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La Femme Nikita: Love

"You two look so beautiful together. You must be in love."

How utterly romance novel, being forced to make love under cover. Michael and Nikita did extremely well at portraying two people in love. Were they using their cover to express their real feelings for each other? Of course they were.

Did Michael refuse to let Bauer have Nikita because it was in character for "Peter," or because he was protecting her? What would Madeline have expected him to do, I wonder? Nikita's face showed that she certainly expected Michael to throw her to the wolves again. Would she have slept with Bauer with Michael watching, in the line of duty?

My favorite Michael moment was the way he looked at Nikita while they were dancing. I also loved his almost-but-not-quite blank expression when she nibbled on his jaw. Michael has an almost perfect poker face, but his eyes are very expressive. Michael had been ready to pop in with a cover story on how they met, but we can see that he was very interested in seeing where Nikita would go with her cover story.

This was the episode when the series began coming together for me, and it wasn't just the romantic carrying-on between Michael and Nikita (although that was certainly a big part of it.) We also had Madeline starting to look like the dragon lady we all know and love in that brief scene with Peter and Sage in the White Room. We had Nikita's completely justified suspicion that Section was planning to sacrifice civilians to make the nerve gas attack look real.

And then there was the final twist, with the villainous Bauer having a drink with Operations. "Shades of gray," indeed.

Bits and pieces:

— During the bedroom scene, Nikita literally squared her shoulders and gathered her courage before throwing herself at Michael. She initiated their very first kiss, and was more than ready to take her clothes off for him, even in front of an audience.

— "Walter, there is no 'w' in 'menage a trois'." "Michael, do you mind? We're having a moment." Menage a trois? Whom did Walter have in mind as a third? Interesting, too, that Bauer had something like that in mind. A little parallel there.

— Nikita outright flirted with Michael during the wedding ring scene in Madeline's office.

— L-Virus sounded like a name to me at first. Elvirus. The male counterpart of Elvira, a guy with a long, black wig.

— Again, with the pseudo-North American license plates, and Bauer made a reference to John Wayne.

— Did Roy Dupuis actually carry Tobin Bell, who played Bauer, over to the truck? It looked like he did, and that takes serious upper body strength. Tobin Bell was wonderful as Bauer here, by the way. Totally despicable.

— When Nikita ran into the building, she broke cover and called Michael "Michael." Michael stayed in cover and called her "Sage."

— Oooh, wardrobe notes. Michael's clothes were cheap and tight; he looked like a French sailor, and he had a rather silly little ponytail. Nikita was wearing black leather undies to go with her hideous black wig. Couldn't they have given her a short blonde wig?

— There were close-ups of Roy Dupuis' hands during the strip-tease and wedding ring scenes. He still had that bruised fingernail, and a bunch of other dings and scrapes. Yes, I know he was restoring an old farmhouse in real life at this point. There's something I like about knowing Roy is clearly not the manicure type. Not that there's anything wrong with manicures.


Nikita: "Do I have to love, honor, and obey?"
Michael: "Just obey."

Bauer: "That's an interesting management dilemma, isn't it? Do I reward you for disobeying me, or do I punish you for saving my life?"

Nikita: "Who are these butchers we're working for, Michael?"

It had its weak points, but I just loved this episode. Four stars,

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


  1. This episode, the first to be filmed, is outstanding in both storyline and execution. As entertainment, the show delivers in spades! Moments of dark humour and sexual tension are mixed in with a plot that combines a dangerous undercover infiltration with suspenseful, exciting action sequences. The viewer is immediately immersed in Nikita’s point of view, feeling her horror and disgust as she discovers the depths of evil and depravity of the villain (Bauer). We cheer for her determination to stop him, and then experience her shock and betrayal when she discovers that Section’s methods are equally reprehensible. More than just good entertainment, this episode also succeeds on a much deeper level, raising controversial and ground-breaking moral issues (remember, this was broadcast in 1997) about the definition of “greater good” and the methods used to achieve it. This script is so good, in fact, that many aspect of the story were “borrowed” for Season 5 of “24", to great acclaim.

    Minor spoilers follow...

    Even though this was the first episode to be filmed, Jon Cassar’s confident and visually arresting direction sets the tone for the entire series. He uses techniques that, up until LFN, were reserved for the cinema: extreme close-ups (faces, shoes), extreme wide shots, and a streaky camera blur effect during action sequences. He always chooses interesting angles (swooping down from above, rising up from the floor, looking through gun sights) and gives enough space for the soundtrack to create atmosphere, and the story and characters to unfold visually through action.

    As well, the production values are very high, despite the limited budget. Most amazing are Rocco Matteo’s stunning, distinctive, and menacing sets: the “paperless” technological world of Section still holds up today, almost 15 years later, and who can forget the White Room? The locations are excellent, and the editors do an amazing job of setting the proper flow and pace for each scene. The only member of the crew who dropped the ball is the costume designer: there is no way the original Sage and Peter should have cooler and more flattering outfits than our heroes!

