Heroes: Don't Bring Back Ali Larter (Again)

Niki Saunders and her look-alikes are a plot line in Heroes that just won't die. The show killed off ex-online stripper Niki and her split evil personality during season two in an explosion, but quickly brought her back as a pearl-wearing political adviser Tracy Strauss. The continuing Niki look-alike drama has just been a distraction. If there's a good reasons for keeping her around, viewers need to know. Now.

In the first season Niki (played by Ali Larter) is a Las Vegas casino worker who supports her son Micah (played by Noah Gray-Cabey) working as an online stripper. She struggles with a split alter-ego named Jessica who has few sexual inhibitions and an extremely violent nature.

Every show left us wondering how Niki's schizophrenia made her a hero, like death-defying Claire Bennet (played by Hayden Panettiere) or time-and-space traveler Hiro Nakamura (played by Masi Oka). Niki simpering struggles to fight off Jessica's influence felt like an uncompleted thought and proved to be annoying, but little Micah was so lovable, that we dealt with it.

Larter's character is redeemed in the first season because her violent rampages are just so entertaining -- tossing men twice her size around as though they were rag dolls and leaving bloodied murder scenes without the faintest recollection of what had happened. But Larter's characters did little to advance the plot of the show then, and she has served only as a distraction from Sylar's murdering rampages and Peter's ever-pressing desire to "Save the World" in seasons two and three.

Heroes is famed for having a difficult plot line to follow. This weakness is the result of writing characters who play a bigger part than they should. Just when we thought we were rid of Niki/Jessica and left with her sweet, curly-haired son Micah, the writers brought Ali Larter back as Tracy Strauss. She died. And then she came back. Again.

As the show continues to get more complicated, the writers would do well to consider pruning the cast down, starting with Niki/Jessica/Tracy... or whomever she appears as next.

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