Nikita moves to Friday nights on The CW this fall, but that's not the only change in store for Season 2.
Although 'shippers will find that "Mikita" is the new reality going into the second season, romance is the last thing on Alex's mind. Over at Division, everything is settling into a new order after last season's upheaval: the always stylish Amanda is in charge, Percy is a little lonely, and Birkhoff has relocated.
"I saw the second season as a paradigm shift," showrunner Craig Silverstein told reporters Monday. "Every character has shifted almost musical chairs-style to a different position of power or lack thereof. It's a little spy Game of Thrones-type thing. ... There are a lot more characters now, so there are a lot more people to kill."
Maggie Q, who plays Nikita, added, "One of the themes this season is, 'Can your loved ones be your weakest link? Will they at the end of the day be the thing that doesn't allow you to reach your goals and it actually hurts you?' ... These characters [are] looking for their home, trying to find their home again, or a semblance of a home. Some of them have had one and want to get back to it, some of them never had, like Nikita."
Check out what else the cast and crew revealed about the new season, which premieres on Friday, Sept. 23 at 8/7c. [WARNING: Minor spoilers from the premiere will be revealed below]
Nikita (Maggie Q), From rogue to romantic
Last season: Nikita was a woman on a mission: take down Division with the help of her protege and mole, Alex. "There are things she's adamant about and a cause that she was willing to die for basically," Q said.
This season: "Now we've introduced this other dynamic of this person that she loves and that has now happened for her," explained Q. "You'll see a bit of a role reversal with them where Michael is now hell-bent on their mission and she's a little bit like, 'Well what about being a couple and being normal and living on an island' ... We're going to see her a little bit more as a woman, wanting things that normal people want. I don't know if that's going to be possible for her, but she wants a life with this man."
More back story planned: "In the episode we're shooting now, there's ... Michael and Nikita before they realized what they felt. I think she hated him, I think she hated everyone, and she certainly hated the person who was trying to justify her existence inside an agency." Silverstein added. "You're going to get a look back at recruit Nikita training under Michael. ... It's a lot of like The Nikita Files. There are moments that we know happened [like when] Nikita escaped from Division. She faked her death and escaped from Division. We're going to see the mission she did it on. We're going to see the consequence that left behind for another agent."
Michael (Shane West), From agent to action guy
Last season: The dedicated Division agent took a while to crack a smile but had a dark past to explain his dogged attitude. In the end, he found a bit of peace after exacting vengeance and hooked up with Nikita. "Last year was Michael being a part of Division. He [held] his emotions back, that's what he does best," said West. 'I really did love working in Divison. It was a lot of fun. It felt like in a sense that that was Michael's home."
This season: Michael has a (slightly) new look, attitude and goal. "I grew the hair out for fun and then we kind of went with it," said West. "This year, being on the run, it's far different, but 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. One's very conservative and one's very liberal."
More action!: "Believe it or not you're going to see a lot more action than last year," he said. "They're glossing up Michael's fight scenes more. He's a little deadlier this year, whereas he was more of a bruiser last year."
"Mikita": "There will be wrenches. I think smooth sailing is pretty boring," Silverstein warned. "It's about how does something come up between them that's not annoying? I think we found that. That will take a while to develop. The big trouble doesn't start until [Episode] 5." West added, "But there will always be issues because it's them trying to figure themselves out as well. They're actually living together now and being together, which is something they never really had even when they dated or had what they had in Division. It's taking an ordinary situation and putting it in extraordinary circumstances, and that would be incredibly difficult for anyone."
Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca), From innocent to independent
Last season: As Nikita's mole, she became Division's second-most promising recruit until her true identity was revealed. "The creators and fans came to the conclusion that there's only so much you can do as a recruit. I was kind of stuck there and it needed to change," said Fonseca.
This season: Alex is on her own personal mission, working with Division, but not for them. Silverstein said, "What she's looking for is the man who ordered her family's death, the man who controls her father's empire, Zetrov ... a huge, multibillion-dollar empire, which she is the heir to." Fonseca added, "Alex is really on her own for the first time. There's no hiding behind Nikita's shadow. There's no mother figure there or mentor of any kind, so she's really on her own. The first season we really did a lot of her vulnerability. We really handled all the trauma in her life. I feel like this season we're getting into her strength."
Reconciliation with Nikita?: "It's a little more complicated than they're going to be fighting each other all season. It's going to expand and contract. ... It's a sine wave, the whole Alex-Nikita story. Alex is not with Nikita's agenda but she's reluctant to kill Nikita. That reluctance isn't gone now, but it's severely chipped away [after events in the premiere]. "
Amanda (Melinda Clarke), From questioner to queen
Last season: Second only to Percy, Amanda was called in when "special" results were needed from recruits or prisoners.
This season: Percy who? Oversight has turned over the Division reins to Amanda. "She is running Division now," confirmed Silverstein. "Amanda is trying to turn Division into a more principled place, getting it back to basics. No more missions on the side. She is trying to be Oversight's good girl. I think Amanda's scarier than Percy so, I think eventually her true colors will come through."
