Of all her incarnations (La Femme Nikita, The Point of No Return, Peta Wilson's syndicated series), Craig Silverstein's take on the addict-turned-assassin-turned-hero has been the most complex, fascinating and engrossing version to ever kick her way out of Hollywood. But in six weeks, her harrowing journey will come to an end as The CW's Nikita begins airing its 6 episode final season tonight.
To find out what awaits fans in these six episodes -- or three 2-hour mini-movies, as the cast prefers to think of them -- ETonline caught up with series star Maggie Q, who has infused her small screen super spy with more heart, brains and guts than one show should be able to handle. In addition to learning about Nikita's return to her team, I got the scoop on Michael's reaction to her return and the long-awaited showdown with Amanda!
ETonline: Fans would obviously want more, but do you feel like Nikita benefits from having only six episodes to wrap up this story?
Maggie Q: I totally do. The final season is supposed to be airing as three, two-hour movies, so the way we shot it was like the big wrap-up feature of Nikita's life since she's gone rogue. That's what is completely satisfying because if we had a 13-episode run, there would be lots more storypoints I'd be happy to get into, but not having that allowed us to cut the fat and really get into the meat of what we wanted to tell. With a long season, you do have filler episodes and bottle episodes; we didn't have the chance to do that this season because we only had six, so every episode had to be killer out of the gate. It was a huge challenge, but incredibly satisfying in the end.
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ETonline: What did you make of Nikita's decision to leave at the end of last season?
Maggie Q: It tore my heart out. But at the same time, knowing the character and that her concern was always everyone else's safety first, it made sense. For her, the only way to do that was to walk away from the people she loved the most when they weren't looking and never look back. I mean, that was horrible to film, but on the other hand, how could she stay? How could she let this thing with Amanda affect everyone she loves?
ETonline: But Nikita always said they were stronger as a team, why didn't she see if they could solve this together?
Maggie Q: It was so big. When you really step back and look at this decision you wonder if she really had a choice. Could she really stay and allow for the pain Amanda intended to inflict on her affect everyone else in her life? She couldn't live with herself. Being left sucks, but the person who has to make the decision to leave, that's quite something to live with. It was very hard for her.
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ETonline: When the season picks up, where do we find Nikita?
Maggie Q: It's interesting because she's working to clear her name, but the overarching reason is so no one that was in her life will be impacted by this any more. Once that's done, the danger of them getting hurt goes away, so, again, her motivation isn't about letting her name be tainted in the history books, it's all about protecting Alex, Ryan, Birkhoff and Michael forever. If she has to die to make that happen, that's the way it's gotta be.
ETonline: Given the truncated season, I can't imagine the show wastes any time reuniting the team. When Nikita does reintegrate, is there a sense of "I can't believe you abandoned us" or are they just thrilled to just have her back?
Maggie Q: You're right. We have to get into their reunion pretty quickly because of the short season. If the season was longer, I -- and everyone else involved -- would have preferred for that decision to really stick and be something she has to live with for a little bit, I didn't want it to take away from this big thing she did, but the way we designed it is good. Nikita gets herself into a situation she can't get herself out of and she realizes these people she 'abandoned" have been watching her, tailing her and trying to help her from afar as much as they can all along. It's so great. Birkhoff and Ryan and Alex are all hurt, but it's a different kind of hurt that Michael feels. Michael is really the one who can't let go of what she did.
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ETonline: What can you tease about Michael and Nikita's journey this year?
Maggie Q: Amanda had a goal; she set out to make sure Nikita ended up alone, and she accomplished that. So when Nikita comes back, it's so strange for her to be back in this environment because she made this big decision to leave and doesn't know how to apologize for it. She also doesn't want to be righteous about her decision. There's a moment early in the season where she makes a point to address the elephant in the room and tells Michael she still loves him but had to leave. But Michael's not sure he can love her anymore because it's so unpredictable and it hurts too much.
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ETonline: Amanda has exploited Nikita's love for these people time and again, but neither has ever seemed capable of killing the other. They clearly share an amazingly twisted love, which makes the seemingly inevitable showdown between these two one of the year's most anticipated events. What are you excited for the fans to see?
Maggie Q: I love that you used the word twisted because it's so twisted. It's very Mommy Dearest when it comes to Amanda. Without the other in their life, neither would be the woman they are today ... for better or worse. This is something they both have to face, otherwise, how can anyone move on from this? The Nikita-Amanda showdown is not physical, it's not violent, it's not massive, but it's so affecting it gave me chills. It's so incredible. You're going to love it. It's the perfect way to end their relationship.
ETonline: This show ends with an episode titled Canceled. Is that a little wink from the writers?
Maggie: Yes, absolutely. But there is also so much that needs to come to an end -- although it doesn't end in the way people think it will. It's going to be interesting to see how people react to what Nikita does. The decision she makes in the finale is really big. When you talk about growth, I'm so proud of this character and where she's come from -- and gone to. It's insane.
ETonline: What was important to you with these final six episodes?
Maggie: This woman has been challenged every which way you can think of. The biggest thing for me was that at the end of the six, Nikita needs to make a choice -- and she does. She makes a choice about her heart, about who she's going to be and what her future looks like. But before that happens, there is some crazy, crazy stuff that goes down. I've never expressed these emotions in all the years I've played her.
Nikita airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on The CW.