Cast: James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff, Ryan Eggold, Henry Lennix, Parminder Nagra
Creator: Jon Bokenkamp
Genre: TV, Crime, Drama
Running Time: 880 minutes
With its pilot debuting to a national audience of 1.3 million+ viewers in 2013, The Blacklist is one of Australia's number one US drama series. Expertly fronted by Hollywood heavyweight James Spader (Boston Legal, Lincoln), nominated for a Golden Globe® (Best Performance by an Actor in TV series - Drama) for his role as protagonist and anti‐hero Raymond 'Red" Reddington. The standout cast also includes Megan Boone (Sex and the City 2, Step Up 4: Miami Heat), Diego Klattenhoff (After Earth, Pacific Rim) and Ryan Eggold (90210, Entourage). In its first season, The Blacklist has continued to make a splash, being nominated at the 2014 People's Choice Awards (Favourite New TV Drama) and ranked in the top five of most watched dramas in Australia for 2013 (OzTam).
A former government agent turned FBI's Most Wanted, Reddington (Spader), has eluded capture for decades. When he suddenly surrenders to the authorities with an offer to help catch an infamous terrorist, it seems like a dream come true for the agents after him. His one condition is that he only speaks to Elizabeth 'Liz" Keen (Boone), a young FBI profiler who's barely out of Quantico Academy. His bargain, to help the FBI by giving them a -blacklist' of the worst terrorists and criminals spanning the globe, in return for criminal immunity and his own security detail.
When Keen's past and present start to collide, Reddington seems to be the only person who has the answers to the maze of dangerous clues left waiting for her. Wishing to find out the true identity of her father, Keen uncovers more than she bargained for when confronted by the ugly truth about the significant others in her life.
Terrorists, lies, blackmail and espionage are only the beginning of this remarkable crime drama. Already renewed for a second season, The Blacklist will keep you on the edge of your seat as you try to decipher Reddington's motives whilst the FBI start to scratch off names on the blacklist of terrorists he has placed in their path.
Commentary on the Pilot with Josh Bokenkamp, John Eisendrath and Joe Carnahan
Inception: Making the Pilot
Beyond the Blacklist: Pilot
Beyond the Blacklist: Freelancer
Beyond the Blacklist: Wujing
Beyond the Blacklist: Stewmaker
The Insider: Behind the Scenes of Season 1
Character Dossiers: Harold Cooper
Commentary on Anslo Garrick
Character Dossiers: Donald Ressler
Beyond the Blacklist: Anslo Garrick
Beyond the Blacklist: Alchemist
Beyond the Blacklist: Good Samaritan
Character Dossiers: Meera Malik
Beyond the Blacklist: Cyprus Agency
Beyond the Blacklist
Beyond the Blacklist: Madeline Pratt
Beyond the Blacklist: Judge
Beyond the Blacklist: Mako Tanida
Rouges Gallery: The Blacklisters
Character Dossiers: Tom Keen
Beyond the Blacklist: Ivan
Beyond the Blacklist: Milton Bobbit
Beyond the Blacklist: The Pavlovich Brothers
Character Dossiers: Raymond Reddington
Character Dossiers: Elizabeth Keen
Beyond the Blacklist: The Kingmaker
Beyond the Blacklist: Berlin
The Blacklist: Season One
Question: For people who are new to the show, what is 'The Blacklist" about?
Megan Boone: The show is about this international criminal, Raymond Reddington, who has developed a list of other criminals he wants to help the FBI catch but he has one rule: he will only speak with my character, Elizabeth Keen, in order to catch them. And no one knows their connection. As the series unravels and they start to chase down these blacklist criminals, they realize that Reddington's connection with Elizabeth Keen is far greater than anyone ever could have realized. So you start to unravel the mythology behind why he might be so interested in this young woman.
Question: How would you describe your character?
Megan Boone: Elizabeth Keen is a newly-minted FBI profiler who is going to her first day of work when she realizes that Raymond Reddington has come into her life and all of these things about her life that were originally seen as one thing get exposed as another thing, like her relationship at home with her husband and her familial ties and so forth. Raymond Reddington is the catalyst for all of these revelations.
Question: The show has been a big success with audiences and critics. How do you account for this success?
Megan Boone: I think we've sort of captured lightning in a bottle with this one. It's not only a wonderful premise and a very unique premise but it's also derivative of very classic storylines like The Silence of the Lambs. There are [also] elements of 'The X-Files." But then it has its own unique qualities. And all of the cast work perfectly together and within their own characters. I just think it's one of the most miraculous things that everyone involved worked very hard to create but also we all got very lucky to find a creative environment that we can all work in together, successfully.
Question: Did you have a chance to do any research to prepare for your role?
