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Thursday 10:00 PM on NBC (Returning September 22, 2016)

The Blacklist S01E01: "Pilot"

Why wait? Let's get right to it: So master-criminal Raymond "Red" Reddington has a daughter who he abandoned, and rookie FBI agent Elizabeth Keen was abandoned by her criminal father. There'd better be more to the big secret of NBC's new thriller The Blacklist than Red wanting to work with Keen because she's his kid, 'cause if there isn't, the rest of The Blacklist isn't going to make the show a must-see drama week in and week out. I don't know whether Keen is in fact Red's daughter (and for the sake of everything holy she'd better not be), but once that thought entered my mind (which happened sometime during the first trailer that NBC released last May), it was hard to see their relationship in any other way. It can't be this obvious, can it? Either it's the worst-kept secret of the new fall season or The Blacklist has some big surprises up its sleeve.

Putting all that aside, however, The Blacklist is still a pretty decent little show by NBC's plummeting standards, and the network is really hoping that the James Spader-starring drama will end its scripted-series cold streak. It probably won't, but it has a much better chance of success than any other new NBC drama this season, unless I've underestimated the power of energy-conscious Twilight fans flocking to DraculaSpader is his Spadest as master criminal Red Reddington, a most-wanted man who surrenders to the FBI and offers to help them catch other crooks, who all appear on what he calls his "Blacklist." The gimmick is that he'll only work with FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), who's so new to the agency—the pilot took place on her first day on the job—that she doesn't even know where the bathroom is. From there, a fairly standard procedural flirted with serialized elements while Red helped Keen hunt down a potential terrorist named Zamani. Or did he help the terrorist almost realize a plan to bomb Washington D.C. with a chemical weapon? Or was he using the terrorist to facilitate his own nefarious plan, which somehow involves Keen and her husband? It's all a little foggy so far, and not in a rewarding way.

After the standard pilot introductions, things got a little muddled—particularly in the second half of the episode. Red escaped heavily manned FBI watch by CLIMBING OUT OF A HOSPITAL WINDOW, had a friendly chat with the terrorist Zamani and confirmed that Zamani had nearly killed Keen's husband at Red's request, led the FBI to Zamani by planting his own tracking device on him, and then helped defuse Zamani's chemical-weapon bomb—which had been strapped to the kidnapped daughter of a U.S. general. Oh, and did I mention that the reason Red was in the hospital was that Keen stabbed him in the neck with a pen? The only thing I can assume is that Red pretended to be chummy with Zamani in order to get more information on the nature of the attack, and then used that information to help Keen save the day. We still don't know what the hell Red is up to, whose side he's on, or why he did anything that he did (aside from bleeding when he got stabbed), but maybe that's the point of both the character and The Blacklist. Red is a free agent who can still mix it up in the criminal world because the bad guys don't know he's working with the FBI. I guess?


It's ambitious, going for ambivalence to pique our curiosity, but I don't think the pilot pulled off its attempt as well as it could have. It might've been more successful Red had ever fooled us into believing in him (or gave us a reason to definitely hate him), but he started off somewhat-untrustworthy and remained somewhat-untrustworthy, rather than convincing us to commit to an opinion of him and then flipping our expectations. There just wasn't much surprise from him. I liked Spader's performance a lot, but Red is just an odd duck who can't be pegged. Sometimes a show can use that to its advantage, but here the character didn't show us much except a creepy way to say, "I think you're special." 

And that confusion infected the plot as well. Consider how that terrorist was caught: Red cut out his implanted-in-his-body tracking device and put it in Zamani's detonator, leading the feds right to the bad guy. Did Zamani know? Had he given up because of all those neck boils? Or did Red trick him? I don't know. All I know is that  Zamani's plight and plot quickly fizzled out because all that happened was the guy from Homeland shot him. Not exactly the most exciting way to off the big bad guy in the series premiere. And just to add to the confusion, the bomb—which was strapped to a little girl—was defused by a Red-recommended, one-man Ukrainian bomb squad, who then ran off into the woods with it while waving and yelling "Thanks!" 

