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205. "New Regime"

        
(#27) When Operations is shot by a crazed operative, control of Section passes temporarily to Egran Petrosian, who promotes Nikita to second-in-command. Little does she know that Petrosian's scheme is to kill Operations and take permanent command of Section One.
lfnforever briefing
The teaser, in which Operations is gunned down right in the middle of Section One by a seemingly crazed operative, suggests that this episode might be something special -- and it is. Egran Petrosian -- last seen in "Rescue" -- is back, and this time he's taking charge of Section, and using Nikita to solidify his hold. This is a classic power struggle, Section One-style, with Nikita caught in the middle, cleverly manipulated by Petrosian into doing things that run counter to her nature in order to acquire some measure of power, with which she thinks she might save herself. In fact, we see a less-than-sympathetic Nikita, at times -- someone who lies, bullies, and even comes close to committing cold-blooded murder just to gain advantage. In the end, though, she redeems herself, realizing that she's becoming too much like Madeline. The episode is filled with memorable scenes -- the first on-screen cancellation (of Sykes), the evening out for Nikita and Michael arranged by Petrosian, Madeline's unique way of motivating Section doctors to save Operations (a .45 automatic to the head). In the long term, perhaps the most significant part of it all is that "New Regime" marks a sea-change in the relationship between Nikita and Madeline. In the first season Madeline seemed inclined to mentor Nikita. After "New Regime" she will become increasingly cold and antagonistic. Instead of making her life in Section more bearable, as Nikita had hoped, Petrosian has made her position even more precarious.

best dialogue
NIKITA: "Petrosian was willing to give me a life, as much as one can have inside Section. But in order to get it I lied, I bullied, and, who knows, eventually I might have even killed in cold blood. In other words, I found out what it's like to...to be you."
MADELINE: "And you didn't like it."
N: "No I didn't."
M: "Power is addictive, Nikita. You've had a taste. It's in your blood now."
N: "You're wrong."
M: "You'll be back. It's only a matter of time. But there'll be one difference. The next time, I'll be waiting for you."
Written by Robert Cochran
Directed by Jon Cassar
Original airdate: March 1, 1998 (USA)
December 14, 2000 (France); October 29, 1999 (UK)

guest stars
Nigel Bennett (Egran Petrosian)
David Hirsh (Kronen)
Dean McDermott (Sykes)
Chas Lawther (Gufeld)
Gene Mack (Surgeon)
Lindsay Collins (Devo # 1)

music
"Do What You Have To Do," Sarah McLachlan
"Path To The Invisible," Pilgrimage

locations
Michael's mission to collect the disk takes place at Toronto's Osgoode Hall.


Czech title: "Novy rezim"
French title: "Nouveau regime"
German title: "Fuhrungswechsel"
Italian title: "Nuovo regime"
Polish title: "Nowy Porzadek"
Portuguese title: "Novo regime"
Spanish title: "Nuevo Regimen"



guest reviews
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Dawn Connolly's commentary on this episode
The truly shocking image of Operation gunned down in the middle of a briefing opens this age-old tale of a struggle for power. Nikita's lesson is a harsh one as she spies, lies, bullies, and almost kills in cold blood. Thinking there might be freedom with the power she has seen others wield, she agrees to act as Petrosian's second-in-command (Nigel Bennett reprises his role from "Rescue"). What follows is a continuation of a tone set at the beginning of this season. Nikita's worst characteristics come to the fore -- she is smarmy, smug, self-satisfied, and arrogant. Tarted up with bright red lips and big hair, she looks like a spoiled child who has gotten into Mommy's makeup bag. Mercifully, it marks the lowest point in Nikita's tour of the other side and the writers start to pull her back on track in the next episode.
Nikita's foray into the Section power structure is one of a series of firsts in this episode, which also includes the first on-screen cancellation, performed with film-noir flair by Madeline, and our first hint at the depth of Madeline's and Operations' history and connection. She wills him to live, and Alberta Watson is great to watch as she orders the doctors to save his life. Operations' shooting, all the more startling for not being a Section contrivance designed to flush out an enemy, serves to expose cracks in Section's seemingly impenetrable political and power structure. In the end, this is Nikita's most valuable lesson.
La Femme Peta, pp 157-159
Joel Surnow's POV
Really nice show. We brought back Nigel Bennett, who portrayed Petrosian. Again, it was more Nikita integrating into the world of Section and how far will she go, how close is she to kind of sharing their ideology? Above all, a solid story, well directed and all around pretty good episode.
La Femme Nikita Episode Guide
Edward Gross, Retrovision # 6 (1999)