The Blacklist – first review

The Blacklist Raymond "Red" Reddington & Elizabeth KeenThe Blacklist

On 23rd September 2013, USA television NBC started airing a new crime series called The Blacklist. One month later, the show was in Poland, running on AXN. So far, the TV in USA showed 8 episodes of season 1 of the Blacklist.

The Blacklist’s Plot

One day, one of the FBI’s most wanted criminals – Raymond “Red” Reddington, also known as “the Concierge of Crime”, surrenders to FBI. That day is Elizabeth’s Keen first day in work as a FBI profiler. Reddington is willing to help FBI with catching “big shots” in criminal world, on some conditions. On of those conditions is that he’ll speak only to Elizabeth Keen.

Continue reading to learn more about “The Blacklist” and my opinion on the series.

The Blacklist’s characters

In each episode there are some regular characters. Elizabeth with her husband, “the good agents” and Reddington with his associates, usually his bodyguard Dembe. In every episode there are special guest stars, villains that need to be caught and punished.

Raymond “Red” Reddington is the central character. Luckily. An old-style (both in looks and manners) criminal mastermind and a puppetmaster. He keeps saying FBI works for him and there is no reason not to believe him. 😉 He made a list of very dangerous criminals, many of them unknown to FBI.  His real motives aren’t known. He has a good side, but nevertheless always keeps being the criminal, sometimes killing people by his own hands. It’s my favourite character on the show. He reminds me of Gerald Tarrant from “The Coldfire Trilogy” by Celia S. Friedman. Both characters are civilised devils, who work with “the good guys” bound by a common goal. The good guy working with Tarrant had to leave priesthood afterwards, because the time when he had to use or turn a blind eye to evil actions of his companion changed him for ever. I hope to see how the goody Lizzy will be tainted.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Keen is the main female character. And the most irritating regular character in the series. A naive, goody girl. She believes whatever she hears, without much thinking (Gina episode). She’s a profiler, and she’s unable to do her work properly (Barnes), thus asking Red for help. I hope she won’t continue being that stupid.

Tom Keen is Lizzy’s husband. And a double-faced guy. He most surely isn’t innocent like Lizzy would like him to be. The question is “who is he working for?” or “who does work for him and what he wants from Lizzy”. And who are the guys that is spying on him/them.

There are other regular characters – FBI and CIA agents, but the most important so far characters are Red, Lizzy and Tom. They get the most coverage.

My opinion

A big yay for the villains in every episode. The criminal I liked the most so far was played by Robert Sean Leonard (Doctor James Wilson from MD House) who was a scientist-turned-rouge when his child developed a rare illness. I like the exposure on the bad side, the villains. The richness of those villains is probably one of the strongest of The Blacklist. After James Spader’ Red, of course. It’s good that he, not Lizzy, is the centre of the series.

I usually support the bad guys, and seeing Red has some grand plan, I don’t mind the until-now-uncatchable-criminals get jailed or killed. I think his blacklist is consisted of those who threatened his business or angered him somehow, so it’s ok those big shots get their sad fate. The show is currently running on three interesting subplots. First is: What’s Red’s plan? Second is: Who is Tom and why is he around Lizzy? Third is: who and why put surveillance in Keen’s house. Tho the third plot still waits for some development. The relation of Red and Liz isn’t that important for me. There are many hints screaming “he’s her father” but I hope it won’t be the truth. It’s too obvious and too easy. Slowly, the arc “why Red from naval officer turned into criminal” is surfacing.

So far the series is interesting and very entertaining.  On the plot-line/actors field it’s mainly connected to James Spader’s portrayal of Red and Red’s plans. In last few episodes Tom got more visibility and is currently the second most interesting character. The most problems people are voicing in the internet centres about Lizzy – either the actress’ skills, character or her wig. I agree.

The other great thing about The Blacklist is the music! I love it! I want an OST when it comes out!

The obvious failings: FBI is so stupid. Ok, I know Red is far above FBI. They didn’t catch him for years. And I’m sure he has people working directly for him in FBI, giving him an upper hand. 😉 But FBI is really stupid, going directly into traps and not noticing them etc. Come on, FBI, by being that stupid you’re ruining the show and that doesn’t show the superiority of Red.

Who would I recommend this to? Of course James Spader’s fans and fans of procedural series. Those who (like me) like the villains being the main hero. Or those who like lots of intrigues in the series.

I have the troubles with putting a score on it. It’s been labelled as the best show this fall in USA. It’s great, I like it, it got me hooked… but… I see several failings. My score for now is 7.5/10.

Are you watching The Blacklist? Did you stop watching it? What’s your opinion about the series?


3 thoughts on “The Blacklist – first review”

  1. Hej
    Odpowiadam na pytanie odnośnie zgłaszania do wyzwania bloga anglojęzycznego. Oczywiście możesz go zgłosić. Ważne jest tylko to, by recenzje dodawane do wyzwania były recenzjami polskich książek. 🙂

    1. Wybacz, że odpisuję tutaj, ale u siebie w wątku wyzwaniowym co jakiś czas muszę kasować komentarze, bo jak się nazbiera za dużo, to przestają się ładować.

      Wytyczne na nowy miesiąc pojawiają się w notce “książkowe podsumowanie miesiąca”, a oprócz tego wiszą w stałej ramce na blogu – po prawej stronie.

      Na listopad są takie:
      *polski autor (1 pkt)
      *autor z nazwiskiem na “k” (1 pkt)
      *motyw zemsty (1 pkt)

      A na grudzień dopiero się pojawią. 😉

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