Fall TV Preview

Blacklist's James Spader on Season 2: 'Nothing Is as Simple as It Appears'

James Spader on The Blacklist

Let’s get something out of the way: Season 2 of The Blacklist won’t be in a rush to reveal if Ray Reddington is Elizabeth Keen’s father.

But according to James Spader, there will be more important questions to address when the NBC drama kicks off its sophomore run.

Ahead of the show’s Season 2 premiere (Sept. 22, 10/9c), the man behind Red fielded questions from the press on Monday, dropping some hints about what (or what not) to expect when the series returns.

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For example, those burns seen on Red’s back in the Season 1 finale, which hinted at the real relationship between him and Liz? You won’t be seeing Maury Povich arrive with a DNA kit, so to speak, over the first few episodes of Season 2. “That story has not been extrapolated on,” says Spader, who was filming Episode 4 when he spoke with reporters. “That’s something to just let percolate for a bit. Elizabeth Keen has spoken of a memory of being in a fire when she was a child, and somebody pulled her out of that fire. She may be assuming that it’s her father, but we’ve never said whether it’s her father or not.”

In fact, Spader — who has previously said it would be “too easy” if Red were Liz’s biological father — thinks viewers will be putting those daddy issues on the back burner as Season 2 gets underway.

James Spader on The Blacklist“If the route is circuitous enough, the destination becomes less and less important,” the actor explains. “I wonder whether that will continue to be the most important question that people ask as the show goes on, or whether the more immediate relationships and the nature of those relationships will eventually become more compelling. Given our show and what our show is, I don’t think anything is as simple as it appears.”

So, what certainties can Spader offer? For one, Red’s relationship with the FBI will have shifted when the show picks up, given that his task force essentially fell to pieces in the season ender.

“The protocol for how Red operates changes dramatically,” Spader says. “He just has to conduct his relations with the FBI in a very different manner, considering the events of last year. He’s the same person, but the circumstances that he’s putting himself into are certainly different than what has preceded it.”

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And even though the real Berlin eluded Red in the freshman finale, Spader promises that Red will come face-to-face with Peter Stormare’s baddie soon into Season 2.

As for what the duo’s dynamic will be upon meeting each other in person, Spader would only say, after a long pause: “Cautious.”

Blacklist fans, what are your hopes for Season 2? Which questions are you dying to get answered? Drop a line in the comments below and tell us your thoughts.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Brian Bauer says:

    I just started watching on Netflix (up to episode 8, so far). It seems too obvious that Ray is Lizzie’s father. So it makes me think he isn’t and there is some kind of twist.

  2. Todd Pfaff says:

    AND JUST MAYBE…. with finally Breaking Bad out of the way, James Spader and crew will finally get the nominations and WINS that they deserved in the first season.

  3. Moment says:

    If he isn’t her father, he must be related to her in some way. Well, that’s what I think anyway.

  4. Joey Padron says:

    I think Red is related to Liz somehow. Can’t wait for new season to start next week!

  5. Nell P says:

    You gotta love James Spader 😍 Maybe some people DO need Maury breaking in with a YOU ARE NOT THE FATHER, complete with the DNA result. I had hoped people stopped beating that poor dead horse by now.

  6. Ethel says:

    James Spader appears to be having delicious fun with this character. Spader is so awesome in any role he tackles.

    • I have always stated that James is not playing the role of Red. I believe that James is just being himself , and as the great actor that he is . He has been able to blend himself into Red’s life story. (ecxept for the killing) I am sure he does not have a criminal mind, so he is acting that part. The rest is all James! :)

  7. herman1959 says:

    I knew we wouldn’t find out if Red is the father anytime soon when Greenblatt said there would be a pre-break “hook” to keep viewers interested. I hope this move doesn’t backfire, although my gut says he’s not the father.

  8. Tran says:

    So excited for The Blacklist when it returns for Season Two next Monday. The series moving to Thursdays at 9 p.m. going up against Scandal come mid-season 2015 should do just fine at least you better DVR both of them but I considered them a “TIE” or a toss-up or win-win situation or may the best drama series win. I choose Blacklist over Scandal (depending on how “crazy” the second half of Season Four is going to played out).

