417. "Sleeping With the Enemy"

(# 83) When Section One and Red Cell become unlikely allies in a war against a mysterious common enemy, they swap operatives -- an opening Operations hopes to exploit, even though it may cost Madeline her life.
lfnforever briefing
Erica Byrne's superb script is responsible for this turning out to be one of the best episodes of Season 4. When both Red Cell and Section One lose substations, they prepare for all-out war with one another; but Operations brokers a truce in which Madeline is exchanged for Red Cell's Number Two, Satin Tate to coordinate the uneasy alliance's efforts to catch the real culprit. Of course, both try to seize the opportunity to sabotage the enemy. Interestingly, Satin focuses her attention on Michael, wanting him to believe that he was her hero when he himself was a terrorist with L'Heure Sanguine. What Byrne does so well is to have us almost believing that Michael does indeed succumb to Satin's wily blandishments when he provides her with access to Section's most-secret intel. And why shouldn't he, after everything that Section has put him -- and Nikita -- through? Of course, as is so often the case in LFN, it's not what it seems -- Michael has tricked Satin, and the data she downloads to Red Cell contains a program that activates the self-destruct system at Red Cell HQ. And then, in a bold development, we find that Operations is quite willing to sacrifice Madeline; in fact, he does everything in his power to make sure she doesn't survive her sojourn with Red Cell. One of the many ongoing subtexts of the series is the on again-off again relationship between Operations and Madeline, with the latter increasingly reluctant to rekindle old desires; apparently Operations has grown tired of the game. And there's just a hint that he might have already selected Madeline's replacement -- Kate Quinn. Speaking of which, Byrne (and actress Cindy Dolenc) craft a multi-dimensional character out of Quinn right out of the gate -- she's smart, quick with the one-liner, and something of an ice queen where men are concerned. Another nice twist is the unveiling of the villain -- quite unexpectedly, it turns out to be a chubby, bespectacled computer hacker who thinks he's playing a war game. This makes for a refreshing change -- and a great scene in which Michael and his team of black-clad killers close in for the kill, only to find the quivering Mr. Holland in his cubbyhole. "Sleeping With the Enemy" is filled with twists and turns and, best of all, it hangs together nicely.

best dialogue
[After Quinn saves Section from destruction...]
QUINN, to Walter: "I got a message that you wanted to see me?"
WALTER: "Way to go, little sister. You got your feet wet."
Q: "Excuse me?"
W: "Your first day on the job. You saved our bacon. Welcome to the big leagues."
Q: "Is your bandanna on too tight? Operations thinks I dropped the ball."
W: "Forget about Operations. Substation Three is beyond our security zone. You couldn't have known. You done good. (Takes a flask from a pocket)  Birkoff would have been proud."
Q: "Yeah, well, I hear he's dead. Stiffs do nothing for my ego. So what are we drinking?"
W: "Very old Scotch for special occasions."
Q: "You know, this isn't going to get you lucky."
W: "Like I said, I was just welcoming you to the neighborhood."
Q, taking flask: "Hmm. Well, neighbor, just keep it zipped and out of my way and everything will be just peachy."
Written by Erica Byrne
Directed by Jon Cassar
Original airdate: July 30, 2000 (USA)
April 18, 2002 (France); March 27, 2003 (UK)

guest stars
Emily Hampshire (Satin Tate)
Cindy Dolenc (Kate Quinn)
Conrad Dunn [George Jenesky] (Red Cell Director)

"Dragula," Rob Zombie
"Modern Crusaders", Enigma

Toronto's Skydome is the location for the Madeline-Satin swap.

Czech title: "Ruku v ruce s nepritelem"
French title: "Treve fatale"
Italian title: "A letto con il nemico"
Portuguese titles: "Dormindo com o inimigo"

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