But that wasn't all! Keen went home to clean up her husband's insides from the carpet and found a secret compartment under the floorboards. It contained a box full of fake passports with her husband's picture in them, stacks of hundred-dollar bills, and a gun. Like an overprotective dad, or perhaps as an overprotective dad, Red had been questioning whether Keen really knew her husband Tom throughout most of the episode, and it looks like daddy Red was right. Tom is apparently some sort of master bad guy, and that's one more mystery to throw into this confusion sandwich. 

The Blacklist's pilot would've benefited from holding back a bit. By throwing so much at us instead of focusing on Keen and Red, the episode may have done more harm than good. The best parts of the hour were when Red was guiding Keen through the case and telling her how to think (although the rest of the FBI standing around like idiots was weird). It's a tried-and-true Silence of the Lambs-type of situation, but Spader plays the part well and it was the only time the show came close to building up a relationship between the two. I would have gladly watched a whole hour of that.

It's all in good fun, though, and the pacing of the episode did a nice job of distracting us from asking too many questions in the moment. Joe Carnahan did a bang-up job directing, and kept things moving along nicely. The kidnapping of the general's daughter was particularly impressive, what with the cars crashing and the guns shooting and the boats boating, and no scene was so quiet that a bunch of helicopters and SUVs and heavily armed men couldn't swoop in at any time. And they often did. A lot of the snazzy action and spiffy pacing may be a cover-up for subpar writing, but the pilot kept things entertaining enough that I'd like to see the second episode. Hopefully it will clear up a few things.



NOTESLIST

– What a cool cat Keen was! She overslept on her first day of work at the FBI! I realize her alarm clock was reset, but she must be the deepest, most relaxed sleeper in the world to not be antsy and wake up at 6am because of sheer nerves over starting a job at the FBI. I would've at least set my iPhone alarm as a backup. 

– And who in their right mind would schedule an important adoption meeting on her first day of work at the FBI? If this is her idea of responsibility, she doesn't deserve a child. Or a job at the FBI. I mean seriously. It's her first day of work. Not just any work, but work at the FBI. Did she think she could sneak it in on her lunch break? That's something a crazy person would do, right? An adoption meeting... on her first day of work... at the FBI. And guess what? The adoption storyline didn't really matter a whole lot, did it? It could've easily been substituted for a conference call with the adoption agency to find out if they'd been chosen, instead of an in-person meeting. Yes! This is a major sticking point with me!

– Seriously, that car-crashing shootout on the bridge was wayyyy cool. But how did Zamani know to set up there? Did he know the FBI would grab the general's daughter and then take that very route over the bridge at that very time? Doesn't it take a lot of time to set up an ambush like that? And then he had to close the bridge for a while? Wouldn't the Department of Transportation be like, "Ummm no ambush setups between the hours of 3pm and 7pm!"? Zamani told Keen he didn't know how the FBI had figured out his plan, but it seemed like his plan relied on the FBI taking the daughter. Me so confused! Or bad writing. 

– Hey look! It's Nina from The Americans playing an FBI agent! And wow, look at all those sexy agents. Does this group of FBI agents at "The Post Office" also double as a modeling agency?


What'd you think of the series premiere? 

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 9/22/2016

Season 4 : Episode 1

Next Episode

AIRS ON 9/29/2016

Season 4 : Episode 2

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I LOVE THE BLACKLIST. JAMES SPADER HAS always been a wonderful Actor and I would like to see the show back to its original time and date or put it on.Tuesdays, bz there is nothing I want to see on these nights. Keep
THE BLACKLIST GOING!!!!!!!
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Reddington may well be Keen's long lost father. That is not necessarily "too obvious" to work as a series premise.
After all, Clark Kent was obviously Superman. It was part of the story premise. It was obvious to everyone except the other characters, such as Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Perry White.
What kept everyone in suspense was WHEN and HOW the other characters would discover this fact.
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Let's begin with Spader's surrender to the FBI. He drops to his knees, locks his fingers behind his head and still every FBI agent in the country has to surround him with guns drawn? Overkill.

