221. "Adrian's Garden"

 (#43) Adrian, the founder of Section One, kidnaps Nikita and convinces her that Section must be destroyed -- even though that means Michael will become Nikita's foe.
lfnforever briefing
A pivotal episode. The least important revelation is that Carla, who has professed to be Nikita's friend for two years, is actually working for Adrian, and the mystery of the Goatee Twins who have appeared in so many episodes this season is solved -- they work for Adrian, too. With the introduction of Adrian, wonderfully played by Sian Phillips, we learn about Section One's history and are offered an interesting hypothesis: That Operations is using the Section to consolidate geopolitical power for himself. We are informed in some detail about the "clock" (or cesium crystal) used to geo-track operatives. For the first time we are taken to Level 2, the inner sanctum of Section, as Nikita becomes Adrian's mole inside the organization. And we are given fascinating insights into the love/hate relationship between Operations and Madeline. One of the best aspects of LFN is that it doesn't spell things out for the viewer, and intentionally leaves us wondering if what we see is reality or illusion. Did Operations intentionally sabotage the Marin mission? It certainly looks that way, as he seems to have brought Leeds in as executive strategist to shield Madeline from the fallout he knew would occur after Marin's assassination. (Ironically, Madeline initially thinks Leeds is brought in by Operations not to protect her but rather to punish her for refusing to resume their old romance.) This episode fires on all cylinders; it is well-written by Michael Loceff, with one twist after another coming at a rapid pace, and well-directed by Brad Turner in his first (but by no means last) effort for LFN. Many of the story threads introduced here will be used throughout the rest of the series.

best dialogue
(Nikita and Walter, discussing Adrian)
NIKITA: "What was she like?"
WALTER: "Let's just say that Adrian is the only person Madeline has ever been afraid of."
N: "Mmm. So she chose Operations."
W: "Chose him?
No. Operations took control himself. And it was a bitter struggle. Left Operations with a whole lot of enemies, and a whole lot of power."
N: "And her?"
W: "She got what we all want. Freedom."
Written by Michael Loceff
Directed by Brad Turner
Original airdate: August 23, 1998 (USA)
May 3, 2001 (France); March 17, 2000 (UK)

guest stars
Sian Phillips (Adrian)
Ted Atherton (Ray Leeds)
Anais Granofsky (Carla)
Geoff Murrin (Steven)
Martin David Peters (Sauvage)

"Gun," Gus Gus

The Marin assassination scenes were filmed on Albert Street, behind Toronto's Old City Hall.

Czech title: "Adrianina zahrada"
French title: "Le jardin d'Adrien"
German title: "Machtspiele"
Italian title: "Adrian"
Polish title: "Ogrod Adrianny"
Portuguese title: "O Jardim de Adrian"
Spanish title: "El jardin de Adrian

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Dawn Connolly's commentary on this episode
The season ends with a beautifully written, directed, and performed two-part finale. Revelations unfold so quickly it is hard to keep up and the breathless pace is maintained to the final scene. Nikita begins her Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole journey when Carla kidnaps her and takes her to meet Adrian. The incomparable Sian Phillips guest stars as Section's creator. Her presence echoes her portrayal of the ruthless matriarch, Livia, of I, Claudius and that series' stories of political dirty-dealings and power games (her connection to Joel Surnow dates back to their work on his series Covington Cross).
The revelations begin with the removal of a "clock" (a tracking device) from Nikita's body that has been implanted by Section without her knowledge. The fact that they have been able to perpetrate such an invasion without her awareness nor detection is an astonishing discovery in itself, and Season Three will pick up on this theme of violation with more such bombshells. Nikita is educated in Section's "history" first by Walter and then by Adrian. The effect of the information is to realign our perceptions of the power base. George and Oversight have lurked in the background as administrative watchdogs in several episodes, but Adrian, as the architect of Section, as the "only person Madeline has ever been afraid of," and as the woman with the larger perspective on Operations' plans for global control carries a mystique and power that is startling and challenges the assumptions upon which the series has been constructed.
Legitimizing Adrian's assertions is the secondary plot-line in which Operations brings in a "ringer" (Ted Atherton's wonderfully officious and unlikable Leeds) to take the fall on an assassination secretly designed (by Operations) to [succeed], contrary to the wishes of George and Oversight. Watson is great as the threatened Madeline puts Leeds through his paces and Glazer's Operations gleefully withholds his game plan. The puzzle of personal and political motivations that binds Madeline and Operations is becoming reflected in overt misunderstandings and pettiness: the simmering conflict between the pair will continue into the third season despite their mutual political support, and will provide the writers with rich dramatic opportunities.
As Section's political underbelly is exposed, so too is its hidden physical structure, which proves unexpectedly vulnerable to Nikita and Adrian's infiltration (another violation). as Nikita pieces together the new information with her experiences, the camera also tries to give us the whole picture with numerous "fish-eye" lens shots of different areas of Section. Nikita's exploration leads her to hidden levels, rooms, and data storage areas. These new and richly detailed sets are introduced here [and] in the finale and contribute to the overall feeling that things will never be the same again in Section.
La Femme Peta, pp 190-192
Joel Surnow's POV