Nikita is an American television drama for The CW Television Network. It is loosely based on the French film
Nikita (1990), the remake Point of No Return (1993), and a previous series a Femme Nikita (1997). Nikita premiered on September 9, 2010.
On May 17, 2011, Nikita was renewed for a second season and will start airing on September 23, 2011.
The series centers on a secret organization known as Division. Recruiting young people with troubled backgrounds, Division erases all evidence of their past lives and molds them into efficient spies and assassins. However, Nikita has gone rogue and Division is unaware that she has placed a mole. Nikita is the first recruit to escape and promises to bring down her former employers.Having trained Nikita, Michael, a Division operative, is ordered by his boss Percy to deal with his former student. In the meantime, Division continues training recruits Thom, Jaden, and the newest, Alex.
Cast and CharactersEdit
The series borrows many characters, or at least their names, from the 1997 television series La Femme Nikita. Maggie Q portrays Nikita, the main protagonist and a former spy and assassin who has gone rogue and now has 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 and a master manipulator. Seymour Birkhoff, Division's computer genious and head technician, is portrayed by Aaron Stanford. The head of Division is Percy, played by Xander Berkeley.
Lyndsy Fonseca portrays Alexandra "Alex" Udinov, the other main protagonist and a former street kid 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).
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. Also, with the announcement, came the news that they would move the show to Friday nights, pairing it with Supernatural, beginning Fall 2011.
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 in 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, Tiggany Hineswas cast as Jaden and Xander Berkely 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.
On July 26, 2010, Living secured the rights to air Nikita in the United Kingdom as the centerpiece of the channel's fall schedule -- the show premiered there on Thursday, October 7 at 9pm. In Australia Nikita airs on GO! Wednesdays at 10.30pm. Advanced screenings have been aired in Monte Carlo which were attended by some cast members. In Japan, Itano Tomomi, pop singer and member of the girl group AKB48, was chosen as the image girl for the DVD release of Nikita by appearing in commercials to promote the product.
The general reception of Nikita as a TV series has been positive, with a large fanbase forming early in the first season. As of July 9, 2010, Metacritic reports that most early reviews of the pilot place the series in the "Has Potential" category. Comparisons were made to Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. Critics had praise for Maggie Q in the lead role, the look of the show, solid action sequences, and an intriguing twist at the end, but note that the dialogue needs some humor.
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 2.90 million viewers and a 1.1 18–49 rating per episode, ranking 210th in the television season.
In the UK, the show has been the most watched show for Sky Living every week that it has aired.