"Nikita" returns for its midseason premiere tonight (Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. EST on The CW), and there's plenty of drama in store for our favorite agents.
Star Shane West -- who plays Nikita's (Maggie Q) fiance, Michael -- promised that the events of tonight's episode, titled "Intersection," will be "shocking, but ... you can trust me in saying that it’s going to go to amazing places."
HuffPost TV talked to West about Michael's dynamic with Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca), his character's potential jealousy over Nikita and Owen's relationship, and Michael's new role in Division. Proceed with caution, there are light spoilers ahead.
Michael has really been the only one to notice that something is off with Alex so far this season, and it sounds like that will come to a head in tonight's episode. Can you preview anything about their storyline in "Intersection"?
I think Michael was always used to seeing signs of drug abuse or recruits going through difficult times because he coached them. He taught them. He trained them. And I think, with Alex in particular, she stood out from the rest of the recruits, reminded him of a young Nikita and therefore he and Nikita care for her a little bit more than they did the others. So she stands out, and I think that Nikita has got a lot of other things going on with making this decision to keep running Division, going after the Dirty Thirty and bringing all these rogue agents down so that we can go off and live our lives as normal human beings. And I think that Michael is the type of guy that looks at each situation differently, and he pays attention to the whole rather than just one specific goal. And I think that’s why he notices a little bit more about Alex than Nikita and the rest of them have.
It sounds like Alex is going to ask Michael not to tell Nikita what she's going through, which would put him in a somewhat awkward situation with his fiancee -- can you talk about that dynamic?
Oh yeah. They both go through some issues around the exact same time and it’s darker issues. And I think Michael’s kind of the guy that a lot of people come to talk to, and you can see back in other episodes in past years, it doesn’t even really matter if it was Season 1, 2 or 3, he always seems to be in the middle in a lot of sticky situations, so he’s used to handling it, and he seems to be the best one that can handle Nikita’s emotions as well.
We've heard, from as far back as Comic-Con, that something "gnarly" is going to happen to Michael as a result of Amanda's [Melinda Clarke] vendetta against Nikita -- what can you reveal about that incident?
it’s funny, especially going way back to Comic-Con and what all of us talked about, [regarding] what was going to happen to all of our characters -- it seems like most of them have either happened and haven’t aired yet or are about to.
Actually, Michael, especially considering all of the previews and the teasers, goes through a couple of different things in this episode that the fans have been wondering about: This supposed kiss with Alex, and there is something that goes on at the end of the episode. So it’s a lot for them, and something gnarly does happen and there is a very interesting kiss as well, but each event will be explained and will make sense to the audience -- some of [the events] might be shocking, but I think the audience will be able to deal with it because it will propel the story farther and it already has. We’re so many episodes down the road from that because of what we physically shot. We’re starting episode 15, so you’ll see that, however this episode may end, you can trust me in saying that it’s going to go to amazing places … it changes the dynamic for a lot of different people, even though there are incidents that happen to just a couple people.
Various episode summaries reveal that Michael is going to take a step back from field work and resume running Operations in Division -- what can you say about that particular arc and those challenges for him?
You know, it’s funny; if the Ryan Fletcher (Noah Bean) character had never been introduced, it might have been something that Michael would have done, because it feels like he was being groomed to potentially hold that job if Percy had passed away of natural causes at some point. But having Ryan introduced, he’s the perfect character for this, being able to run it. I think what’s been kind of fun -- Noah and I never really had many scenes to do together -- we’ve had plenty of scenes to do together now and it’s been written that, at least currently, Ryan and Michael don’t seem to have a problem working together. A few episodes back, there were a couple of snarky comments and remarks and things like that, but that’s pretty much what our entire Justice League does to each other all the time in every episode. I think on the whole they’re getting on together very well. I think that Michael’s itchy and wants to get back out into the field because it’s what he knows. It’s what he’s used to.
So you will see Michael, with his new job, get frustrated at Sean (Dillon Casey), at Owen, at anyone who’s doing the missions without him. While he’s quarterbacking the mission you can see his frustration build, and of course, Ryan and Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford) are the only ones that get to see it in person. But I think it makes a cool dynamic, at least for the last four or five episodes. Of course, that’ll change because everything always changes on “Nikita,” and I think it’s about to, I believe, in episode 16. Actually for me, as in Shane, it’s been very comfortable. I’m warm. I know what it’s like for Aaron Stanford to have his schedule now. He’s always in the Division. He’s always warm and he doesn’t have to deal with the bitter Toronto cold. So it has been a blessing at least for me to be comfortable. But Shane and Michael are getting itchy to get out into the field again.
It also sounds like Michael and Nikita's relationship will be strained over the next few episodes thanks to her interactions with Owen [Devon Sawa] -- I know we've talked in the past about playing that jealousy angle, but can you discuss what's coming up for them?
Each character in that situation, of the trio, they’re coming from a different place, so I’ve never been upset with Owen having feelings for Nikita because I think for him it makes sense. With Nikita, I think, her caring for this character that reminds her of her past as well, make sense as well. I think what ends up happening is Owen becomes this part of Team Nikita, a part of our Justice League and with that happening comes conflict, at times. And Michael and Owen will have a lot more conflict this year than I thought they were going to have, and that’s what you’re going to see.
It was a lot of fun in Season 2 with that special episode in Amsterdam. It seemed like they kind of connected for the first time, and it seems like a lot of that’s been lost because we do need conflict on the show, which is a little bit of a bummer for me since Devon and I have become good friends, but it’s fun to work with Devon. And Craig has masterfully handled the situation in the story, like the side storyline of Michael being a little uneasy or jealous about Nikita and Owen going on missions because he can’t. So [Michael’s] worried about Owen’s sanity on these missions because Nikita’s life is in danger if Owen can’t keep it together in the field and that’s something that drives Michael crazier. More importantly, that is something that bothers Michael more … he’s worried, not jealous, that Owen might be too much of a loose cannon, and if he acts out then Nikita’s life could be in trouble. And that’s actually something that you’ll see in a couple of episodes too.
