One of TV’s coolest and most underrated series, the action-packed and exciting Nikita is airing the final two episodes of Season 2 this week and next – but fans of course are on pins and needles waiting to find out if the show will be renewed for Season 3.
We’ll know the answer to that question by the time the season finale airs on May 18th (The CW’s Upfront is May 17th). But in the meantime, I sat down with the show’s star, the kickass Maggie Q, to talk about what we can expect as Season 2 ends, the potential for a Season 3 and more.
IGN TV: Going into the final two episodes, it struck me that Nikita has much more of a family unit, a team unit, than ever before, which is really cool to see. But it also makes me very nervous…
Maggie Q: It does. As you know, that’s not totally sustainable, obviously. Going into [episode] 22, that’s when the unravel is going to start — not really with the team unit but with Nikita. She’s become sort of reckless in her want and need to just be done with Percy and Division and this fight and this ongoing thing. It just seemingly won’t ever end. So she’s making decisions that Birkhoff and Michael, and even Alex and Sean, are nervous about and Birkhoff and Michael are vocal about not wanting to do. But she’s pretty convinced that it’s going to take something pretty radical to bring this organization down. So she’s definitely not listening to anyone — not that she ever does. But she’s set on it. She is mad. She doesn’t want to continue on this path.
She obviously wants to kill Percy, which would make it done done. But with every solution there births a new problem, right? So for her it’s like, if this organization’s not down and people are not safe and protected from what would happen in the downfall of Division, then we’re not done. We can’t kill 200 people to be done. She doesn’t want to do it in that way. So because of her very particular morals and ethics, it becomes a lot more complicated than it could be. You could go in and mow the whole agency down. But there’s a lot of innocent people in there too.
IGN: For you as an actress, what’s it like having this much bigger ensemble to work with in your scenes these days?
Maggie: It’s different, the dynamic. I have to say, it makes things a lot more laborious in terms of shooting time. When you have five people’s coverage in a room instead of two, it becomes something very different. It becomes a lot harder to make those scenes interesting. You’ve got different directors coming in trying to block differently and just move the scene. And you constantly have directors saying, “Keep the pace up, keep the pace up,” because it’s a constant thing of them thinking as a team, so finishing each other’s sentences and doing that sort of thing. And that can become very boring. [Executive Producer] Craig Silverstein’s aware of that, we’re all aware of that. So that can’t be that way forever. But it’s also really nice to see the difference between different characters in a room. Me and Noah Bean, who plays Ryan Fletcher, we were joking about that scene — I think it was last week’s episode — where they’re all on the sofa and me and Michael are all looking at them and everyone’s talking. I was like, “What show are we making? What is this, Central Perk? What is going on!?” And we were laughing about it. Noah came up to me and he was like, “I finally get more screen time on this show, and we’re all cheers-ing energy drinks on a couch!?” He’s like, “What’s happening!?” I’m like, “Don’t worry, it won’t be forever.” So it is this sort of thing where you’ve got to build the family to break them apart. So you’re right, you have every reason to be worried. Certainly you have different storylines going on within the group, which is nice. You have Michael, who has his own problems, and you have Nikita, who is totally a solitary figure on her own with her own wants and needs — and Birkhoff, who’s super important to their operation. And now you’ve got Alex and Sean, who are falling in love. So you’ve got them, and they could possibly go off together. You don’t know. So it’s all kind of up in the air. If we do go for Season 3, it’s going to be a different season in that 1 is different from 2 and 2’s definitely going to be different from 3. So hopefully we get to explore that. We may, we may not…
IGN: So, I’ve got to ask… What are you hearing about another season?
Maggie: I’ve heard different things. I haven’t heard anything incredibly negative. I’ve definitely heard some conservative guesstimates about maybe we’ll go but not the full season. Maybe we’ll go a cable season [length] — which, by the way, amazing! I think 23 episodes would kill me for another year to be very honest.[Laughs] But it would be great to have a third season — even if it’s our last season, the third season — to be able to just really wrap these characters up and just have a whole different home they belong to and a whole different set of problems for the whole season, and we’d slowly be able to make our way out. It would be a shame to end it on the second season because there is more to do. I’m not saying it needs to go five seasons, but it should go three.
IGN: We’re only a week away from The CW’s upfront. Is it crazy to you to still not know?
Maggie: They’ve always done this to us. They’ve done this every year. Literally last year, the year we got picked up, it was the day before the Upfronts that they announced. It was sort of like my ticket was on hold, and then they booked it. It was bizarre how they do that. But I know they’ve announced a couple of CW shows already. But it’s our show that gets the last-minute thing. I don’t know what that’s about. It’s so strange!
IGN: It’s going hand in hand with the suspense that’s on camera!
Maggie: It’s the suspense! We write it in, we breed it, we manifest it.
IGN: So have you talked with Craig [Silverstein] about story ideas for next season?
Maggie: Yes, absolutely, which makes it exciting. I have to say, Craig has worked so, so hard in the last two years on this show — Craig and all the writers, obviously. But by the end of Season 2, he was like, “I don’t even want to talk about Season 3.” I thought he was going to vomit. He was so burnt — we’re all burnt. So we’ve talked prior to the Season 2 ending, where Season 3 would go and what was going to happen. And I was really happy about the way Season 2 was ending. Going into Season 3, it’s exciting because the way we’ve set it up at the end of Season 2, it can go anywhere. And like you’re saying, that fear of, will the group even make it — that fear is a big reality if Season 3 goes.
