Fall TV Pilot Review: The Blacklist

Fall TV Pilot Review: The Blacklist

THE BLACKLIST

Airs: Mondays at 10/9c on NBC

Premise: One of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted Criminals, Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader), turns himself in and offers to help catch terrorists on a "blacklist," but only by working with rookie profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone).

Behind the Scenes: Joe Carnahan (The Grey, The A-Team, Narc) directed the pilot.  Spader recently snagged the big villain role of Ultron in the Avengers sequel.

The Good: Spader is in his element here, chewing up the scenery and grinning through exposition as the duplicitous Red.  The show wisely doesn't overuse him.  His scenes opposite Boone (who's also quite good) are electric and recall those between Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.  Carnahan directs the hell out of the pilot.  There is a really well-staged action sequence right before the first commercial break that rivals many big screen action flicks.  Strong supporting cast, with quality actors like Harry Lennix and Diego Klattenhoff (Homeland).

The Bad: The adoption subplot involving Keen and her (not-what-he-seems) husband is straight out of Smash.  Quickly resorts to three tropes: child endangerment, spouse endangerment, and last-second bomb disposal.  Too procedural for my taste - looks like Red is just going to help catch a different terrorist each week.

Stick Around for Next Week?: Maybe one more, just to see if I'm wrong about how procedural it seems.  This isn't appointment television, but Spader makes it worth your while if you do watch.

Grade: B

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