After tonight’s Nikita (8/7c, The CW), the spy thriller will never be the same.
Here, showrunner Craig Silverstein discusses with TVLine the series’ shocking shift in direction (it’s major), previews the death of a “fan favorite” (also major) and reveals what fans of “Mikita,” “Salex” and “Birkya” (?) can look forward to in the show’s second season ender (less major, but still fun).
TVLINE | How did you approach this season’s finale, given that you hadn’t yet received a renewal when you wrote it? Is it a pretty self-contained episode?
Yeah, I always approach the end of a season that way. I’ve said this before, but I would never leave on a huge cliffhanger. It’s just not my style… unless we were absolutely guaranteed that we were coming back.
TVLINE | Would you describe the hour as a game-changer?
I would say it’s a paradigm shift that is akin to what we did in going from Season 1 to Season 2. People are on a different side than they thought they would be at the end of [the episode].
TVLINE | That was a daunting cliffhanger the show left off on last week. How could Michael and Nikita possibly succeed and/or make it out of Division alive?
The answer is: They don’t make it out. That’s all I’ll say there.
TVLINE | Maggie Q recently told us that while Nikita and Percy will finally face off in the finale, they will also have to work together. Describe that dynamic and why you decided to have them fight with one another?
We always wanted more time with them. In fact, since Season 1, there’s been an episode we’ve wanted to do in which Nikita and Percy are together running some kind of gauntlet and she has to protect him. She wants to kill him but needs to protect him for some greater good. We actually got a smidgen of that at the end of the Season 1 episode when we first met Owen… [but] we were never able to fully get that episode from beginning to end up on its feet. So, we were finally able to get a couple acts of it into the finale, which was a lot of fun. The fact that Percy turns the tables on Nikita and creates the reason for that dynamic is the ultimate Percy ploy.
TVLINE | Fans are pretty nervous that there’s at least one death on the way. What can you say about the soon-to-be-deceased?
A fan favorite character doesn’t make it out alive.
TVLINE | So, you’re confident this is someone we’ll miss next season?
I think so, yeah.
TVLINE | Are there any new developments between Michael and Nikita in the season ender? Or are they pretty content in their current place?
Yeah, near the end [of the episode], there’s big decision that they have to make together, and it’s about what they thought they wanted back in the beginning of the season.
TVLINE | What about Alex and Sean? They’re currently out on their own and in some pretty dire circumstances. Will that impact their budding romance at all?
In a jam-packed finale, we do make some room for that relationship to continue to move along. I just like seeing the two of them in action. There’s a little moment that Lyndsy [Fonseca] sort of created where they have to open up the back of a car, and she’s looking at him like, “Go! Do it!” It’s just this little moment that’s very them. In real life, when we’re filming, [Lyndsy and Dillon Casey] are telling each other to shut up all the time… [Laughs] We picked up on that and tried to put it into their characters’ dynamic.
TVLINE | And how are things shaping up between the geek chic Birkhoff and Sonya?
We have a payoff to the Birkhoff/Sonya relationship [in the finale] that is a really crowd-pleasing moment.
TVLINE | This is more of a general question than it is directly related to the finale, but why bring Ryan back in such a major way? He’s certainly well-liked, but what dynamic does he bring to the group?
We just really like Noah Bean. We like what he brings to the show. Ryan’s a different kind of guy than any of the others. In “Dead Drop,” you can see he’s got a clear, more rational mind than Nikita, and that’s a useful part of the team. And he’s really their last link to any kind of hope of a good government — and one that’s on their side.
TVLINE | In contrast, Amanda sort of dropped off the grid in these final episodes of the season. Why the mini vanishing act? And what is her brief role in the finale?
It was economics. We had Melinda Clarke for a limited amount of episodes — even though she’s a regular on the show — the same as we did in Season 1. Last year, when she wasn’t running Division, there were easier ways to get her out of shows and not make you feel like you missed Amanda that week. And that was much more difficult to do this year. She’s really important, but I used up all of my “Amanda cards” early on… And it might seem to TV viewers that we could just pay from another ["card"], but we can’t! [Laughs] If we did that, then we wouldn’t be able to make the show, essentially… We always knew that we wanted Percy to take Division back over, and when he did, we had planned various things for him to do. One was that he was going to throw Amanda back in the “cube” as some sort of “plush torture,” but we couldn’t afford to do that — and we thought it would be even weirder if he did that and then you didn’t see her. So, the decision was that he takes it over, and she’s out in the wind and has lost everything except for Ari — whom she doesn’t seem too happy with. [Laughs] But she’s got a black box. We thought it was a great image to have her in the hotel room with the box, just like Michael and Nikita were in the beginning of the season…. There were different stories [in the works] where Amanda was much more involved in the finale, but frankly — I mean, come on, you’ve seen the finale, and it’s packed!