Even before The Blacklist had premiered, I had heard all the stories about how mindblowingly awesome the pilot was supposed to be. I heard it was the best testing pilot in years, everyone who had ever seen it thought it was amazing, and so on. The good news is that the pilot lives up to the hype. The bad news? Probably around Season 4, this premise will seem rather silly.
Raymond Reddington (James Spader) is wanted by the FBI. So why does he stroll right in the front door, and offer himself to the FBI? Soon, they realize that Red has an agenda, and he will only talk to Agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), who just started her first day. He has information to give the FBI, and the FBI will have to play by his rules.
The plot of the first episode revolves around a terrorist abducting the daughter of a high-ranking military official, and his agenda behind it. Elizabeth has to race against time to save the little girl, using the information that Red gives her.
The pilot has a nice amount of twists and turns, always keeping the upper hand with Red. He controls everything, including the progression of the plot. It’s nice to see him have the constant upper hand, because it establishes his value for future episodes. However, if he takes a name off his blacklist every episode, it will seem rather stale by season 4 or 5. Eventually, the newness of the concept will have evolved it into a procedural. Hopefully, the show can find a way to reinvent itself before that point.
This is the best new drama pilot I’ve seen this fall season, easily beating Agents of Shield, and slipping past Hostages. Definitely a must-see.
FINAL GRADE: A