Episode Reviews

The Blacklist – Pilot – Review


The Blacklist is a new FBI serial that pairs a fresh out of the farm rookie with one of the most wanted men in the world.

When it comes to spy procedurals, it’s the prospect of a cool headed criminal mastermind creating a grand scheme that the heroes have to stop that gets fans all a flutter. In The Blacklist, this idea gets turned on its side as our criminal mastermind actually works with the FBI, though at times he both undermines and helps the agency at the same time through chess moves that are so high level it’s hard to fathom the endgame.

James Spader (Boston Legal) plays Raymond “Red” Reddington, one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives. Seemingly out of nowhere, one day he walks into FBI headquarters and surrenders, demanding to work only with rookie FBI agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boon, Law and Order: Los Angeles). From there he provides the first criminal to stop, a terrorist looking to revenge the death of his family due to an American military strike in Bosnia many years ago.

Reddington, being a criminal mastermind, is hard to pinpoint. Benevolent at all times, he seemingly enjoys showing how weak minded the FBI agency is as a whole as he attempts to unlock the hidden potential of agent Keen. At the same time, we have to ask ourselves what exactly is his goal in this matter and why is Agent Keen so important to him.

There is an obvious familiarity of Agent Keen via not so subtle hints that Reddington has been observing her for many years. In fact, it’s fairly heavy handed that he is likely her father who abandoned her and her mother all those years ago. As such, perhaps his actions are guided more towards unlocking her potential and creating a real legacy to his name, outside of the shadowy files of the FBI. He’s already taken steps towards opening her eyes to her so called life, revealing that her husband is much much more than he claims to be.

The show itself has many similarities to the Hannibal Lector series of stories. Like Hannibal, Reddington is an unrepentant master criminal trying to bring out the hidden potential of his one and only confidant. Of course at the same time, you have to question what his true motives are and who is truly going to profit at the end game.

Overall, The Blacklist starts off strong leaving a large number of questions that we’ll have to slowly discover as the season continues on.

Other Observations

  • Harry Lennix (Dollhouse, Commander in Chief) stars as FBI Assistant Director Harold Cooper
  • Will the chemical bomb come into play later?
  • Is Tom Keen’s mission to keep tabs on Elizabeth?

By Kien Tran

Based in Dallas, Texas, Kien Tran is an avid television enthusiast. After spending hundreds of hours wasting away on a couch, he decided to actually do something creative with his hobby and created this very blog.

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