No, really! The CW’s cult-beloved spy thriller Nikita wrapped its four-season run on Friday with the entire crime-fighting crew — save for last week’s fallen fan fave — being sent off in satisfied (and satisfying!) fashion.
With Amanda back in the basement — this time, forever — Nikita was finally able to let go of her past and look toward a future with her main man Michael. Alex, meanwhile, went on to earn accolades for her crusade against human trafficking, with an Owen-esque Sam by her side. And Birkhoff graced the world with Shadownet’s brilliance before retreating overseas to his lady love Sonya. Oh, and did we mention that ‘Mikita’ eloped?!
Here, Nikita mastermind Craig Silverstein delves into the series finale’s biggest twists (Amanda lives! Nikita cons us all!), reveals what he would have changed had time permitted (we’re looking at you, ‘Olex’) and shares an alt-ending for ‘Mikita’ that would have no doubt left fans up in arms.
TVLINE | First, we have to talk about that final moment in last week’s episode. Talk a little about bringing Nikita and Alex back together in such a full-circle way.
That was super important. We set that marker way out and then forgot about it, in a way, and then came back to it. I remember pitching it out in the room and [executive story editor] Kristen Reidel said, ‘That makes me happy.’ When she says that, you know something’s right. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Were you able to squeeze in everything you’d hoped to in just six episodes?
We included pretty much everything. We probably just would have liked more of what we did hit, like more of an Alex/Nikita reunion and more of them all working together.
TVLINE | Was there anything or anyone you’d considered including but it just didn’t pan out?
From the start of the season we thought it would be great to get Percy back in there, in a flashback to bring it full circle, but that opportunity never really presented itself in a real, organic way. It would have felt a little forced once we got to it.
TVLINE | So, Amanda lives! At what point did you know that she would survive?
It was an instinct pretty early on. A few people on our staff did want to see her die, but I just felt that if it wasn’t by her own hand somehow, it was the wrong way to go. What would that say about Nikita? That’s she’s really come nowhere and just kills her? Their conflict isn’t about physical strength or violence versus violence; Division changed Nikita’s life for both good and bad, and how to reconcile that really was the more interesting question to me. Yeah, Amanda tortured her and did a lot of bad things, but she also took her off the streets and gave her these skills and taught her how to hold herself and become more powerful. Nikita’s journey is to use that power the way she thinks it should be used and not the way Division was forcing her to use it.
TVLINE | Why is seclusion a fate worse than death for Amanda?
Because she’s back in the basement, back where she came from. She started in the basement as Helen. The only other [ending] we had [in mind] was this image of her in a padded cell saying, ‘I’m Helen, I’m Helen,’ over and over again, because she had worked so hard to create Amanda and to steal her sister’s identity. [Executive producer] Albert [Kim] used an analogy about this famous golf match where two golfers are one-upping each other until the end when one of them wins by one point — but they were 20 points above everybody else. They didn’t even notice that until the end of the match. So, that was the analogy for Amanda and Nikita; they had upped their game… Amanda realized that she’s learned a lot from Nikita — and Nikita did as well, but she made the better choices.
TVLINE | Why did Ryan have to die?
Well, he was the only single guy, I guess. Everyone else was paired off… [Laughs] Really, we needed someone to die because we needed to believe that Nikita would go on a rampage in the finale. I don’t know if everyone will buy that twist; some people will see it coming that she’s pulling a con. But the only way that it could hopefully work was if there was a real outrage and we both feared and wanted her doing [what she does].
TVLINE | I didn’t see that twist coming. How difficult was it to map that out?
It was really difficult. We talked about it a lot. Albert Kim’s head was hurting. [Laughs] We were trying to make it work on the surface and then also when you look back at it. The trick with those stories is that you need to structure them in a way that if there was no twist, you would still be satisfied — but you’re even more satisfied that there is one… The idea of a con came in near the end — and maybe [the writers'] minds just naturally go there. There was something like that at the end of every season, if you look back: Percy pulled a big thing on Nikita at the end of Season 1 and he did a similar thing in Season 2, and Amanda did it in Season 3. So, for Nikita to turn that back and pull the massive switcharoo on her own, it was a better statement than her winning with an assault riffle.
TVLINE | There’s not really a question here, but I just have to say that Aaron Stanford really delivered in these final two episodes. He was so much fun.
Aaron had a total command of that character. Seeing him smile at the end was great, I thought. He just knows Birkhoff inside and out and always makes him a little more interesting than is on the page, even.
TVLINE | And ultimately Alex and Owen ended up together–
Oh, that’s a good one, Meg! Alex and Owen could have used more time. I liked it, but it could have used more time.
TVLINE | How important was it for you to give everyone some sort of happy, peaceful ending?
For me it was important… if it was earned. I don’t have a real desire to see someone come to a bad ending. I’m never quite sure what the point of that is in something that is essentially entertainment, where everyone is striving hard to find that happy ending — is it for surprise value? [Laughs] For that one moment it’s great, but then it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, and I’m not sure what the value of that is.
TVLINE | And Michael and Nikita received the sweetest, most satisfying sendoff of all. Were you happy with how their story wrapped up?
We did think of a lot of endings in which Michael and Nikita didn’t end up together. I still think that there is a satisfying ending out there, one that I saw hazily, in which Nikita went off on her own and Michael got back to a normal life, which is something that he always wanted. But with everything going on, there wasn’t enough time to make that ending right and satisfying and to have a real, viable alternative for him that caused the audience a lot of heartache but that they understood. So, the happy ending worked, too. [Laughs]