James Spader plays Raymond Reddington, a former government agent turned bad guy. He appears to have become a sort of criminal underworld fixer, with an enormous number of contacts and knowledge about the worst of the worst. Now he’s turned himself in with the stated intention of helping the government find these horrible people, or ‘The Blacklist’, as he terms them, and bring them to justice. His requirement: he only talks to Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone). Keen is an FBI agent, new to the profiling department. She doesn’t know why Reddington is interested in her.
The pilot did dole out these two pieces of backstory: Reddington, went he went AWOL, left behind a wife and child; and Keen was abandoned by her criminal father at a young age. Okay, so I assume I’m supposed to believe that he’s her father, and this is his twisted way of paying her back for her ruined childhood. But isn’t that a little TOO obvious? And why doesn’t the crack FBI profiler ever mention this obvious parallel in their histories, even if only to suggest it as a possible reason Reddington chose her? Hopefully this will end up being more interesting than it sounds when we learn more of their (shared?) history.
Still, I enjoyed the show thoroughly. It was brutal and twisty and tense, with Keen in way over her head from almost the first scene. I look forward to the Lecter/Starling style interplay between the leads as they (hopefully) continue to cross names off the Blacklist.