210. "First Mission"

 (#32) Nikita is made team leader three years ahead of schedule, and her assignment -- to capture a dealer in stolen nuclear fuel rods -- is complicated by the insubordination of a female operative named Vizcano, who happens to be in love with Michael.
lfnforever briefing

best dialogue
BIRKOFF: "I have a first cut of Stark's itinerary. I'll refine it later.
NIKITA : "Great. Here. Assemble the team. Um, have them meet me outside Systems in an hour."
B: "Got it."
N: "Why what?"
M: "Why assemble the team?"
N: "It will give them a chance to meet. Understand what's going on."
M: "That's a mistake. Tell them only what they need to know. Establish dominance."
N: "In other words, treat them like animals."
M: "Animals with guns."
Written by Peter Mohan & Jim Henshaw
Directed by Guy Magar
Original airdate: April 12, 1998 (USA)
February 15, 2001 (France); December 3, 1999 (UK)

guest stars
Janet Kidder (Vizcano)
Diego Chambers (Stark)
Peter Mensah (Taylor)
Neno Vojinovic (Mentz)
Will Corno (Prager)

Original score by Sean Callery


Czech title: "Prvni mise"
French title: "Premiere mission"
German title: "Mission ohne Mitgefuhl"
Italian title: "Ultima missione"
Polish title: "Pierwsza Misja"
Portuguese title: "Primeira missao"
Spanish title: "La primera mision"
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Dawn Connolly's commentary on this episode
When all hell breaks loose at Section and Nikita is promoted, the impression is that she is on Section's fast track. (The writers drop an intriguing hint about Michael's early promotion through the ranks, and one wonders just what was so different in his case.) There is also the suggestion that Nikita is getting a taste of her own medicine in having to deal with a rebellious operative like herself. Between her how-to-handle-difficult-people lessons from Michael and Operations stacking the deck by designing the last mission to eliminate Vizcano, Nikita finds herself incorporating more and more of Section's methodology into her own.
Vizcano's jealousy of Michael seems contrived. The exchange between Vizcano and Nikita is maudlin and belittles her earlier characterization as a bitch with attitude. As the unstable, jilted lover-wannabe, her observations about Michael's need for a quest are unreliable and irrelevant. Happily, her observation that Section wants their recruits to "imprint someone like an animal" has enough of the ring of truth about it to be insightful, and is a plausible explanation for Madeline's early pressure to keep Nikita and Michael in each other's thoughts.
As Nikita becomes drawn into the very world she once despised, the writers are striving to establish the delicate balance she is beginning to make between a life within Section and a life ruled by the heart. The changes are evidenced in her confrontation with Operations. They argue the nature of service to a greater good. Where Operations is focused entirely on the destination, Nikita questions the value of a journey without feeling, compassion, or hope. She argues fearlessly, even walking out on him mid-discussion. It is an early indication that she will be prepared to keep the promise Adrian will extract by the season's finale.
La Femme Peta, pp 167-168
Joel Surnow's POV
Again, too much action. Again, more of Nikita trying to fit in to the Section. Two elements that didn't particularly succeed for us the second season. So I wouldn't call it a successful episode.
La Femme Nikita Episode Guide
Edward Gross, Retrovision # 6 (1999)