La Femme Nikita
The Complete Third Season
(Region 1 Edition)

Starring: Peta Wilson
Warner Bros
RRP: $99.98
Certificate: Not Rated (USA)
Available 21 June 2005 (USA)

Nikita is a street kid who gets convicted to life imprisonment for a murder she didn't commit. An ultra secret anti-terrorist agency fakes her death in order to train her as an operative of Section One. She has a simple choice, comply or die...

La Femme Nikita is a series based on the stylish Luc Besson film of the same name; Bessons film also spawned a 1993 US remake Point of no Return staring Bridget Fonda. The television version stars the Australian actress Peta Wilson as Nikita, who also stared as the vampiress Mina Harker in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and will soon be seen in next year's [2006] Superman Returns. Roy Dupuis plays Michael, Nikitas mentor. Roy main body of work has been in French Canadian films, but also can be found in the much underrated science fiction film Screamers. Section One's inventions and weaponry expert Walter is played by Don Francks, whose filmography is way too long and impressive to detail here.

Series three picks up with Looking for Michael, which ties up the threads of the Season Two finale where Nikita helps to neutralise Adrian the original founder of Section One. At the start of the season Nikita is so distrusted by her employers that they attempt to assassinate her. Surviving this threat and having been rehabilitated back as an operative Nikita attempts to track down Michael, exposing his secret life in the process. This season is as much about the relationship between Nikita and Michael and their desire to get away from Section One as it is about Section One's increasingly cruel and violent methods.

I didn't warm to this program at first. The title sequence seems to be little more than exploitative shots of Petra Wilson, tossing her hair about like some kind of pastiche of a shampoo advert. Title music is by Mark Snow, who also wrote the memorable X-Files theme tune. I hadn't seen Nikita before and knew very little about the show, what struck me first was how much in style and atmosphere it was like 24. A little digging around in the box revealed that the two people behind Nikita; Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow did indeed write 24.

It's an odd experience to watch a whole season in one go. I found that all the episodes were quite intense, a lot of the dialogue between the main characters is carried on in either a low tone or a whisper, there is only one character who brings any comic relief to the show, so watching multiple episodes can be a little too unremitting in its seriousness. By the time I got to the end of the season I really had warmed to the programme and I really enjoyed Nikita.

The twenty-two episode series comes on six discs housed in a hard plastic casing. There are commentary tracks on the first and last episodes, which are fine, but listen once events. There's a gag reel, cancelled scenes and a piece on designing Nikita. Subtitles are English, French and Spanish. Sound is stereo, but then it's mostly a show about characters rather than special effects so the stereo track does a more than adequate job. The picture is a bit on the grainy side but not enough to spoil the show.

If you've never seen the show but liked 24, you may well enjoy Nikita, though I suggest you don't watch too many of them in one sitting.

Charles Packer

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$69.99 (Amazon.com)
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Season 1-3 Box Set Region 1 Edition
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Season 1-3 Box Set Region 1 Edition

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