''The Blacklist'' is an American crime thriller television series that premiered on NBC
on September 23, 2013. The show follows Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader
), a former U.S. Navy officer turned high-profile criminal who voluntarily surrenders to the FBI
after eluding capture for decades. He tells the FBI that he has a list of the most dangerous criminals in the world which he has compiled over the years, and he is willing to inform on their operations in exchange for immunity from prosecution. However, he insists on working exclusively with rookie FBI profiler
Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone
The series also stars Diego Klattenhoff
, Ryan Eggold
, and Harry Lennix
. The pilot episode was written by Jon Bokenkamp
and directed by Joe Carnahan
Executive producers for the series include Bokenkamp, John Eisendrath
, and John Davis
for Sony Pictures Television
, Universal Television
, and Davis Entertainment
Each season has received positive reviews,
with many critics praising Spader's performance in particular. On February 20, 2020, NBC renewed the series for an eighth season,
which premiered on November 13, 2020. On January 26, 2021, the series was renewed for a ninth season.
Raymond "Red" Reddington, a former US Naval Intelligence
officer who had disappeared twenty years earlier to become one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives
, surrenders himself to FBI Assistant Director Harold Cooper at the J. Edgar Hoover Building
in Washington, D.C.
Taken to an FBI "black site
," Reddington claims he wishes to help the FBI track down and apprehend the criminals and terrorists he spent the last twenty years associating with: individuals that are so dangerous and devious that the United States government is unaware of their very existence.
He offers Cooper his knowledge and assistance on two conditions: immunity from prosecution, and that he wants to work exclusively with Elizabeth Keen, a rookie profiler
newly assigned to Cooper. Keen and Cooper are suspicious of Reddington's interest in her, but he will only say that she is "very special." After Cooper tests Reddington's offer in locating and killing a terrorist in the first episode, Reddington reveals that this man was only the first on the "blacklist" of global criminals that he has compiled over his criminal career, and states that he and the FBI have a mutual interest in eliminating them. The mysteries of Reddington's and Liz's lives, and his interest in her, are gradually revealed as the series progresses. With a few exceptions, each episode features one of the global criminals, and Reddington assisting the team tracking and apprehending them. In every such episode, the rank and name or alias of the featured criminal on Red's blacklist is displayed at the close of the opening sequence.
Cast and characters
* James Spader
as Raymond "Red" Reddington: A master criminal turned confidential informant
for the FBI
, who is later apparently revealed to be Elizabeth Keen's biological father. However, it is revealed during the course of seasons 5 and 6 that he is an impostor who took the place of the real Reddington after he was killed, keeping his bones in a suitcase.
* Megan Boone
as Elizabeth "Liz" Keen: Born Masha Rostova, Keen is a special agent and profiler with the FBI on Harold Cooper's team.
* Diego Klattenhoff
as Donald Ressler: A special agent with the FBI on Cooper's team, who also became the Acting Assistant Director of the FBI Counterterrorism Division
* Ryan Eggold
as Tom Keen: Born Christopher Hargrave, later taking the adoptive name Jacob Phelps, Keen works as a covert operative
and is Liz's husband (seasons 1–5).
* Parminder Nagra
as Meera Malik: A field agent
with the CIA
who worked with Cooper's FBI team (season 1).
* Harry Lennix
as Harold Cooper: The Assistant Director of the FBI Counterterrorism Division who uses Reddington to stop people on his Blacklist.
* Amir Arison
as Aram Mojtabai: A cyber expert with the FBI on Cooper's team (recurring, season 1; main, season 2–present).
* Mozhan Marnò
as Samar Navabi: A Mossad
agent who works with Cooper's FBI team (seasons 2–6).
* Hisham Tawfiq
as Dembe Zuma: Reddington's bodyguard and confidant (recurring, seasons 1–2; main, season 3–present).