Next we have the FBI going to pick up the late-for-work-on-her-first-day new agent. They have to send 2 cars that arrive from opposite directions plus a helicopter and they all just happen to arrive simultaneously? Over Overkill.

Then the abduction. They get warned something like this will happen and yet when they come to the blockage on the bridge nobody gets suspicious?

This all goes unnoticed by the salivating fans?
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Its entertainment at its best. Everyone must be hooked, why keep dissecting it. Just enjoy it. I certainly am.
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What was the exact tracking chip Red asked to be implanted? I remember him giving some specifics. I might have to go watch that episode again.
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I want a conversation to happen between Red, Cyrus and Papa Pope. Somebody write a crossover fanfic and make that happen please!

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I will watch 22 episodes of Spader being cool and awesome. Where do I sign up for six seasons and a movie. This could be my new Alias. Always love a good father "daughter" spy drama.
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Finally watched this on Muderboy's advice. It's better than I expected, and worse than I expected, and cute enough to pass muster. I don't really think much of these FBI agents in the pilot, they seem to lose their motivation about halfway through and become background wallpaper while Red and Keen play around. Unfortunately, Keen is the one character that really brought it down for me, she's simply not interesting enough on her own, they throw more concepts at her but then also give her more cheap gimmicks and pitiful skills and twists and it just feels forced. So a mixed review, but I'll watch again.
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This role is "made for Spader". This is why we fell in love with him so many years ago. He knows how to play the arrogant smart-ass so well. Love the show so far. Many unanswered questions, which keeps me hooked.
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That says it all, total agree...Spader plays this part excellent!
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So I was prepared for what seemed to be the major complaint...um it wasn't actually her first day just her first really there in LA. But also..usually the final adoption meeting is meeting like four and a desperate couple might just say yes to next date without consulting their calenders.

