'Nikita' set visit: Shane West tells tattoo stories, needs yoga


"Nikita" has one inked-up cast. We've already seen Maggie Q's huge tattoo splashed across billboards, captured Lyndsy Fonseca's tats on video and now want to get the details on Shane West's body art.

Unfortunately, a set visit on the public streets of Toronto is not exactly the best place for West to suddenly disrobe and show some skin, but he does his best to describe to Zap2it what he's got under his "Nikita" wardrobe in the video above.

Beyond the tattoos, West and his co-stars share the physical challenges of the job. On the show, Nikita (Q) is a rogue assassin who was trained by Division, a mysterious agency that has now recruited Alex (Fonseca). West plays Michael, a Division agent who had trained with Nikita years before she left.

The Action

"What you can expect from Michael is everything and anything," West says about keeping up with his kick-ass female co-stars. "Michael has already gotten into a few fights and had some gun play, shot some people. I can only imagine that it's going to get even crazier."

The former "Once and Again" and "ER" actor has always been athletic, so his endurance is no problem. His form is another story.

"I've done action and fight scenes before, but I was never supposed to be any sort of trained fighter in any sense of the word," he admits. "Doing kicks has been the hardest thing because of making it look good. You can kick anyone without lifting your foot very high and it'll be just as effective, but on camera, it's all about lifting the knee really high and extending.

"I'm not a yoga guy. I've been an athlete all my life. I never stretched but I never hurt myself. I was one of those annoying guys. Now I've realized with this show I need to do a lot of stretching. I might have to get into yoga. It works. I just hope they don't throw any extra kicks in in the next few episodes so I get a chance to learn."

shane-west-nikita-02-320.jpg Dissecting Michael

Nikita and Michael have history, and her return to take down the agency he's still working for creates conflict within each of them.

"She was one of my students, yes," says West from his character's point of view. "It was six years ago when she was in Division. She's been gone rogue for four years. I believe that in the few years that she was in Division, something blossomed between them -- whether it was physical, emotional, I don't know yet."

West doesn't want to paint Michael as evil though just because he's working for a shady agency that takes impressionable young people and turns them into lethal weapons. His boss Percy ( Xander Berkeley) is the one who's the most adamant about recapturing Nikita.

"I think that Michael would say he thinks it's a very important agency that does things that most people cannot do and work they cannot get to, situations they can't fix," says West. "I believe that he knows that some of their missions may be sketchy, but he believes that inherently there's a good reason behind everything Percy does. He doesn't necessarily trust him but he does feel he owes him."

"Nikita" premieres on The CW on Thursday, Sept. 9.

Read the other Zap2it "Nikita" set visit interviews: Maggie Q, Melinda Clarke and Lyndsy Fonseca.

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Photo credits: The CW