And then what you’ll see is Michael … he’s becoming, along with Ryan, the guy who’s running Division. Of course they answer to Nikita, but they end up taking care of every situation and calming down Alex, and calming down Nikita, and calming down Birkhoff with everything that’s going on. And you’ll see that he’s finding ways to teach Owen to be smarter in the field, and they find ways to get Sean more involved and it’s been fun. It’s a giant cast now, but it’s a lot of fun.
I think with the incident that’s going to happen today, you’ll see more reason why Nikita might be getting pushed away. They’ll give reasons for doubts in their relationship and things like that, and I think that’ll be good cinema and good TV for the audience. They can pick and choose and they can have fun hoping things won’t happen, and I think it’s all been handled very well and a lot of those problems have already been fixed. But then we know that there are seven episodes left to shoot so those problems are probably going to recur again, and that’s just kind of how the “Nikita” world goes.
Looking ahead to episode 10, "Brave New World," Nikita is going to go on a rogue mission to Kosovo and leave Michael and the rest of the team playing catch up. Is there anything else you can preview about that story?
What’s weird is we’re doing something similar right now with different characters doing the whole rogue thing. It’s not all that uncommon for Nikita to make moves like that. I think that one of the bigger issues about that is that it kind of encompasses the whole year of having this team put together to try and bring down these criminals. [They're trying] to give a good opinion of Division, instead of it being such a bad place to live and a bad place to work. And I think the problem is that they’ve assembled this great team but everyone seems to kind of act out on their own and do things like that, and Nikita -- while being very passionate and a strong leader -- likes to act out on her own if no one is agreeing with her. And I think you’ll see something similar with Alex doing similar things and that causes conflict from the heart, and I think it just makes each relationship with every character more difficult to figure out -- without causing too much conflict. You can’t be yelling at each other in every episode.
Have Michael and Amanda had many direct interactions from what you've been shooting recently?
Not too much. Not as much as I’d like. You’re going to see more interaction with Amanda and Alex, of course, and a lot of interaction with Amanda and Nikita in future episodes. With the thing that happens to Michael at the end of this current episode, you’ll hear and see Amanda reference Michael many times, but it doesn’t mean they talk very much or run into each other.
The fans always love to see flashbacks with the retro hair and different character dynamics; are there any coming up?
You know, I think there’s been more flashbacks for Alex, Nikita and Amanda than there have been for anyone else. Actually, I think there’s a good Amanda and Owen flashback that comes up at some point, but I haven’t really had many, if any. I’m really hard pressed to even think about it now because what always stands out to me with those are bigger, baggier suits and my hair is pushed back into more of a ‘90s 'do and that just has not happened lately, especially with my hair getting shorter and shorter.
Every one one of our characters could have a pretty amazing flashback in every episode if so desired. If they decided to do that, but I think if we were in Season 8 and 9 and 10, you’d see some crazy flashbacks for absolutely every character, even people that might never have been involved in Division if we made it to that point. But for now, it’s good to keep the story going and it’s got to keep the season going because we’re pretty much, as I think people have been noticing, a season-to-season show. We don’t go as much episode-to-episode, it’s more of "how is the season going to start, how is it going to survive and how’s it going to end to set up the next possible season?"
Anything else you can tease in broad strokes about what's coming up later in the season?
You’re going to see a lot of Amanda. I think you’re going to see a lot of Amanda manipulation. Owen and Alex, in particular, are going to start to be manipulated by Amanda. You’re going to see some really good stuff with Ari (Peter Outerbridge). You’ll see that as strong as Ari and Amanda were together, that he may be making a break from her for other reasons that we will see and tease later.
You’ll see help come from a couple of different directions that I think will be unique. And I think that you will see a lot of conflict with Nikita and Michael, but it’s not necessarily negative and it’ll be pretty obvious why, and you’ll see them working to fix that as well. I think you’ll learn more about Alex and her past and you’ll see Alex and Sean getting a little stronger as well.
Lastly, what's going on with your "Big Bad Wolf" comic book -- are we going to see more of that soon?
It’s an exciting thing but it’s so new that it’s hard to get too into detail about it, but I do know that Brian Truitt at USA Today has been very supportive with Arch Enemy Entertainment and myself. This is an idea that I thought of with William Wilson [founder of Arch Enemy] and his guys a while ago and it kind of just disappeared. It didn’t seem like it was going to happen because we both got busy with other things. Then they really nailed this concept. They changed the concept a little bit and made it work better as a story and it just became a lot more interesting. The artwork was stunning. It added the dark overtones that I wanted if I was going to be involved in a comic book or a graphic novel.
So for me it just seemed like the right team; they made our original idea tremendously better and started churning out the pages, and before I knew it we had a comic book. And this digital online revolution is very new and unique, especially for comic books. So I think it’s an amazing thing to be a part of and we have the second issue coming out soon. I’m not positive when. It may come out next week now, and I just finished reading the pages on that and when those pages come out you’ll see the story and the backstory truly opening up.The first issue was pretty much to get the feel of what was going to happen and a little bit of which characters you might be following, and let you know what this world might be, and then you’ll see truly how this story can go. And it’d fun to potentially turn this into a series or get this off the comic book page as well.
"Nikita" airs Fridays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.
What do you think will happen to Michael? Are you worried about Nikita and Owen's relationship, or do you think she and Michael are solid? Share your predictions below!