Nikita (TV series)

Nikita (TV series)
The show title "Nikita" in blue block capitals on a black background
Nikita title card
Genre Action
Developed by Craig Silverstein
Starring Maggie Q
Shane West
Lyndsy Fonseca
Aaron Stanford
Melinda Clarke
Xander Berkeley
Ashton Holmes
Tiffany Hines
Dillon Casey
Composer(s) David E. Russo
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 31 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Craig Silverstein
Danny Cannon
Peter Johnson
David Levinson
Producer(s) Marc David Alpert
Editor(s) Mark C. Baldwin
Location(s) Toronto, Ontario
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Cinematography David Stockton
Running time 43 mins. approx.
Production company(s) Warner Bros. Television
Wonderland Sound and Vision
Sesfonstein Productions
Distributor Warner Bros. Television
Original channel The CW
Picture format HDTV
Original run September 9, 2010 (2010-09-09) – present
Related shows La Femme Nikita
External links

Nikita is an American television drama that has aired on The CW Television Network since September 9, 2010 in the United States.[1][2] Based on the French film Nikita (1990), the remake Point of No Return (1993), and a previous series La Femme Nikita (1997), the series focuses on Nikita (Maggie Q), a woman who escaped from a secret government-funded organization known as Division and, after three-year hiding period, is back with schemes to bring down the organization. The main cast also includes Lyndsy Fonseca, Shane West, Aaron Stanford, Melinda Clarke and Xander Berkeley.

In May 2010, Nikita was picked by The CW for the fall 2010–11 season. Initially with a 13-episode order, the series was later picked up for a full season, which would total 22 episodes. The CW aired the series after The Vampire Diaries on Thursday nights during the first season. In May 2011, Nikita was renewed for a second season,[3] The CW moved Nikita to Friday nights, pairing it with Supernatural, beginning September 23, 2011.[4]

The series earned numerous award nominations in 2011, in awards such as the American Society of Cinematographers,[5] the People's Choice Awards,[6] the Teen Choice Awards[7] and the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards.[8]



The series centers on a secret government-funded organization known as Division. Recruiting young people with troubled backgrounds, Division erases all evidence of their past lives and molds them into efficient spies and assassins. Having broken away from the government, Division now performs operations for their own gain, hurting their country if need be. However, Nikita, a Division agent, has gone rogue after her fiancé is killed by Division. She makes it her mission to bring Division down.

On the outside, she trains a woman named Alex, who then becomes a recruit inside Division, working as a mole for her mentor.[9] Having trained Nikita, Michael, a Division operative, is ordered by his boss and Division's leader, Percy, to deal with his former student. In the meantime, Division continues training its recruits and performing operations, unaware of Nikita's mole.[9]


The series borrows many characters, or at least their names, from the 1997 television series La Femme Nikita. Maggie Q portrays Nikita, the protagonist and a former spy and assassin who has gone rogue and now plans to bring down Division. Q also performs her own stunts.[10] Shane West plays Michael, a Division operative who trained Nikita. He sees Division and its recruits as a kind of "family" to him, the complete opposite of Amanda, portrayed by Melinda Clarke, Division's psychologist and a master manipulator. Seymour Birkhoff, Division's computer genius and head technician, is portrayed by Aaron Stanford. The head of Division is Percy, played by Xander Berkeley.

In the season 1 finale, audience is introduced to a Senator (named Madeline Pierce), played by Alberta Watson, who also played the part of a character named Madeline in the former La Femme Nikita series.

Lyndsy Fonseca portrays Alexandra "Alex" Udinov, a former street kid who was arrested after a robbery and later became Division's newest recruit. She is also a mole that Nikita is using to destroy Division from the inside. Other recruits include Jaden (Tiffany Hines) and Thom (Ashton Holmes) but their characters are later killed off by Nathan (Thad Luckinbill) and Alex respectively. Dillon Casey portrays Sean Pierce, an agent sent to Division directly from Oversight.



