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215. "Fuzzy Logic"

 (#37) Birkoff can't decipher a code used by a terrorist organization, so Section One kidnaps Hillinger, a brilliant young mathematician whose cocksure attitude puts the mission -- and his own life -- in jeopardy.
lfnforever briefing

best dialogue
MADELINE: "We've let you roam through an outer, non-secured area of the network to give you something to do."
HILLINGER: "Gee, thanks. You think I can't dig deeper?"
M: "If you did and by some fluke happened on to something, classified ... You'd never go home again. Never see your mother again. Your life would be over. We've gone to a great deal of trouble to protect you. Don't work against us, Gregory."
H: "Who are you guys? Secret Service? Interpol?"
M: "We need you to break a code."
H: "That's it? Just break a code? Why didn't you just ask me?"
M: "We couldn't take a chance that you or your mother might object. It needs to be done immediately."
H: "What if I don't do it?"
M: "You'll do it."
Written by Michael Loceff
Directed by Ken Girotti
Original airdate: July 5, 1998 (USA)
March 29, 2001 (France); January 21, 2000 (UK)

guest stars
Kris Lemche (Greg Hillinger)
Dan Redican (Barry)
Eva Crawford (Rita)
Christopher Crumb (Section Prisoner)

music
Original score by Sean Callery

locations
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Czech title: "Zmatena logika"
French title: "Le petit genie"
German title: "Der Wunderknabe"
Italian title: "Ragazzo prodigio"
Portuguese title: "Logica confusa"
Spanish title: "Logica alocada"
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Dawn Connolly's commentary on this episode
Matthew Ferguson stretches his comic muscles in this episode as Birkoff knocks head with Gregory Hillinger, a younger, smarter version of himself. With his dry, cynical delivery, Ferguson gives the hour a particular tone and appeal. There are several points of comparison between the two prodigies. Birkoff's intolerance of his colleagues in the opening scene is echoed in Gregory's treatment of Birkoff, and there is a suggestive silence when Gregory asks Birkoff if he was kidnapped, too.
Nikita's incident with her new neighbor Barry and his drug-dealing pals means little apart from her ease in dealing with a problem and working within Section rules to effect a cleanup. However, her tough-love tour for Gregory of Section's torture chamber is a timely reminder that Section isn't all cooperation, compromise, and reason. As Nikita has worked her way through the ranks and Madeline and Operations have become more humanized, it can be easy to forget just how barbaric her overseers really are. The shocking scene of an operative being tortured for going out on a date with an old girlfriend resensitives the audience to the potential perils of making mistakes within Section and suggests that Nikita is no longer fighting every injustice, but rather picking her fights more carefully. When Section tricks Hillinger in the climax, it is Nikita, disguised as the boy's mother, who has perpetrated the deceit.
La Femme Peta, pp 175-176
Joel Surnow's POV
A change of pace for us. A funnier show, which is difficult for us to pull off, but we did it. One of those show's that's a great little story that didn't have any Michael or Nikita thing going on, but it worked from beginning to end.
La Femme Nikita Episode Guide
Edward Gross, Retrovision # 6 (1999)