We have seen this woman before, under a variety of aliases: crimson-haired Sydney Bristow, doe-eyed Annie Walker, revenge-crazed Charly Baltimore, ”that one time Bridget Fonda tried to be an action star,” and yes, on two prior occasions (embodied respectively byAnne Parillaud and Peta Wilson), as deadly chicas named Nikita.
But tonight, as the titular protagonist of The CW’s new action-drama Nikita entered the men’s room of a hotel lobby and hastily incapacitated two deadly male operatives, all those beloved mourning-lovers-turned-reluctant-assassin/spies of the past were gently placed in the box to the left. It’s 2010, and as luck would have it, there’s plenty of room — in fact, I’d call it an absolute need — for another steely-yet-vulnerable heroine who can kick ass, detonate explosives, and successfully rock a leather motorcycle jacket, a dangerously skimpy swimsuit, and everything in between. And Nikita (the show), as well as Nikita (the character), delivered all that and a couple of delicious little twists along the way.
Right from the get-go, the new Nikita tweaked the classic source material (1990’s La Femme Nikita): Instead of meeting our protagonist as a murderous junkie whose prison sentence gets morphed into a stint as a government assassin, the 2010 Nikita (Maggie Q) has already spent three years on the run from the shadowy ”Division” (after trying to work off her troubled past by serving as one of its agents for an additional three years). With Nikita recast as a grizzled vet, we got to see the agent-making process through the eyes of young Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca, erasing memories of her strange stint as Dana Delany’s daughter on Desperate Housewives). But I’ve got to make a confession about those opening scenes, one that’s like a stake to the heart of my inner feminist — let alone my five sisters and very outspoken mother: Not for one second did it occur to me that the ”junkie” robber in the pig mask was a woman, let alone Nikita. Nor did I suspect that Alex was Nikita’s inside gal, for that matter.
(I’ll pause here so the more astute/observant TV watchers in the crowd can let out a hearty ”HA-ha!” at my expense.)
NEXT: Nikita’s personal ad