Melinda Clarke Talks ‘Nikita’: Amanda Is Underground And In Exile When We Open Season 3
If you didn’t get enough Nikita secrets from my interview with creator/executive producer Craig Silverstein, you’re in luck because I’m not done yet. I also checked in with Melinda Clarke, who plays the villain we love to hate, Amanda, for intel on where her character is headed in the rapidly approaching season three, which begins next Friday, October 19.
“I go out of my way to go to the grocery store and go pick up my laundry like this,” said Melinda, putting on an obvious smile, “because if I don’t, with no expression, I look like this.” Which is to say, devoid of expression and not too far removed from Amanda, who is not the person you want to run into at the grocery store!
Not that you would have that problem, because when we open season three, Amanda is far from out in the public eye. “She’s underground and in exile, the way Nikita was,” explained Melinda, who added that her once seemingly invulnerable character “lost a lot” after cracking her shell over the course of season two. “She had empathy for Alex, she had empathy for Nikita, she had empathy and feelings for Percy. No matter how messed up all of that was, it was still real,” she said. “She’s going down a darker path because of all of these betrayals.”
The biggest among these, of course, was the death of Percy (played by Xander Berkeley), Amanda’s one-time partner in crime and possibly more than that. We’ll never know for sure, because at the end of season two, Nikita knocked off the show’s big bad. Melinda says Percy’s demise will have a major impact on Amanda, and more than just her if Amanda gets her way. “I really hope we address the fact that Percy is not there anymore and how much that’s damaged her,” she said. “Xander and I really discussed at length our relationship and what it was, whether it was physical or not, it was this hyper-intellectual relationship that lent itself to ‘We’re better than everyone in the world and we can do this together.’ Amanda never saw herself without him, but he probably did see himself without her.
“The fact that he perishes at the hands of Nikita, that’s not cool with Amanda,” she added, as Amanda believes that if anyone was going to end Percy, it should have been her.
But viewers got to know much more about Amanda in season two, whether it was her complex relationship with Percy or her romantic entanglement with Ari (Peter Outerbridge). “I really hope we don’t ignore all of the development we spent on her last year. When you take a character like this and you actually do show emotion and peel back the layers, they’re all human beings,” Melinda said. “I think she’s such a flawed human being. As much as I’d like to think that she’s capable of true love, I think she was using [Ari].” We’ll find out as both characters are slated to return in season three, with Amanda making her first appearance in the fourth episode.
As for working with Outerbridge, she told me that “He’s wonderful. He’s a fantastic actor, he’s super well-loved and adored and respected, especially in Canada. Just a committed actor. You look each other in the eye and you just know it’s going to turn out great.”
Compared to her previous notable roles (such as on The O.C. and CSI), “This character’s a little more challenging than others. She’s so controlled and so restrained. Craig purposely made the character very enigmatic and mysterious,” Melinda said of playing Amanda, although that mystery might continue to unravel in season three, namely some of Amanda’s past. “I have a feeling they might explore that this year. There’s all kinds of different routes you could take. She could be just like Alex or Nikita, or she could be from an affluent family and well-educated and some traumatic thing happened in her life. Or she could just be a victim of the government.”
Nikita returns on Friday, October 19 on The CW.
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(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Fanbolt with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.