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Exclusive! Nikita’s Xander Berkeley Says Percy “Knows a Lot More Than It Appears”

With each foiled Division mission, Percy appears to lose major steam. But according to Nikita's Xander Berkeley, who plays the merciless head-honcho, we’re being kinda naive, just like Nikita. The seasoned actor revealed exclusively to Wetpaint that Percy’s power lies not just in his ability to carry out an assassination with deliberate speed, but also in his ability to do nothing at all. In other words, to fully understand Percy, we must look closely at what he’s not doing and what he’s not saying. It’s all starting to make sense now, isn’t it?

Keep reading to see what other juicy tidbits Xander revealed, and why Percy might have to put Michael in time-out!

You've had a pretty extensive acting career. Do you prefer playing the good guy or the villain?

“Oh, I just like interesting characters. I’ve played my share of villains, so they come up because, somehow, I think once you play certain characters on certain movies and certain shows, it gets lodged in the subconscious of an audience. You just have to show up and they will feel a sense of menace. But I will consider playing any character that’s well-written.”

Well, you play a pretty convincing villain on Nikita. Will we ever find out how Percy came to be such a ruthless killing machine?

“Because the show is called Nikita, we see things from Nikita’s point of view. But I think Percy genuinely believes that she’s naive and that her world view is still limited. And she’s going to have to come around to seeing that the world is a more complicated place and that things can’t be taken personally. They have to be done sometimes to keep the big picture in place and to afford the United States the freedom and the economic welfare that it has. A lot of things have to happen on the global level that are sometimes untidy and distasteful. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.”

So, Percy’s actually coming from a good place even though a lot of what he does is pretty heartless?

“I don’t think anyone operates from a place of wanting to be bad. I would find that pretty hard to play week after week. [Percy] has to believe that he’s doing what needs to be done. It looks bad, and it even looks bad to him sometimes. He looks disheartened when he has to keep on taking these side jobs — freelance work in order to keep the budget strong because he never knows when some Black Ops mission is going to be required. You know, the CIA, the other wings of the Defense Department which are mired in bureaucracy... Sometimes, someone has to be taken out ... and he’s the go-to guy for that. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.”

Percy seems to have a soft spot for Michael, letting him get away with failed Division missions and not holding him accountable. Will a Michael-Percy backstory be revealed?

“I think that’s gonna be revealed. It’s a balance between all of them them with Percy, whether it’s Nikita or Alex. ...He may know a lot more than it appears he knows, and might just be letting things go, you know, how a fisherman in deep-sea waters will let the line run out to see how far it wants to go — I don’t know how good a metaphor that is, I haven’t done that much fishing [laughs] — but... he will get access to more information by not revealing how much he knows too early on. [Percy] is always thinking, always calculating, but with Michael there is a genuine fondness and paternal feeling. And also a feeling — in so far as his conscious is intact — that he feels he owes something more to Michael than to others."

Now that Michael suspects Alex as the mole, will he reveal that information to Percy or keep it to himself?

“That’s a question that will have to be revealed in the episode.”

Bummer! Can we look forward to a romantic backstory between Amanda and Percy?

“Percy takes a pretty hard line about relationships in the workplace, so if that were to be the case, it would have to be of a very dark and secretive nature. It hasn’t been revealed yet, but we have fun playing around with it in various forms. It attracts dark humor from everyone on set on a regular basis."

Speaking of the set, what’s the vibe like?

“It’s fun. You know, with a show this serious, I always feel like you have to keep it light on set, or things get too serious.”

Maggie Q said she slept for 12 hours after shooting certain scenes because they were so intense.

“Oh, she works hard, that’s for sure. Between the action and the bitter cold, there’s no doubt she works the hardest.”

Back to the spoilers! What can we expect for the end of the season? Any huge plot twists?

“We’re all waiting to see that ourselves! There are a lot of great twists. It’s one of the things the writers are good at accomplishing — continual twists and turns to take the audience on, and us too.

Like Jaden graduating from recruit to full Division operative? Will that change...

“Where did you hear that?”

Shane West said it.

“Hmm, he’s giving away a lot of stuff! So far, we haven’t shot that, so I’m going to say, 'no comment.'”

Ha, "no comment"?

“Yeah, I’m going to have to reprimand Michael roundly for revealing secrets about Division. [laughs]”

02.10.2011 / 02:52 AM EDT by Lindsay Dreyer
Related: Nikita, Gossip, Interviews, Spoilers, Xander Berkeley, Percy

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