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Date Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 09:27:35pm
Author: JayBee
Subject: This raises an initial question (r)
In reply to: Nell and Jaybee 's message, "Wednesday Roundup 1/11/2006" on Wednesday, January 11, 05:33:59pm

Which is: what *is* adultery, exactly, in the Section universe? Is a mission marriage even a marriage? After all, Nikita didn't marry Helmut as "Nikita," but rather as her false alter ego. Marriage under a false identity certainly wouldn't be legally binding in any way whatsoever (and that's even without the complication of Nikita's real identity being legally dead!), so, is there even a marriage to commit adultery against? I tend to think not. So, for me, Michael couldn't commit adultery against Elena, nor could Nikita against Helmut, because those were frauds, not marriages.

Moving on to marriages inside Section (e.g., Michael with Simone and Madeline with Charles), I think there is still very dubious legality given the whole "legally dead" thing. But assuming that there is a greater claim to legitimacy here, you could argue that one or both of these two characters committed adultery.

But it's still a bit fuzzy. We don't know, for example, what Madeline did while she actually lived with Charles, since that was all pre-series. For all we know, she was completely monogamous during that time. And does it count as adultery if you reasonably (but mistakenly) believe your spouse is dead, as Madeline did after Charles went missing? I suppose one could make that argument, but I guess I don't find it all that serious a transgression given the circumstances.

Michael, on the other hand, undertook his "mission marriage" to Elena before Simone went missing, so the claim of adultery here is much stronger. But this raises yet another complication -- is adultery-by-compulsion (that is, being forced to do so under threat of cancellation) all that big a sin?

I think *that* is the main reason why LFN fans are so forgiving. There is no evidence that Nikita, Madeline or even Michael were *willing* adulterers, because they either (a) weren't voluntarily married; and/or (b) didn't choose to cheat on their spouses of their own accord (or, in Madeline's case, with full knowledge of the circumstances).

Paul is the only exception to this "lack of voluntariness," and it is thus not very surprising that fans tend to be harder on him on this issue.

Poor Walter, of course, didn't get to stay married long enough for this to become an issue for him. And Birkoff is the only one of our main six who wasn't canonically married.

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