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La Femme Nikita: Line in the Sand

"After all we've been through, it really couldn't end any other way."

Last week, the return of Elena and Adam. This week, the return of the exceptionally annoying Hillinger.

Even though he was supposed to be brilliant, Hillinger was stupid enough to betray the organization just to make Birkoff look bad. Sabotaging such a hugely important mission for such a petty reason was taking arrogance to a whole new, suicidal level. At least Hillinger didn't get away with it this time. Finally, finally, finally.

Birkoff showed himself to be an exceptional operative as well as a superior human being. It was a master stroke, finding the head of Red Cell all on his own. And he didn't pull the trigger on Hillinger, despite tremendous provocation. I really hated that he ended up in The Chair, targeted for an extremely unpleasant cancellation. Why have him tortured to death by the Devos? Why not a simple bullet in the brain?

I never saw the Mr. Jones thing coming. Mick has been a fixture for so long as semi-annoying comic relief, and suddenly, we find out Mick is George's boss? It was a jaw dropper, but I immediately believed it. I just wonder why Mr. Jones chose to infiltrate his own organization at this level. With all those other operatives out there, why befriend Nikita, in particular? There has to be a reason. And why does he want Birkoff? Did the producers always have this twist in mind? I bet they didn't. But I love it, anyway.

When George was about to take over Section, Madeline asked Michael and Nikita to go with them in the mobile unit. I mean, really. After all she and Operations have done to them, where did she find the nerve? It was funny seeing Nikita talk with Michael about it, right in front of Madeline. "She's asking us to do a favor?" To Madeline: "When was the last time you did one for us?"

Bits and pieces:

— In the opener, Birkoff ran to the Tower and interrupted Operations, who was getting laid. That was different.

— Birkoff's glee when he realized he'd finally out-thought Hillinger was wonderful.

— Michael mentioned he hadn't seen Nikita in awhile. Why not? If they can be together now, why was she avoiding him?

— Mick answered Nikita's Josephine call. Did Michael really think Mick with a high voice was Nikita?

— The Cardinal, head of Red Cell, had some interesting mannerisms.

— Operations and Madeline have been together for seventeen years. We knew that, but it was still impressive to hear it stated. Operations nearly acknowledged that things had changed too much, and weren't what they should have been.

— In the mobile unit scene, Nikita was speaking Italian. And we finally got to hear Roy Dupuis speaking his native language on this show. Ooh la la.

— Did Mick really shoot himself in the foot a few episodes ago on purpose, for the sake of his cover?

— It was Hillinger's turn to mention "piggybacking."


Walter: "All you got here is a hunch and a cold cup of coffee."

Birkoff: "Ever since Hillinger came to work, I've done nothing but second guess myself."

Hillinger: "If it was me holding that gun, I'd be eating a sandwich right now."
I really believe that.

And finally:
Nikita: "Why are we doing this?"
Michael: "We wouldn't survive under George."
Nikita: "You need this place, don't you?"
Michael: "No."

I can only conclude that at this point, Michael has changed enough that he really doesn't need his work in Section any more. Isn't it time for the two of them to leave, permanently? What is keeping them there? Surely they're both good enough now to outwit Section and retire to Tahiti.

Outstanding episode. Four out of a possible four stars,

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


  1. Weak plotting and poor execution render this episode uninvolving on almost every level. Though the plot initially shows promise as Birkoff locates the leader of Red Cell, the story quickly devolves into another Section/Oversight power struggle, with my least favourite character Hillinger featuring prominently in another “computer battle” with Birkoff. Unfortunately, this episode also comes off as a missed opportunity: there is no clever strategy, no elaborate undercover mission, no exciting action sequence to capture the enemy. In fact, tracking the Cardinal is all done virtually through computers (first in Section and then in the van), and the reasoning behind Birkoff’s success is so poorly justified that the viewer is left wondering why, if it were that easy, it has taken 20 years to find this guy! In addition, after the briefest of ambush scenes, all of the action combatting Red Cell takes place off screen, orchestrated by phone calls and referred to in dialogue. Since television is a visual medium, removing these necessary action sequences leaves us with a bunch of talking heads discussing major plot points: both boring and unconvincing, story-wise. Truthfully, the only suspense in this episode comes from the audience fearing for Birkoff’s life in the White Room scene, and while Ferguson’s performance is very appealing, it is too much to expect that he carry the entire episode.

    Spoilers follow...

    Continuity Issues:
    Michael’s rationale for helping Operations and Madeline: “We wouldn’t survive under George.” Huh? Aren’t Michael and Nikita still alive BECAUSE of George, and the threat he represents to Operations? Plus, George already favours Michael because of the success of the Bergomi mission (“All Good Things”), and Michael’s actions in “Down A Crooked Path” were wiped from George’s memory.

    Since this is a new Section compound (“I Remember Paris”), Operations should not have been given the line reminiscing about entering through the old Van Access.

    Mick as Mr. Jones is nonsensical, a “development” that was unfortunately perpetrated by absentee show creator Joel Surnow himself. A plot twist only works if it is completely logical in retrospect and is supported by the events in previous scripts – that is sadly not the case here.

  2. Does anyone know who played the Cardinal? He's not in the credits in the show (just watched it) and I can't find his character listed in the cast on imdb or anywhere else. It looks alot like Mark Margolis?

  3. I never understood the character arc of Hillinger. Where they were going with it and why?

    Motivations and agendas are so murky. Why would he hate Birkoff so much? If it was because of his servitude way back; why not the whole of section?

    Also while character wise it can indeed be a believable twist that Mr Jones could be Mick, it makes no sense with the established lore.

    Especially hierarchy wise. They never mentioned someone above oversight before. And George built Section with Andrian.

    Who is really Mr Jones then? A government liaison? Should they be just below the President instead?

  4. It looks like the Cardinal was played by Canadian actor Robert A. Silverman

  5. Oh my god this anonymous user FINALLY cracked who is the actor that played The Cardinal. Give me your bank account and I'll transfer you some money! I've spent the last 20 years trying to find out who that actor was and this is the first time I come across this information on the web, this is nowhere else to be found. THANK YOU!

  6. Of all the characters in LFN just realised last week that there's a line from Hillinger that I've been using for years now that still hits home: So having a discussion about how a situation is unfolding, I will usually lose my cool and note the time being wasted and then quote " I'd be eating a sandwich right now".

    A great memorable line


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