Will You Add NBC's The Blacklist to Your List?

The BlacklistJames Spader (Boston Legal) is back — and he’s messing with FBI agents, chatting up terrorists and chewing up scenery. His character made the new NBC drama’s titular list and checked it twice, but is The Blacklist (which premiered Monday at 10/9c) naughty or nice?

The cat-and-mouse caper centers on Raymond Reddington (Spader), one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives, and his relationship with neophyte FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen (played by Megan Boone, Blue Bloods). Raymond, a criminal mastermind with a penchant for causing havoc, turns himself in after years on the run, but refuses to speak with anyone other than Elizabeth.

He reveals that an old terrorist colleague plans on kidnapping an important American military figure’s daughter, leading Elizabeth and her FBI colleagues, played by the intense Harry Lennix (Dollhouse) and the dashing Diego Klattenhoff (Homeland), on a desperate and dangerous mission to protect the girl.

Heralded as one of the best new dramas this fall, the series indeed has its merits. Spader and Boone play off of each other extremely well; Boone’s believable intensity softens Spader’s occasionally hammy delivery.

The pilot sets up a bevy of mysteries right off the bat: Why does Raymond want to work with Elizabeth? Is he her father? Why is he turning himself in now? And, perhaps most intriguing of all, what is Elizabeth’s husband (Ryan Eggold, 90210) hiding? Like that of its fellow new Monday night drama Sleepy Hollow, however, the series’ pilot balances these various threads with aplomb — the hour never feels messy or disjointed.

We’re certainly curious to find out more about Raymond Reddington and his list of wanted criminals, especially if Spader can temper his performance. And we’d keep watching just to see Parminder Nagra (ER) in future episodes. (Although she does not appear in the pilot, Nagra is a series regular).

But enough about what we thought: What was your take on The Blacklist? Grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!

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151 Comments
  1. megan says:

    Okay.. I didn’t think the lead girl could act very well but that twist at the end was good so I may stick around… We’ll see. Good to see Mike from Homeland. Always enjoyed him.

    • Jay says:

      I was thinking the exact same thing. Lead actress was kind of a let down. Her facial expressions were stoic at times. But I always give them the benefit of the doubt in a pilot episode.

      • prish says:

        I will be watching Spader’s scenes, every week. I may fast forward her scenes, after the stabbing into the neck. I don’t appreciate the showing of nutso criminal justice employees, too bad they took that route.

      • jdbasset says:

        I think part of the problem with her is also the really BAD wig they gave her. I was so busy staring at that…I had to watch some parts twice to be sure I hadn’t missed anything. I am hoping the wig and the show improve, as i plan to keep watching.

    • Renee says:

      I completely agree. And she got so much screen time. She felt straight out of soap opera land. This gives me pause.

    • Rebecca Powals says:

      I feel the same way. The lead actress is a huge let down! Megan Boone is not up to par with James Spader. She almost made me stop watching. Terrible!

      • Rook says:

        The only thing that bothered me was her hair. That had to be a wig, right?

      • Stanley Smith says:

        A lot of people are not up to James Spader! He needs a Denny Crane. She is just what she needs to be a Just out of the Academy FBI agent. Spader is brilliant in this role! I always wondered who else could have played Hannibal Lector. James Spader.

        I just don’t get last night, is the show over. Are all the networks competing. Why are they killing off so many great characters. Reddingtons Body Guards were just becoming interesting.

    • Alin says:

      So many things were distracting – Megan Boone was so un-believable in her role, James Spader’s character was so smug and was clearly attempting to emulate Hannibal Lecter. Even specific lines were so similar to those in Silence of the Lambs – Megan’s upbringing, her ‘rookie’ status with the bureau, her uncanny ability to profile…..
      I checked out. Nothing new here for me :(

    • Starwalker says:

      Same here. It will be a great show if the lead actress can improve her acting ability ASAP.

  2. Jackson says:

    I liked it and will definitely be tuning in regularly. Well done.

