CCI: Nikita Pilot Screening And Q&A

by  in TV News Comment
CCI: <i>Nikita</i> Pilot Screening And Q&A
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The line on Friday afternoon for The CW’s “Nikita” panel snaked down and around the hallway and outside the San Diego Convention Center, seemingly a staggering turnout for a show that no one had seen. But most of the people were there for the “Mythbusters” presentation, scheduled for some two hours later, and had no idea there was anything called “Nikita” going on.

However, upon entering the huge room, attendees were greeted with the entire pilot for “Nikita,” a slick spy series premiering this fall. The show was, as expected, a clean, taut thriller featuring sexy heroines, international travel and gun fights. The story centers on Nikita, an unstoppable assassin betrayed by the organization that trained her, and her plan for revenge. It also presents Alex, a girl being trained by that same organization, who appears to be helping Nikita at first but is revealed to be working both sides. The show moved quickly, barely pausing long enough for the characters to talk before diving into more physical action, including one brutal fight inside a restroom.

After the pilot concluded, the stars were introduced on-stage by executive producer Craig Silverstein. First was Nikita herself, played by Maggie Q, known for “Mission: Impossible III,” then Lyndsy Fonseca (“How I Met Your Mother”), who plays Alex.

Silverstein’s first question was perhaps the most predictable: “Why remake it again?” The character began in Luc Besson’s 1991 film “La Femme Nikita,” was remade in America as “Point of No Return,” and then leaped to television in 1997 with the cult-hit series starring Peta Wilson. The answer came that the twist in the new series is that there are two agents. This show continues where the movies left off: The series will explain what happened after the character disappeared. The show will work as both a new mythology and an original take on what has come before.

The actors were asked why they wanted to do the series. Q said she was excited by a strong, female character who did not have to stoop to showing a lot of skin — that is, until she read the bikini scene early on in the series. She still thought this was a strong scene that did not degrade the character, and was fun to do. The show shoots in Toronto, but they filmed that scene in Malibu.

Certainly romance will be an element in the series, and Nikita’s relationship with Michael, her former supervisor and teacher, will be explored. Another man will enter the picture later on, leading to more conflict.

There was time for only a few questions from the audience, but one asked Q about her character being both female and Asian. Q said she wasn’t concerned about focusing on the ethnicity of Nikita, but rather having her represent strong women of any race.