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  La Femme Nikita

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> Description 
Nikita is the title of a French movie written and directed by Luc Besson, and a Canadian television series of the same title, which was based upon the film.

Nikita (re-titled La Femme Nikita in some markets) is a 1990 movie written and directed by Luc Besson and starring Anne Parillaud as a convicted murderer who is recruited as a government assassin.

It was remade in English in 1993 as Point of No Return, directed by John Badham and starring Bridget Fonda. This film is also known by the name The Assassin in Australia and Belgium, and in certain US and UK home video markets.

When asked why she is called Nikita, she says that she is named after "une chanson" - a song - probably 'Nikita', by Elton John.

Nikita (once again re-titled La Femme Nikita in some markets) was a Canadian television series loosely based on the movie of the same name (see above). It ran for five seasons from 1996 to 2001 and was created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, who together went on to create 24. The series was canceled after its fourth season, but an intense campaign coordinated by the LFN fan club "First Team" was able to convince the USA Network and Warner Brothers to renew the show for an abbreviated fifth season.

In 2001 a computer game based on Nikita was announced for the Xbox system, but was later canceled.

The first season of the series was released to DVD in 2003. Due to a problem in obtaining the rights to a song featured in one episode (later resolved by replacing the song with another piece of music), the second season DVD release did not occur until March 15, 2005. The third season is scheduled for release on June 28, 2005.


The television series revolves around the life of Nikita (Peta Wilson) as a counter-terrorism operative. Originally a homeless person, she was falsely accused of murdering a police officer and consequently sentenced to life in prison. Selected as a recruit, she was abducted from her prison and presented the opportunity to work for Section One as a potential counter-terrorism operative. The alternative given to this "offer" was immediate execution. It appeared (at first) that Section One falsely believed that Nikita killed the police officer, and is therefore capable of committing deadly acts of violence. After accepting Section One's proposal, all traces of her former life were altered or purged and her official records were rephrased to state that she had committed suicide while in prison. She underwent two years of training as a recruit under the supervision of Michael Samuelle (Roy Dupuis) and after barely passing the final field test, was reluctantly given the code name "Josephine" thereby affirming her operative status. She was provided with a new identity by Section One and given a small apartment to house her during the time not spent working for the organization. Eventually, Nikita went on to form distinct relationships with various members of Section One, most notably Section's top field operative Michael Samuelle (Roy Dupuis).

Over time, Nikita learns to accept her new life, becoming an efficient (and, when necessary, cold-blooded) killer along the way.


Despite being advertised as an action-oriented series, the show's uniqueness primarily stems from its lack of emphasis on action and reliance rather on dialog subtleties and complex plot structure to maintain itself within the spy fiction genre which traditionally had placed less importance on these aspects. Since its inception, the show was never able to support a large enough budget to finance complex action sequences (as seen in other spy fiction series such as Alias or 24). This resulted in a wider efforts taken to develop plot structure, character development, and dialog (all of which required much fewer expenditures).

The autonomous nature of Section One gave the show's writers the freedom to explore areas not usually associated with the genre. Section One, while founded as a counter-terrorism organization (traditionally represented within fiction as good), used (as a standard) immoral means to achieve their objectives citing efficiency and "service of the greater good" as justification for their actions. This led to the standardized implementation of draconian procedures which included the use (upon both terrorist and innocent) of intimidation, torture, murder, assassination, abduction, suicide operatives, false imprisonment, and terrorist cooperation.

Unlike most counter-terrorist organizations, Section One's personnel did not work for monetary or ideological devotion; rather, they worked out of fear of execution due to sub-standard performance or disloyalty. Consequently, this fostered a bleak social environment where there existed little interaction among members (excluding work-related issues). This environment, combined with the realist nature of counter-terrorism and Section One's mantra of efficiency resulted in the show embrace of a darker minimalist theme. Evidence of this can be found in all aspects of the show most notably in its fashion, music, dialog, plot, and facial expressions.

The harshness (both mental and physical) of the environment under which operatives had to perform resulted in the show abandoning attempts to romanticize any positive aspects of the organization and the shows characters (excluding Nikita, Birkoff or Walter). The show instead adopted a darker tone to reflect the effects of Section One's characters subverting to the philosophies and tactics used by their own organization. Unlimited resources coupled with ulterior motives and personal adherences to moral relativism resulted in widespread intra and inter-departmental infighting as well as frequent occurrences of secret alliances, backstabbing, blackmail and abuses of power between all characters of the show.

The paradoxical nature of a counter-terrorism organization resorting to terrorist methodology to succeed in its goals presented the basis from which fresh insights into morality were explored. Nikita's unwavering belief in moral absolutism (compared with Section One's philosophy of situational ethics) formed the underlying conflict that was the driving factor in the majority of the show's storylines.

Show Description Credit:
> Airing History & Information 
Last Airing Mar 04, 2001
Premiere January 13, 1997
Episodes 96
Network USA
Format/Time Color / 60 Minutes
Country United States
Upcoming Airs Not currently airing
> Cast 
Lawrence Bayne....   Davenport (1999-2001)
Douglas O'Keeffe....   David Fanning
Lindsay Collins....   Devo #1 (aka Elizabeth) (1997-2001)
Josh Holliday....   Devo #2 (aka Henry) (1997-2001)
Cindy Dolenc....   Kate Quinn (2000-2001)
Alberta Watson....   Madeline
Stephen Shellen....   Marco O'Brien (2001)
Roy Dupuis....   Michael Samuelle, 'Jacques'
Carlo Rota....   Mick Schtoppel (aka Martin Henderson) (1997-2001)
Peta Wilson....   Nikita, 'Josephine'
Eugene Glazer....   Operations (aka Paul L. Wolfe)
Steve Lucescu....   Operative Ted (1997-2000)
Matthew Ferguson....   Seymour Birkoff/Jason Crawford
Don Francks....   Walter

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> DVD Releases & Reviews
Season 3 (Warner Bros. Home Video)
(June 28, 2005) Buy It (USA) (Canada)

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