    • Leo says:

      I won’t be checking the next episode. The female lead isn’t that good and I don’t watch enough Spader to worship his acting skill. I can see this show turning into procedural, new cases every week. Even if it won’t be that case, I don’t dig any of the characters which is my rule number one in watching TV. Always find someone in a show to make you look forward to next episode. Over and out.

  3. Emgee says:

    Sooooooo good. Added this to my regular record list.

  4. Aleana says:

    Love it I’m be watching this show every monday along with Castle

  5. Emgee says:

    Why would anyone want Spader to change his performance? He’s great.

  6. Brenna says:

    Adding this my must see tv list :) I really like the idea of him bring her father but don’t know if that is a way too obvious route for the show. Anywho, best pilot drama I have seen lately

    • ben says:

      I actually really like the idea of him not being her father… but that we are kept guessing on that front for a while.

    • cjeffery7 says:

      only because that seems too predictable, i’m in favor if him being directly or indirectly responsible for her parent’s death, and his working only with her is in HIS mind the only way to atone, though of course, he does appear to be some kind of sociopath so… that could manifest itself in so many kinds of messed up ways.

      • steve says:

        That would be better if he was pretty much responsible for her mother’s death & was working with her father but i just think they will go the obvious route & make him her father

    • Maryann says:

      My thought was that maybe her mother was some kind of “lost love” from when he was a young man…

  7. Ashley says:

    As someone currently studying forensic psychology, I adored this show

  8. Susan Trester says:

    “Blacklist” turned us off immediately with it’s over the top violence. A child abduction and torture,,,TOO MUCH! Won’t be sucked into the drama of such a dark series. Done halfway through first episode.

    • Ky says:

      How did you not know that’s what the show was going to be?!? Over sensitive.

    • cjeffery7 says:

      i’ll admit the bomb strapped to the kid’s back was pretty horrifying to me (maybe you didnt watch that far though… sorry)….

    • steve says:

      Well i dont no what type of show’s you watch if you thought that was over the top bit too sensitive are we?

      • Karena says:

        I don’t like to watch graphic violence, and yes, you’re correct there are fewer and fewer shows I will watch. But I never want to become so immune to violence that it means nothing to me and I just shrug it off. It might only be TV violence that isn’t real but the real world is becoming more and more violent too and real people, even children, are getting hurt and killed. If that makes me “too sensitive” I’d rather be that than think it’s just normal. And by the way it’s “I don’t know what type of shows you watch” not “I don’t no what type of show’s you watch”

    • Maryann says:

      I am a regular CSI watcher and I was gut-punched when the husband was so graphically stabbed. This was indeed extremely graphic violence, not to mention something children should definitely not watch because of the bomb and the child. That said, I will keep watching for now, and hope they don’t do stuff as bad as that stabbing on a regular basis. (The only current show I would like to watch and don’t because of its darkness is Criminal Minds.)

    • Lou says:

      WOW! If you think that was violent, you sure do not watch very much tv at all! That was mild!

    • Temperance says:

      Actually, it was nowhere near so dark as quite a few (unwatchable) other shows like Criminal Minds. It was fantastical enough not to be literal – somewhat dark, psychological action.

      • Aprilcot says:

        Agreed! CM is *much* more dark and it’s on at 9! Obviously parents should be doing their jobs and making sure their kids aren’t watching shows like CM, but it surprises me that CBS keeps it at 9 instead of 10.

    • Penny Lane says:

      I completely agree! We turned it off, too. Nicely stated. Thanks!

    • Ava says:

      You’re missing out.

  9. Mattie says:

    Good story, Spader is great, the girl not so much. I will tune in again and see what the first few episodes bring.

  10. In my opinion, The Blacklist is destined to be my favorite new show of the season and it does have potential to be one of the breakout TV hits of the year and James Spader deserves to have awards show consideration written all over it. NBC should a huge hit this year depending on how well the ratings hold up but I guarantee you this deserves to be one of the front runners to get a full season pick up by the network. Keep up the great work NBC.

