Rachel Nichols: Vancouver & Badass Character Make a Good Continuum

Rachel Nichols talks about her past and the future of Continuum, her time-travelling cop show.

Michael Langleyby Michael Langley

Rachel Nichols Continuum

The second season of the Showcase show Continuum is now underway and Rachel Nichols is so glad to be back, she rented an apartment in Vancouver, where the show films.

Nichols talked about her character Kiera in a relaxed practiced way, not because she knows her role in these interviews, but because she is very familiar with the woman she plays.

Kiera is a Vancouver police officer knocked back in time from 65 years in the future along with a group of criminals she helped capture. The first season of Continuum dealt with Kiera trying to get her bearings in our low-tech world, trying to infiltrate the modern day Vancouver police force so she could track the criminals (who now call themselves Liber8) and dealing with the emotional baggage of a life, husband and son left behind. (Or left forward?)

This season, Continuum showrunners want to delve more deeply into the effects of time travel.

"Maybe the decisions she's making here in this time are actively sacrificing the future that she's so trying desperately to get home to," Nichols hinted. "Is she actually jeopardizing her family, her husband, her son.  Could she possibly do something that can cause her to never be born, in the future?  And so yes, it's the black and white is not so cut and dry this season and there are a lot of questions she have to ask herself."

Nichols seemed to recognize that leading a show means her character's actions have the largest impact on the direction of the story. Though that is a change, the 33-year-old actress is familiar with portraying strong women in iconic series. Nichols has played a younger version of Sydney Bristow in Alias, Scarlett in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and the Orion girl Gaila in the 2009 Star Trek.

"I'm definitely flattered that people like to see me in these roles and if they find me believable in these roles because it is really what I like to do," Nichols gushed. "I consider myself extremely fortunate because having been established in the physical roles for law enforcement."

"I love the action aspect, I like the guns," Nichols added, and that is a career gift that keeps giving, she said.

"It's kind of the best gift going because for me once I establish myself as someone who you know, I can kick butt and take names and solve the crimes, I'm believable in that role, in that element so then I don’t have to worry about proving it to people anymore."

Though Nichols is secure in her hero-ism and enjoys the physicality of an action star, she reiterated that she is most interested in the drama her character endures this season.

"She's a mother in the future.  She has a son that she wants to get home to and a husband that she wants to get home to.  But while she's here in this time period she wants to do everything she can to uphold the law, do what's right by the people.  So there is that question and it's very prevalent in the season," Nichols said.

Nichols also likes the dichotomy and epic scale of her character's decisions. "She causes change. And she knows she's causing change but it's a very difficult choice for her because of the fact that she is very aware of the idea that changing things in the present day may be potentially deleting her family from the future or maybe even her herself.  Maybe some of the stuff she's doing in 2013 is going to prevent her from ever being born," Nichols said.

There's one more thing Rachel Nichols would like you to know about Continuum: location IS everything.

Dozens of television shows and films shoot in Vancouver because of cost and you could make it look like a lot of different places. Continuum took a more direct approach, setting its entire story there.  "We are very proud that we shoot our show in Vancouver and when it's on the air we say that it's set in Vancouver because that doesn’t always happen a lot," gushed Nichols. 

Continuum airs Sunday nights on Showcase in Canada and will premiere its second season in the United States on the SyFy channel Friday, June 7.