IGN: Percy has the ability to make a nuke, but last week he was insinuating that it’s something different. So suffice it to say that, as always, he’s got many, many things going on?
Maggie: He always has something up his sleeve. And the way that they’ve written Percy, the way that they developed him, was so smart. He always has the trick up his sleeve that no one would even think of. And by the way, what he’s really got going on, you’ve no idea. I had no idea. Craig told me a little bit about what they were thinking, but I just thought, “God, that’s so incredibly complicated and cool, what he did.” And it is. In the end, you’re like, “Oh my God, are you kidding me!?” You can’t believe that it actually turns out the way he says that it does. It’s kind of amazing. The go-to would be that he’s building a nuke, he’s buying raw nuclear materials. We’ll see what happens, yeah.
IGN: Your other big villain, Amanda, has been kind of in the wind lately. But will we catch up with her before the end of the season?
Maggie: In a sense. I didn’t want the Amanda character to come back at all at the end of the season because I loved the Amanda/Ari out we had. That last scene of them, to me, was so epic, the downfall of these two giants – Ari Tasarov and Amanda. And Amanda, she sitting on this bed — it’s probably flea-ridden — in this awful motel room as this sort of fallen queen, and she’s still sitting upright like Amanda and she’s still got her poise. It’s pathetic! It’s just this pathetic moment of, “What are we going to do?” You realize they have this weapon, this black box, which still allows them to be in the running. It allows them to be a threat, which is cool, and it keeps them on the show, right? But I just thought it was so epic, the way we closed in on those two fallen warriors in this cheap motel room. It was just such a great visual, and both of them — Amanda especially — trying to hang on to their glory. The reality is, she’s glory-less. It’s gone. She has nothing. Nikita’s gone, her position is gone, her life and career is gone. Everyone she tried to manipulate is gone and hasn’t been affected by her. And that was always her power. So because that was so good, I didn’t want to see her at all until next season. Because I wanted it to be like, “Ahhhh!” But we do see her at the end of this season, but not in the context that you would think. So I think I still kind of get my wish in a way.
IGN: Fans are always so invested in Nikita and Michael. I imagine it’s interesting to have to walk that line, because you want to keep the drama, and you don’t want to keep it stagnant, but you also want to respect that fandom.
Maggie: Totally. I totally agree. But you can’t fight for people who are always winning. You just can’t. So they have to have their own set of problems, and they naturally do, which is good. I love the episode where Nikita finally told Michael how she really felt. Because Nikita’s been this incredibly, infinitely patient person with all the things that Michael’s gone through — with the kid and the woman and the thing and all this stuff. It was just like, “Well, go.” But at one point, that person has to say, “I’m done, and I’m done with your self-righteous sort of, ‘I’ve got to be good to everyone.’ It’s, “Fight for what you love and go with that,” or, “Fight for everything and lose everything.” So it was nice to have all these ups and downs in Season 2. I think there will be a lot more pressures for them in Season 3. But I think at the end of Season 2, it’s kind of beautiful. Nikita opens up a little more to Michael. Listen, Michael is a person who knows her the best, but she still hasn’t exposed herself completely to him. It wasn’t until “Wrath,” until episode 19, that he actually knew the extent of her darkness. He didn’t know that. Nobody knew that. She never talked about that. She never wanted to identify that with her. So they’ve taken on this new understanding, and I think she feels that she can be a little bit more open with him now. So at the end of Season 2, she does say things to him that I don’t think she’s said to anyone or even to herself out loud. So you’ve gotta get that little bit of heart opening again. But like in any relationship, there are ups and downs. I don’t know if Nikita and Michael will always be winning. That would be really hard.
IGN: You did fantastic work in “Wrath” by the way.
Maggie: Oh, thank you so much. That episode hurt — physically, mentally, spiritually. And Albert Kim wrote it, who’s wonderful. But thank God it was Albert because the thing about Albert’s scripts is, I never read them and have to find the heart of the script. It’s always there. Because Albert has a heart like no one. It’s amazing. And when I read the script I remember I called him, and I was like, “Albert… I’m going to need you on this one. I’m going to need you as my friend on this one. I’m going to need your support. I need you to be that person.” He was like, “Oh my God, I’m here for you. We’re going to do this together.” And we did. We were both changed after that episode, as creative people. That was the farthest I’ve gone in my career. It’s the farthest he’s gone in his career as a writer. So it just felt good to finally cross that line and not have to be a goody show. You know, a lot of people, when you have a heroine, they’re always good. The dark side is always explained by something. And what I loved about that episode, it was like, “No, she’s evil. She doesn’t hate evil because it’s not a part of her. She hates it because it’s a part of herself that she despises.” There’s a lot of that going on. So if we don’t know how evil she really is, how can we know how far she’s come? So we kind of did it backwards, which is cool. It’s also so Craig, which I love.
IGN: Anything else you can tease about these final two episodes, in terms of the action and drama we can expect?
Q:Maggie: Big stuff, some stuff that I was actually fighting for. Some cool, big repelling stuff and some big falls and stuff like that. There will be loss at the end of the season, which is great because who doesn’t need that on a show? I think necessary loss, but I also think epic. Eagle Egilsson, who’s one of our directors — he’s our most visual director — he did the finale finale, 23. It felt like it took three weeks to shoot it, I have to tell you. And it is a very big episode for Nikita. But the way some of this stuff was shot, how clever it was done, how beautiful… The scale of 23 is ginormous. Like, I defy any of the big network shows to have this level of production value. We may be on The CW, but I’m telling you we’re rocking out on these finales. I’m so excited. I’m proud of it.