While I knew the secret of husband was coming..I think they made it so he's a bad guy that I think he is CIA. I think Annie has a similar box on Covert Affairs. Of course that leads more to the Red is Liz's father thinking. But then well she was eight not a baby when he left (if we believe she was telling the truth to Beth) so shouldn't she know? Then yeah the Homeland guy was right how did she pass her initial backgound check? And Agent Cook there I got a he's been on Red's case from the beginning vibe..he would have known her as a little girl. I am more betting that Red might have been best friends with dad or otherwise worked with him and either at dad's request or just because he was keeping tabs and discovered both the whole Tom thing and maybe is sick himself so thought this would be a fun way to spend his time. I think Red's little right hand man will be a fun little snarky person to pop up every once in awhile.
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Perhaps Red and Lizzy's dad were tight back in the day and Red somehow got him killed. That's why he "disappeared" and now Red feels guilty, so he's making amends by looking after and guiding her.
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I suspect something more like that (though I still wouldn't be surprised if he is her father) either he was her father's best friend or something. While I might have had Breaking Bad on the brain, I keep wondering why the FBI maybe didn't think to put him through some sort of medical procedure or something because I sort of wonder if he is sick or something.
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I would guess that her father will be the last guy in the blacklist and he's using her to get to him.
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Ooh, that's a fascinating theory!
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Kudos for this idea. Let's all go with this.
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That would actually be very cool...also would help the cause of Tom maybe being a good guy since she might eventually need help against Red.
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I found this first show very entertaining. Love Spader, always have. I like his coolness and he is a little creepy in this and I like it that way. Now the FBI chick not so much. I don't mind if she is his daughter. I liked the cat and mouse in the show. I did find it all twisty turny but I found it not so confusing and was able to follow it. You just got to pay attention. Like him escaping from the hospital the guy in the elevator helped him. It is just showing he has peeps everywhere helping him in his plan. Now what the real plan is we just don't know yet. Is he a bad guy or a good guy...I think both. I am going to watch this for awhile and hope it remains good. We will see. But Spader is one cool cat..and that mellow voice just gets me...Hey he likes Frank Sinatra so he can't be all bad...
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I've loved Spader since Sex, Lies and Videotapes ; I'd watch anything with him. But if the FBI girl turns out to be his daughter, I'll murder someone !
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No, this isn't ground breaking television. But it was a thoroughly entertaining hour. Yeah I immediately jumped to the theory of Keen as Red's daughter and I'm hoping its not that obvious. But outside of that, Spader was at his usual best, the storyline was paced well and there's a convincing chemistry between the two leads. Overall I was engaged and find myself looking forward to the next episode. The Blacklist has a promising future as long as it can maintain the pace of the pilot.
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I really liked the interaction and parallel the writers created between Agent Keen and the little girl. I'm probably goofy but I really loved their exchange of the bracelet and the flag pin and how Beth promised her that she would come to get her (probably irresponsible since she this was a long-shot but a nice touch anyway).
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I have to agree because Keen feels she's not good enough. When it comes to children she seems to count herself out before she tries.
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The funny thing is, I don't care if he is her father. The main premise has me hooked. Will they make Spader's character more sympathetic as we go along? Can we trust him or does he has a bigger plan? My grade for this episode B+. I thought the bomb issue was resolved a little too quickly but oh well.. I wasn't sold on the actress playing Elizabeth Keen but she's growing on me..Spader is always fun too watch in (sleezy/i'm better than you mode)
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What was on top of that box? Was that some sort of symbol, shaped like her scar?
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I don't get why she was so upset about finding that stuff in the floor boards. That should make her happy - he's way hotter now that he's a gun-toting spy. Way more interesting too. I did not want to watch a bad-ass chick get nagged at by a house-husband all season.
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No we don't want another Skyler White situation)
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Ok it's a tv show I know but what adoption agency would give a child to someone without knowing that she sees it as a way of "fixing" herself. They would thoroughly check out someones mental issues surely.

Experienced agent yes I'll go to the zoo on my own without calling back up.

No repercussions for this either by the look of it. No superior giving her a good old talking to.

Hey I love Spader but there are so many holes in the script who wrote this! Maybe I am being to picky because I saw so much detail in the trailers that I actually was able to look at the show thinking about it. lol
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You are not being too picky. These writers are either horrible in general or this isn't the right show for them. It had so many plausibility issues in the first 10 minutes, that I felt someone should be slapped...hard. The idea of an implant with a blinking light on it alone was just too stupid. I have every confidence that James Spader will do a great job of portraying this character, but that is not enough to save the show from these writers.
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If this was a mid-season episode, I'd be disappointed. As a pilot episode it piqued my interest. I've always liked Spader. It was nice to see him back on the television screen.

Red is up to something; it will be interesting to find out what. I'm not sold on Keen being Reds' daughter. If only because the FBI probably has a sample of Red's DNA from his time in the military. And the FBI would have done a very thorough background on Keen before she was hired. But, time will tell.
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Good point about the DNA. I enjoyed the show because I like convoluted mysteries. I don't want to know everything about the characters up front.
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I thought that it was implied that Agent Keen had been hiding something from the Bureau as they didn't even know that her father had been a criminal. They also don't seem to know about the episode that gave her her scar. There were a lot of hints in the pilot that she isn't who she seems -- not necessarily in any sinister way, but just that there are things that she has hidden or had hidden.
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T-Bone! Stopped watching after the 10 trillionth time this plot device has been abused by all manner of network shows.
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Still on the fence about the show.

James Spader is a good actor, but Red comes of as douche-y & pretentious to me, not great in a lead character. Especially since Liz Keen doesn't exactly make up for it.

