Top positive review
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on September 24, 2013
When you see the choreography in this film of the surrender of America's Most Wanted Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader of THE OFFICE and BOSTON LEGAL) at FBI headquarters, you may think you're watching a dance of sorts. But instead of dancers pointing their toes, it's FBI agents pointing their guns at Reddington. Why did Reddington, a former agent himself gone rogue, and a fugitive for two decades, turn himself in now? And why is he only willing to talk to rookie agent Liz Keen (Megan Boone of LAW AND ORDER: L.A.), who is going to have a very bad first day on the job.
These are only a few of the enigmas in this new drama BLACKLIST. Here's the setup: Reddington is willing to unveil the identities of hidden criminals and terrorists - with whom he seems to have more than a nodding acquaintance - who are on his personal "blacklist" to the FBI if they will obey his demands. Besides communicating only with Keen, his other demand is a suite at the Waldorf --where he seems so comfortable that all that is missing is his bunny slippers.
James Spader as Reddington owns every scene he is in, and he is probably going to be a major reason why we will watch this show. Another reason will be Liz Keen who proves she is more than a pretty face and smart mind. She's pretty fast with the Waldorf hotel pen, too. "Profile yourself," demands Agent Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix of 24) of Keen to determine why Reddington will only work with her, and if she's up to the job of dealing with terrorists and Reddington. (We hope "profile yourself" doesn't become a standard question on job interviews because of this show.) Between Reddington and terrorists, we don't know yet who is going to be more dangerous.
As Reddington alternately goads and mentors Keen into using her profiling skills to anticipate the terrorists' next moves, we wonder what Reddington's game is. It's clearly a game that he is enjoying. And we sense Spader, the actor, is enjoying playing this rogue agent gone wild role which is another reason we'll keep watching this show. Besides choreography in the cinematography (check out when the villains slide down the ropes into waiting boats), the dialogue is witty - what there is of it between explosions etc. - and the pace is intense. USA TODAY says it's Fall's best new drama. In some random polling, about 70-80% of viewers said they were going to come back for some more. Interestingly, James Spader only signed on to play "Red" three to four days before filming started. Have a hunch by the end of the season, we can't imagine anyone else but Spader playing that role.