    Wardrobe malfunctions aside, the viewers are treated to Nikita enjoying herself (chewing gum as she pulls the gun on Peter and Sage, teasing Michael in Madelaine’s office), plus some memorable sexual chemistry between the two leads. The way Michael and Nikita lock smoldering gazes while dancing, neither willing to blink in a contest of wills, defines their tortured relationship. Nikita is fire, and Michael is ice: a combination that is explosive on many levels, and mesmerizing to watch.

    The audience is also on Nikita’s side as she is hit between the eyes with Section’s betrayal, not once, but twice. The consolation of working for the greater good is the only thing that has enabled Nikita to try to accept her fate as Section’s captive. Now she discovers that Section is willing to sacrifice innocents for the hypothetical outcome of saving more lives in the future. Nikita’s reaction to Section’s moral corruption is contrasted by Michael’s. As the more experienced field operative, he accepts that he does not have all of the information, and assumes that there are mitigating factors (such as a failsafe plan) that justified Section’s actions. This contrast is again illustrated at the end of the episode, when Section cozies up to Bauer. Nikita is rightfully furious, and is tempted to get rid of Bauer once and for all, but Michael represses all feelings as he walks away, clearly accepting that this is how Section operates.

    Fantastically entertaining and stylish, this episode highlights the moral ambiguity of the crazy world Nikita is trapped in. One of the best of Season 1.

  2. One of my favorite episodes in Season 1, because I agree with Serena's acute observations as above, most notably that "Nikita is fire, and Michael is ice: a combination that is explosive on many levels, and mesmerizing to watch." This is the episode that left me mesmerized by their sexual chemistry. Having them together onscreen leaves one hot and bothered - the air is electric and the atmosphere just sizzles. How can you not be affected? ;)

  3. As was already mentioned, this was the first episode to actually be filmed, and it's interesting to me that they chose this sexually charged episode to forge the working relationship between Wilson and Dupuis. Nothing like getting up close and personal to get rid of people inhibitions with working together!

    It's also very evident, in this first-filmed episode, that Walter's character is in it's birthing stage. Originally written to truly be "the Dirty Old Man", "Love" certainly portrays him more that way than any of the previous episodes.

  4. Wow! Just, wow. No words for that scene. Wilson and Dupuis just sizzle together.

    The best part of this scene was that it was not gratuitous. It felt real and, although it came relatively early in the series, earned.

    Again, all I can say is wow.

  5. So Michael is not going to stay on the fringes as the "Bob" character from the movie. There were personal considerations for Michael in the earlier episode "Simone" but nothing to explain this one except a role expanded greatly from the Bob role in the movie. Not that I am complaining, the actor is great, but it was a bit disorienting at first.

  6. This is the best show ever please bring it back. They still look great. No one can play the show like Roy and Peta

  7. I'm really enjoying reading everyone's comments and insights. I watched this show as a teen in the 90s but didn't obviously get all the sexual elements, so it's nice to rewatch it as an adult. I particularly liked the insight that Nikita is fire and Michael is ice. I love Michael's tenderness. Even when he has to be aggressive, he's always so tender. I just finished the first season. There is so much depth to Michael's character and his depression. Roy delivers the dialogue in such a believable way. I purposely don't look to see what he's like in real life because I just want to see him as Michael. My God can Roy act. Not everyone knows how to play stoic with so much depth and wisdom.

    The show is so addictive. It's hard to stop but I try to limit myself to one episode per day. Obviously everyone on the show is extremely talented, and Nikita is a feminist for the modern woman. She's strong but she's also vulnerable. I don't like how women in action movies or shows are portrayed nowadays (2021) with barely any vulnerability or flaws. Nikita is a badass, but she also makes mistakes. She isn't a badass 24/7. She makes mistakes, and she learns. She's intelligent and sexy. But more than anything, she's a good person. Pets Wilson does an amazing job.

    But I have to say man -- the actor Roy --- man is he sexy. I love how he manages to play Michael with so many layers-- sensual, tender, stoic, but with a volcano of emotion underneath.

    And of course the chemistry's between the two leads is palpable. I mean I know they're acting, but it feels so real. I wish they could show more, but they couldn't during this time.

  8. I can't believe it just now occurred to me rewatching this episode that the black spikey wig nikita was wearing throughout the episode was a nod to the original actress who played Nikita in the french film and wore her hair in a black spikey pixie cut.

  9. I'm surprised no one quote one of the best Madeline scenes in the entire show run.

    Madeline: In a moment you'll be separated, you'll never see each other again...understand!?

    The first one who talks will go free, the other will never see the light of day.

    [walks out, Whitewood door closes behind her as the two prisoner lovers look at each other.]


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