"It's a dark fairytale. This girl [Nikita] is taken from one life, her identity is erased, she's put in another life and she's transformed. It's like Alice in Wonderland. She's told, 'Eat this, drink that, steal this, kill that,' and she's not told why. And, she begins to find her own identity through that. It's just a great story."

—Craig Silverstein, executive producer[11]
Lyndsy Fonseca, Maggie Q, and Craig Silverstein at the San Diego Comic-Con, July 2010

The CW had long been interested in an action-adventure series centered on a strong female character.[10] On January 27, 2010, The CW ordered a pilot episode of Nikita.[12] The 2010 television series is more closely tied to Luc Besson's 1990 French film Nikita than the 1997 television series, La Femme Nikita.[13] However, the series does borrow many characters, or at least character names, from the previous television series.

During the 2010 Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles on July 29, 2010, executive producer Craig Silverstein said he was approached by Warner Bros. who owned the rights.[14] Silverstein said, "My first thought was I love Nikita. My second thought was, 'it's been done.' Could it be done fresh? Could we have a take where you didn't know where this story would end?"[14] As a result, two major changes have been made, one of which is the decision to have the story take place after Nikita has escaped. Maggie Q stated, "No one's told her story after the fact. No one knows where she is going."[15] In addition, a new character, Alex, is introduced who has an unexpected backstory.[16] The series is a mix of a weekly mission/counter-mission, and a story arc running through the first season that explores Nikita's relationships with Alex and Michael.[16]

While presenting its 2010–11 season schedule on May 21, 2010, The CW officially confirmed the pick-up of the series and announced its intention to air Nikita after The Vampire Diaries on Thursday nights.[17][18] In October, 2010, Entertainment Weekly announced that the series would receive some tweaking to attract more of a female audience, including a new character and potential love interest for Nikita. However, the network promised the core of the show would remain the same.[19] Later that month, the show was picked up for a full season, which would total 22 episodes.[20][21] The CW have admitted they took gambles this year but said they were "thrilled that [it] paid off for us."[22]

On May 17, 2011 Nikita was renewed for a second season by The CW in the 2011–12 fall season.[3] It was later announced that they would move the show to Friday nights at 8:00pm, pairing it with Supernatural, beginning Fall 2011.[23][24] The second season will premiere on Friday, September 23, 2011.[4]

On August 3, 2011, The CW ordered an additional episode for the second season, which will now total at 23.[25]


In February 2010, Maggie Q was cast as Nikita.[26] Executive producer Silverstein said casting Q was a simple and quick process, because they wanted someone who was beautiful, and could fight, and who you could believe holding a gun at the same time, and she was perfect.[11] Later that month, Shane West was cast as Michael.[27] In March, Lyndsy Fonseca was given the role of Alex.[28] Silvertein commented the casting of Fonseca, saying she came in at the last moment but was cast because they liked her intensity.[11] Later that month, Tiffany Hines was cast as Jaden[29] and Xander Berkeley was added to the cast as Percy.[30] In October 2010, Noah Bean gained a recurring role as Ryan Fletcher, a CIA case officer and analyst.[31]

Casting for second season started on July 2011 when Dillon Casey was cast as Sean Pierce, an army Special Ops officer contracted to monitor Amanda's work at Division and recover the stolen black boxes.[32] Casey was later promoted as a series regular.[33] A month later, it was announced that Katheryn Winnick gained the role of Kelly, Nikita's former partner during her Division times.[33][34]


The general reception of Nikita has been positive, with a large fanbase forming early in the first season. Metacritic reports that the average review score for the pilot episode was 66 out of 100, a reception which it ranks as "Generally favourable".[35] Comparisons were made to Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. Critics had praise for Maggie Q in the lead role, the look of the show, solid action sequences, and an intriguing twist at the end, but noted that the dialogue needed some humor.[36]


The pilot episode drew 3.57 million viewers on its initial broadcast.[37] The CW broadcast an encore of the pilot the following day, which drew approximately 2.6 million viewers.[38] The finale was seen by 1.94 million viewers.[39] The first season averaged 2.40 million viewers and a 1.1 18–49 rating in live + day day DVR viewing per episode.[40]

The following is a table for the seasonal rankings, based on average total estimated viewers per episode, of Nikita on The CW. "Rank" refers to how Nikita rated compared to the other television series which aired during prime time hours.

