Matthew Ferguson



Birkoff - the computer mastermind
of Section One.

Section One is made up of hundreds of operatives, and each has his own story. Although many share similarities in their backgrounds - most often as killers - Birkoff remains a Section enigma.

His relatively young age sets him apart from many of his fellow operatives. He is a curious mix of youth and complete professional - often munching on oreos as he guides operatives through life and death situations. His total assurance of his skills borders on arrogance, yet in other areas his growth has been stunted. He is surrounded by guns and other weaponry, yet when caught off-guard in a life-threatening situation he needed Nikita's direction to help him load a gun. Shooting the man who attempted to kill him sent Birkoff into a state of shock, which adds to the theory that however he was recruited, it wasn't for his mercenary skills.

It is not known how long Birkoff has been a member of Section, and he doesn't speak about his past or personal life unless coaxed - usually by Nikita. He once jokingly told her he had been recruited because he killed his sister, but whether he even has a sister is a mystery. His lifestyle suggests he came into Section at a young age. We know that he has been in Section for more than seven years, and during that time has chosen to remain isolated, shutting himself off from the world outside Section walls. His living quarters reflect Section in general - white and sterile, a few personal touches, but very little warmth.

Birkoff is very much a product of Section, but since Nikita's arrival he seems to be reaching beyond his original training. He is maturing. Birkoff and Nikita appear to be close in age, their relationship is one of a tentative friendship as they learn to trust each other. (Including trusting Nikita with his first name - Seymour.) Birkoff's shock when he witnessed Nikita's "death", and the unmistakable happiness on his face when she was "rescued" from Freedom League showed clearly how much he had come to care for her. His relationship with Michael is not so well-defined, but it is clear that the two respect each other's abilities. Birkoff - who claims he "doesn't do favors" - changed numbers on a computer sim to give Michael a better chance of being rescued by Section when he was stranded in a hostile enviroment. An action that could have cost him if discovered by Operations and Madeline. Birkoff and Walter also have an interesting relationship. The two often work together on missions, argue over how to carry them out effectively, and provide each other with a sounding board and support. They treat each other as professional equals.

Birkoff's most complicated relationships are with Operations and Madeline. Although they are not parental with him, each has shown moments of genuine fondness - something not seen in their relationships with any other operative. Despite this affection, Birkoff is treated the same as the other operatives in Section. When his concentration and performance faltered after killing his would-be attacker, he was placed in abeyance. He is expected to be a complete professional, but has begun to experience what it is like to try to cope with personal feelings while doing the job required of him. His involvement with fellow operative Gail has challenged him, forcing him to decide between loyalty to Section, or loyalty to someone he cares about.

Birkoff has lived in Section for a significant portion of his life, but it is only now that he has begun to realize that he is going to have to find a way to balance his personal life with his lifetime commitment to Section One. This may prove to be his greatest challenge.