I also got the "turns out she's his daughter" vibe way back when, and they make such a point of making sure we know he abandoned his daughter when he first started his life of crime, and she was abandoned by her career criminal father as a child ... let's just say if that turns out to be the "twist" I don't think I'll be alone in throwing things at my TV screen (if any of us stick around that long).

As to the first 'case of the week', part of me wonders if the diversion Red warned them the kidnappers would use wasn't actually the fake hazmat spill, but instead it was just him telling them about the kidnapping, causing them to grab the girl first to take her to safety. Then it was just a matter of him either having done research on possible routes to whatever safe houses there are - or, him having an inside man (he obviously has minions, like that guy calling him sir before he turned himself in).

Right now the only thing I'm really curious about is: what is the deal with her husband Tom? Is he a bad guy? Is he some sort of undercover government agent who's orders were to get close to Red's daughter (shudder) -- either way, getting to the point of adopting a child with your mark is supreme dedication to your assignment, he should get 'Employee of the Year' for that alone!
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With this show, it's also possible that her husband was Red's plant -- someone he hired to stay close to her and feed him info on her life. He's giving up all sorts of 'secrets' at this point, so it wouldn't be so strange for him to give his own operative up, especially if he thought it would buy him Keen's trust.

Re Keen being Red's daughter -- yes, very predictable but given the way in which the episode was structured really the only acceptable pay-off. There was that whole thought exercise bit Red did with Keen when he asked her to think like a criminal in terms of objectives - that this episode's baddie wouldn't be doing what he was doing without a personal objective.

While I suppose with someone like Red he could have turned himself in just to hurt his rivals, it seems more likely given the way the show is written that his motivations are more personal. Besides the possibility that Keen is his daughter it's also possible that he knew her father (if he isn't her father) and feels he owes him something.

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Oh, and as a sidenote - the symbol on her husband's stashbox seems to be the same as the scar on her hand.
When she first said her father "gave it to her", I was thinking "abuse", but the statement that he gave it to her so she wouldn't be afraid made that seem less likely.

Some secret organisation?
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I'll watch it for Spader, then we'll have to see.
I don't know if Keen's husband is a super badguy, he MAY be some sort of agent/former agent instead? I mean, if he is (or she thinks he is) a teacher, there's very limited time available for him to sneak off and do villain-stuff on weekdays, so whatever it was, it would appear he's retired, just keeping an emergency stash around in case of emergency.

On the subject of Red and Keen being father-daughter, I do feel that it is too obvious, but it COULD be a very, very clumsy plot thread.
She was apparently "abandoned by her career criminal father", and "raised herself". We don't get her exact age, nor the age of Red's daughter when he abandoned her in 1990, so we can't compare facts there.
But, as she seems to be somewhat older than 23, she probably wasn't a baby that year, nor would she have grown up without any pictures of her father, so I'm assuming she would have recognized him if that was the case.
And if the FBI has files on his background and him leaving his wife and daughter, why isn't she mentioned there by name?
And last, but not least - the FBI's question of how she managed to keep the fact that she had a criminal out of her file..?
I'm HOPING there's a more complicated storyline there, just like the reason why Reddington went from "promising protege" to "Concierge of Crime" or whatever he called it.
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I thought the way that Keen threw that line at Red about not being able to give parenting advice since he'd abandoned his wife and daughter on X-mas Eve sounded loaded. But this is a pilot so who the heck knows.
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What can i say... Spader's back! Great pilot episode, just hope that they can keep it going the way that it started. Seeing Spader again makes me want more, so guess I'll go rewatch some Boston Legal to tide me over to next weeks episode.
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Spader has real a presence. As for Megan Boone, she comes off as too hysterical. At this point, I can't tell if she's over-acting or the writing around her character needs improvement. Nonetheless, I have not yet been able to connect with her character. In addition, the rest of the cast doesn't seem to add any depth to the show. I really hope the writers and director will step up. The story concept is has promise and James Spader is great . I hope NBC won't waste the opportunity.
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The supporting cast right now is like a cardboard cutout. No dimension. However this does not surprise me as most pilots are designed to cherry-pick the characters they want to highlight. Hopefully the whole cast will be fleshed out more in the coming episodes.
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not brilliant and is till loved it -so strong is my love for spader
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Spader was cool as always. Her on the other hand I really don´t like much. She is so super badass on her first day I simply don´t buy it. And the out of nowhere she stabs him in the neck how does that help? Her roles behaviour and appearence is definitely a downer for me so far. And then there is the weak writting with a lot of logic mysteries that had me confused quit often in the pilot. For example this thing with the abduction like Tim already said. Also first he is hold in like a super cell or something and than he gets his own swuit ... yeah right ?!? But I also think there is definitely some potential and it was entertaning after all.
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Surette, you call it "a pretty decent little show". Are you crazy? I know there a lot of new shows on the lineup right now, many of them thrillers/detective. But the Blacklist is immediately superior to many that have premiered or been running for a while.
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In what way?
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I totally loved the pilot and I can't wait to watch the story unfold. I'm especially intrigued by Keen's past. I also want to know the husband's secrets and what he is into. I think the show will be a huge hit. I certainly hope so. Because of all this, amd the excelent acting, I can overlook the questionable points in the plot.
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A few 'they couldn't have planned this' moments:
- Zamani executing a nearly perfect abduction on the bridge even though his plan was derailed mere minutes a go.

