There are a lot of women who can handle themselves in a fight in the world of movies and TV. From Terminator‘s Sarah Connor and Alien‘s Ripley to Game of Thrones‘ Brienne and Charlie’s Angels, the last few decades of pop culture have been filled with female fighters. But out of all of them, Nikita just might be the deadliest of all.
The character has gone through a number of iterations over the years, but trust us, you wouldn’t want to meet any of them in a dark alley. Her debut was in the 1990 French film La Femme Nikita. Written and directed by Luc Besson, who would go on to write and direct other classics like Leon: The Professional and The Fifth Element, the movie introduced the world to a new kind of assassin. A wayward drug-addicted teenager, Nikita (Anne Parillaud) is arrested for murder and sentenced to life in prison. But instead of serving her sentence, she is selected by a covert government agency to take part in a secret program. There, they fake her death and train her to become a deadly killer. She morphs into a star agent after becoming an expert in martial arts, gunplay, seduction, and the latest technology. But by movie’s end, she tires of her life as an assassin and disappears. But that wasn’t the end of Nikita’s story, rather, it was just the beginning.
After two loose remakes with Hong Kong’s Black Cat in 1991 and Hollywood’s Point of No Return in 1993, Nikita officially returned in the 1997 tv series La Femme Nikita. Inspired by the film, the series — which starred Peta Wilson as the eponymous assassin — was able to expand greatly on the story given its format. In this version, Nikita was not a drug addict who committed murder prior to being an assassin. Rather, she was framed for murder and forced to become an assassin, setting up more of a conflict between her and her employers. This conflict runs throughout the course of the series, and the episodes do a great job of honing in on Nikita’s inner turmoil. Still, in between all the drama, it remains Nikita’s job to kill people — and the show continuously reminds us that she is very good at it.
After five seasons on the air, La Femme Nikita bowed out in 2001. But you can’t keep a good assassin down. A reboot of the series, called Nikita, premiered on the CW in 2010. More loosely based on the original film than its predecessor was, this version sets up an even more antagonistic relationship between Nikita and the organization that trained her. In it, Nikita (Maggie Q) has already escaped the government program that made her an assassin, and now she’s on the hunt for revenge. This version of the character is so skilled at what she does that she’s practically a superhero; albeit a very deadly one. The series lasted for four seasons before riding off into the sunset in 2013.
Due to her longevity in the business — and the extremely high body count she has amassed — Nikita has got to be the deadliest woman in pop culture. You can see for yourself just how deadly by tuning in to La Femme Nikita on CHARGE! with back-to-back episodes every weeknight starting at midnight/11C.