Niska was created by David Elster in order to serve as a sibling to his son, Leo. She is one among the other conscious synths David created along with Mia, Max, Fred, and Karen. After David's death and the separation of the group, Niska, Mia and Fred were kidnapped. Niska was sold to a brothel and was assigned to work as a sex worker to serve humans until she ultimately escaped.
Episode 2.1 Edit
At the beginning of the episode, Niska is shown living in Berlin, Germany after leaving her family at the end of season 1. While hiding in Berlin Niska meets a woman in a nightclub whom she instantly has an romantic attraction to and ends up spending the night with her. The two start a six week long relationship. Niska decides to use David's code to make other synths become conscious. She's disappointed when the code doesn't seem to have an effect. Six weeks later, Niska finds out that some synths have in fact become conscious. This makes her say goodbye to Astrid and go back to London, where she asks the Hawkins family for help, as she wants to stand trial for the murder.
Niska is quite different from your typical synth, she can sometimes be cynical and violent when feeling that she or her family are being threatened. She distrusts humans due to her personal experiences with them, as her creator David sexually abused her and she was forced to work in a brothel after being separated from her family. Like in a human, this treatment caused her to become distrustful and distant, especially towards humans, though this slowly changes throughout the series.
Even though life hasn't always been kind to her, Niska is grateful for her consciousness. Because she was made to feel, she even refuses to turn off her pain.
She is not afraid to express her dissatisfaction with certain ideas, showing her to be confident and outspoken. She also has no problems hiding secrets from her siblings when she feels the need to, as shown when she made a secret copy of the David's consciousness code and hid it from them. Niska has been shown to very protective of her siblings and loves them a great deal, but she also yearns for independence and wants to experience life on her own terms. Niska will often seem conflicted between her wish to live openly as a synth, and her desire to live a quiet life in human society. Besides Karen, she is the synth to spend the most time living undercover as a human.
David Elster is Niska's creator. She views him as her father, and is deeply traumatized by his abuse of her. David sexually abused Niska, which robbed her of getting any sort of "childhood", and also made her really distrustful of all humans.
Leo and Niska view each other as siblings. They have a rocky relationship and tend to disagree on important topics, but at the end of the day they're both really protective of the other.
Mia and Niska see each other as sisters. Mia was happy to see Niska again and let her into the Hawkins house after she had to leave George's. When Mia is dying in the season two finale, Niska urges Mattie to release the code, and gets upset when Mattie at first doesn't want to do so.
Fred and Niska view each other as sister and brother, but not much is known about how close they are. Niska thinks that Fred is better to take care of himself than any of the other siblings, and because of this she believes he'll be fine even under Hobb's control.
Niska and Max see each other as siblings. Niska once told Max that sister and brother are "human words", though she later uses those words herself. Niska accepts a phone from Max so they can keep in contact, and she donates synth fluid to him while he's malfunctioning.
Astrid is Niska's girlfriend. The two frist meet at a club in Berlin. At first, Niska rejects Astrid's advances, but after learning that Astrid has no malign intentions, she reconsiders and brings Astrid home. They date for six weeks before Niska leaves to go stand trial in the UK. Laura later calls Astrid as a witness at Niska's trial. Here, Astrid is surprised to learn that Niska is a synth, but she doesn't care. Astrid rents an apartment in Folkestone where Niska hides out after she escapes. Laura unwittingly leads the police to them, and they run away. They temporarily part ways and Astrid intends to go back to Berlin. However, some time between seasons 2 and 3 she moves to London, and she and Niska move in together. Astrid and Niska might be polar opposites, but they have built a strong relationship based on mutual love and respect. They've both shown that they'd risk a lot for the other. Niska seems to have a much easier time being open and honest with Astrid than with most other people.
After Niska's face is shown on the news, she needs somewhere to hide and Leo gives her George's address. George is surprised to learn that she's conscious, but lets her stay. He soon learns about the man she killed, but surprisingly he isn't afraid of her. George is patient and caring towards Niska, which leads her to eventually open up to him and tell him about the abuse she experienced at the hands of David Elster. When Karen accidentally kills him, Niska is visibly upset about being unable to save him.
Odi and Niska meet at George's, when Odi finds his way back there. Niska doesn't understand why George cares so much about a non-sentient being, but after he explains it to her, she helps George fix Odi.
Niska comes to the Hawkinses home after George dies, and Laura and the others reluctantly let her in. They're horrified to find out that she killed someone, and don't want her or her siblings in their house after that. Even so, Laura and her family end up helping Niska's family anyways, and Niska later gives Laura the consciusness code for safekeeping. In season two, Niska shows up and wants Laura to help her stand trial for the murder. Laura at first refuses to be her lawyer, but in the end she changes her mind. Laura does her very best to help Niska prove her conscicousness, though ultimately this fails and Niska escapes. Laura tracks down Niska and Astrid in Folkestone and tries to get Niska to go help her family, but Niska wants to stay with Astrid. Niska tells Laura about her abuse. Without meaning to, Laura leads the police to Niska's whereabouts, and she apologizes for this. In the end, Niska does end up listening to Laura and comes to her family's rescue at the last minute.
Niska meets Sophie at the Hawkins home. Sophie talks Niska into playing with her, and it turns out Niska doesn't know how to, as she's never played before. Sophie teaches her, and they end up having a lot of fun. Later, Niska can be seen reading to Sophie. In season two, Sophie is extatic to see Niska again. Surprisingly, even though Niska tends to be cold towards humans, she warms up to Sophie quite quickly.
Joe, Toby and Mattie Hawkins Edit
Niska comes to the Hawkinses home after George dies, and the family lets her in. Joe and Laura decides to kick out all of Niska's family after they learn she killed someone, though Mattie and Toby protest. The Hawkinses end up helping out Niska's family anyway. In season two, Niska shows up again, wanting help with standing trial. Toby wants Laura to represent Niska. Niska and Mattie briefly talk about the consciousness code.
Karen shows up at George's looking for Niska, wanting help to take her own life. Niska is shocked that Karen is still alive, thinking David killed her. Niska tells Karen they would've never left without her had they known she was alive. Neither she or George want to kill Karen, which angers Karen. Karen chases Niska, but ends up shooting George instead, killing him. When Karen later shows up at the Hawkins home, Niska tries to warn Leo that she's dangerous.
- When working as a sex worker, the name of the street the business is on is Melbridge Road.
- In 1.5, we learn from Niska talking to Dr. George Millican, that the consciousness code boils down to: ‘17,000 pages of unique code, which forms my root directory and engages consciousness.’
- In Season 1, we learn that she's 9 years old.
- As first told by Fred, Niska loves to read. She mainly reads philosophy books.
- According to Emily Berrington, Niska wouldn't define herself as having any particular gender or sexual orientation.