When The CW presented its “Kick-Ass Women” panel at this month’s Television Critics Association press tour, you had to feel that Maggie Q dominated the dais, seeing as she so fiercely plays Nikita’s titular lethal weapon. With the action-drama resuming its freshman run this Thursday at 9/8c, TVLine invited Maggie to assess how Alex’s good news is actually bad news for Nikita’s agenda, clear the air on a certain “steamy” scene, and preview a critical convo between Nik and Michael.
TVLINE | Beyond the physical, in what ways do you feel Nikita “kicks ass”?
I love that you ask that because, as damaged as she is as a woman and considering the things she’s been through, she’s pretty kick-ass. It’s really hard to separate yourself from the world and make this massive commitment, to bring [Division] down. I don’t know many people who would do that.
TVLINE | What has surprised you about the Nikita experience? What has come of it that you did not expect going in?
A lot, really. The workload is extraordinary. I’m no stranger to working hard, and I’m not afraid of it, but… I’m on every day, I go from one episode to the next without one day in between, and the amount of material that mounts…! Also, I’ve been very involved with the writers on a level that I didn’t expect, which is great. I’ll recall something from 10 episodes ago and say, “Well, I’m not saying [that again] because I said it before.” You want to have your “thing” as a character, but you want each situation to evoke a different type of emotion where you’re not relaying the same dialogue.
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TVLINE | With Alex (played by Lyndsy Fonseca) living on the outside now, how does that help Nikita? Or does it? I’d think she’s more valuable on the inside at Division.
I don’t think it does help Nikita very much. In fact, it’s going to make her life more difficult. She got promoted too early, which created a complication for them. Nikita trained her well, but too well. Nikita worried about this, that if she didn’t understand the role she was playing she would prematurely move to a level that she wasn’t ready for. Now that Alex is on the outside, it doesn’t mean they can work together, since she’s being monitored.
TVLINE | If I were to pick one nit with the show, it’s that every other episode seems to find Nikita and Michael (Shane West) pulling guns on each other, with both loathe to actually pull the trigger. What variations on that can we do moving forward?
Oh, a lot. There is some great stuff coming up for Michael and Nikita. Since Episode 9, where they teamed up [against] the man that killed his family, he’s been angry with her on a level he never expected to be, and they haven’t really come into huge contact since. In the episode we’re shooting now, they finally get into it and have a no-nonsense conversation about what happened – “This is what you took from me, how dare you?!” Soon after that, we’re going to see a very big twist in their relationship. Because you’re right, they can’t point guns at each other forever. There’s something deeper at stake for both of them, and there’s something about their past we still don’t know about.
Watch this CW video of Maggie talking Nikita:
TVLINE | What’s this sauna scene I’m hearing about…?
I fight a bunch of dudes in a Turkish bath. [Laughs] The gangsters Nikita’s after are in there, drinking vodka and being Russian and such, and she goes in to have a conversation with them. Those guys in the towels just watch, thank god, while she has a big fight with their bodyguards.
TVLINE | OK, because there was one rumor making rounds that Nikita and Michael have sex in the sauna.
Oh, Nikita and Michael are both there in the sauna during the fight, but no sex. [Laughs] No sex for Nikita, man — she’s high and dry!
TVLINE | But is that because she simply doesn’t have time, obsessed as she is with taking down Division, or is there no desire because of past emotional scars?
I think it’s both. But to add to that, look at Alex – she’s someone who can still be saved; she’s not damaged the way Nikita is. She’s been through what she’s been through, but there’s still a chance. So the writers said to me, “Are you going to get upset if Alex had sex before Nikita?” I started laughing – “Of course she’s going to have sex before Nikita!” Because there are a lot of scars. For it to happen with [Nikita and] anybody, it’s got to be somebody really dear to her.
TVLINE | There recently was talk of tweaks being made to make Nikita more friendly to the young female viewers The CW covets. Are you seeing or feeling any of that?
I haven’t overtly seen that. Here’s my goal: I want to make a seriously dark show, and not on a network that has ever done that. And I have to say that ‘til now, we’ve been pretty lucky to make the show we’ve wanted to. The CW has been very generous, and not too nervous about that. I know the young female demo is what’s important to them, but the reality is we can’t make a show that 40-year-old men like that 13-year-old girls like too. If we do get both, we’re lucky. But the young poppier stuff, I personally have no interest in that. They can do that with other characters, but I’m not going to play to that.
Do you appreciate Maggie’s resolve to keep Nikita — or at least Nikita — “seriously dark”? What’s your favorite part of the series?