308. "Outside the Box"

 (#52) Section One frames a man with a photographic memory for murder in order to recruit him for a mission to acquire data from a terrorist manifest, and Nikita begins to suspect that she, too, was framed by Section when she was "recruited."
lfnforever briefing

best dialogue
MICHAEL: "I saw Kruger's debrief. His answers seemed memorized, not experienced."
NIKITA: "Well, his mind is different. You have to expect some irregularities, Michael."
M: "I'd like to see the tapes of the live sim."
N: "I didn't make any."
M: "Why not"
N: "I didn't think it was necessary. If that was a mistake, then I apologize."
M: "Stop playing games, Nikita. What's really going on?"
N: "I need to know why Section chose me."
M: "What do you mean?"
N: "They brought me in, Michael. Just like they did Kruger."
Written by Jim Korris
Directed by Gord Langevin
Original airdate: April 4, 1999
August 16, 2001 (France); May 15, 2002 (UK)

guest stars
Christopher Bolton (Benjamin Kruger)
Kris Lemche (Greg Hillinger)
Lara Rhodes (Tatyana)
James Downing (Scar Man)

"Superstar," Vibrolux
"Ride With The Flow," Sixty Channels
"Revenge," Thrive

he Silver Dollar Room, one of Toronto's best jazz bars, is the place where Nikita "recruits" Kruger.

Czech title: "Neobvykly postup"
French title: "Une nouvelle recrue"
German title: "Das Superhirn"
Italian title: "Scivolando nel buio"
Portuguese title: "Fora da caixa"
Spanish title: "Fuera de la caja"
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Dawn Connolly's commentary on this episode
Benjamin Kruger is a fascinating character in the hi-tech world of La Femme Nikita. He is the ultimate anti-gadget, anti-tech invention with his perfectly developed photographic memory. As such, he comments aptly on the very heart of Section One. By creating their tech-resistant security systems, Section's enemies have forced Operations to rely on the human factor. Highly ironic for an organization built on the systematic devaluation of singularity and the subjugation of the human; and how humorous that the very act of valuing humanity and individuality over technology and uniformity is acknowledged as "thinking outside the box" for Section.
Their shared individualism, innocence, and, as we learn, "shadow recruitment" draw Nikita and Kruger together. It is no wonder that they hit it off so quickly. The wonderful on-screen chemistry between Peta Wilson and guest star Christopher Bolton is evident throughout, most especially in Nikita's make-nice scene with Kruger (his characterization of her as "some kinda martial arts chick" earns him an enjoyable slap on the backside) and during the mission squence -- shot in blood reds -- as both operatives do their jobs "very well."
Nikita's appeal to their common humanity sways the Section One operative in Belgrade who holds the key to her presence in Section, but -- no surprise here -- holds none in her dealings with Madeline and Michael. Michael has some distance to go before he can shake his reputation as Operations' and Madeline's messenger boy.
The seeds of "Any Means Necessary" and "Three Eyed Turtle" are planted here as Greg Hillinger (Kris Lemche) returns to taunt Birkoff and live up to the promise of his genius in "Fuzzy Logic." By creating a no-win situation for Birkoff by framing Tatyana, Hillinger defines the challenge that lays ahead for Birkoff.
More and more, this season the La Femme Nikita writers will demand that we think outside the box. In black-and-white sequences (which include both footage repeated from the first episode, "Nikita," and unaired and newly shot footage), Nikita remembers the orchestrated events that turned her world upside down. The intriguing question of just why Nikita is in Section is left hanging, as is the answer to the question of why there have been so many attempts to eliminate her. Writer Jim Korris does for the original premise of the series what Lenkov will do for the love story ("Under the Influence"); he turns it on his head and demands that Nikita, and we, re-think the events surrounding her imprisonment and recruitment by Section.
La Femme Peta, pp 212-214