'Nikita' set visit: Melinda Clarke talks her weapon of choice and Julie Cooper

Watch out, Maggie Q. "Nikita's" Melinda Clarke plays another beautiful, deadly and unpredictable woman you don't want to underestimate.

The TV star known for a variety of roles, ranging from the crafty Julie Cooper on "The O.C." to dominatrix Lady Heather on "CSI," talks to Zap2it during a visit to the Toronto set in August.

Clarke plays Amanda, a mysterious but powerful woman in Division, the agency that first trained Nikita (Q) to be an assassin before she went rogue. In the scene, Amanda is in her half-modern, half-shabby chic all-white lair (a contrast to Nikita's hodgepodge hideout) sitting across from Alex ( Lyndsy Fonseca), the latest Division recruit who just had a panic attack during training.

Clarke gives a little insight into the very quiet but sinister scene she's shooting:



The scene Clarke is shooting is only in the fourth episode, and given the rather cryptic speeches and actions, she's still unsure of what her character's specific role in Division is. Nevertheless, she sits down with Zap2it to reveal as much as she can (without having to kill us).

Who is Amanda?

  • "I can only assume that Amanda 20 years ago was in the exact same position that maybe Alex was in. However there's all kinds of back stories we can come up with. Maybe she's the one who actually runs Division, who knows?"
  • "I don't think anyone who works at Division wants to be on the wrong side of Amanda. Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of Amanda."
  • According to one of the writers, Amanda is a cross between Lorraine Bracco's Dr. Melfi on "The Sopranos" and Dr. Hannibal Lecter of "Silence of the Lambs" fame.
  • "We should assume that she's a master manipulator, she's a psychologist. She can probably get anything and everything out of somebody and also brainwash them."

Amanda's wardrobe aesthetic


  • "She's clearly in control and together and beautiful. I personally want her to be progressive and fashion forward and not matronly. I think the show lends itself to that. I'm hoping that even though the young girls are supposed to be looking at Nikita's fashions -- which is rockin' -- I think that my character will be the same."
  • "[The shoes are] always a four-inch heel with a platform. That definitely lends itself to the character, so sometimes when I take them off for a shot, sometimes the attitude is gone."

melinda-clarke-nikita-500.jpg Despite the heels and "talk therapy," Amanda still might kick butt

  • "There will be a few surprises. Better be, soon. Nobody's told me, but on my own, I'll bet for sure I'll have some action."
  • "I trained quite a bit years ago for and action show called 'Soldier of Fortune.' I consider this role a combination between that character, who was a secret operative, and Lady Heather."
  • "If you're lucky enough to be on a show where you live with the weapon, which is what we did on 'Soldier of Fortune,' it's like driving a car. It comes back pretty easily. I've done some hand-to-hand combat with Maggie."
  • "Usually [my weapon of choice is] the Glock 9mm, which isn't that fabulous, but it works. It's very efficient. Knives are good too. I've done knife fights and can use a knife very well."

lyndsy-fonseca-melnda-clarke-nikita-500.jpg Still living with "The O.C.'s" Julie Cooper

"I'm shocked at what people actually know because there's definitely a fanbase that never watched 'The O.C.' or watched or 'CSI' or episode I did of 'Firefly' or those shows that have huge fanbases. But 'The O.C.' is still run in Canada and the U.S. multiple times a day. Playing Julie Cooper, I had so much fun doing it first because she was so different from roles I've done beofre but also because we found she could be really funny. That wasn't originally written that way, but I was always looking for different ways to make her bigger than life and entertaining. I think Amanda has a sense of humor but it's very subtle."

Clarke's dream guest star

"I think Amanda needs a love interest of some sort. You know who'd love to work with? Love, love, love Tate Donovan. It's so much more than his just being a great actor. He's an incredible human being and we just laughed our asses off all day long. He just makes me laugh. You know what he's doing now? He's actually directing, so I'd love for him to come and direct. Tate Donovan needs to come and direct 'Nikita.'"

With or without a Jimmy and Julie Cooper reunion, Clarke will still smolder on "Nikita" this fall, beginning Thursday, Sept. 9 on The CW.

Be sure to also read Maggie Q's set visit interview with a look inside Nikita's lair. Check back Shane West and Lyndsy Fonseca's chats with Zap2it in Toronto.

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Photo credits: The CW