Wilson worked first as a model in Australia and in Europe, before she moved to Los Angeles in 1991 to study acting with Arthur Mendoza at the Actors Circle Theatre and with Tom Waits at the TomKat Repertory Group. After some education in acting, Wilson was hired for some small roles in independent films, such as in Loser and in One of Our Own. Then, in 1996, Wilson was preparing to continue her studies at an acting school in New York City, but she decided to audition first for a new television show to be produced for the USA cable TV channel in North America. From a field of just over 200 aspiring actresses who auditioned for the starring role, the new program's producers chose to offer the job to Wilson, and she accepted. This new show was called La Femme Nikita, based on the French action thriller movie Nikita (1990).
Each episode was one hour long, and the series was produced by a combination of Canadian and American companies. The show ran for five years and 96 episodes on the USA network. There were 22 episodes per season for four years, and another eight episodes in its fifth and final TV year. Most of the episodes of La Femme Nikita were filmed in and around the city of Toronto, Ontario. Wilson's co-stars in this TV series were the actors Roy Dupuis, Don Francks, Alberta Watson and Eugene Robert Glazer, and for her acting in La Femme Nikita, Wilson was nominated twice for the annual Gemini Award for "Best Performance by An Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role", though she did not win.
During 2006, Wilson had a small role in the movie Superman Returns as the character "Bobbie-Faye", a spokeswoman for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States. In 2012 she launched a lingerie label named Wylie Wilson, with a flagship store in Los Angeles, California. In 2013 she received the Best Actress Award at the Cinerockom International Film Festival for her performance as CIA spook Marla Criswell in a short film called "Liberator".
Wilson lived with her long-time boyfriend, director Damian Harris, from 1997 until their separation in 2002. They are the parents of one son, Marlowe Harris-Wilson, who was born in February 2002.
Heyn, Christopher. "A Conversation with Peta Wilson." Inside Section One: Creating and Producing TV's La Femme Nikita. Introduction by Peta Wilson. Los Angeles: Persistence of Vision Press, 2006. 66–74. ISBN 0-9787625-0-9. In-depth conversation with Peta Wilson about her role as Nikita on La Femme Nikita, as well as her approach to acting.
Connolley, Dawn. "Nuthin' Fancy Luv, I'm Australian." La Femme Peta: The Unauthorized Biography of Peta Wilson. Toronto, ECW Press, 2000. 1–32. ISBN 1-55022-385-2. Unauthorized biography of Peta Wilson culled from various pre-published sources.
Edwards, Ted: "La Femme Nikita X-Posed: The Unauthorized Biography of Peta Wilson and Her On-Screen Character". Prima Lifestyles, 1998, ISBN 0-7615-1454-6.