The second show on our list: The Blacklist. Much of what I consume in terms of media is sci-fi or fantasy related, but I do have a love for well done procedural shows; NCIS, Elementary, and Castle come to mind. The Blacklist falls into this sort of category. For those of you who don’t know, the show is about a criminal mastermind named Raymond “Red” Reddington who turns himself into the FBI with the intention of helping them capture some of the most dangerous criminals in the world that he has come in contact with. However, one of the primary terms for his assistance is that he will only communicate with a criminal profiler named Elizabeth Keen.
Personally I’m a fan of the premise, which is what drew me in. I like “reformed villains” or scenarios in which the typical good guys are forced to work with villains or former enemies. I’m not really sure why, but I’m always down with it in stories. This is also why Spike is one of my favorite characters in the Buffy-verse. Outside of that the show is pretty fun to watch and is populated with interesting and sometimes disturbing criminals who crop up each episode as a target on Reddington’s blacklist.
The good guys are a little less interesting, though you do get the sense that they will become more interesting as their relationships deepen and more about them is revealed. For instance, Keen is trying to figure out the truth about her husband, who may or may not be somehow tied to criminal activities. Similarly, she is learning about her handler, Special Agent Donald Ressler, who seems like the straight forward, by the book, agent type. However, as they work together more, that relationship is sure to develop into some kind of mutual respect (if not more?). There is also the FBI Assistant Director Harold Cooper who seems to want Reddington around to advance his own career by capturing the criminals on the list, and then there is the CIA attaché meant to watch over Reddington, a field operative who has a British accent that we don’t question (the part is played by Parminder Nagra of Bend It Like Beckham fame…so yeah, not questioning anything).
But, at the end of the day, the whole reason to watch this show is James Spader. His portrayal of Reddington is flawless, and every moment he is on the screen is amazing. While other areas of the show may be a bit lacking, his performance is consistently incredible and well worth watching. He is why I have stuck with watching the show and why I recommend it to you.