  11. Esaul says:

    You see, I was interested in this show until I saw that James Spader was part of it. I’m biased I admit, because he ruined The Office for myself and a couple of my friends.

  12. BTW, I think of The Blacklist as part Alias part 24 part Homeland and a mix of Silence Of The Lambs in between.

  13. Jon says:

    Enjoyed the show. Thought both Spader & Boone played well off each other. There were a few things that could be better, but overall I liked the pace of the show. Biggest gripe though was Megan Boone’s obvious wig, just didn’t look right.

  14. lasya says:

    I really enjoyed it, and I think this show is going to be one of my favorites this season, but I think the plot this particular episode had some logical issues.

    When Reddington told them about the kidnapping that was yet to happen, my immediate theory was that he must actually be working with the kidnappers. It seemed to me like this was confirmed because the kidnappers had a really well-planned trap set up on the bridge, since the only way the kidnappers could have known where the girl would be was if they knew Reddington would tell the FBI about the plan.

    It seems sort of weird to me that neither Elizabeth nor the other FBI agents suspected this or considered it after the girl was kidnapped, but I might have just missed something stupidly obvious.

    • cjeffery7 says:

      right? he tells them the girl is gonna be kidnapped and then… she is… whilst in FBI custody. that should be a BIG red flag. they knew they would be crossing that bridge, they didn’t just manifest that truck full of gasoline at the bridge when they realized they couldn’t snag the girl at the dance studio. and the head guy (harry lennox) seems WAY too willing to listen to james spader. like, to a fault. that being said, i can suspend my disbelief/ logic for a hot minute cause the rest of the show tickled my fancy like whoa. ever since alias i’ve been looking for/ disappointed by female-centric cop/law-enforcement/vigilante shows and pending a few more episodes to prove it’s worthiness, this MIGHT be the show that fills that 7 year void. MAYBE. *fingers crossed*.

      • heidi says:

        I enjoyed this show a lot and was pleasantly surprised by James Spader. I am trying to find out the name of the song at the end of the show. Can anyone help me out?

      • Alichat says:

        Well, let’s put aside the well executed kidnapping when there was supposedly a kink in the plan for a sec…..why didn’t the FBI think something was up when they are suddenly diverted because of a chemical spill? That’s one of the things that bothered me. They are stopped, and are just like “ok….it’s a spill….pull a uey!” They know someone’s trying to kidnap the girl….they are told this by an intelligent, sociopath who has been on their most wanted list for YEARS….and they don’t think a sudden diversion is odd? They don’t have someone continually checking the route they are taking just in case Reddington is tricking them? It was an interesting pilot, but if the stupidity of the FBI continues, I will become too aggravated to watch. Reddington specifically asked for her. Why didn’t they have someone keeping an eye on her house, in case Reddington had someone on the outside and a plan to do something to her or her family? You’re going to honestly tell me that her father’s criminal background never showed up on an FBI background check? I found her sudden turn into Jason Bourne lazy and unimpressive. I’d have been more impressed with her character if she gotten information from him through her intelligence instead of torture. And I found the twist with her husband lazy as well. Of course he’s a spy. How genius!

    • Trenton says:

      Redd is the type to play both sides against each other when ever it suits him…He is a tit for tat kinda person, so it follows he is giving the FBI this uber list b/c there is a name or someone he needs them to find b/c he can’t on his own. My guess is her father isn’t him, possibly the person he really wants to find so learning and studying her means he is closer to the father. Also could be that her husband works for her father in some capacity…

    • steve says:

      I just put that down to the fact they’ll no guards escort the General’s daughter to & from the dance studio afterall she is a high profile person so she probable does have guards escourt her from the dance studio to home so they will of known the route they take & picked the best spot on the route to ambush them.

      Reddington did not state that they were going to take her from the dance studio he just said they were going to cause a distraction & take her. So therefore the people that took her will of just assumed it was the normal guards that escourt her to & from the dance studio.

