Spader Steals ‘The Blacklist’

If a former government agent and one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives surrenders to the FBI, and offers to assist them tracking and ridding the world of some of the most dangerous global criminals, how would you go about such an offer?

Courtesy of NBC Universal

Courtesy of NBC Universal

This is the premise of the hit NBC series, “The Blacklist”, starring James Spader as Raymond “Red” Reddington, the eccentric star of the show, who makes a deal with the FBI that he will help them on the condition that he work with Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), a rookie FBI profiler.

Over his years as a criminal, Reddington has crossed paths with the likes of many individuals invested in the world of crime, including spies, assassins, hackers, and thieves. With years of dealing with such personalities, Reddington uses his offer to help the FBI in an effort to pursue his own agenda, which audiences learn more and more about as the series progresses.

He calls this list of delinquents, “The Blacklist”, as these felons have been able to go about their negative ways without leaving traces that the FBI could decode.

Being a criminal at heart, Reddington’s style of interrogation allows him to go back to his roots. He will extort, torture, or even murder anyone as long as it’s for “the greater good.” It is this unorthodox matter that makes Reddington’s character such a draw for both audiences and critics alike.

Spader brings Reddington to life with his quirky antidotes and sarcasm, which keeps the show light-hearted even in the midst of intense situations. While he easily steals the show, the entire cast is able to bring something to the production that allows the show to gel beautifully.

Diego Klattenhoff shines as FBI Special Agent Donald Ressler, who shows a strong resistance to working with Reddington, even though Red has impressed him with results in catching criminals while Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix) provides a nice sense of order to the chaos of working in the FBI as the Assistant Director of the FBI Counterterrorism Division.

The writing is excellent in that the crimes committed are believable yet done in ways that would not normally be thought about. Everything from a subway chemical attack by a man desperate to find an antidote for his dying child’s illness, to criminals altering one’s DNA in order to fake a death have been just a sample of the cases that Red and the FBI team have dealt with so far in the season.

Another compelling trait with “The Blacklist” is in its thought provoking moments outside of the action. The writers allow the audience to see the way Red looks at life, especially after all he’s been through.

Reddington’s monologue about his dreams and desires in the “Anslo Garrick” episode are enough to earn Spader an Emmy nomination alone.

With its clever storylines, exciting thrills, and brilliant acting, “The Blacklist” is easily one of the best shows on television today.


RECOMMENDED: Spader’s quirkiness paired with intelligent storylines and a great cast make a perfect fit for this hit TV series.