Title: Line In The Sand
Air Date: July 2, 2000
Synopsis: Birkhoff believes he found the location of the Red Cell leader and Hillinger, now at Oversight, gets involved.
Birkhoff is doing some heavy computing when Walter stops by, Seymour keeps on working. Elsewhere, Hillinger is alerted to Birkhoff’s actions and begins to monitor him. Birkhoff thinks he found the Cardinal, the head of Red Cell. He intrudes on Operations in the Tower to tell him, "I found the Cardinal."
Nikita’s apartment. Mick barges in with an interior decorator, Monique, to look at Nikita’s home. Michael calls in Nikita. As she enters Section One, Walter remarks that he’s worried Birkhoff made a mistake. Michael greets her, "Haven’t seen you for awhile." Operations briefs them on a mission to infiltrate the Cardinal’s base camp and extract him. Hillinger discovers the plan at Section One and reports it to George, insisting that Birkhoff is wrong. George orders Operations to abort the mission. Operations confronts Birkhoff, "Hillinger thinks your wrong." Seymour holds to the his findings but begins to question them. Nikita encourages him to trust his instincts. Hillinger discovers that Section One is going ahead with the mission and informs George, but suggests allowing Operations to go through with it and hang himself in the Red Cell trap.
As the mission is underway, Hillinger cuts in on the communications. He and Birkhoff get into an ego conflict trying to out do each other. The team moves in on the base camp. Birkhoff tells Hillinger that the message was layered, causing Hillinger to start worrying as he realizes his mistake. Birkhoff gains more confidence as the mission unfolds. Hillinger rushes to fix his blunder as George walks in the room to inform him that Mr. Jones agrees with his assessment of the Cardinal situation. "Prepare a co-op’d order on Section One. Operations will be removed."
Cardinal’s Base Camp. An evacuation warning is received, which appears to be genuine, the Cardinal considers it. Section One operatives converge on the Cardinal’s location, but he’s gone. Michael reports his absence to Operations. Suddenly the operatives are surrounded by soldiers and take heavy fire.
Section One. Operations scolds Birkhoff in the White Room. Birkhoff says, "The Cardinal must’ve been tipped off. I satellite tagged the base as soon as I found it. Anyone moving in or out can be tracked." "Hillinger was right…now I must make you pay for this."
The torture twins enter and prepare to give Birkhoff an injection. Birkhoff continues to plead that he can find the Cardinal. Michael, Nikita, and a few operatives stagger in from Van Access. Michael and Nikita report to Madeline and tell her the mission was sabotaged, the Cardinal was there but was warned of their approach. Madeline hurries down the hall. Operations is just stepping out of the White Room as Madeline approaches. She relays Michael’s report. Operations abruptly throws open the door to the White Room, "Stop!" Regaining his composure, "Birkhoff, you got one more chance. We’ll assemble a small field team." Oversight. George briefs his team on securing Section One.
Back at Section, Operations is alone in a corridor in thought. Madeline walks over, "George is on his way…we should go." She reports less than a 5% chance of finding the Cardinal. Then the conversation takes on a personal tone as Operations tells her, "You’ve been by my side for the last 17 years. This time I don’t want you coming with me." "You’re going to need my help." They speak briefly of old times when everything seemed clearer.
Operations steps into the Perch and looks down on the operatives gathered below. In a final address he announces that Oversight is relieving Section One of its authority and he is relinquishing command. He advises them to profess their loyalty to George and have a chance at survival. "Thank you for your efforts on my behalf." Operations exits the Perch. Madeline is in her office with Nikita and Michael. "I want you two on the mission." Nikita bluntly says, "Is that an order." "It’s a request." interjects Michael. Nikita looks at Madeline, "When’s the last time you did one for us?" "If you don’t want to, just tell me."
Birkhoff is in Comm gathering his essentials. Walter approaches and hands him a disc, "This’ll keep you off their satellites." Then tells him to quit obsessing over Hillinger. But Birkhoff feels Hillinger is the reason he was strapped in the chair. Michael and Nikita are preparing. Nikita asks, "Why are we doing this?" "We wouldn’t survive under George." "You need this place don’t you?" After a pause, "No."
Michael, Nikita, Birkhoff, Operations, and Madeline board a van and depart. Moments later they are all immersed in their tasks speaking to contacts and analyzing intel. Oversight moves into Section One and secures it. George grows impatient with Hillinger who is now looking for Birkhoff and the Cardinal. Van, Birkhoff locates the Cardinal. Back at Section, Hillinger believes he found Birkhoff and their intended target. George tells Hillinger to oversee the mission and bring in the Cardinal and rogue operatives.
Hillinger and his team arrive at a retreat, after seeing no resistance they enter to find Monique sitting behind a desk, calmly giving instructions over her ear piece. Hillinger steps up, "Where’s the Cardinal bitch?" and aims his gun at her. Unconcerned, she continues speaking over the ear piece as her men step behind Hillinger’s team and take them out. Hillinger drops the gun and mutters, "What is this place?" Monique finally speaks, "We have been following you and Mr. Birkhoff’s recent activities. I must say I am a little surprised that you were so badly outmaneuvered. The man in the next room is not the Cardinal, it is Mr. Jones. Welcome to the Center."
In the next room, someone is playing the piano. Monique walks around to the player,
Mick is Mr. Jones; the guy that has been Nikita’s informant for a number of years now.. Monique suggests, "Maybe Mr. Birkhoff would be better suited to our purposes." "Perhaps."
Section One. Madeline and Operations lead their team in with the Cardinal following. George meets them, "Congratulations." Operations is almost smiling with George in such an uncomfortable position. Operations, George, and finally Madeline interrogate the Cardinal, establishing his identity first. The Cardinal is surprisingly talkative. Madeline questions how he was tipped off and he reveals it was an evacuation message traced back to Oversight. George blurts, "He’s lying." Operations disagrees, "He has no reason to now." Birkhoff delivers a report to Operations that confirms the message came from George’s office.
Operations and George discuss the events. "We can’t determine who sent the message yet…Mr. Jones wants to know who is responsible."
Birkhoff faces Hillinger in the White Room with orders to cancel him. However, he can’t go through with it and tells Operations that Hillinger is more valuable alive. Operations goes through with the cancellation order anyhow.
Nikita’s apartment. Mick is there going over some decorating choices. Nikita gives him a rather seductive look as she leaves to return to Section.