      Atleast thats my take

  15. Cort says:

    Loved it from start to finish. Was looking forward to this most and it did not disappoint. This one’s locked in for my Monday night timeslot.

  16. My husband and I both agree that this was the best of it’s kind we’ve ever seen on t.v. Almost like we viewed a full blown movie! James Spader killed it! Oh, maybe I shouldn’t have said that.

    • Kim R says:

      My husband and I totally agree. James Spader has been a favorite of ours since Boston Legal. No one better for this part. The Blacklist grabbed us right out of the gate and held us until that final scene. It is on the must see list for sure. Definitely a hit! :)

  17. Joey says:

    I like the first episode a lot, it was so good. I’ll watch it every monday.

  18. Jimmy says:

    Castle, which was a complete bore with a nonsensical cliffhanger, is officially on the DVR list. If Blacklist can maintain the quality of the pilot it’s definitely on my must-watch list.

  19. Adam says:

    It was okay. James Spader was a little hammy for my tastes, and a lot was entirely predictable and I’m not intrigued by the mysteries. Unless there’s just a bunch of red herrings, it feels obvious what some of the reveals are going to be. I might check out another episode or two, but it was just slightly above the average procedural so far.

    • steve says:

      I guess your learning towards thinking there going to reveal he is her father that just seems a way too obvious route to go. Surely when writers wrote it they would of thought that people think he was going to be her father so hopefully wise enough not to go that route

      Even just of a description of show you’d probable think he was her father so cant believe theyed be that stupid to go that route

  20. Kayla says:

    I really loved it. I thought that the lead actress actually held up well with Spader.

  21. cjeffery7 says:

    it’s 99% Alias but it’s BECAUSE of that that im all in (which could lead to bitter heartbreak down the road but that shall remain to be seen), and now i know parminda nagra is going to be in it… BONUUUUS!

    • Trenton says:

      No mysticism but kinda has an Alias vibe, except more set in a real world. She isn’t this perfect uber spy type…she seems flawed and mistake prone. But yes anything approaching Alias is worthwhile ;p

      • cjeffery7 says:

        it does have all of those shows in it, yes, i’m just hopelessly obsessed with alias. LOL. i’ve been waiting YEARS for someone to even come CLOSE to earning the admiration i have for sydney bristow. *fingers crossed*

  22. Trenton says:

    People hating on Spader…It was a pilot people, takes a couple of episodes for actors to dial in their characters…if you watch any show and fall in love with it you will see that find a groove after a while…rewatch the mentalist and see how Jane was at the start compared to now ;p I think he is her uncle…he left when her father left to help him or stop him and he went down a road…or the worlds worst undercover gig. I do like that this show is using relative new comers and people who haven’t had a starring roles for ever…save spader; makes it more real and believable. I think this show will be a hit b/c it has a hannibal lecter vibe without the gore…like White Collar meets Silence of the Lamb.

  23. SoFla says:

    This could be the first show on NBC to actually keep me watching in probably 10-15 years. James Spader has always been one of my favorites and did not disappoint tonight. The show flowed, which is refreshing. Will definitely put in as a season recording and hope that it stays one / does not disappoint as the season progresses.

  24. Elaine says:

    I can see why the critics are calling it the best new show of the season. I’d be very impressed if any other show could capture my attention like this one has. Spader is excellent. This role is definitely ideal for him (unlike the Office role, which, frankly I don’t see as his fault — moreso a problem of poor writing and miscasting. I loved him in Boston Legal). The actress is doing a fine job as well and the Hannibal/Clarice dialogue is very interesting. I love a plot with twists and turns and while there was a hole or two, there were enough surprises and unanswered questions to maintain my interest. So far, I very much enjoyed it. If any other new show is this good I’ll be very surprised (and pleased). Looking forward to next week (if I’ve recovered from the Breaking Bad finale by then).

  25. M3rc Nate says:

    Wow i loved it! And thats rare in general, let alone for a network TV show, let alone for NBC. Im shocked.

