The Blacklist’s biggest battle, like so many new shows, is against itself: It wants to be a serialized drama, but it’s built into its very premise to be a weekly procedural. The line in the sand that it continues to draw between itself and Criminal Order Investigation Minds SVU: Miami, takes the form of James Spader…or Red Reddington, there’s really no separating the two. It’s a division that has been disjointedly splitting storylines into two halves since the show’s midseason return.
The Blacklist is doing something kind of big in the second half of its first season: It’s earning my trust. As just an episode, last night’s “The Alchemist” wasn’t the most exciting, but in the big picture of the series, it did remind me that I can count on this show to answer the questions that it raises (whenever it sees fit), answer questions I didn’t even know I had, and for every new piece of the puzzle that’s successfully snapped together, reveal a new corner that needs tending to. In the first half of the season, I felt like I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Welcome to EW Recaps of The Blacklist! I can’t promise you I’ll speak with the elegance of Red Reddington, or be as right as Red Reddington is all the time, and I definitely won’t wear a fedora like Red Reddington. But I can promise you that I’ll make fun of Tom a lot and not rest until Lizzie is given a decent haircut (so, never).
There’s a man goin’ round takin’ names/And he decides who to free and who to blame. In The Blacklist’s Jan. 13 episode — which saw James Spader’s criminal mastermind ruthlessly dispatch his assailants — those lyrics became Red Reddington’s battle cry. Exec producers Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath explain how the moment came together.
For James Spader, playing a criminal mastermind like Raymond “Red” Reddington on NBC’s runaway hit The Blacklist conjures up images of frolicking around his childhood home. Sound odd? Not when you hear him explain why. “This TV show is a great game of make-believe because you’re really taking a flier on it,” says the 53-year-old actor. “It’s the closest thing you can do as an actor that replicates playing around in your backyard as a kid.
Not since Keri Russell’s decision to chop off her long curls on Felicity have fans been as annoyed about a TV character’s hairstyle as they are about Megan Boone’s locks on NBC’s The Blacklist. Shortly after the drama’s debut, viewers made their dissatisfaction known about Boone’s brunet wig — which the actress, who plays FBI agent Elizabeth Keen, was asked to wear by execs in order to hide her pixie cut. Now Blacklist’s producers are equally irked that Boone’s hair has become such a thing.
The BlacklistTheory Red (James Spader) is not related to Agent Keen (Megan Boone) — he’s in love with her mom! The Reasoning Supervillain Red is looking out for the FBI profiler at her mother’s behest — because her mother is on the Blacklist.
From Sex, Lies, and Videotape to his recent stint on The Office, James Spader is famous for playing unusual characters and for doing so under a distinctive thatch of hair. On the action drama The Blacklist he maintains the first half of that tradition with his portrayal of a superintelligent supercriminal. The second? Definitely not. Indeed, Spader’s character sports a buzzed coiffure, more Breaking Bad than Boston Legal. ”I thought he should be streamlined,” explains the actor.
Raymond ”Red” Reddington is a man not unlike the recently departed Walter White. He was once a good man, a patriot who became a Navy honcho. Then he broke bad. But The Blacklist is not about a diabolical brainiac wallowing wicked — it’s about a Despicable Me bending back to good. Maybe. Even though Red (James Spader) now helps the FBI snare shadowy monsters like himself, the feds suspect he’s running a long con.
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