverstein said casting Q was a simple and quick process, because they wanted someone who was beautiful, and could fight, and who you could believe holding a gun at the same time, and she was perfect. Later that month, Shane West was cast as Michael. In March, Lyndsy Fonseca was given the role of Alex. Silvertein commented the casting of Fonseca, saying she came in at the last moment but was cast because they liked her intensity. Later that month, Tiffany Hines was cast as Jaden and Xander Berkeley was added to the cast as Percy. In October 2010, Noah Bean gained a recurring role as Ryan Fletcher, a CIA case officer and analyst.
Casting for second season started on July 2011 when Dillon Casey was cast as Sean Pierce, a former U.S. Navy Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU, formerly Seal Team Six) officer contracted to monitor Amanda's work at Division and recover the stolen black boxes. Casey was later promoted as a series regular.
|Craig Silverstein, Juan Carlos Coto, Albert Kim, Kristen Reidel, Kalinda Vazquez, Andrew Colville, Brandon Guercio, Travis Fickett, Terry Matalas, Jim Barnes, Amanda Segel, Mary Trahan||Eagle Egilsson, Nick Copus, Danny Cannon, Kenneth Fink, Dwight H. Little, David Solomon, Jeffrey G. Hunt, Brad Turner, Marc David Alpert, John Badham, Chris Peppe, Michael Robinson,|
Although the show is set in and around New Jersey, Nikita is primarily filmed in Canada—specifically, in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario. Much of the show is filmed on location, but studio shooting is also used for sets such as 'Division' and the penthouse. Many landmark locations used on the show, such as the White House, are actually doubles meant to represent various places in North America.
The general reception of Nikita has been positive, with a large fanbase forming early in the first season.
Metacritic gave it a score of 66% based on 28 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Comparisons were made to Joss Whedon's Dollhouse and the ABC spy drama Alias. Critics had praise for Maggie Q in the lead role, the look of the show, solid action sequences, the chemistry between the cast especially between the two leads Q and West, and an intriguing twist at the end, but noted that the dialogue needed some humor.
U.S. Nielsen ratings
The pilot episode drew 3.57 million viewers on its initial broadcast. The CW broadcast an encore of the pilot the following day, which drew approximately 2.6 million viewers. The finale was seen by 1.94 million viewers. The first season averaged 2.40 million viewers and a 0.9 18–49 rating in live + same day DVR viewing per episode. Season 2 averaged a 0.5 18-49 rating using Nielsen Live + Same Day DVR data.
The following is a table for the seasonal rankings, based on average total estimated viewers per episode, of Nikita on The CW. "Rank" refers to how Nikita rated compared to the other television series that aired during prime time hours.
|Season||Timeslot (ET/PT)||# Ep.||Premiered||Ended||Rank||Viewers Live+SD
|Season 1||Thursday 9:00 pm||22||September 9, 2010||3.57||May 12, 2011||1.94||#135||2.32|
|Season 2||Friday 8:00 pm||23||September 23, 2011||1.85||May 18, 2012||1.42||#182||1.77|
|Season 3||Friday 9:00 pm
Friday 8:00 pm
|22||October 19, 2012||0.95||May 17, 2013||1.08||#145||1.38|
In the UK, the show has been the most watched show for Sky Living every week that its autumn episodes aired. When it returned from hiatus in the summer in a new Wednesday 9:00 PM slot, it finished fourth in the week. However, it was able to increase again in the following weeks.
In the Netherlands the series premiered with solid ratings, the first episode drew an audience of 640,000 viewers. The second episode was broadcast right after the first episode and drew 757,000 viewers, it had a market share of 10.3%. With these numbers Nikita was the 4th most watched channel of the evening.
In France the series premiered with high ratings in its 11:20 p.m. timeslot, the first episode drew an audience of 2.4 million viewers. The show obtained an audience share of 22.6% of France's population which is an extremely high rating despite its timeslot.
In Bulgaria the series averaged 663,000 viewers and was placed at number 12 in the ratings for July.
The series has earned numerous award nominations, in awards such as the American Society of Cinematographers, the People's Choice Awards, the Teen Choice Awards and the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards.
Awards and recognition
|2010||American Society of Cinematographers||Outstanding Cinematography in Episodic TV Series||David Stockton ("Pilot")||Nominated|||
|2011||People's Choice Awards||Favorite New TV Drama||Nominated|||
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series||Nominated|||
|2011 Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Show: Action||Nominated|||
|Choice TV Actor: Action||Shane West||Won|
|Choice TV Actress: Action||Maggie Q||Nominated|
|2012||2012 Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Show: Action||Nominated|||
|Choice TV Actor: Action||Shane West||Nominated|
|Choice TV Actress: Action||Maggie Q||Nominated|
|2013||2013 Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Show: Action||Pending|||
|Choice TV Actor: Action||Shane West||Pending|
|Choice TV Actress: Action||Maggie Q||Pending|
In the United States the show airs on The CW, on Friday nights at 8/7 central.
Sky Living secured the rights to air Nikita in the United Kingdom as the centerpiece of the channel's autumn schedule. Living's head of acquisitions Amy Barham said "Nikita is the hottest, most action-packed drama of the season with an amazingly strong female lead that we know will excite and engage Living's audiences this autumn. We're thrilled to be able to bring it exclusively to the channel. Chase will follow in 2011, providing a new favorite show for all of our procedural fans."
In China, the show is available on the US drama section of tv.sohu.com as a video-on-demand stream shortly after its US broadcast. For the final episode of season 3, Maggie Q recorded her own call-out to "Chinese lovers" of the show which was pre-rolled before the episode, asking fans to support the show via FansTang, as well as follow her updates on Sina Weibo and Tencent WeChat.
Home releases of the series are distributed through Warner Bros. Home Video.
The first season of Nikita, distributed by Warner Bros. on DVD and Blu-ray, features all 22 episodes. It also includes deleted scenes, "Inside Division, Part 1: The New Nikita", "Inside Division, Part 2: Executing an Episode", "Profiling Nikita, Alex, Percy & Michael", audio commentaries and a gag reel as bonus features. The box-set has been released on August 30, 2011 in North America, on September 19, 2011 in Europe and October 26, 2011 in Australia.
|Complete Season||Release dates||DVD Extras and Bonus Features||# of Discs|
|1||August 30, 2011||September 19, 2011||December 8, 2011||October 26, 2011||Audio Commentary; Deleted Scenes; Gag Reel; Inside Division, Part 1: The New Nikita; Inside Division, Part 2: Executing an Episode; Profiling Nikita, Alex, Percy & Michael; Division Tracker (Blu-ray exclusive)||5|
|2||October 2, 2012||October 1, 2012||TBA||February 13, 2013||Gag Reel; Deleted Scenes; Audio Commentary (featuring Craig Silverstein and Carlos Coto); and two featurettes: "What if? Writing the Fate of Division" and "Living the Life: Maggie Q."||5|
|Region A||Region B|
|United States||Canada||United Kingdom||Australia|
|1||22||4||August 30, 2011||September 19, 2011||December 8, 2011||October 26, 2011|
|2||23||4||October 2, 2012||October 2, 2012||October 1, 2012||February 13, 2013|
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- "Nikita DVD news: Press Release for Nikita — The Complete 1st Season". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
- Lambert, David (June 14, 2012). "Nikita — Finalized (VERY Different) Date for 'The Complete 2nd Season' in Formal Announcement". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
- Official website
- Nikita on Facebook
- Nikita on Twitter
- Nikita at the Internet Movie Database
- Nikita at TV.com
- Nikita Episode guide
- NikitaWiki fan site