    The acting and casting was great, the mysteries (things we dont know yet, overall plot etc) are exciting, i was shocked i think it was the first time in a while (maybe since Fringe?) that a network TV show made me actually feel something. Specifically the scene where the woman is with the kid in the SUV and is putting on the gas mask, i felt sad for the girl and felt emotionally connected…which is something i havent felt once on Revolution.

    As far as the “Hes her father”…considering its network TV and NBC..im inclined to think he will be…which i dont have a problem with other than how hard the are leading us to that in this pilot.

    Currently my theory is he is her father, and some criminal killed his wife (her mother) or something, so he delved into the underworld of criminals to learn absolutely everything he could, to come out the other side ___ years later to bring them all down, maybe the Black List is even the people that were involved in killing his wife. Whats nice is i dont think thats necessarily the best story line…iv read a bunch that are great and im sure there are a bunch we havent thought of yet…so i cant wait…this is a much watch!

    • johnhelvete says:

      That was a great scene. Nice touch having the kidnapper throw Keene the gas mask for the little girl, and than having Keene try to comfort the girl while putting the mask on for her while the kidnapper counted down before throwing the canister.

    • Stanley Smith says:

      I believe he is her father also. He killed someone who was going to expose him ( maybe mercy killing) he purchased the house and then immediately blew it up because of the memories. He killed the Guy who was going to kill her in the episode pushing him into the bathtub of acid.

  26. Dan says:

    It wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed it. I hated the corny names of the bad guys, “The Chemist.” Really? A guy who makes chemical weapons is called The Chemist. What a shock. Minor quibble, but it’s the kind of show that will draw me in. It does have a bit of that Alias vibe that I’ve been missing.

    And I just have to know what’s going on with the husband …

    • Oh my god…such beauty in such a show like the blacklist. I think that the smartest thing to do was to make a show about a killer/Marijuin who goes around undercover the best!!!! I would die seeing that if so this show went blacked lakes out

  27. Jess says:

    I never thought I’d say this, but James Spader is simply DELICIOUS in The Blacklist. He is so perfectly cast.

  28. Josh says:

    Can someone tell me the name of the song that faintly plays in the background of the it’s a girl scene. It is the scene where liz goes home and finds tom beaten and bound to a chair.

  29. The TV Watcher says:

    Great pilot…not quite as good as Sleepy Hollow’s but close.

  30. Eli says:

    So this is basically The Following meets Homeland, right? Except it’s closer to the former than the latter in terms of believability, acting, plotholes, etc.
    My expectations might have been a bit higher than warranted because of all the positive buzz it was getting, but I ended up a bit disappointed. While I didn’t hate it, I actually liked the Sleepy Hollow pilot more.

  31. I really liked the lead female fbi character, and I’m intrigued about her past and her husband. I’ve never been a big Spader fan, but I like his character. I’ll definitely continue to tune in.

  32. Maryann says:

    I liked the pilot a lot. I fell for Spader way back at the beginning of his career, when he was a young leading man in thriller-type movies. For me, Boston Legal and The Office were both unwatchable, so it was a big thrill to once again see Spader in something really good. Granted, he has changed a great deal since then, but his basic charm is definitely intact.

  33. Sokratis says:

    I was so bored around 15-20 minutes in, probably around the time Spaders character was in the hotel room, just being really cheesy, but the second half of the episode made up for a slow start. Just the right amount of questions and plot, but fear that it’s going to get too predictable/formulaic. B

  34. Joe Drizzler says:

    If you can suspend disbelief a little bit and roll with the FBI being presented as a bunch of incompetent idiots, then this will be a fun show. Spader is excellent, as is Megan Boone as agent Keen. Lots of fun, action and even some humor (especially if you laugh at all the stupid mistakes the FBI made along the way).

  35. googly eyes says:

    Yeah, once again the FBI are rather incompetant (like on The Following), so that has put me off. Plus, I guessed almost every plot twist (even the pen neck stab; thanks Dexter!) and that’s never a good sign. And why was the zoo not evacuated? There were still people within a hundred feet of the bomb. Hmm.