Season Timeslot (ET/PT) # Ep. Premiered Ended Rank Viewers Live+SD
(in millions)
Date Premiere
(in millions)
Date Finale
(in millions)
Season 1 Thursday 9:00 pm 22 September 9, 2010 3.57[37] May 12, 2011 1.94[39] N/A 2.32[41]
Season 2 Friday 8:00 pm 23 September 23, 2011 1.85[42] N/A N/A N/A N/A

In the UK, the show has been the most watched show for Sky Living every week that its fall episodes aired.[43] When it returned from hiatus in the summer in a new Wednesday 9:00 PM slot, it finished fourth in the week. However, it was able to increase again in the following weeks.[43]

International broadcast

Living secured the rights to air Nikita in the United Kingdom as the centerpiece of the channel's autumn schedule. Living's head of acquisitions Amy Barham said "Nikita is the hottest, most action-packed drama of the season with an amazingly strong female lead that we know will excite and engage Living's audiences this autumn. We're thrilled to be able to bring it exclusively to the channel. Chase will follow in 2011, providing a new favorite show for all of our procedural fans."[44]

Media release

The first season of Nikita, distributed by Warner Bros. on DVD and Blu-ray, features all 22 episodes. It also includes deleted scenes, "Inside Division, Part 1: The New Nikita", "Inside Division, Part 2: Executing an Episode", "Profiling Nikita, Alex, Percy & Michael", audio commentaries and a gag reel as bonus features. The box-set has been released on August 30, 2011 in North America, on September 19, 2011 in Europe and October 26, 2011 in Australia.[45]


Year Award Category Recipients Result Ref
2010 American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Cinematography in Episodic TV Series David Stockton ("Pilot") Nominated [5]
2011 People's Choice Awards Favorite New TV Drama Nominated [6]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series Nominated [8]
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Show: Action Nominated [7]
Choice TV Actor: Action Shane West Won
Choice TV Actress: Action Maggie Q Nominated
Lyndsy Fonseca Nominated


