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La Femme Nikita: Innocent

"I've never seen a police station like this before."

So we had this exciting nuke-on-a-plane plot, but it got sidetracked by a maudlin sacrifice-an-innocent-pizza-guy plot. I know it was an attempt to show an utter innocent heartlessly sacrificed for Section – Section bad, I get it – but it was still lame. The moral of the story was, of course, that Nikita was right; Section's brutality almost cost them the game. The twist was Operations coming around to Nikita's point of view in the end, which was unexpected. I did kind of expect Rudy to bite it.

The terrorist plot gave me the shudders, especially when Michael theorized that they might not intend to land the plane. A little 9/11 prescience there, huh? This show really was ahead of its time. It would be almost too topical today.

My favorite Michael moment, and it was brief, was Michael in evening clothes. Why didn't they give Nikita something just as gorgeous? Her dress was sort of frumpy-sexy chic; the decolletage plunged down to her navel. Her hair was World War II. And were those fifties eyeglasses she was wearing?

The best part of this episode was Nikita finally getting acquainted with Birkoff:

Nikita: "How'd you get in the Section?"
Birkoff: "I killed my entire family."
(Pause for Nikita to look completely freaked out)
Birkoff: "I'm kidding. Just my sister."

Bits and pieces:

— Was this the first time we saw Operations out of Section? "If I'm killed, implement the chain of command." What chain of command? Would Madeline be in charge?

— I caught a glimpse of the Torture Geek Duo for the first time during Rudy's aborted execution.

— We got a grittier-than-usual finger-amputating torture scene. Bleah.

— Nearly everyone in Section wore black or dark colors. Nikita wore a bright blue shirt. So did Rudy, for that matter. (Again, illustrating that they didn't belong in Section.)


Michael: "He's a class one collateral in a defcom scenario. We incubate. You know the rules."
Ummm, English, Michael?

Operations: "The most difficult decision we have to make is the incidental disposal of innocents."
Nikita: "Good euphemism for murder."

This one just didn't work for me. One out of four stars,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. I know he’s won awards, but I can’t stand actor Maury Chaykin. I’m afraid my review will be biased by this dislike, though I did force myself not to fast-forward through his scenes in order to try to judge this episode as a whole.

    The episode starts out very promising: thanks to Birkoff’s obsessive geekiness, a nuclear bomb is located on its way into the country. For once, Operations’ harshness and impatience are completely justified as Section has only 24 hours to stop a 4-kiloton nuclear explosion in an unknown metropolitan area. I agree that Michael’s comment (“Assuming they intend to land.”) is very eerie from a post 9/11 perspective, highlighting just how far ahead of their time the writing team was. I also thoroughly enjoyed the showdown in the snowy alley when the traitor was revealed, and the gruesomely suspenseful interrogation scene that followed (hey, at least Operations offered to put the amputated digit on ice, something Jack Bauer neglected to do in season 6 of “24").

    My problem is that every scene with “Rudy” completely snaps me out of my suspension of disbelief. I understand that the point of the episode is to show that Nikita’s “humanity”, often a thorn in Operations’ side, is actually critical to resolving the crisis. This goes a long way towards explaining Operations’ tolerance of Nikita’s deviations from Section protocol, since she really does accomplish things that no one else can. And it is rather amusing to watch Michael try to get information out of Rudy using Section’s standard intimidating approach. But Rudy’s antics and grating whine completely remove any suspense, jeopardy, or heightened realism from the fantastic world of Section One that normally I have no problem immersing myself in.

    Thankfully, now that I own LFN on DVD, I can fast forward past Rudy’s schtick and enjoy the portions of the episode that show the regular cast doing their jobs. Too bad such a promising plot was wasted on this silly guest performance.

    As for Nikita's unflattering evening look, I guess they were trying to "ugly" her up a little to believably portray her as "Dr.Firestein's" wife. If that's the case, they should have skipped the navel-plunging neckline ;-) And I find it interesting that Michael will only wear ties in certain undercover roles -- apparently, he is able to get away without one at a black-tie event. Maybe Madelaine forget to check his outfit before he left...

  2. Not sure what your problem is with Maury Chaykin, Serena. I've never seen him before or since. I think he was excellent as the simpleton. Of course, his performance was based on Rain Man, as was Tom Hanks' Forest Gump. Maury Chaykin was very convincing in his role, a very good episode made better by this actor who was a great supporting role to showcase more of Nikita's humanity. Not sure exactly how you can watch this episode while "FFding" through his part but to each their own hate.

  3. On another rewatch of this great tv show and thought I'd write a comment on this very nice episode.

    Maury Chaykin is great in this episode as Rudy. I loved his relationship with his sister and he risked his life to see her for what he thought could be the last time.

    It was also nice to get a bit more Birkoff character development in this episode. Where does he live? Doe he ever leave the Section? I enjoy Birkoff's character a lot and love when we get little bits of info on him.

  4. Another pretty cool note I forgot to mention was that Maury Chaykin actually won a Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Guest Role in a Dramatic Series for this episode. The Gemini awards are the Canadian equivalent to the Emmys.


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