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'Nikita' Season 2 Premiere Preview: Maggie Q, Shane West and Craig Silverstein Tease What's to Come

by Laura Prudom, posted Sep 23rd 2011 4:45PM
NikitaIt's been a long summer, but the wait is finally over for patient 'Nikita' fans -- the show returns tonight (8PM ET on the CW) and in true 'Nikita' fashion, it's with a bang, not a whimper.

While most happy couples drive off into the sunset together, Nikita (Maggie Q) and Michael (Shane West) ended last season's dramatic finale driving off into a storm, and that symbolism was no coincidence; there are dark things brewing, with new alliances, new obstacles and new betrayals ahead for all of our favorite agents.

AOL TV had a chance to preview the season two premiere and interrogate showrunner Craig Silverstein and stars Shane West and Maggie Q, so join us after the jump to find out what you can expect from the ass-kicking new season.

Nikita and Michael
With Nikita and Michael being on the run together, "it's a whole new set of problems," according to West. "The scenes that I get to do with Maggie are more intimate and just a little bit more fun, in trying to figure out how their relationship even works," he revealed. When we asked Q about the Michael/Nikita relationship at the CW premiere party, she was quick to agree: "Michael is so conservative and so much more planned than she is that there are moments where she does make fun of how square he is, and it's kinda cute. But you see a little bit of a softening, at least for her, because she does have a partner now, and that does allow a little bit for teamwork. You're gonna see her working that dynamic a little more."

When asked about potential friction, Q highlighted their aforementioned differing methodologies as a source of discord, at least initially. "It's less about the space they have and more about their values, having different ideas," she mused. "They ultimately want the same thing in the end but I think we all go about things differently, I think that's what the crux of their problems will begin with, and then there will be bigger, more adult things that will come into play later."

West pointed out that Michael was "used to being somewhat in control" back in Division, even though Percy was calling the shots, and now, he said, "I'm pretty positive Nikita's in control, as most women might be in relationships. That is really what we've been doing for the first five episodes, and I'm sure all year; having to bend to each other and for each other, and it doesn't always work positively."

According to Silverstein, the main problem is that Nikita wants to stop fighting and attempt a normal life, while Michael is still trying to make peace with what he did in the name of Division.

"The Nikita [Michael] fell in love with, it was somebody in transition. Nikita wants to stop running -- if she was able to get to that place, whether she would be happy there, I'm not sure, but she has to find that out 'cause she's never had that before," he reasoned. "She has gone through a whole season of David and Goliath, going against these people, and Michael, having come out from under the long shadow of Division after many years, needs to start on that redemption train that she's been on for a while. She's kind of like 'I'm ready to start talking about how we get out,' and he's like 'I'm just getting started.' So that's a point of conflict."

Without giving too much away in regards to the premiere, Nikita and Michael will actually find themselves with an opportunity to stop running, at least for the moment, and West told us that you'll see "the human side" to Nikita as the show explores her backstory and the characters try to "play house" like a normal couple would.

Silverstein also promised that episode five would contain "a great 'Mikita' moment that I think is going to be pretty awesome."

Michael and NikitaFlashbacks
Q told us at the CW party that we'd see flashbacks to Nikita's time as a young recruit in episode six (which is also the episode in which we meet her biological father), and Silverstein expanded upon that information at the premiere screening.

"It's a lot of 'The Nikita Files,'" he said wryly. "Because they have the black box, and the black box has all of these past missions' secrets and conspiracies on it -- a lot of which they were personally involved in -- you're going to get a window into that past; some past missions they didn't even know about. You're going to get a look back at, again, recruit Nikita training under Michael. And we know Nikita faked her death and escaped Division, we're going to see the mission she did it; we're going to see the consequence that it left behind for another agent.

Silverstein also insisted we'd get deeper into Alex's (Lyndsy Fonseca) flashbacks, even though the actress who played the younger version of the character has grown up a little bit between seasons.

Alex will have a particularly difficult time in the new season, especially now she doesn't have Nikita to bail her out of trouble. "Alex's problem is she really doesn't have anybody right now, she doesn't have any friends," Silverstein pointed out. "She's in a really, really tough position and she is in over her head, but whether she can admit it, is something else, because she has had to survive [alone] since she was 13 years old."

According to the producer, Alex is still reluctant to kill Nikita, even though she's "declaring her independence" by saying she doesn't want to work for Division but doesn't agree with Nikita's agenda either. But, Silverstein teases, a confrontation in the season premiere will "severely chip away" at that reluctance.

"Nikita and Alex don't have a lot of contact in the first part of the season," Q revealed at the CW party. "The story lends itself to talking about what we may or may not mend, but not physical airtime. We're slowly starting to rebuild some trust with each other, and it is very slow going. They are on different sides now, that's the reality; you may want to care for someone and trust them again, but at the same time, you're playing for different teams so can that really happen? I don't know."