  9. torimelching says:

    I want to love this show. Season 1 was all over the place. If season 2 continues that way I will stop watching. They need to realize this show is about Red not about Lizzy or anybody else. Hopefully her acting has improved a great deal.

    • Moment says:

      Season 1 was pretty much the Red show. He only stepped back to allow her to find out about Tom in her own way.

    • liz says:

      the show is about Red and Liz. Spader might be the star, but Red’s entire motivation comes from Liz…so she’s integral to the plot and the show can’t exist without her. The show has two leads.

    • likalaruku says:

      I kinda see the show as something aimed at women who grew up without ever knowing who their fathers were. It makes Lizzie relatable.

  10. LibKat says:

    I’m hoping it turns out that Red found the young Lizzie and set her up as a stalking horse to divert future attention away from his real daughter who is living a normal life in complete anonymity. I like Red when he is diabolical like that.

  11. michele says:

    he isn’t her father, he saved her from a fire, true… but he really saved her from the person or persons who had abducted her and killed her real parents. and I think her parents are dead because he gave this child to a friend of his. and nobody came looking. he has a fairness about who he kills and why.. because even though he is one of the bad guys, he is the bad guy with a sense of doing the right thing. and even tho lizzy is in fbi, it was red that got her in. that’s why there is no criminal record of her dad. and even tho all this is just my opinion.. im hooked and I love this show. I started watching on a fluke. and boy, im glad I did

    • Moment says:

      There’s that music box scene from Season 1 that made me think he was her family. For reasons not yet explained I believe he was around Liz when she was younger, be it as her father, or someone else.

      • Yes and when “He ” was also younger. Remember Lizzi does not remember much of that fire. She also has this mark on forehead. The fact that she remembers the fire when she was a little girl…does not mean that she has to actually be “that little girl” . Maybe she was brainwashed to think she was the little girl…maybe she was brainwashed to forget RED and who he was… Red has an altered identity. He could be younger than he appears to her. She does not look like a teenager or an adolecent. She looks to be at least in her late 30’s He maybe 40’s ? with hair… If you saw the first episode you must have seen him in dk. long hair, beard, mustache…yeah I think the bald head is part of his new identity. That is why when Lizzi looks at him she seems confused as if she knows him from somewhere. He adores her. They were married and lived in that house he blew up. That was their little girl playing in the front yard.

  12. JC says:

    I’ll be never get why so many people are up in arms at the thought of Red being Lizzie’s father. IMO, there just doesn’t need to be some super big twisty reason for Reds obsession with Lizzie.

  13. littlebug says:

    I was hoping they would finally end the dad-speculation – but back-burner will do as this interview already answers it like many other things on the show did before. No, he is not the real father. And besides that, it would be a lame twist, and to me one that wouldnt make sense in the larger context of the series. And my personal opinion is, you don’t have to be related to people to care deeply about them. He saved her from the fire. It’s likely he is the one responsible for it with all the “burn the world down” allusions. And it is even more likely he lost his own child before. Sure he cares about her in his own way therefore.

    • JC says:

      But why does it matter so much for him not to be her father? Would it ruin the enjoyment of the show if he is? I just don’t get why so many get angry at the thought of them being father and daughter.

      • likalaruku says:

        I’ll be disappointed if he’s NOT her father. How many father-daughter series are out there? It’s a nice change from father/son, mother/daughter, & dime-a-dozen romance.

  14. hardrockfootballfanatic says:

    I loved the first season so I hope it will continue in that vein. The show is about Red and Lizzie’s relationship. She is essential to the show too. James Spader is the best actor on television.

  15. Andrew says:

    The picture of Berlin’s daughter that he carries in his pocket watch is the same picture that Red took from The Stewmaker’s album.

    • lundy says:

      I thought the pictures were the same too. I believe Liz and Red are niece and Uncle though. Just a hunch. Maybe the writers aren’t even sure what their relationship will be tet. Love the show and will only watch it on Netflix because I hate commercials!!

    • Chestnut says:

      Yes, Now I thought that picture was his wife.

  16. katedfw says:

    I think Red is her half-brother and he is protecting her!

