(#7) Section's target, a smuggler named Suba, has kidnapped the eight-year-old son of an operative who must provide Suba with intel that helps him stay one step ahead of his pursuers. The operative persuades Nikita to rescue his boy.
The episode opens with Madeline congratulating Nikita for surviving her probationary period -- she is now a full-fledged operative. An hour later, the viewer might be forgiven for thinking Section One was a little premature in conferring this status opon our heroine, because in this episode she jeopardizes not only her life but the mission in order to save the son of a fellow operative, Roger. The son has become the leverage used by this week's villain, Suba -- and while we're at it, throw some kudos Von Flores' way for his fine performance -- to force Roger to feed him classified info that will asist him in smuggling waste uranium out of the country. That Section not only failed to discover that Roger had a son on the outside -- a major liability -- but also remained ignorant of the fact that he was a traitor in their midst, certainly belies the impression Operations will give from time to time that Section is infallible and omniscient. While it provides some great suspense, the fact that Nikita can, seemingly at will, infiltrate Suba's defenses stretches credulity a bit. "Treason" is but one of several Season 1 episodes in which Nikita is portrayed as the knightrix in shining armor, a person who comes between an innocent and the organization she is supposed to be serving. Fortunately, the powers-that-be resisted the temptation of making such a scenario the blueprint for all subsequent episodes, but in Season 1 "Friend," "Treason," "Gray," "Innocent," "Voices," "Missing," and "Mercy" all employ this convention. Luckily, the inherent weakness of such an approach was eventually recognized.
NIKITA, after learning that Roger has been cancelled: "Why???"
MADELINE: "Come sit down. What you did for Roger was noble, but it wasn't worth the risk."
N: "How can you be so ruthless?"
M: "Because the other side is ruthless. If we're not stronger, then they win and we lose. You're a good operative, Nikita. Don't let your humanity get in the way."
Written by Robert Cochran
Directed by Jerry Ciccoritti
Original airdate: February 24, 1997 (USA)
June 28, 1998 (France); October 24, 1997 (UK)
Peter Outerbridge (Roger)
Von Flores (Suba)
Noah Reid (Kyle)
Ted Ludzik (Dekker)
Kim Bourne (Blonde Girl)
Adrian Hough (Kiley)
Will Corno (Red Jacket Guy)
Tony Meyler (Guard)
Don Ritchie (Boggs)
"La Cumbia, La Cumbia," Diego Marulanda
"La Noche," Diego Marulanda
"Red," Sister Machine Gun
NIKITA, after learning that Roger has been cancelled: "Why???" MSADELINE: "Come sit down. What you did for Roger was noble, but it wasn't worth the risk." N: "How can you be so ruthless?" M: "Because the other side is ruthless. If we're not stronger, then they win and we lose. You're a good operative, Nikita. Don't let your humanity get in the way."
Toronto's Government Club was the location for the scenes in which Michael rescues Nikita from Suba by pretending she is his pregnant wife.
Czech title: "Vlastizrada"
French title: "Trahison "
German title: "Verrat"
Italian title: "Tradimento"
Portuguese title: "Traicao"
Spanish title: "Traicion"
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Dawn Connolly's commentary on this episode
In "Treason" we get a good Section One story in which the Section's political goals interlace with Nikita's personal goals. The hour showcases Nikita's growing confidence, particularly in the scene where, dismissed by Michael, she tells Operations she can deliver Suba. And it is Nikita, not Michael, who determines that Roger has betrayed the team when the first mission fails.
Visually, the episode has some interesting moments. Ciccoritti's stretchy cam is employed to no significant end. But, along with director of photography Michael Storey, the director does create a particularly effective and memorable scene at the farmhouse during the first raid. Imaginative lighting and a stylish mix of video, film, and hand-held camera work convey the stress, chaos, and claustrophobia of the raid and ambush.
There is some nice scripting from Robert Cochran, who uses humor to deflate a couple of trite television conventions. Nikita, a vision in lavendar Lycra, infiltrates Suba's club as a call girl delayed by a philosophy exam, and Michael, in a delightful comic turn by Dupuis, extricates Nikita as damsel in distress by posing as her jealous, irate husband.
Peter Outerbridge gives a solid performance as Roger, teh first in a long line of "red shirt" types (as with Star Trek episodes when the new guy in the red jersey is killed off before the show's end). And although we really don't end up caring about the plight of little kidnapped Kyle, Roger's "cancellation" is shocking. That he not only retained his humanity but hid the existence of a son from Section speaks to the organization's fallibility.
This episode is framed by strong Nikita-Madeline scenes. It begins with a humorous thrust-and-parry between the two women, undercut by a chilling reminder from Madeline that Section will require an even greater standard of performance from Nikita. It ends with a tearful Nikita, having forgotten her earlier resolve to remain inscrutable, vainly seeking answers and even comfort from her ruthless overseers.
La Femme Peta, pp 104-106
Ted Edwards' "behind-the-scenes" look at this episode
While La Femme Nikita is a pretty humorless show, what few people realize is just how much fun the cast and crew have producing it. In several different online interviews, Peta Wilson has noted, "I'm particularly clumsy, so it's a laugh a minute. In one episode, myself and Roy had to wear wetsuits in the studio, pretending to be on a Zodiac boat. I took a tumble and all the camera saw were my two legs and flippers pointing up in the air. Roy actually goofs around a lot. There have been times where I've slipped when running in on a scene....There was also a good one at one in the morning, and we had these weird infrared googgles on in twenty-degree weather. We were running around in the bush with guns. We had to hide behind a tree. I couldn't see a thing and ran into Michael -- a stiff character -- and he knocked another person over. It was like a domino effect because everyone fell.
"Then," she continued, "in the episode 'War' there was a moment when we broke into this song when some guy stuck a gun in his mouth. We broke into a rendition of 'The Flintstones,' but it was 'The Section...We're the Section,' sung to the tune of 'Flintstones.' We did it as a musical, and faced the camera."
Joel Surnow has pointed out that "Treason," like "Friend," dealt with Nikita helping someone and trying to put herself between the Section and someone else. "At that time and place," he said, "that was what we thought our show had to be -- acting outside the directive of the Section for her own agenda, which was always to help someone."
La Femme Nikita X-Posed, pp 59-65
Joel Surnow's POV
A really strong Section One episode that dealt with the specific constraints of Nikita's life. Like "Friend," it dealt with her helping someone and trying to put herself between the Section and protecting someone else, yet getting the job done. At that time and place, that's what we felt the show had to be; Nikita acting outside the directive of the Section for her own agenda, which was always to help someone. It succeeds well for us. You have to remember, this was show six, but we probably wrote that script before we had a show in the can. The first six shows were based on scripts written before we really knew what our show was.
La Femme Nikita Episode Guide
Edward Gross, Retrovision # 6 (1999)