PercyPercy and Amanda
For now, Alex finds herself caught between the rock and the hard place of Percy (Xander Berekeley) and Amanda (Melinda Clarke), who both want to manipulate her to serve their own agendas. Percy has been deposed and locked away by Amanda, but now that Division has lost its black box to Nikita and Michael, the agency's new boss is aware that she must keep Percy around for intel. on past missions and future threats.

"He screws over Amanda, and Amanda screws him over, almost on a episode by episode basis," Silverstein laughed. "They really fight. It's like a little Cold War."

Percy's new position is eerily reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter -- by design, Silverstein admitted -- and even though he's down, no-one should count him out yet. "I think it's great, stripping the character down, taking away all of his suits, his office, his power and watching him try to rise again," he enthused. "And you'll see as he starts to barter, he gets little things back: he gets his suits back, he gets little pieces of his office in there. It looks like it's all for his ego, but actually he is putting together little things to try to get out of there."

For those who thought that last year's episodes were lacking a little levity, Aaron Stanford's Birkhoff is stepping up to the plate in the second season to inject a little more humor into the 'Nikita' world -- Stanford steals almost every scene he appears in during the season premiere, and it's clear that the egotistical computer genius is relishing the opportunity to be free from Division's machinations.

"We have so much fun with Birkhoff this season, because his position allows him to do a lot of great stuff," Silverstein teased. "I mean, he was the guy who everyone was sort of 'do this, do that,' and now he thinks he is in charge. And he has the money and the resources to back it up." And yet, in true Nikita and Michael form, the pair manages to manipulate him into being "the guy" all over again.

Silverstein also hinted that there could be a little romance in the air for everyone's favorite hacker: "He meets a very nice girl in the [second] episode. I don't want to say too much about what happens. [We see her briefly in the premiere] -- Sonja, who is the person who has replaced Birkhoff. I think if he knew that someone that hot was sitting in his chair now ... there's some healthy competition on the horizon. It could turn into something else."

As for the premiere itself, the show seems to have hit its stride creatively, allowing everyone involved to just let loose and have fun with the material. There's a confidence in both the actors and the tone of the episode that makes it a sheer joy to watch, especially in the case of Aaron Stanford, who seems to be relishing the chance to get out from Division's bunker and indulge his megalomaniacal impulses.

As the actors hinted in our interviews, Nikita and Michael are trying to figure out how to fit together as an actual couple now that they no longer have to keep their alliance hidden from Division, and that creates both tension and passion between them. They undoubtedly have differing ideas on how to get what they want, but it's also clear that they're on the same page and want to work to compromise for each other. I think "Mikita" fans will be thrilled with the easy rapport and undeniable chemistry between the pair.

In the early parts of the episode, Alex seems like more of a pawn for Amanda and Percy to push around, but her brief encounters with Nikita are fraught with tension and compelling to watch -- I'm interested to see where they take her character from here, especially once she starts to investigate the man who ordered her father's murder. Fonseca also does an excellent job in her scene with Xander Berkeley; her performance is understated but nuanced, further proving that the actress can go toe to toe with her older castmates when it comes to emotional material.

The episode is strong and well-paced overall, and I had only a few small complaints to make at the end of the hour. Some of the early scenes are exposition-heavy, which is great for newcomers but might seem forced for those who know the show's backstory, and one use of CGI seems good in theory but a little lackluster in execution, since the show's budget doesn't really extend to such spectacle. Still, I found it an exhilarating, enjoyable hour, and loved the new dynamics that have been established. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the premiere after it airs, so make sure to come back here and leave your reactions.

'Nikita' airs Fridays, 8PM ET on The CW, before 'Supernatural' at 9PM.

Are you looking forward to tonight's premiere? What are you most anticipating for the rest of the season? Share your thoughts and predictions below!

Follow Laura on Twitter: @LauinLA

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Thanks Nikita, i like your all season, you are really so rocking girl.

September 25 2011 at 11:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great start to the season. The show seems to be more confident about what it's about and I felt the characters progression was good. I agree that the Birkhoff moments are classic and am really looking forward to seeing that dynamic play out. I'm looking forward to seeing where this is all headed.

September 25 2011 at 2:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Some of the early scenes are exposition-heavy, which is great for newcomers but might seem forced for those who know the show's backstory, and one use of CGI seems good in theory but a little lackluster in execution"

OK, thanks Laura, you took the words right out of my mouth.. because that's all I have to complain about for this episode. Still, like you said, a really strong first episode, and something that will have all Nikita fans looking forward to the rest of the season! Kudos to the writers, crew, and all our lead stars- everyone really brought up their game this 2nd season!! LOVING IT!! Can't wait for more!

September 24 2011 at 8:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

huge disappointment, the dialogue was juvenile, shane west acting as always is same scowl facial expression, the alleged tension between alex and nikita poorly acted, plot twist with birkoff was laughable. all in all a huge dropoff from last year

September 24 2011 at 5:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Parks

i love nikita. I think this second season will be a lot better...

September 24 2011 at 12:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
William Turcan

I love the plot twists that this season has started out with. It's nice to see a show taking the characters in new directions without trashing the plots that have one before.

September 23 2011 at 9:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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