Why you should watch NBC’s The Blacklist is very simple, it’s awesome. Getting viewers to swarm to a new show is a tough task. Usually when the viewers are faced with the prospect of jumping into a new drama is whether or not a show will be picked up. There’s not much worse in television, than becoming invested only to be disappointed. Can a hear an amen Invasion fans? Will we be given the chance to resolve its main mysteries that draw us in and make us watch? I made the leap from the beginning. Here’s what you need to know to get caught up.
James Spader plays one of the FBI’s most wanted criminals, Raymond “Red” Reddington. He turns himself in to help catch a presumed-dead terrorist, but mysteriously only if he speaks to a brand-new profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone). Keen has no connection to Reddington, at least as far as she knows. Keen has a complicated history, and the writers haven’t divulged all yet. One thing is clear though, Red seems to know more about her past than she does.
Life at home is complicated at home for Keen too. Lizzie’s husband has a box full of fake passports, money, and a gun buried under the house. She also finds a shell casing. After she runs ballistics she finds out it’s linked to a murder, but most of the details are classified. Red later helps her secure the file with the full information. At the end of last weeks episode, her husband finds out she discovered the box. What secrets is her husband hiding? Will the three be linked in the end? Or is the husband on the blacklist?
Each “Blacklist” episode is almost like a mini-movie. They feature a self-contained story about a villain whom Red knows and they FBI must stop. The criminals are diverse and have nicknames like, ‘The Stewmaker’ or ‘The Courier’. Reddington has so far helped the agency catch a terrorist believed to be dead, a killer who disguised his crimes with large-scale tragic accidents, and a Chinese assassin computer hacker. Keen is most interested in why Red chose her, but Red his answers are always cryptic: “Because of your father” and “I wish the answer were as simple as the question seems but the truth is the question isn’t simple either.”
This part couldn’t have been cast better, he makes the show. Is he her father, brother, uncle? They do have similar facial features. I’m not sure it’s the biggest mystery. There are excellent story lines, yes gorey, but mysterious. Often, Red, reminds me a lot like Dr. Hannibal Lecter through his mannerisms and speech. Calm, cool, collected, and creepy. I mean this in a positive way, as positive as one can when referring to Lecter.
Spader is a movie and television veteran. He appeared in “Lincoln” last year and spent a year on Broadway in David Mamet’s “Race.” He starred “Boston Legal” which was a spin-off of “The Practice,” the legal drama where Spader first played the morally challenged lawyer Alan Shore. Spader also spent a year on “The Office” in its penultimate season. With all this TV experience under his belt, he has never started a ‘new’ series off in a lead roll like this.
According to Entertainment Weekly, ‘The Blacklist’ sets DVR record, adds 6 million viewers. They have averaged 12 million viewers and a 3.6 rating in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic in its first two airings in the 10 p.m. Monday nights. It’s post-The Voice slot goes up against CBS’ Hostages and ABC’s Castle. This makes it the No. 1 new drama among the Big Four networks in total viewers so far this season. The Blacklist has topped its time period in both of the first two airings. The network has ordered the back-nine episodes for the freshman drama, bringing its first season to 22 episodes. The announcement was made by NBC earlier this month.
The Blacklist represents a compelling post-Breaking Bad cultural in television. It plays to our feelings about ”heroism” and asks tough questions about redemption while being a paranoid conspiracy thriller. That is why you should watch The Blacklist.