The man who trained her and who loves her is hunting her.

We all love a story about an underdog facing a seemingly all-powerful secret organisation.

This underdog is Nikita (Maggie Q), a woman taken from prison to be trained by an organisation called Division. She escapes and is determined to take down Division. But the man hunting her is the man who trained her, the gravely-voiced, steely-eyed Michael (Shane West).

Nikita has one advantage – a partner on the inside. New Division recruit Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca), a drug user she rescued off the streets, is playing a dangerous game feeding information to Nikita and hiding who she really is from Michael and the Division heavyweights, Percy and masterful manipulator Amanda (Melinda Clarke), especially when other recruits are out to bring her down. Nikita also finds unlikely allies along the way: Division operative Owen (Devon Sawa), once a guardian of a “black box” and CIA analyst Ryan (Noah Bean), both intriguing characters who are somewhat conflicted in their dealings with her.

We may think we’ve heard some of the Nikita story before: Top-trained assassin goes rogue and now wants revenge.

But the chemistry between Nikita and Michael sets this series apart. Nikita is also exciting and addictive viewing with thrilling action, intrigue, plots and counter plots and all the sort of drama that comes with spies. It also has multi-dimensional characters who develop and change, not only their points of view but ultimately their allegiances.

We know Michael and Nikita have history and as he begins to see the truth about Division and learns what really happened to his family he changes sides. In one sense it was hardly surprising; Michael always seemed just too damned honourable – and too damned attractive – to be one of the bad guys.

Alex, on the other hand, has a harsh truth to learn – that Nikita has lied to her. Driven by anger and the need for vengeance against the men who killed her family in Russia, she embraces Division in season two, making Nikita now her reluctant enemy.

At the end of season one, Nikita and Michael drive off into the sunset – or at least into a storm, literally and metaphorically.

In season two, currently showing on Nine, the pair is still on the trail of Percy’s “black boxes” which contain all of Division’s secrets. Division is being run by Amanda who wants Alex’s help in finding the black boxes.

The series Nikita had a few hiccups midway through season one where the plot seemed to go astray in a couple of episodes, but then it regathered and became a tense, thrilling ride.

If you like espionage thrillers with drama, strong, conflicted characters – and even a bit of steamy romance – Nikita is superior. Maggie Q sizzles as Nikita, the sort of heroine you want coming to the rescue, a tough gal who can defy the odds, knows how to defend herself and others and can find a solution to nearly any deadly predicament.

The relationship between Michael and Nikita is complicated and absorbing; teacher-student, colleagues, enemies, ultimately lovers; it is this tension that kicks the series to a different level.

Even if you haven’t seen season one (it is out on DVD), you’ll catch up quickly if you jump into season two.

HOT GUY ALERT: If you have to be hunted by someone, let it be Shane West (Michael).

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