It’s finally here NBC’s The Blacklist pilot has premiered and if you missed it here is a recap of one show you may not want to miss from here on out this fall.
So The Blacklist pilot opens just as we suspect it too, with no filler. Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) walks into the FBI building and says he’s looking for the Assistant Director Cooper of the FBI. He places down his briefcase, places his coat and hat on it and proceeds to get treated like one of the most dangerous men in the world. After “Red” Reddington’s identity is verified and a tracking device is placed on him, he states he will only talk to one person Elizabeth Keen.
Keen’s story is a littler more filled in and this briefly seems more like a sitcom when new the newest FBI agent wakes up late for her first day on the job. She fumbles over her husband, Tom, and the dog to get up and gets dressed. On the way to the kitchen, to discuss a field trip that her husband is taking with his school kids, Keen steps in dog pee. Once she finally gets herself together outside of her apartment, she apparently forgets that she’s late, has small talk with her husband about an upcoming adoption for the two. Lo and behold here comes the FBI with black SUV’s and a helicopter to bring her to work.
Reddington tells her that another FBI most wanted person – Ranko Zamani – will be kidnapping a General’s daughter and how to stop him. Red also sells Keen on his story by bringing up that fact that her father was a criminal and mother was a no good beatnik. Of course all of this is believed, Keen and a team of FBI agents get set in a convoy to secure the generals daughter out of dance class where we see Zamani’s men set up a roadblock to hijack the FBI caravan with the general’s daugther a la fast and furious style. A shootout ensues the girl is lost and Keen and one other agent survive the bloodshed.
“Red” Reddington kicks his Hannibal Lecter act into high gear asking about Keens scar on her hand, but Keen doesn’t give much detail about it, trying to focus on the case. Red wants to help Keen and the FBI, but of course he wants something. He tells them to think like a criminal. The let Red out of his cage to see the evidence room and he gives them pieces about Zamani’s operation, breaking down who the banker and chemist is but holds out on how to find Zamani. In order for Red to help fully he wants to live as he did while being a criminal. It works and he get set up in a swanky hotel and criminals fall like gumdrops.
When Keen returns home she finds a bunch of balloons and a “it’s a girl” sign. She also finds Zamani in her house and her husband bloodied, bound and gagged. Zamani wants to know what she knows and how. He also states that Red was really obsessed with Keen. Zamani leaves without Keen telling him much, but stabs Tom a few more times for good measure. When Zamani leaves Keen calls 911. Keen proceeds to the fancy hotel Red is set up in and wants to know if Red sent Zamani to her house. He gives her an answer she doesn’t like and she proceeds to stab him in the neck with pen threatening to kill him.
As Keen rushes into the hospital to question Red, she finds that he is missing. Red meets with Zamani at the Lincoln memorial. Apparently Zamani is working with Red more than we suspected. Zamani tells Red that he went to Keen’s house to meet with Keen’s husband and did exactly as Red told him to do. The FBI agents play a typical cat and mouse game tracking Red via the chip they placed in him earlier. Agent Keen is on the phone with Red recalling what her and Zamani’s conversation was in detail and Keen figures out Zamani is going to bomb the D.C. zoo.
At the D.C. zoo Beth is sitting on a bench with a bomb strapped to her chest and backpack. While on the Phone with Red, Keen is told that “Red’s guy” will be there soon and that an evacuation and bomb squad will not make it to the zoo in time being the bomb has less that 3 minutes on it. The FBI tracks Red down to a D.C. rooftop and instead of it being Red it’s Zamani. A FBI agent shoots Zamani while he pulls out what seems like a detonator for a bomb, it ends up being Red’s tracking device.
At the zoo we see agent Keen and Beth about to get blown up in under a minute, while a Russian speaking man tries to disable this bomb. Keen calms the girl down by showing Beth a scar on her arm that Keen proceeds to tell Beth her “daddy” gave her and it is her secret weapon for being brave. The guy the dismantles the bomb takes off with it and Red is standing behind Keen.
Back at the FBI field office we see Red and Agent Cooper. While Red proceeds to tell Cooper about “The Blacklist” the list of criminals that the FBI doesn’t know exists. Of course Red has rules some of which are that he doesn’t spend the night at the same hotel more than 2 consecutive days, he wants a better tracking chip instead of the garbage they put in him, he wants a security team that is selected from agents he already vetted and all of the criminals he helps the FBI find go into an immunity package and that he only speaks with agent Keen.
Back at home Agent Keen is tearing up the blood stained carpet. She finds a piece of wood that seems tampered with. Keen lifts up the wood and finds a box filled with money, a gun and several passports of Tom’s all with different aliases. The show closes with Agent Keen going back to Red and Red apparently knows she’s found something about her husband.
First things first. It “seems” like, based on the Blacklist pilot, the big secret in this show may be that Raymond “Red” Reddington may be Elizabeth Keens father. However on a show like this something that seems so obvious probably isn’t the case. Either way the writers go with the story of Reddington and Keen their path will be intertwined in some way. This show also reminds me of homeland with an FBI twist and I am interested in how they play it.
James Spader is compelling in this role and with as much hype and commercials about a pilot episode. I thought that we would be bored because all of the major points of the show would be given away in the commercials. The show also left me very surprised how it all played out.
Lastly as we saw with Red and Zamani, Red seemed to be pulling the strings on Zamani’s plan and telling the FBI that Red wanted Zamani as much as the FBI did. I am interested to see actually why Red is doing this. Reddington stated that he was going to make Keen’s career but I would like to know what is his major motivation unless the major plot point is that Red is Elizabeth Keen’s father.