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La Femme Nikita: Outside the Box

"Suppose I was framed in the first place because they wanted me here?"

Poor Kruger. He was just a ne'er-do-well with a genetic mutation that Section happened to need, and that's it for the guy, for the rest of his life. Kruger was very appealing: Elvis hairdo, broken tooth, big brown eyes, the works. The parallels to what happened to Nikita three years ago immediately jumped out at me, as well as to Nikita. Was Nikita recruited in the same way?

What did homeless little Nikita have that Section needed so badly? It certainly wasn't anything as specific as a photographic memory. It's been three years since they recruited her, as Michael so helpfully pointed out, and they've treated her as expendable so many times; it made zero sense. Except in the end, Operations and Madeline confirmed that it was true. (Operations: "She wants to know why she's really here." Madeline: "It was inevitable.")

Nikita often treats Michael as her closest ally, but other times, usually when someone else is involved, she has trouble trusting him and treats him like Section management (i.e., the enemy). This time, she relented halfway through and asked him to cover for her. Was it a mistake? Was it Michael who had Scarface cancelled? I think Michael will readily bend the rules for Nikita, but rarely for anyone else. He may have decided that it was better for Nikita not to know the truth about herself. Who knows? It's part of the eternal mystery that is Michael's brain.

And finally, the Antichrist, Greg Hillinger, returned and was still true to form. In his quest to secure a place for himself, Hillinger caused the senseless sacrifice of Birkoff's cute new assistant, Tatyana. As Bugs would say, he's dethpicable. And clearly, there to stay for awhile. Gee. I sense that this particular working relationship isn't going to work out. Who will win? I'll put my money on Birkoff, and not just because he's part of the cast. Hillinger may be smarter, but Birkoff is more flexible. You could say he thinks outside the box.

Bits and pieces:

— Wait a minute. Three years? Hasn't it been four or five for us? Section time isn't like regular time.

— "Shadow recruitment" appears to mean that after the job, you're free. Not for Kruger, though. I never expected Section to let Kruger go, but I was mildly surprised when he made it to the end of the episode alive... unlike Tatyana and Scarface.

— The violets Tatyana gave Birkoff were my choice for this week's Most Obvious Symbolism. They were pretty but unimportant, out of place in Section and in need of care, much like Tatyana.

— Does Section deliberately give Birkoff cute little assistants as sexual playmates, like Tatyana and Gail? Is that one way they keep him happy and content? It would make sense.

— I wonder how much of the flashback bits they got from the pilot, and how much they had to re-film.

— Close quarters standby was suspended for four hours for Nikita's Belgrade sim. Only four? Another confirmation that Section is in Europe.


Kruger: "I didn't realize they could pile that much crap on a bar stool."
An oldie, but a goodie. Kruger was very likable.

Nikita: "So we just took him off the street? An innocent man? Do we do this kind of thing often, Michael?"
Michael: "No. Not often."

Nikita: "We have to treat each other like human beings."
Scarface: "Even in Section?"
Nikita: "Especially in Section."

Birkoff: "Someone's running a piggyback on one of my programs."
Another mention of piggybacking.

Very good. Three out of four stars,

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


  1. In general, a sub par episode that just doesn’t engage my emotions or provide much excitement. There were some good bits: the unique twist on the standard mission requirements, the rapport between Kruger and Nikita, and the suggestion that there might be a darker reason for Nikita’s shadow recruitment into Section. But that was about it. The “B” story was no help either, as I could barely stand Hillinger in his first appearance (“Fuzzy Logic”), and he’s even more unbearable the second time around as his character descends from smug and self-serving to downright evil. His mere presence ruins my enjoyment of Birkoff’s scenes, and that is unforgivable. Plus, didn’t we already have another operative out to get Birkoff three episodes ago (in “Imitation of Death”)? The writers shouldn’t be recycling plots this quickly.

    Continuity Issues:
    Apparently, someone (producer, writer, story consultant?) can’t count: two years of training plus three years as a Section operative equals five years ago that Nikita was framed, not three.

    How believable is it that a Section veteran would risk his life because Nikita appeals to his “humanity”? Not very. Also, it looks as if the plastic surgeons are only allocated to Valentine operatives, as this guy still has a huge scar on his cheek. Such a memorable distinguishing feature is really not a good idea for a covert operative.

    There is no way that Hillinger would be able to fool Madeline’s psych analysis. An operative must put the mission first, and homicidal tendencies (“Recruit”) and emotional instability (“Off Profile”) are cause for cancellation. He’s been in Section for a year – Madeline would easily recognize that the self-centred Hillinger is a sociopath, and therefore cannot be trusted to be a “team player” for Section. Yet somehow he is allowed to become Birkoff’s assistant? Not plausible. I do hope Birkoff makes good on his promise: “I find out you’re lying to me, I’ll kill you.”

  2. The only essential thing that came out of this is the potential answer to Nikita's question: "Suppose I was framed in the first place because they wanted me here?" Very astute observation, Billie.

    And the only thing enjoyable here is the rapport between Kruger and Nikita. That I agree with Serena.

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  4. Spoiler for LFN-season 5!!!

    This episode was very good but at the same time it makes no sense after watching s5.
    Madeline and Operations knew why Nikita was recruited in Section 1 in the episode and yet Operations was still so surprised when he found out it was because Nikita's father is the boss. Oh yeah it proves LFN creators decided to not develop this storyline until fans convinced them to make 5th season.

    1. I haven't watched s5 yet, but maybe they didn't know the details? Like they knew it was requested to recruit her by someone from leadership, but not the exact reason?

  5. What I still don't understand: If they can't use a camera with electronics in it, why not simply use a mechanical one? They exist...

  6. Are they drinking John Doner's (the second word is very pixely) in Krugers room? Fun they changed the label when they could more easily just not have shown it.

    Can they please get rid of Greg? It's not like they have trouble getting rid of people besides Nikita, so please, please, don't they have a spare bullet somewhere and someone who needs to refreshen their people-shooting abilities?


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