* Laura Sohn as Alina Park: A FBI field agent who previously worked in Anchorage
(recurring, season 7; main, season 8)
On October 4, 2013, NBC ordered nine additional episodes, filling out the series' first season. On December 3, 2013, NBC renewed the series for a 22-episode second season. On May 11, 2014, owing to the series' breakout success, NBC decided to air an episode in the coveted post–Super Bowl timeslot
in 2015. On December 5, 2015, the series was renewed for a fourth season, which premiered on September 22, 2016.
A spin-off series, ''The Blacklist: Redemption
'', premiered on February 23, 2017. On May 11, 2017, the series was renewed for a fifth season, while the spin-off was canceled the following day. The fifth season premiered on September 27, 2017.
The sixth season premiered on January 3, 2019. The seventh season premiered on October 4, 2019. In March 2020, the production for the show was shut down due to COVID-19.The seventh season finale aired on May 15, 2020. The eighth season premiered November 13, 2020.
After showing a screening of the pilot
, producers revealed that their inspiration for ''The Blacklist'' came from the capture of Whitey Bulger
. Recalling the experience in an interview with Collider
, executive producer John Eisendrath
NBC bought the rights to ''The Blacklist'' from Sony Pictures Television
in August 2012 and greenlighted
the show in January 2013. During an NBC upfront presentation
in May 2013, it was announced that ''The Blacklist'' was NBC's highest-testing drama in 10 years.
Eisendrath said that the casting process was difficult.
In February 2013, NBC offered Kiefer Sutherland
the lead role of Raymond Reddington. He and Bokenkamp called James Spader
to see if he would be interested in the role of Reddington;
they felt confident in his understanding of the character and cast him three days before filming began.
took a week to prepare for her audition as FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen,
and she was called back for multiple auditions.
In March 2013, ''Deadline Hollywood
'' reported that she accepted the role as the female lead in the series.
Filming locations and technique
Despite being set in Washington, D.C.
, the series is mainly filmed in the same Manhattan
studio where ''Law & Order
'' was filmed for 20 years. Producer Richard Heus said they chose to film specific Washington, D.C., locations for the series, including the Lincoln Memorial
, the Washington Monument
, and the National Mall
, because they were "iconic American locations."
The series is filmed in 4K
PMW-F55 cameras that are adapted to use Panavision
It is edited using Avid Media Composer
, and editor Christopher Brookshire says the show has "a very distinctive look and pace."
An average of three cameras are used at one time, but as many as six cameras are sometimes recording.
The series is broadcast simultaneously on Global
in Canada. In New Zealand, the show premiered on TV3
on February 2, 2014.
The second season premiered on September 23. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the show premiered on Sky Witness
(formally Sky Living) on October 4, 2013. The second season premiered on October 3, 2014. But has since been moved to Sky One
has streaming rights to seasons 1–7 in the United States, Canada, Australia, Latin America, Finland, India, Pakistan, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Sweden, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and Norway.
The first season of ''The Blacklist'' received strong reviews from television critics. On Metacritic
, the first season has a score of 74 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews." The review aggregator
website Rotten Tomatoes
reports an 85% approval rating, based on 52 reviews, with an average score of 7.18/10. The consensus reads, "James Spader is riveting as a criminal-turned-informant, and his presence goes a long way toward making this twisty but occasionally implausible crime procedural compelling." The second season received a rating of 80%, based on 15 reviews, with an average score of 7.77/10. The consensus reads, "Though ''The Blacklist'' flirts with narrative overload, it's held together by James Spader's scenery-eating performance and wildly entertaining action." The third season received a rating of 93%, based on 14 reviews, with an average score of 7.41/10. The consensus reads, "''The Blacklist'' is back in top form with fresh dangers that put Red on the ropes while giving James Spader room to shine." The fourth season received a rating of 88%, based on eight reviews, with an average score of 7/10. The fifth season received a rating of 100%, based on five reviews, with an average score of 8.5/10. The sixth season also received a rating of 100%, based on five reviews, but with an average score of 9.3/10. The seventh season has not received enough ratings to calculate a score.
of the ''San Francisco Chronicle
'' said about the pilot, "You think you know this situation and how it will turn out, but there are surprising, yet entirely credible, twists throughout Monday's episode."
