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Wednesday October 16, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday October 16, 2013 MYT 8:01:39 AM
by mumtaj begum
Black tie (and list): Agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) and Raymond Reddington (James Spader) are unlikely partners in the hunt for notorious criminals in The Blacklist.
Many questions pop up when watching
The Blacklist. Some are highly intriguing,
others not so much.
WHAT happens when everything and everyone around you are not what they seem? This conundrum is what Agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) faces from the very first day she starts work as an FBI profiler in the new series The Blacklist.
What she thought was going to be an ordinary first day turns into a life-changing moment the minute she is brought into the agency to talk to Raymond Reddington (James Spader), who has been on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for years.
On Elizabeth’s first day at her new job, Reddington casually walks into FBI headquarters and surrenders. Needless to say, this man has leverage – a list of people who pose a threat to the United States and a plan on how to apprehend them.
Ultimately, the list sways the FBI to grant him conditional freedom. His terms: a stay in a luxury hotel, expensive room service, personal tailor – and he will only talk to Elizabeth.
This last demand is one of the first mysteries that intrigues the audience. Why is Reddington so insistent that he only deals with her, when she has no idea who he is?
She has a dark past, judging from a scar on her hand and something about adopting a child, but how is all this connected to Reddington? The most obvious solution to this question is that he is her father (!) but that seems too easy a way out of this mystery, and The Blacklist is obviously a series that wants to throw many twists at the viewer. Also, Reddington would seem to have more than enough resources to bring down the people on his list by himself. Does he really need the FBI’s help like he claims?
Another intriguing mystery in the series is the one which revolves around Elizabeth’s personal life. She discovers the man she’s married to has a secret, in the form of multiple fake passports, cash and a gun, which he has hidden in a box under the floorboards in their home. Is he a spy sent to keep an eye on Elizabeth? Or is he working with Reddington? The possibilities are endless.
This, in turn, brings us to yet another question – who is Elizabeth that two different individuals have been keeping a close eye on her? By the end of the third episode, a third party comes into the picture and makes it his business to watch her. Just who is she, anyway?
These mysteries are what drive the series more than the list of really forgettable baddies. It’s also interesting that the relationship between Reddington and Elizabeth kicks off with the same vibe as Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling in Silence Of The Lambs, but goes on to hint at something else.
Actress Boone (Law & Order: LA) gives her character a sombre personality as Elizabeth goes deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole, managing to hold her own when placed side by side with the more over-the-top Spader (he has the better lines).
While the main characters are watchable, the people around them are not. The most annoying bit has to do with the FBI. It’s all a bit too convenient the way the FBI and the government submit to Reddington’s “wishes” by the third episode, though it must be said that the man always seems to have the upper hand even when the bureau has him locked up and isolated in a maximum-security cell.
One reason why Reddington may not feel threatened by the agency may be because the FBI – as portrayed in The Blacklist – is somewhat incompetent. This comes across loud and clear whenever Agent Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) comes into the picture.
This guy insists that he does everything himself, but he’s no Jack Bauer (of 24). For example, when he needs to save someone’s life, but is miles away, he doesn’t pick up the phone and send the closest unit there – he drives madly through traffic and does the job himself. What?
When he is tracking Reddington, he botches it because he doesn’t have back-up. Seriously? If this dude isn’t annoying enough, they bring in a CIA agent, Meera Malik (Parminder Nagra), seemingly just to have the CIA and FBI butt heads about how each agency conducts its business.
It’s a good thing that The Blacklist has a good thing going at its core – the mystery surrounding Elizabeth and Reddington – otherwise it might have ended up on the casualty list all too soon.
*The Blacklist airs every Wednesday at 10pm, first and exclusively on AXN (Astro 701 / HD Ch 721). Reader response can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags / Keywords:
Lifestyle, Entertainment, Megan Boone, The Blacklist, James Spader, Reddington
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