James 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!Follow @mishasolomontv