Robert Bianco of ''USA Today
'' said, "''The Blacklist'' is a solid weekly crime show built around a genuine TV star. That's the kind of series the networks have to be able to pull off to survive. And with Spader in command, odds are NBC will." Tim Goodman of ''The Hollywood Reporter
'' praised both Spader's performance and the procedural elements of the show, writing "there's an overarching element to the premise as well that makes it intriguing without making it overly complicated."
#The stunt cast included Airon Armstrong, Kevin Ball, Chris Barnes, Nitasha Bhambree, Michael C. Brennan, Bryce Burke, Jared Burke, Kachina Dechert, Neimah Djourabchi, Paul Drechsler-Martell, Stefanie Flores, Edward Gabree, Christopher Jon Gombos, Tony Guida, Gene Harrison, Greg Harvey, Chad Hessler, Cort Hessler, Donald John Hewitt, Scott Kelly, Pete Klein, Drew Leary, Luke Lesko, Roberto Lopez, Terence Lorino, Stephen Mann, Michael Matera, Chazz Menendez, Luis Moco, Declan Mulvey, James Newman, Josiah Nolan, Christopher Parker, Ashley Pynn, Jodi Michelle Pynn, Bob Roseman, Akos Schenek, Hannah Scott, Derrick Simmons, Brian Smyj, Matt Triplett, Thad Turner, and Aaron Vexler.
released an official comic book series based on the series, written by Nicole Phillips and drawn by Beni Lobel. The series' crew is working in the project as well.
Editor David Leach told ''The Hollywood Reporter
'' that the comic is "a true extension of the television series" giving "new dimensions of the characters that have captured the audiences worldwide". The series will open with a six-issue story arc, which will be "a journey deep into the dark world of international espionage, conspiracies and intrigue on a global scale".
Issue #1 was launched July 22, 2015, in both comic book and digital stores.
The mobile game ''The Blacklist: Conspiracy'' was released on June 23, 2016, by Gameloft
for Android, iOS, and Windows devices. As a member of the task force, the player can interact with Reddington, Cooper and other members, and interrogate potential suspects and witnesses. The game mainly consists of searching for missing items in different environments, as well as mini games to further the investigations. Players can also make decisions that alter the route of the story.
In March 2016, NBC began developing a spin-off series created by Bokenkamp and Eisendrath, who would also serve as executive producers with Davis and Fox. The project was set to star Famke Janssen
as Susan "Scottie" Hargrave (formerly ''Halsted'') and Eggold, in his role as Tom Keen, as well as Edi Gathegi
reprising his role as Matias Solomon. Tawny Cypress
was cast as Nez Rowan, a character already recurring during the third season. Hargrave first appeared on ''The Blacklist'' episode "Susan Hargrave", with "Alexander Kirk" serving as a backdoor pilot
for the potential series. That episode was written by Bokenkamp and Eisendrath and directed by Michael Dinner. On May 14, 2016, a pilot for the series, ''The Blacklist: Redemption'', was ordered. The series was canceled after one season. Eggold continued his role on ''The Blacklist''.
Category:2013 American television series debuts
Category:American action television series
Category:2010s American crime drama television series
Category:2020s American crime drama television series
Category:2010s American mystery television series
Category:2020s American mystery television series
Category:Television series about the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Category:NBC original programming
Category:Television series by Universal Television
Category:Television series by Sony Pictures Television
Category:Television shows filmed in New York (state)
Category:Television shows set in New York City
Category:Television shows set in Washington, D.C.
Category:Terrorism in television
Category:Crime thriller television series
Category:American spy thriller television series
Category:Television shows adapted into comics
Category:Television shows adapted into video games