Doc On The Box – Nikita Season One

Nikita 1OK, pay attention. Once upon a time, there was a French film, La Femme Nikita, starring Anna Parillaud, about a teenage girl who, after commiting murder, is recruited by a government agency to be an assassin, only for her to rebel (a bit) against her masters. Then the same story was retold as Point Of No Return aka The Assassin, starring Bridget Fonda. Then the same basic story was told (albeit a lot more slowly, obviously) over five seasons of La Femme Nikita, a TV series starring Peta Wilson as Nikita. There’s a Hong Kong film as well, Black Cat, that apparently draws heavily on the same story. So why on earth is there another series based on the story?

Nikita, soon apparently to enter its fourth and final season in the US, stars Maggie Q as the titular assassin, but takes up the story after Nikita has escaped from the agency, known as Division, after they killed the civilian that she had fallen in love with. She is determined to bring down Division, a rogue government agency and its boss, Percy, in particular. She has a secret weapon – Alex, a girl in the same situation as she once was, has been recruited as a trainee operative. But Alex is a plant, working with Nikita to leak information. But surely there’s no way that can be kept a secret for long…

Right, anyone who fancies commenting on this post, I’ve only watched Season One, so no spoilers please. This is the sort of show that tends to twist and turn all over the place and I’d be surprised if all the cast members make it to the end.

The thing is, this sort of show seems to always be being made. The young attractive female super-spy lasted five years in Alias (started strongly but veered badly off-course in the final two seasons) and Covert Affairs is currently going strong (perfectly fine but no real hook for me). So why try Nikita?

To be honest, I’ve no idea why I bought this on DVD. It must have been a cheap Amazon recommendation, but I’m awfully glad I did.

First of all, look past the cover image. It has Maggie Q posing in a tight dress holding a big gun, but it really isn’t that sort of show. There are very few occasions – one in the pilot springs to mind, but no others) – where Nikita uses her, for want of a better word, sexuality to get things done. Mostly, she uses her brains and her skills to do what needs to be done. And, unlike a number of other shows, she isn’t the only competent character in the show. They do a good job with the resourceful, but inexperienced, Alex, and the bad guys aren’t morons either. The tension between Michael (Percy’s right-hand man) and Nikita sits well, even if I have a little trouble watching the character since my better half pointed out that his angry expression (which is often used) looks like he’s got a bad smell under his nose – smell-the-fart acting. There are points where you might think that Percy is a bit of an idiot – just wait until the end of the series and you might change your mind.

The overall plot does a good job of keeping things moving, with a number of ongoing sub-plots building to an effective game-changing finale.

Oh, one thing though – am I the only one getting tired of the phrase “going rogue”? It seems Jack Bauer went rogue every other episode – at least here it’s an entire agency that’s gone rogue!

Overall, this is a very enjoyable series so far. The violence isn’t extreme but the plot-lines are gripping. The performances are engaging and it all combines to provide an entertaining and intriguing watch. Not sure where this is shown in the UK – not on terrestrial TV – but the season 1 box-set is usually pretty cheap and it’s well worth a look. Highly Recommended.

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3 comments

  1. Sounds like fun Steve – I loved ALIAS (the final season did drop off but I still liked it) but have managed to avoind all the previous NIKITA iterations not being a fan of Luc Besson, who endlessly recycles the rogue-assassin plot in his productions. Glad this is better than the norm though.

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  2. We did watch the Luc Besson movie but I really don’t remember how much we liked it. We have not watched either TV version. But I did like Maggie Q in one of the Die Hard movies, and I am sure she can do a good job with this type of show. On the strength of your opinion here, maybe we will give it a try someday.

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