Judge David M. Gutierrez wants to commit international mayhem in hopes that Nikita will rough him up.
Our reviews of La Femme Nikita: Special Edition (published July 15th, 2003), La Femme Nikita: The Complete First Season (published September 1st, 2003), La Femme Nikita: The Complete Third Season (published August 3rd, 2005), La Femme Nikita: The Complete Fourth Season (published September 20th, 2006), La Femme Nikita: The Complete Fifth Season (published January 24th, 2007), and La Femme Nikita (Blu-Ray) (published December 2nd, 2008) are also available.
"I was falsely accused of a hideous crime and sentenced to life in prison. One night, I was taken from my cell to a place called Section One, the most convert, anti-terrorist group on the planet. Their ends are just, but their means are ruthless. If I don't play by their rules, I die."—Nikita (Peta Wilson)
In 1997, the USA Television network aired a series based on the Luc Besson masterpiece, Nikita (AKA La Femme Nikita). At its core, La Femme Nikita is about a woman trapped by circumstance and forced to prove herself time and again. Nikita, intricately played by Peta Wilson (The League of Extraordinary Gentleman), finds herself trying to save the planet and herself in La Femme Nikita: The Complete Second Season.
Facts of the Case
The Spy Game isn't a pleasant one. Nikita and fellow agent, Michael (Roy Dupuis, Bleeders), run the risk of death, deceit, and betrayal on a daily basis. Led by the calculating Operations (Eugene Robert Glazer, I'm Gonna Get You, Sucka), Section One runs one efficient, steely ship. Operations controls to his fullest extent what and who he can, often becoming protagonist and antagonist simultaneously. Throw in über-interrogator Madeline (Alberta Watson, 24), and the clandestine hub of espionage becomes a good deal scarier and darker.
This season picks up shortly after the first season, as Section One thinks Nikita died in the line of duty. One of their agents knows what really happened to Nikita, much to his own personal risk.
Spread out over six discs, the episodes included this season are:
• "Hard Landing"
• "Spec Ops"
• "Third Person"
• "Approaching Zero"
• "New Regime"
• "Mandatory Refusal"
• "Half Life"
• "Darkness Visible"
• "Open Heart"
• "First Mission"
• "Psychic Pilgrim"
• "Soul Sacrifice"
• "Not Was"
• "Double Date"
• "Fuzzy Logic"
• "Old Habits"
• "Inside Out"
• "Off Profile"
• "Last Night"
• "In Between"
• "Adrian's Garden"
• "End Game"
The world of Nikita and Section One is fascinating, set in the near future. The technology in Nikita never quite seems more than a couple of years away. It is sophisticated and cold—very much an ongoing element of the series. I enjoyed that the show was grounded in an approximate reality and didn't stray too far into the fantastic. I don't see holographic maps everyday, but I know they're coming.
The show is wonderfully cast—with the exception of Roy Dupuis. Peta Wilson was a great choice to carry the show. She gets to act aloof as Nikita, with some room to stretch undercover. She manages to keep her emotions just on the brim, which works very well for her character. Operations is probably the best of the lot. I don't know how he does it, but Glazer manages to make himself one of the most riveting bastards on series on television. It's clear that he is his job.
The storylines get slightly repetitive, but the writers manage to give each episode its own spin on things. The best part of the season was how the writers managed to focus on Nikita, Michael, and their doomed relationship. While not entirely subtle, making the romantic leads into rivals makes for good television. Unfortunately, it was hurt by Dupuis.
Special features include deleted scenes with commentary, commentary on two episodes, and a blooper/gag reel. I applaud the extremely talented Mario Cassar (24) for his candidness. He is open about why things didn't work and why certain choices were made. Instead of applauding everyone, he takes a refreshingly critical stance.
The show is presented in its fullframe format. While the video transfer looks good, it looks its age and is slightly muted. Thankfully, the Dolby Surround pounds out nicely from the speakers.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Oddly enough, its cold nature acts as the show's worst enemy. So much of what goes on appears removed and muted. I understand why an entire network of spies does not cry or wallow in melodrama, but most of the emotion is so underplayed that it is almost not there. Imagine the Ayn Rand spy school.
Roy Dupuis hurts the series. His acting, or lack thereof, will tear the strongest scene to shreds. A cardboard stand-in would probably have been just as effective. He delivers his line with stiffness. He lacks energy. It completely kills any suspension of disbelief when trying to figure out what Nikita finds in him.
I was personally disappointed by the show producers' decision to make Nikita wrongly accused. Nikita's growth is limited by not having to redeem herself. More of her character could have been explored starting from a far darker beginning.
La Femme Nikita is a series I regret missing all these years. I thought it was hokey and cheap—instead it is a great action series with a terrific cast (except for Dupuis). While at times repetitive, La Femme Nikita is deserving of greater respect. I feel I just missed the party.
The court finds La Femme Nikita: The Complete Second Season guilty of escaping my notice all these years. Here's one series I hope to see in my court again.
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