Don Francks



Walter - weapons designer and voice of experience for Section One.

From the beginning, certain things about Walter have been obvious. A skilled craftsman with an appreciation for beautiful women, he is one of the few to have survived in Section with heart and soul intact.

Beyond these basics, little is known about the man or his background. Walter is someone that others turn to for guidance, but it is rare that he shares his own problems with anyone. His physical appearance conjures thoughts of hippies, free love, and peace demonstrations, but then again, in Section, appearances can be deceiving. The truth is that nothing is known of Walter's past, or how he came to be in Section.

By observing his interaction with Operations, it appears that the two have been together for a long time - perhaps since Section's beginning. They work together without powerplay - Operations' respect for Walter's abilities reflected by his actions, calling him in for consultation when planning missions, for example. This effort to work together for the most effective results is quite possibly a reason why Walter does not generally challenge Operations' judgement when final decisions are made. There is a trust that suggests that the two have spent many years - and lived through many crises - together. Walter and Madeline are rarely seen together, but a mutual respect is implied. There is a sense of comfort between them, which extends to Operations as well. When Section was faced with possible extinction, it was Madeline who stepped in to halt the arguing between the two men - when she called them on their behavior, they listened to her because they knew that she was right. These three - Operations, Madeline, and Walter - create a Section triumverate of power, psychology, and reason. Combined, they are the essence of Section One.

Despite the influence of Walter's long-term status and important role in Section, he remains very approachable. Whether through observation or actual conversation, Walter seems to know and understand his fellow operatives better than almost anyone else. He is one of the few in Section to treat Michael as a person, rather than an infallible spyboy. When Walter confided to Nikita that Michael had shut down after Simone's death and that it was Nikita's presence that was reviving him, it was not difficult to believe that he was speaking the truth. Walter does not sugarcoat the realities of Section. When Nikita sought advice about Gray, he was gentle with her, but brutally honest about what would happen if she defied Section and pursued the relationship. He even offered an example from his own experiences - how he let go of Paula Davenport, a woman he was very serious about, because he recognized that he was no longer in a position to provide her with a normal life. Walter has accepted his fate, but without allowing his spirit to be crushed. This way of living is one that has influenced others in Section. Even Birkoff, one of Section's most cynical and private members, has begun to show signs of forging a life for himself, consulting Walter on personal, in addition to professional, matters.

Walter provides Section with positive energy. Despite the repressive nature of Section life, he has been known to coax a smile from even the most serious - including Michael. Although not always upbeat (he is human, after all), Walter provides an example for other operatives to emulate. Dedicated to the job, loyal to Section, but always true to himself. As Walter once described himself - a member of Section One's 5% club. Now it only remains to be seen who else will join him in this rare community where preservation of humanity and soul is the only way to earn membership.