  36. Jim P. says:

    I can’t see it yet as COMCAST bites. You’d think with a whole section devoted to it on On Demand they would have the episode up by the next morning to view, for those of us who may have been busy at 10 at night, and nope! I can still see 20 trailers and promos, but not episode 1. Genius move, build it up and lag the actual show upload til later in the week, this way we forget it as the workweek has taken precedent. Looks like it was great by the reviews though! (I pay 200 a month for this angst)

  37. Peter Williams says:

    I was enjoying this UNTIL they drove up to the trap THAT THEY WERE WARNED ABOUT!!!
    When they were told the road was closed because of a hazmat accident, they should of been.. ‘THAT’S THE DIVERSION!!!’ TURN AROUND!!!’, but no, they drove right up to it… Its that kind of blatant stupidity that takes me right out of a show. If they had any smarts they would have used the same helicopter they used to get the new agent to the office to get the girl, or at the very least used a different route than the girl normally takes home (only way they could possibly have been waiting for em). I’ll watch it again on demand to see if the rest of the show can make me forget the idiocy of this plot device.

  38. sladewilson says:

    It’s on the must watch list, right there with Sleepy Hollow (who delivered big time last night btw). I like Spader and his over the top “I’m so freakin’ brilliant” performance – this falls right into his wheelhouse. Lets see if the next two to three episodes can deliver…

  39. Mike Henigan says:

    Well know I have 2 shows to watch Monday at 10 ;) I loved the show and have already set it for the season ;) Well done!

  40. JDS says:

    A little too much like Silence of the Lambs. But since I LOVED Silence of the Lambs, I’ll stick around to see what happens next!

  41. Sam says:

    Loved the pilot! My high expectations were met. Megan Boone may have received criticism for her acting but i found her really well cast. She plays the role very well and i couldn’t imagine anyone else in that role. It’s a balancing to the power that James Spader brings.

    Now i only hope the rest of the series holds up to the pilot.

  42. Viv says:

    I´m really impressed. Made it to my “Must watch”. I thought James Spader was great. Don´t know about the lead actress yet. Courious about the husband. There is a good new show for NBC. Lets hope the series survives the network…

  43. arianeb says:

    The pilot had a few too many WTF? moments to be believable, so it only scores an “Above Average” for me, but I think the show has tons of potential, and plan to watch again.

  44. Bob says:

    Castle is toast. Between this show and Hostages, they’ll be battling for 2nd place every week. They do need a better female lead actress or this show may tank.

    • J.R. House says:

      Cannot agree with Bob less. For me, at least, Blacklist will not supplant Castle as my number one show on Mondays. Bones as a lead in for Monday evening will go to another date and make it even harder for this Fox effort to be successful. Sorry that it wasn’t placed in another time block.

  45. sarah says:

    I was impressed! This was a pretty good pilot.
    I want to know what Ryan Eggold’s character is hiding! He may be CIA?
    As for the connection with Ray and Elizabeth, I am pretty sure he is her father!

    • johnhelvete says:

      I would guess her husband is from a foreign country, most likely Russia or some other Eastern European country. The passports were shown quickly, but most seemed to be written in the Cyrillic alphabet.

  46. Polly says:

    James Spader should be on our tvs every week, all year long :D

  47. SouthernBelle says:

    Loved loved loved it! The only part I didn’t like was seeing Mike from Homeland on there. Not that he wasn’t amazing on this show, and I will enjoy seeing him on it very much, but does this mean that Mike and Jess won’t get their much-deserved happy ending? In any case, I loved this show and I thought all the characters played very well off of each other. Looking forward to more!

  48. David Cameron says:

    Loved the show it had my attention form the very begining can’t wait ti next Monday

  49. Jane says:

    So Elizabeth tries to kill Red and she isn’t arrested? Stabbing him with a pen would be attempted murder. I liked the show but there were a lot of holes.

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