Megan Boone: I did a lot of research into the FBI and Quantico and what I would have learned in my experience there. But as I started working on the show, I discovered that really didn't apply so much because this world is so inflated and extraordinary that I wasn't able to take in things from the real world to inform it. So, just as I'm sure Elizabeth Keen has to surrender to this very strange new atmosphere she finds herself in, I also had to surrender myself to the unlikelihood of the imaginary circumstances that the story brings. So the research didn't really apply, in the end.
Question: Have the show's creators received any feedback from the FBI?
Megan Boone: Maybe the FBI watches the show, I don't know, but they haven't really made any comment.
Question: I guess it's good if they don't comment…
Megan Boone: It's much better not to be mentioned in the FBI's public statements, I suppose.
Question: Your character gets into a lot of action in the show. Do you enjoy doing the stunts?
Megan Boone: I love the fact that this job requires me to do a lot of fight sequences and action sequences because it breaks up the work for me. It's such a huge difference doing that as opposed to doing a highly emotional scene or a scene where we're trying to figure out or get to the bottom of the hunt for the blacklister that week; the more procedural elements. So it's nice because there are a lot of different facets to the job. It mixes it up for me.
Question: Have you had any injures?
Megan Boone: No injuries! I'm totally unscathed from season one. Elizabeth Keen has been battered and bruised, emotionally and physically, but I'm fine. [Laughs]
Question: Is there ever a time they've come to you with a stunt and you've said, 'No, I won't do that"?
Megan Boone: They usually ask me, 'Do you want to do the stunt?" For the most part, I say yes. But if it's a stunt where it requires some professional stunt person to come in or it could cause a concussion, I usually try to leave it to the professional. Sometimes they're hooking you up to ropes and pulling you onto pads and things that you have to fall onto otherwise you might hit concrete. I try to steer clear of hitting concrete as much as possible.
Question: How have you found it working with James Spader?
Megan Boone: I found it delightful working with James Spader. He's a pro. He's been doing this successfully for 30 some odd years and it's fortuitous for [me] at this point in my career to have a co-star who's that established and successful and talented and generous and all of the things James brings to the table for me. What a coup, right?
Question: What was it like the first time you met him?
Megan Boone: My first day working on the show with James – and I hadn't met him yet – I came to work with great anticipation and I went to the 29th floor of the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue, where we rented out the whole floor. I went into my suite and I was rehearsing my lines and was very, very nervous and just munching on popcorn, neurotically. James knocked on my door and said, 'It's James." I stiffened up and inhaled and a piece of popcorn lodged itself in the back of my throat and he came in to speak to me and he was very eloquent about how wonderful we were going to be together and how, if there was anything I ever needed, to please come and ask him. All the while, I'm trying to pretend I'm not choking. I could get oxygen but I was really uncomfortable. He left the room and the popcorn came dislodged from my throat and I went in and stabbed him in the neck with a pen and everything has gone really well from that point on. [Laughs]
Question: Given the intricacies of its plot, do you think 'The Blacklist" lends itself well to repeat viewings or binge-watching on Blu-ray and DVD?
Megan Boone: I think people have enjoyed binge-watching it the entire time because we've had an interesting form of ratings this year where they not only count the night of [airing] but when people watch it on DVR. We'd go off the air in the [U.S.] for one or two weeks at a time and people would write on Twitter that they were binge-watching all of the episodes during those two weeks so they could get ready for when we came back on the air. So I feel like those people are definitely going to run out and get the DVD and hold us accountable for all of our crazy twists and turns in the plot last year, which is fun because that's what they're building season two from.
Question: It's obviously a very intense show but is there any goofing around on set?
Megan Boone: I have more of a light-hearted personality and I like to maintain that when the cameras aren't rolling because I think it keeps hope in the room when everything seems so bleak and morbid and so forth. And it actually makes it a lot easier to work on the scenes that are a lot darker because you don't have to live there all the time and you still have energy to do that.
Question: I guess every actor brings a part of him or herself to a role. What's the common ground between you and Elizabeth?
Megan Boone: I'm a pretty strong girl and I think Elizabeth is a very strong woman. And I'm certainly coming into my own, especially having the experience of being on the show and being able to work with the great James Spader. I think Elizabeth Keen feels a similar affinity and reverence for Raymond Reddington, so there's a bit of symbiosis happening there.
Question: What are the differences?
Megan Boone: I smile a lot; Elizabeth Keen, not so much. [Laughs] Things like that.
Question: Do you think you could do Elizabeth's job in real life or is part of the joy of the part that you get to just sample these things that must be quite traumatic in real life?
Megan Boone: What's interesting about Elizabeth Keen is that she's gone through so much and she's still very much moving forward in her life and she's not broken. So that says a lot about her and her strength and her fortitude. So, yeah, she's gone through quite a bit of trauma but she's coming out of it okay and I think maybe changed and better for it.
Question: Where would you like to see your character go in the future?
Megan Boone: I want her to get dark and sharp and a little bit more mischievous.