Watch out, Amanda! Birkhoff is not a happy hacker.
On Friday's episode of Nikita (9/8c, The CW), Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford) is still reeling from Amanda (Melinda Clarke) killing his father, NSA official Ronald Peller (Judd Nelson). "He's on a warpath," Stanford tells TVGuide.com. "He's full of rage and wants revenge."
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Here's what else Stanford has to say about working with Nelson, his years on Nikita and what's next:
When you first read the script for the last episode when Birkhoff was acting all suspicious, were you nervous that he might actually be a traitor or a double?
Aaron Stanford: Well, I wasn't because they told me ahead of time what was going to happen. Besides, I was pretty sure they weren't going to do that because they didn't want to feel that collective hate and wrath from their audience because people really seem to like Birkhoff. I don't think they were in any hurry to kill him off or make him a turncoat or anything like that.
You're right. Your character is a fan favorite. When I did a poll at the beginning of the season asking which cast member could die, fans were saying, "Please, anyone but Birkhoff!" What do you think is the appeal of this character?
Stanford: [Laughs] It's nice to feel the love. I think the appeal in general of the Birkhoff character is that he's the way in for the audience. He's the most human of all of them as opposed to superhuman like Nikita or Michael (Shane West). He's somebody that people can really relate to. I think people cast themselves in the Birkhoff role. That's why they like him. And he does have some good one-liners.
Speaking of, Nikita has a great line when she learns of his true identity: "You changed your name from Lionel to Seymour?" Really, do you know why Birkhoff would do that?
Stanford: [Laughs] Yeah, that's a big favorite for everybody. We really didn't get into that. I think my response to that is: Don't ask. Who could possibly think of a legitimate reason for that?
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This continues Birkhoff's trajectory of being more in the field, a little less computery stuff.
Stanford: Right and the headquarters are on the move this season anyway. That element was a new wrinkle. And things are sort of unraveling in the last season. Everyone is sort of changing roles. People are behaving in different manners because everyone's arc is coming to an end. So everyone's stepping out of the normal roles we know them in and exploring new territory.
Let's assume that Birkhoff and Sonya live. What would you want for them in the future?
Stanford: Obviously I'd want them to stay together. I'd like them to remain a couple and be true to themselves. One would hope. Eventually, the world could use more Birkhoffs and Sonyas for sure. So hopefully they stay together and stay true to themselves and spread the message of freedom through the internet.
In doing Nikita these past few years, what have you added to your skill set?
Stanford: I absolutely know how to sit in front of a computer screen, that's for sure. I think that with Birkhoff's character I really learned how to imbue very, very dry and technical exposition with life. How to make a piece of very, very functional dialogue entertaining.
Looking back at all four seasons, do you have a favorite episode?
Stanford: My favorite episode is "Shadow Walker" obviously. That was the real episode where Birkhoff got a chance to really stretch. There was real opportunity to change and grow within that episode. Usually, in a lot of episodes, Birkhoff is just a device. He needs to communicate information to the audience through exposition and provide a bit of comic relief through his one-liners. So any episode where I really actually got a chance to really get in there and get something to sink my teeth into, I was really happy. "Shadow Walker" is the best example of that.
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