  1. ^ Hibberd, James (May 20, 2010). "CW's New Fall Schedule: "Nikita" Joins "Vampire Diaries"". The Hollywood Reporter - The Live Feed. 
  2. ^ Bettinger, Brendan (May 20, 2010). "Upfronts: The CW Unveils Their Fall 2010 Schedule; SUPERNATURAL Joins SMALLVILLE on Fridays". 
  3. ^ a b Masters, Megan (May 17, 2011). "Breaking: The CW Renews "Nikita", "One Tree Hill", Axes "Hellcats"". TV Line. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Seidman, Robert (June 20, 2011). "The CW Network Announces Fall 2011 Premiere Dates". TV by the numbers. Retrieved July 14, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "American Society of Cinematographers Reveals Television Awards Nominees". December 16, 2010. Retrieved December 28, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "People's Choice voting". Retrieved December 28, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Teen Choice Awards 2011 Nominees". Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Nikita's Emmy Awards & Nominations". Retrieved July 14, 2011. 
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  10. ^ a b Gold, Matea (May 20, 2010). "Upfronts: The CW declares itself 'the cool place to be'". Los Angeles Times. 
  11. ^ a b c Radish, Christina (August 30, 2010). "Executive Producer Craig Silverstein Interview NIKITA". Collider. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
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  13. ^ Phillips, Jevon (July 24, 2010). "COMIC-CON 2010: 'Nikita' debuts and Maggie Q says 'Dudes are gonna love it!'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 25, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b Goldman, Eric (July 29, 2010). "Nikita is Coming to Kick Ass". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved July 30, 2010. 
  15. ^ Martin, Denise (July 25, 2010). "Why A Nikita Reboot Can Work". TV Guide. Retrieved July 26, 2010. 
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  18. ^ Hibberd, James (May 18, 2010). "CW picks up 'Nikita,' 'Hellcats,' 'Life,' 'OTH'". The Hollywood Reporter - The Live Feed. Retrieved December 4, 2010. 
  19. ^ Michael Ausiello Exclusive: 'Nikita' getting a slight 'tweak' Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved: 2010-10-20.
  20. ^ Ausiello, Michael (October 22, 2010). "Breaking: The CW orders full seasons of 'One Tree Hill,' 'Nikita,' and 'Hellcats". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 22, 2010. 
  21. ^ Ausiello, Michael (October 22, 2010). "CW Gives Full Season Pick Ups To ‘Nikita.' ‘Hellcats' & ‘One Tree Hill'". TVByTheNumbers. Retrieved October 22, 2010. 
  22. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (October 22, 2010). "The CW picks up 'Nikita', 'Hellcats'". Variety. Retrieved October 22, 2010. 
  23. ^ Goldman, Eric (May 19, 2011). "CW: Nikita to Fridays, Sarah Michelle Gellar's Ringer on Tuesdays". IGN TV. Retrieved May 19, 2011. 
  24. ^ Mitovich, Matt (May 19, 2011). "The CW's Fall Schedule: Sarah Michelle Gellar Back on Tuesdays, Nikita Makes Move". IGN TV. Retrieved May 19, 2011. 
  25. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (August 3, 2011). "CW Orders Additional Episodes Of Four Returning Dramas". Deadline. Retrieved August 3, 2011. 
  26. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 19, 2010). "Maggie Q to star as CW's "Nikita" remake". Reuters. Retrieved May 30, 2010. 
  27. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 26, 2010). "Three "ER" alumni cast in pilots". Reuters. Retrieved May 30, 2010. 
  28. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 10, 2010). "Several pilots expand casts". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 4, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Development Update:Monday, March 22". The Futon Critic. March 22, 2010. Retrieved April 14, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Development Update:Monday, March 15". The Futon Critic. March 15, 2010. Retrieved April 14, 2010. 
  31. ^ "Development Update: Wednesday, October 20". The Futon Critic. October 20, 2010. Retrieved April 14, 2010. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ a b Ausiello, Austin (September 29, 2011). "TVLine Items: Nikita Newbie Promoted, CSI: NY Collars House Alum, OLTL Scoop and More!". TV Line. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  34. ^ Bricker, Tierney (August 18, 2011). "Casting Scoop: Guess Which Former Bones' Hottie Is Playing Nikita's Ex-Partner?". E! Online. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
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  36. ^ Dietz, Jason (July 9, 2010). "Fall TV First Look: Pilot Reviews". Metacritic (CBS). Retrieved July 10, 2010. 
  37. ^ a b Gorman, Bill. 7 "TV Ratings Thursday: NFL Kickoff Soars ; Vampire Diaries Falls; Nikita Equals Supernatural". TV By the Numbers. 7. Retrieved September 10, 2010. 
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  39. ^ a b Gorman, Bill (May 13, 2011). "Thursday Final Ratings: "American Idol", "Big Bang", "Community", "Rules", "Mentalist", "Office", "Vampire Diaries" Adjusted Up; "Bones" Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
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  41. ^ Gorman, Bill (June 13, 2011). "'Modern Family' Tops DVR Ratings Gain For The 2010–11 Season; 'Fringe' Has Biggest % Increase By DVR". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 20, 2011. 
  42. ^ Gorman, Bill (September 26, 2011). "Friday Final Broadcast TV Ratings: No Adults 18-49 Adjustments, Plus 'Fringe' & 'A Gifted Man' 15 min. Ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 15, 2011. 
  43. ^ a b "Weekly Top 10 Programmes (See relevant weeks and choose Sky Living)". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  44. ^ Wightman, Catriona (July 26, 2010). "Living picks up 'Nikita', 'Chase' for UK". Digital Spy. Retrieved August 23, 2011. 
  45. ^

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