‘The Blacklist’: Part Thrill, Part Intrigue

James Spader, everyone. James. Freaking. Spader.

Oh, I’m sorry. There was a show going on around him? It took me a bit to notice, but I must say that The Blacklist, NBC’s newest high-action drama, is pretty awesome, I went into it expecting to not be able to get through the pilot, as procedurals and I went our separate ways many years ago. Not so, it would seem.

In the opening minutes of The Blacklist, the notorious criminal Raymond “Red” Reddington, played by Spader (ohh, I will certainly get back to him), walks into FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., and promptly gets himself arrested. He doesn’t struggle, even when he’s taken a secure warehouse and shoved into a glass jail cell. Who doesn’t love a villain in a glass cell? Answer: no one. But the kicker is that his one request is to speak with Elizabeth “Liz” Keen, a brand-spankin’ new agent who has no connection to him.

When Liz is finally brought in, Red informs her that he has information on an abduction about to happen in the city, orchestrated by a man who the FBI thought dead. Red then dials the creep factor up to 11 by spouting personal facts about Liz’s past; he’s clearly been watching her for some time, which unnerves her. But when the FBI quickly locates the terrorist of the week disembarking a plane at Dulles Airport, they have no choice but to take Red seriously. They rush to collect the target, a U.S. general’s daughter, before the bad guys get to her. And chaos ensues.

Let me be the first to say that James Spader makes one hell of a baddie. He exudes a dangerous kind of charm on-screen, a slightly different flavor than the smoldering, confident Alan Shore I enjoyed immensely on Boston Legal. How obvious is it that I have a weird crush on the man? His character is like a cross between James Moriarty and Julian Assange, a brilliant, conniving mastermind with his fingers in a lot of proverbial pies. The whole reason the show has legs is because in the twenty years that he’s been on the run from the feds, Red’s been compiling a list of wrongdoers and is prepared to spill all he knows, provided he gets what he wants in return. His motives for this sudden change of heart are still unclear, so I think it’ll be interesting to watch him develop, and his unsettling obsession with Liz unfold.

The rest of the show is . . . meh. The writing is tight, and allows for a few twists, but it was also predictable. There are some things you’ll probably see coming and some things that’ll make you jump out of your armchair and squeak. Or that may have just been me. That being said, it’s only the first episode, and I think this show has a lot of potential and staying power. Megan Boone’s Liz Keen didn’t quite impress me, but I’m willing to give her a chance, simply because she’s got a killer plot arc in her future. I just hope the FBI team is a lot less, shall I say, testosterone-y than I’m led to believe. Let’s get some more ladies up in this action, other than the leading one.

The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10 PM on NBC.

Posted on September 24, 2013, in Drama, NBC, Network Television, Primetime and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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