  17. Malainie says:

    I love this show! It’s my guilty pleasure. Red might be Lizzie’s Godfather. ;) Anyway, just glad the premiere is almost here.

  18. lvrunner says:

    I hope they let Lizzie do more than just wait for Red to give her nstructions this year-let her character grow and breath a little. The show would be better if she became more Red’s equal.

  19. DCWhatthe says:

    Whether he’s her real father or a step-dad or an uncle, to me is less interesting, than watching a closer relationship develop, between the two. Red already respects and adores the kid, and it would be cool to see more signs that Liz is willing to confide in him, in the manner of dad or best friend.

    I really want to see Aram’s character develop, see his back story, get him more involved with day-to-day. Ultimately, there’s no reason he can’t be the Chloe O’Brian of Blacklist, almost as important as the 2 main characters.

  20. Virginia says:

    have put those “daddy issues on the back burner” right around the middle of Season 1st. It just clicked in my brain when Red introduced an associate (friend) to his plastic Surgeon. The Surgeon made this comment: “Well looks like yours turned out pretty good” ! That told me that Red went through some drastic identity change, before turning himself in…(First Episode) Not because he was hiding from the CIA, FBI, or anyone else. Because he is hiding from LIzzi. She is not the little girl in the pictures, She is the “mother” of that little girl…
    Hmm… I wonder who the father is? lol

  21. tafner jason says:

    great show. spader is, well, spader. cool as a cucumber. lizzy on the other hand, please make her character a little smarter. she is too easily fooled and seems dumb as a rock occasionally. women in tough-guy roles rarely come off well. check lee child’s reacher books. he creates very sharp and capable women teammates, not the softies that populate so many roles in tv and the movies. they don’t have any callouses, they are so tough but never use their hands except to paint their nails. it’s just unconvincing.

  22. tafner jason says:

    my take on the show is that red saw bad things happening to good people, especially his friends and decided to go deep undercover and to create a persona of a bad guy to find the power behind the power that moves the worlds chess pieces around. he has to play the game of bad guy and has to do really bad things along the way but always to bad people. his long term goal is to eliminate the puppet masters and their minions who HE has marked for execution. he will turn out to be a true hero, not an anti-hero.

    • Adam says:

      I’m agree with your assessment to an extent. I definitely think he went rouge and went deep undercover to expose the puppet masters. It has been mentioned that he was a Naval Intelligence Officer before going off the grid. My guess is that he is Liz’s God-Father and her father was a friend or source of his that came across some sort of information that he shouldn’t have. I think Red got word that the famy was in danger and went to get them out but was too late. He was only able to save Liz. Afterwards he put her with her foster father and disappeared to begin his crusade. I have a feeling he orchestrated her becoming an FBI agent from the beginning in order get the resources of the FBI when the time came.

  23. tafner jason says:

    lizzy could turn out to be his niece but I think it’s a double bluff. She really is his daughter.

  24. sam says:

    Please offer any assistance to whom is singing the ending song in episode 1
    is it. Called Do the right thong!! And by whom

  25. likalaruku says:

    Spader’s quote was “Once you’ve started taking all the back roads, they become much more interesting than even the destination. So it may be that the easiest and the simplest result is the right one. And even if it was predictable right from the start, there should be a satisfaction because the route was satisfying.”

    To me that says he’s definitely her dad, but they’ll give the fanbase yo-yo evidence for the life of the show to keep arguing about it as long as they can to keep it interesting.

    As I see it, his feelings for her are parental & not romantic. He’s her self appointed guardian, & acts like an estranged father who’s so proud to see his little girl all grown up & wants to help make her successful, but he’s wanted in even the most dangerous circle, & the first episode of the first season shows what happens when the world knows you’re the daughter of someone you want revenge against. It’s for her own safety that he refuses to tell her.

    • likalaruku says:

      I’m also calling Cooper’s death. The biggest hint is Harry Lennix’s IMDB page. A man can only work on so many things at once.

  26. Carol Kik says:

    Love the Blacklist. OMG is James Spader brilliant or what. Love his character Red. I could watch this man all day, except I’d never get anything done. Meagan Boones lines are getting better and so is her character. James sure does rock that 3 piece suit and hat. WOW!!! Stunning to look at.