Code name for a beautiful, blond assassin named Nikita (Peta Wilson) on the espionage adventure LA FEMME NIKITA/USA/1997-2001. As the opening narration of the program explained:
“I was falsely accused of a hideous crime (killed a cop) and sentenced to life in prison. One night I was taken from my cell to a place called Section One, the most covert anti-terrorist group on the planet. Their ends are just but their means are ruthless. If I don’t play by their rules…I die.”
When Nikita’s phone rang and the word “Josephine” was spoken, she reluctantly had to report for another dangerous assignment. Nikita may kill, but not for the love of killing but rather as a means of survival.
Nikita is a Level 2 Field Op assassin (ID# 31J7). She reluctantly works for Section One, “the most covert anti-terrorist group on the planet.” There’s only one twist in Nikita’s predicament. She never killed anyone before being taken by Section One and so her human values have not been as corrupted as her captors believe.
But when she enters that murky realm, she is equipped with not only firearms but a deep seated sense of compassion. A value not favored by those in Section One, but nonetheless, a value that will help Nikita aptly determine what’s right and wrong in a world of spies and terrorism that is often driven by hate, deception and retribution.
Nikita’s estranged, alcoholic mother is Roberta Wirth. She initially allowed her daughter to be kicked into the streets because “the current boyfriend” didn’t like her, but she later regretted her actions. Roberta never believed her daughter died in prison (an alleged suicide) and continued to search for her.
After Nikita’s disappearance, Roberta got sober and hired private investigator, Miles Raymond (who has British MI-6 contacts) to investigate Nikita’s “death”. She eventually did find Nikita, but had to disavow the existence of her daughter to keep both herself and Nikita safe.
To prevent Miles Raymond from continuing his case, Nikita threatened to hurt his wife. He, of course, agreed to stop the search. It was about this time that Nikita learned that Section One had concocted the murder of a cop to recruit her into the organization.
Nikita’s boss in Section One is referred to as Operations, a.k.a. Paul L. Wolfe. He is an ultimate intelligence bureaucrat. He assigns missions against terrorist activities around the globe and approves the termination of agents who do not measure up to his standards. Operations reports to a man named George. He was intimately involved with the founder of Section One, a tough, shrewd female intelligence agent named Adrian.
Wolfe’s chief operatives included:
- Madeline Sand (a.k.a. “The Iron Maiden”), the Head of Communications and Operation’s second-in-command and master strategist who tortures suspects with indifference to get information out of them
- Michael Samuelle, (Code Name: “Jacques”) a suave, brooding deadly killer with a gentle heart who mentors/trains Nikita (She cares for Michael but dares not reveal these feelings to Section One for fear of cancellation)
- Walter, a veteran pony-tailed, ex-hippy type operative with a cantankerous side who prepares all the high-tech gadgets needed for each mission including communication and weaponry
- Seymour Birkoff (dies from electrocution), a humorless computer genius and rebel hacker who tracks all of Section One’s data and cracks the most sophisticated computer codes (He was replaced by his equally techie twin brother, Jason Crawford).
Besides her own internal enemies in Section One (Wolfe, Madeline and Kate Quinn who replaces Madeline), Nikita’s main nemeses on the outside were the terrorist groups The Red Cell (their leader is called The Cardinal) and The Collective. Both Nikita and Michael had been captured and tortured by Red Cell and lived to tell the tale.
Operations and Madeline once tried to eliminate Nikita’s feelings for Michael and make her focus totally on her spy activities by using a mind-altering process called The Gellman Process, but with the help of Michael and Adrian, Nikita’s previous mental state was restored.
After four years in Section One, it was revealed that Nikita (promoted to Level 6) was working as an internal investigator for The Center, the organization in control of Section One. This revelation forced Madeline to commit suicide and forced Operations (later killed by The Collective) to lose his promotion to Oversight.
Nikita’s new boss, Mr. Philip Jones, the head of The Center, turned out to be her real father whom had been secretly grooming Nikita to be his replacement.
When Michael‘s son was kidnapped by The Collective, Mr. Jones exchanged himself for the boy. As part of the bargain to save Michael’s son, Nikita gave up her freedom and agreed to assume command as the new “Operations.” At the transfer sight, The Collective shot Mr. Jones and consequently, Nikita became the Head of Section One.
Now, Nikita stands a lonely vigil as the new overseer of Section One – the most covert anti-terrorist group on the planet. But she hopes that one day, she, too, can retire from the espionage business and live the rest of her life with Michael and his son.
Note: The TV series LA FEMME NIKITA is based on the French movie La Femme Nikita (1990) starring Ann Parillaud which spawned an American adaptation The Point of No Return (1993) starring Bridget Fonda as Maggie Hayward a.k.a. Claudia Anne Joran and Nina.
The TV series was rebooted as NIKITA/CW/2010-2013 starring Maggie Q as Nikita, a young woman who was rescued from death row by a secret government agency known as Division who then trained her to be a spy and assassin.