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211. "Psychic Pilgrim"

        
(#33) An imprisoned terrorist leader is transmitting orders through his lawyer, Armel, and Nikita's assignment is to pose as a psychic to get close to Armel, who wants her to contact his son, whom he believes was killed in an auto accident.
lfnforever briefing

best dialogue

Written by Michael Loceff
Directed by Rene Bonniere
Original airdate: May 19, 1998 (USA)
February 22, 2001 (France); December 10, 1999 (UK)

guest stars
Joaquim de Almeida (Armel)
Susan Kottmann (Faye)
Marcus Spilotro (Louis)
Christopher Clements (Stillman)
David Gayle (Tonio)
David Stinson (Stunt Terrorist # 3)

music
Original score by Sean Callery

locations
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Czech title: "Obetovat dusi"
French title: "Fausse voyance"
German title: "Fahrt Ins Jenseits"
Italian title: "Il segreto di Terry"
Polish title: "Poswiecenie"
Portuguese title: "Peregrino psicotico"


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Dawn Connolly's commentary on this episode
Writer Michael Loceff puts the tease in the teaser this time around. The opening scene is any fan's wet dream as we encounter Nikita and Michael, in apparent domestic bliss, snuggling in bed. But we can't be fooled that easily!
Rene Bonniere and Peta Wilson take what could easily have been a cheesy sentimental setup and, with guest star, Joaquim de Almeida, create the very moving scenes of a father in anguish seeking the forgiveness of his dead young son. But this episode is less about the mission than the effects of being undercover, not just for Nikita but for the normally impassive Michael. In fact, there are hints that Michael enjoyed playing house on this mission. He requests Nikita as his partner and is fairly artless at disguising his motives when she asks him about the choice. Loceff, refreshingly, offers none of the usual lectures from Madeline on the emotional risks of such a mission. Instead, Madeline issues Nikita some cold instructions on the sexual behavior of newlyweds. The result is an oddly embarassing, rather than titillating, love scene. In the brilliant morning-after scene, Michael seems to be talking in code, and Wilson and Dupuis create a personal and moving moment as the two "lovers" fumble to each each other in their performance for the surveillance cameras. Paired with the final scene (in which Michael offers the priceless gift of hope to Nikita), it is some of their best work together.
In a parallel tale of parent-child forgiveness, Madeline seeks redemption from her dying mother in the death of her sister, Sarah. It is not surprising that she has built her identity on that one event, nor is it unreasonable for her to hope that her perceptions as a child might have been inaccurate and that the blame and responsibility she took on was self-inflicted. She finds no solace, in spite of Operations' gift of the visit to see her mother (defying all Section protocols). These revelations bring insights into Madeline's motivations and prepare the way for the merciless and psychologically loaded decisions of "End Game."
La Femme Peta, pp 171-172
Joel Surnow's POV
It's one of those situations where everything good about the show is working. The Section is doing some really horrible thing, Michael and Nikita are thrown together, you've got some great guest stars in some bizarre predicament. It was one of those shows that could have been really corny, but that Peta really pulled off well. It had a huge fan response, because it had Michael and Nikita together. That is what separates the show. I think when our show is at its best, it's got a really cool action component, a really dark Section agenda, and it's got Michael and Nikita playing out their thing. The chemistry between the two of them is so strong that when it's working, it jumps the episode up. It's like the full menu, and what we have that other action shows don't have.
La Femme Nikita Episode Guide
Edward Gross, Retrovision # 6 (1999)