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218. "Off Profile"

        
(#40) Michael romances a profiler named Andrea to test her allegiance to Section, and when Andrea discovers the truth she vows vengeance, plotting Michael's death during a mission to destroy a lab producing designer viruses.
lfnforever briefing
A fine blend of mission action, office politics and forbidden romance, this episode is graced by the presence of Roy Dupuis' real-world girlfriend, Celine Bonnier, who plays Andrea Kosov, a cold-as-ice profiler that Michael is assigned to melt, for reasons that aren't made clear until the end. The subplot is intriguing, as well; Operations wants Walter to lie to Oversight regarding the use of a forbidden protocol on a recent mission. This, not long after Operations sent Walter's bride, Belinda, on a suicide mission! Madeline creates a "holographic" Belinda to bribe a recalcitrant Walter into cooperating. You'd think she would have known better. It's interesting to note that Operations has a degree of loyalty to Walter -- he dismisses the option of cancelling Walter as a solution to his problem. And, ultimately, Walter demonstrates loyalty to Section (and Operations), in spite of his recent loss. In this installment it's Nikita giving Walter advice about how to stay alive in Section -- in the past it was the other way around. This just goes to show that she's a quick learner, and her exchange with Madeline regarding the budding "romance" between Michael and Andrea reveals that she can play the game as well as "they" can. Logically, though, you'd think Michael would have taken a few precautions and avoided getting trapped during the final mission run, considering the real motive behind his interest in Andrea. (Or maybe he did, by leaving one of the lab techs alive enough to provide a heartbeat that activates the security lock on the door to his deathtrap.)

best dialogue
MADELINE (discussing Michael and Andrea with Nikita): "They work well together. They may even be entering into a relationship."
NKITA: "I wouldn't know."
M: "I hope they are. For their sake. And for yours."
N: "For my sake?"
M: "It's better for operatives to find relationships that won't affect their work. Your passion for life is very strong, Nikita. It enables you to accomplish things that no one else can. It can also destroy you."
Written by David Ehrman
Directed by John Fawcett
Original airdate: August 2, 1998 (USA)
April 12, 2001 (France); February 11, 2000 (UK)

guest stars
Celine Bonnier (Andrea Kosov)
Jill Dyck (Belinda)
Rene Beau Dean (Korda)

music
"Angel," Massive Attack
"Loaded Gun," Hednoize
"Fear And Love," Morcheeba

locations
--


Czech title: "Volny profil"
French title: "Andrea"
German title: "Agentenliebe"
Italian title: "La rivale"
Portuguese title: Fora do  perfil
Spanish title: "Fuera del perfil"


guest reviews
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Dawn Connolly's commentary on this episode
The producers take a chance sending Michael out to generate another woman scorned so soon after "Double Date," but this is a solid episode, beautifully shot and well acted. It really is fun to watch Michael lock horns with his apparent female counterpart. Actress Celine Bonnier, Roy Dupuis' real-life girlfriend, does a marvelous job creating Andrea, the latest Section over-achiever, a brittle perfectionist who is wound spring-tight.
The episode is rife with Section politics as Operations and Madeline scramble to get Walter on [their] side in the cover up of Section's use of a forbidden protocol. Operations exhibits some degree of loyalty, refusing to cancel Walter to avoid embarrassment. Madeline hits a new unsavory low, designing a holographic image of Walter's dead wife, Belinda, and Walter's rage is understandable in the face of such an emotionally pornographic abuse of his private life.
Writer David Ehrman has also written one of the more clever and suspenseful sequences of the season. The action is superb, set to "Loaded Gun" by Hednoize. The notion of a heartbeat security key is highly inventive, with just the right touch of sci-fi about it, and irony abounds as Nikita scrambles to find a live technician amongst the bodies of the lab workers they have just slaughtered.
Nikita has come a long way from the bratty woman of this season's first five episodes. Her counsel to Walter and her efforts to explain Michael's history to Andrea spring from a hard-won understanding. Even Madeline can't push her buttons when she observes and applauds the growing relationship between Michael and Andrea. Madeline's grip is slipping on several fronts; she frankly admits she has no idea what makes Walter tick. Even the tantalizing answers to his three-year evaluation fail to illuminate his motivations.
La Femme Peta, pp 185-186
Joel Surnow's POV
We wanted to do an episode with Roy's real-life girlfriend. It wasn't particularly a fan favorite, but I liked it. I like the shows that are cold and his making this really cold fish fall in love with him and then it turns out that he was just finding out something about her, was great. I'm amused by how nasty we can make Michael and have the audience continue to like him.
La Femme Nikita Episode Guide
Edward Gross, Retrovision # 6 (1999)