Working with Alex: "Alex is kind of like a private contractor. She's in charge of herself but she needs Division's help for a few things," said Fonseca. "Because of that, she has to interact with Amanda. They have an interesting, complicated relationship to say the least. It's like, 'You're your own person, here's what I can do for you, here's what you can do for me.' I think Alex just doesn't know if she can trust Amanda yet. She's kind of testing her out."
Her ongoing Percy interaction: Silverstein said, "He screws over Amanda, and Amanda screws him over like almost on an episode-by-episode basis. They really fight, it's like a little Cold War there."
Percy (Xander Berkeley), From person in charge to prisoner
Last season: The Division leader proved to be a devious mastermind, but Michael knocked him out in the end.
This season: Instead of a three-piece suit, he's wearing a jumpsuit. "Percy may not be moving around a lot. He's confined to an area in Division and it's probably one of the coolest sets we've seen on the show," said Silverstein who convinced Berkeley by comparing Percy's new role to several film inmates: "It's a little bit of Hannibal Lecter, it's a bit of Magneto in X2 stuck in that plastic prison. You're going to be in a prison. No, it's cool. It's like Gene Hackman in Crimson Tide."
Still scheming: "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," said Silverstein. "You'll see as he starts to barter that he gets little things back: he gets his suit back, he gets little pieces of his office back in there. It sort of looks like it's all for his ego, but actually he is putting together a little thing to get out of there."
Why not just kill him already?: Silverstein explained, "Division doesn't have a black box anymore. The guardians have theirs, Nikita and Michael have Percy's master drive. Percy has an eidetic memory so everything on the black box ... It's all in his brain, so they need him to tease that stuff out. If Michael and Nikita start trouble over here and it's a mission that was supposed to be deleted, so Amanda doesn't have the files on it, she's got to send Alex down to Percy to get him to tell them exactly what he did that he left out of the official file. He makes himself useful that way."
Check out Q talking about "Mikita" and the difficulties this season:
Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford), From computer geek to computer sheik
Last season: Division's tech monkey looked out for No. 1, but in the end, he found it in his hard drive of a heart to help out Michael. "Last season he was captive," observed Stanford. "So many people that worked at Division were working there against their will. It wasn't something he wanted to be doing. I think he was sort of treading water and trying to stay alive."
This season: He makes his own decisions, even if that means helping out former enemies. "He's no longer with Division," said Stanford. "He's not going to be stuck in the subterranean chambers. He's out and about in the world. This year he's off the leash and he has been gifted again with free will. You will see a little bit of action, which I'm having a lot of fun with." Silverstein added, "It's a bizarro Three's Company. There's a little family dynamic now between Michael, Nikita and Birkhoff. At first, Birkhoff kind of sees himself as a lone wolf and it takes a little bit for him to get more team-oriented. His position allows him to do a lot of great stuff. Now he thinks that he is in charge. He has the money and resources to back it up."
Geek love: "[Birkhoff's love interest] is related to a mission and she happens to breeze into his life and then immediately rip him apart like a tornado," said Stanford. Silverstein said, "He meets a very nice girl ... Sonya, who is the person who has replaced Birkhoff [at Division]. And I think if he knew that someone that hot was sitting in his chair now I think some healthy competition on the horizon could turn into something else."
His impenetrable lair: "It's in like upstate New York," said Silverstein. "There's not a lot around it. There's a lot of forest around it. [Division is] hot to find that place. He has some good security but nothing is safe."
Still bringing attitude: "I don't want there to be too much sympathy for Birkhoff," admitted Stanford. "I like the fact that he's an incredibly self-involved, selfish character. It's a lot of fun to play a character like that. I don't want anybody feeling too bad for him."
Owen (Devon Sawa), From crazy to comrade
Last season: The cleaner and black box seeker had lost his civilian love and was a bit crazed from going through Division-induced drug withdrawal.
This season: "He comes back quickly in Episode 2, " said Q. "What I like about that episode is Owen is going to now weave himself into the fabric which is Nikita and Michael and their world. I'm not going to tell you how obviously, but it's a nice thing to kind of solidify Owen's presence in the Nikita world."
No reason for jealousy, Michael. Really.: "There are all these nice moments between him and Nikita," said Q. "They really do have a genuine friendship and do understand each other's lives. I like the dynamic she gets to do with him. He'll come back .there will be a gap with Owen, but ... the next time we see him I think Nikita wil be looking for him."
Sean (Dillon Casey), New guy on the Oversight block
How he enters the picture: "There's going to be a new character named Sean, who comes in from Oversight," said Silverstein. "They send him in. He's kind of like the Colin Farrell character in Minority Report ... you know, looking for flaws in the system ... If in the first few [episodes] you're like, 'Where's this guy coming from?' just bear with it for a little bit and it will be defined."
Chemistry with Alex: "He might be a potential love interest for Alex. It's going to be someone from her world [this time]," said Silverstein. Fonseca added, "Romance is definitely not the first thing on her mind right now. She's a woman on a mission. ... There is a man that comes in, and she doesn't really care for at the moment, but I think eventually they'll like each other."
Check out the trailer for Nikita, which premieres its second season on Friday, Sept. 23 at 8/7c on The CW.