So, I heard about The Blacklist on the radio about a week before the Series Premiere; and let me tell you, the preceding 7 days were the longest days of my life. The advertisement I heard was completely captivating and had me so excited for the Pilot, I could barely contain myself.
James Spader plays Raymond “Red” Reddington, an ex-government agent turned FBI Most Wanted fugitive, who turns up to the FBI with a proposition: he speaks with only Agent Elizabeth Keen (played by Megan Boone), he receives immunity, and, in return, he gives the FBI his “Blacklist” (hence the name of the series). This Blacklist is his own personal list of criminals so good at what they do, most of them haven’t even been pinpointed as criminals. Most of these people seem to be ex-diplomats, current diplomats, or seemingly good-doers.
The FBI is reluctant at first, but when Reddington’s advice proves to be correct, they decide to strike up a deal: are we surprised?
I’m not crazy about Keen as the main focus of the show. When we are first introduced to her, she seems to be your typical protagonist: young woman with a young husband (I’d say late 20’s, early 30’s), newer house, happily married couple. As we progress through the episode, however, she proves to be progressively more annoying. The real kicker is that at the end of the episode, she returns home to find out they are approved to adopt a baby girl! It’s almost too good to be true when she finds her husband tied up and bleeding at their dinner table, at knife point by this week’s Blacklister. After the process of checking her husband into the hospital, and lashing out at Reddington for “allowing” the Blacklister into her home, Keen discovers thousands of dollars, a gun, and plentiful passports with Keen’s husband’s face in them.
Red is a Hannibal Lector type character. The role was made for Spader with his horror movie antagonist lines and “stilted diction”. He is easily my favourite character in the show because of his utterly serious tone, but his witty and hilarious one-liners.
I won’t be tuning in every week just for the various criminals that the FBI will catch; I will be tuning in mainly for the story of Reddington-Keen and Keen. It sounds like there’s an interesting dynamic there and lots of room for a fantastic story for many, many seasons.
- The Blacklist Review Episode “Pilot” (popcultureimmersion.com)