Nikita is a wanted woman.
The CW’s Nikita on Friday wrapped its third season with a twist no one saw coming: In order to save her loved ones — Michael included — from Amanda, The Shop and now even the U.S. government, our leading lady went on the run. Without warning (and without her engagement ring), Nikita high-tailed it out of town after being publicly framed by Amanda for assassinating the “President.” (The real one, unbeknownst to the titular character, is still alive, not-so-well and being held captive.)
With Division in the dust, Nikita on the lam and a shortened fourth and final season on the horizon, showrunner Craig Silverstein chats with TVLine about why fans should look forward to the “good stuff” ahead. He also weighs in on why he sent Season 3 out the way he did, the reasons behind Amanda’s never-ending survival and whether or not six episodes is enough to properly wrap up this journey.
TVLINE | Did you go into the finale knowing that you’d have a limited run next season?
We knew it would be a limited run; we didn’t know exactly how limited. We felt very strongly that we’d be coming back and that’s why we chose to end the way that we did — which wouldn’t be a satisfying end of the series. [Laughs]
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TVLINE | Why go into Season 4 with Nikita out on her own?
The idea of Nikita on her own… Well, we were going to do a standalone story during [an earlier] story in which Nikita had to take the place of a Dirty Thirty agent that she’d killed in order to get closer to a terror plot. In doing so, she went deeper and deeper and deeper into this woman’s cover and ended up losing herself a little bit. It was really dark and we thought it was interesting, but it was too dark to really fit it in anywhere. But the idea of seeing her out alone reminded us of Season 1 in a good way — we had two seasons of Team Nikita, so why not take her back to that classic mode?
TVLINE | What exactly is going on in Nikita’s mind when she choses to run instead of sticking around?
It was to protect the ones she loves, but I also think that what she really can’t admit to herself is that she’s never really been the family type; she’s a lone wolf. With her experiences with family growing up and her second family being Division — with Carla Bennett along the way — she’s hard-wired to, when the going gets tough, pull back to herself and try to solve the problem on her own. The lesson she continues to learn, though, is that she really does need to free-fall and hope that someone catches her.
TVLINE | How will her choice impact Michael?
We had a storyline planned for him that I don’t think we can do in six [episodes], so we’re going to have to figure out something different for that. But his hand is no longer a threat; they neutralized the nanotoxin in him. So, really his focus is on finding Nikita and helping her, whether she wants it or not.
TVLINE | What is it about Amanda that made her worthy of surviving beyond this season?
Looking in the crystal ball of the next season, we decided that The Shop is certainly a threat and is going to bring a lot of great stuff to it. But they’re very vague and faceless; it’s not that emotional or visceral of a threat. It will eventually be shown to represent an abuse of power — which Nikita fights against — but without Amanda, there it just felt a lot more gray. That’s why it surprised all of us to realize that our plans had to change and she got to stay on a little bit more.
TVLINE | So, that all came about pretty last-minute?
It was kind of last-minute. I think I told Melinda [Clarke] at the beginning of the season that Amanda was going to die. [Laughs] I called her and she picked up the phone and said, “So, how’s it going to happen?” And I said, “Well… What if it didn’t?” So, there are some twists that even the Nikita writers can’t see coming. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Is it safe to assume that Amanda and The Shop are the big adversaries in Nikita‘s final batch of episodes?
TVLINE | And even in all of her nefarious success, Amanda’s still clinging to her anger that Nikita survived…
Yeah — and also, practically, she’s right! She knows firsthand not to underestimate Nikita. The Shop sees her as someone the whole world is hunting for right now, but Amanda doesn’t think they should think that way. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Will anyone be truly impacted by the sudden non-existence of Division?
All of them are, in a way, returning to the core essence of what they were before Division got its claws in them.
TVLINE | Is six episodes enough time to wrap up the Nikita journey?
Yeah. Take a look at the last six shows of any previous season and what you’ll start to see is that villain-of-the-week plots go away in favor of larger serialized events. So, [next season] will be like going right for the icing on the cake and not having to worry about the cake. We’ll get right to the good stuff right away.
TVLINE | Any thoughts yet on where you’ll pick things up in Season 4?
I think there’ll be a slight time jump.
TVLINE | A final season — and a shortened one at that — is certainly not ideal. But at least you’re able to give fans an ending. Can you help those bummed about it to see the silver lining in this renewal news?
The greatest gift is the thing you get the least, which is knowing exactly where your story is going to end. It’s really hard to tell a complete story when you’re in that limbo of trying to bring things to a climax but not exactly a conclusion. The fact that we know we’re headed toward a conclusion means that we can start to pay things off that people have been asking for for a long time but wouldn’t have made sense before that. It’s a pretty big deal to be able to finally finish something — I’ve never been on a show that’s gotten that opportunity, so it’s exciting to me personally. [Laughs] The six episodes is actually going to make the plot that we have a lot more believable [because] there’s a bigness to it.
TVLINE | And, it’s got to be said: Sonya finally — and literally — let her hair down in the finale!
[Laughs] It was an idea that came up halfway through the episode. We’ve seen her with her hair down off-set, so it was just realizing that it finally made sense on screen.