This is the second time I’ve interviewed Nikita Executive Producer Craig Silverstein, and again it was a rather good one. Showrunners are the ones the with scoop! He gives a little, but he also shares so tidbits about a past gig that was ill conceived and that his writers have a great sense of humor when it comes to his boredom with scripts. There are spoilers here, so beware, but since this took place at Comic Con, it’s nothing you haven’t already heard. Enjoy!
(Alice) Friday night, do you feel any pressure about that?
I think that Supernatural has a more similar audience, it’s just a better fit. I think the kind of people who watch Supernatural will watch Nikita. I was hoping for this kind of thing half way through last season.
What is going to be the major theme of season two? Season one was all about Nikita’s redemption. Is that still going to continue?
It’s a little bit of that, and because Michael is now starting where Nikita’s already progressed. There’s a real strong theme of home this season. They’re all looking for their home. Alex is looking for the home she once had and lost. Nikita’s looking for the home she’s really never ever had and thinks she can get it with Michael. But they can’t settle down until they make sure no one’s chasing and that means taking down Oversight, which means taking down Division once and for all.
What are we looking at as far as guest actors?
It’s a little early, but right away there’s a new character introduced named Sean, who is the man of Oversight. He is sent in to supervise Amanda, who is now running Division. He’s a character who you really don’t know if he’s good or bad. We modeled him on Colin Ferrell on Minority Report. He starts right away. We have an arc with a woman named Cassandra that starts around episode five, a woman from Michael’s past. Later on we get into two other arcs with some female characters which is a spoiler just to mention who they are. And some of the people from season one are returning, Owen, Ryan.
Do you have a dream guardian Death Guard?
You know, I was excited to get Ray Park. I thought that was great, so now it’s like, ‘Oh God, what are we going to do?’ You almost have to go another way.
(Alice) Now that you have one season under your belt, are you finding you’re getting less compared to the original franchises and forged your own path.
I think so. I feel like those comparisons started to go away toward the top of last season anyway. You realized out of the gate it was a different deal. Hopefully.
On the topic of the other shows, are you going to bring in more actors from previous series?
Alberta Watson, who played Madeline, was in episode 22 and she’ll be in episode 1 of the season. She’ll play a bigger part this season.
Any plans past her?
I don’t know, you’ve got to be careful with it. You don’t want to say it all belongs in the same universe. I think Alberta has plans for it. She was pitching me some ideas the other day. They’re all up there in Toronto.
You did something unheard of in TV when you had Michael and Nikita get together. You didn’t have that “will they are won’t they.” Were you nervous at all?
You know, it’s funny I was just asked the question what had changed from the original plan. And that’s the one thing that changed. They got together faster than we had planned. It started to feel like something had to happen to define Michael, he had to pick a side. Afterwards I wasn’t nervous about it the back half of season one because it was only around episode 17 they got together. We were right there in the third act of the season. Now, going into it. We have plans for how their dynamic works together and how it’s not just all hearts and roses. How a wedge gets driven between them in a way that’s not annoying for people who like them together.
Will we learn more about where Nikita got the loft?
The loft is gone. The loft was destroyed in the season finale. We burned it down, we blew it up. When we find them they’re on the road like Bonnie and Clyde living in motels. And that changes about half way through the first episodes.
We explained the origins of it in episode 16. It’s pretty much an old safe house from an old target she had in Division. She took it over and it was fabulous for while.
When were talking about the original black boxes, it was number one thousand or something, that’s just a random number, right? There aren’t really a thousand something black boxes.
No, no, there’s only seven. And now there’s four. They’re the horcruxes, that’s all they are.
Melinda Clarke killed it in the finale, she was fantastic was that always the plan, her sneaking up on Percy without all of us knowing and taking over?
In fact, if the Network had let me you would have seen more of that. They thought, “It’s going to be too much change, scoop some into the premiere of the first episode of the second season.”
We’ll learn more about Amanda?
Yep, she’s good. She’s scary.
You mentioned your plan of how something changed with Michael and Nikita getting together. How far out does your plan go?
I’ve got it planned through season three. Past that, I’m hoping that whatever happens in season three will give me an idea of how to keep going or one of I’ll make one of the other writers figure it out and I’ll leave. I’m not saying that it can’t change along the way but I’m just being honest.
(Alice) These scripts are just packed. Is that just something you set from day one?
That’s just the way I break stories. We start out wanting to make it simple and I get bored. I want to see something happen. So that’s how they get packed.
(Alice) It’s been amazing you’ve been able to keep up that pace. The writer’s haven’t been complaining?
They bought me a big detonator, a plunger, just because I keep blowing up the stories. So I actually have a detonator in the writers room now, with the title “TNT.” But they’re used to it.
I remember when you did Standoff. Did you learn anything from that show that you brought into Nikita?
Yeah, you always learn from stuff. I think Standoff for me was a flawed premise. It was trying to mix light romantic banter with hostage negotiation which is really grim and high stakes. Also, the show starts at the highest stake possible. There’s no room to breathe. With a show like Nikita it starts down and builds. It’s better.
I think Fox wanted the much more serious, gritty, action and I was like “You cast Ron Livingston. He’s not Kiefer Sutherland, he’s awesome, but he doesn’t do that.”
(Alice) Do you find any production limitations shooting in Toronto?
It was the hottest day in history in Toronto two days ago. I just flew in this morning from Toronto. Toronto is great. We can make it look like DC, we can make it look like New York.
Russia, a lot. We go to Russia a lot. We did Yemen last year, and we’re going to do Columbia. Toronto for Columbia, we’re going to make it work while the weather is good.