Back in September, I wrote about five new crime TV shows that I was excited to watch. Of those five: Ironsides was cancelled, Dracula was a disappointment (although I am still watching it) and I like Almost Human, but we haven’t seen much of it yet. There are only two shows of the original five that are absolute DVR Keepers: The Blacklist and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. (This post is about The Blacklist, so you’ll just have to set your DVR for Brooklyn Nine-Nine and prepare to laugh really, really hard. You can watch full eposodes of The Blacklist online at NBC, too.)
So, why do I love The Blacklist? Let me count the ways and in the process tell you everything you need to know—without spoilers—to get you up to speed. (I like to do these countdowns in reverse order for maximum dramatic impact.)
Number 5 – The characters:
Red Reddingon, played by James Spader. Red is a Whitey Bulger-esque bad guy who turns himself in to help turn in other bad guys. Red mockingly calls his own super-bad guy list, The Blacklist. And that’s where the show gets its name. Red is a man who gets what he wants even when he turns himself in. He will only cooperate if he gets to work with….
Elizabeth Keen played by Megan Boone, also known as Lizzie by Red. Elizabeth is literally on her first day of work as a super-secret badass special agent profiler when super-criminal and bad guy, Red, turns himself in and asks for her. She has no idea why… but she has her suspicions. Everything is suspect in her life, even her husband…
Tom Keen, played by Ryan Eggold. Red conveniently tells Elizabeth that her husband is more than he seems. Elizabeth doesn’t believe him, or does she? One person who is quick to check out any irregularity in Elizabeth’s life is her work partner…
Donald Ressler played by Diego Klattenhoff. Donald is your typical follow-the-rules, there is no-grey-in-my-world, lawman. We have no idea what he is really thinking behind that square jaw, only the overt rule following that he shows us.
Number 4 – The plots are fresh: I can’t get into too much detail about this one without spoilers, but I can’t guess the show's ending most of the time. I do know that both Lizzie and Red will be safe, but other than that, I’m not sure. I like it that I don’t guess the end and I like it even more since the endings make sense.
Number 3 – There are lots of unanswered questions every single week: The show's writers do this really well. Not only do we have single show plots, we have overarching plots that span shows. Why does Red want to work with Lizzie? Why does Red tell Lizzie bad things about her husband? Why doesn’t Donald trust his co-worker? The questions go on and on.
Number 2 – No one in this show really trusts anyone: Lizzie’s agent partner, Donald, doesn’t trust Red Reddington, Lizzie, or her husband. Elizabeth alternately trusts people and then doesn’t trust the same people the following week. It varies by episode. Red trusts his staff and for some reason appears to trust Lizzie. Tom is a kindergarten teacher and supposedly trusts everyone but then again, he might be evil.
Number 1 – James Spader: James Spader. James Spader. Did I mention that I like James Spader? He brings elegant humor and command to this role. Red isn’t cardboard. He’s a funny bad guy who gets what he wants. And he has ulterior motives that we cannot begin to comprehend. But I want to find out what’s going on in his head. No one could pull off this character like James Spader and make us forget that he’s an actor while he is doing it.
So that’s my countdown of why you should not only watch The Blacklist, but also love it as I do. Some episodes are better than others. And I’m pretty sure at least one person that we think is good is really, really bad because that’s part of the fun, but that shouldn’t stop you from embracing the show. Now you know what you need to know to start watching The Blacklist, and here's a promo for tonight's episode.
But why miss any of the greatness? Start with the very first episode and savor it like a perfectly cooked steak with potatoes au gratin on the side and an excellent glass of cab. That’s what Red Reddington would do. Enjoy!
Read all posts by Deborah Lacy on Criminal Element.