- Zamani beating Liz's husband so that she would cut up the carpet and find the spy stash underneath. She could have just called in a company which does that or manage to wash out the blood. Likely, but Zamani/Red still left it to the chance.

- Red getting stabbed so that he could escape from the hospital. Or was there a plan to escape from the hotel as well?

I'm sure there were more, can't remember now. While quite entertaining, the pilot was still a bit unpolished. Since it is the pilot, they could have made everything believable. They had time. The adoption meeting for example, as Tim said - they could have thought off a million other things to make her look less irresponsible.
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My thought the whole time with the girl's abduction scene was that they could have just so easily killed her in the process. The SUV she and Keen were in was rammed and then completely flipped. It would take very little to break her spine or have her hit her head hard enough that she wouldn't wake up. On top of that they were shooting into the vehicle carrying her and also could have killed her then.

While it was a fun scene to watch, wouldn't they have been better off to have simply posed as FBI or police and quietly picked her up from ballet practice or from the park or school or whatever?

Agreed about the other unforseeable reveals.

I was also confused by Red asking for all kinds of conditions (including curiously a less defeatable tracking chip) in the penultimate scene only to find him in a dingy cell in prisoner's overalls in the next scene.
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I liked it. I think the part of liked the most was at the zoo when the guy show up to defuse the bomb. It makes the blacklist a little more interesting. There is the baddies that they will find and there is some that can be useful. It's an interesting twist.
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Based on the 2 pilots tonight, I am choosing blacklist over hostage. I will still watch both but Blacklist now come first. Blacklist looks more exciting and it seems the plot have more twist. Going into this I have not watched much of James Spader except in the movies but he was really good here. The girl is also very pretty and pleasing on the eye. I am not a fan of procedural series but this one looks to be intense and exciting enough for me to come back every week.

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James Spader with his very own Clarice Starling. Promising series ahead. I shall be watching!
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Well it was a good introduction for a series and it had just the right amount of originality to prevent copyright infringement with The Silence of the Lambs. Red seems to already have his following, which is one hassle we won't have to worry about and even his back story seems to be something that a smart man can get away with. Keen is hinted at heavily to being Red's daughter and her husband someone infiltrated to keep an eye on her and eventually "deal" with her.Why not?
James Spader was able to carry the transition from a comedic role to drama , which is interesting and so it will be fun to watch.The plot itself was not so convincing, but there is an after taste of double dealingand double crossing, that must come with people in that line of work.
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I liked it.
A few things -
*I dont think Keen is Red's daughter - the FBI know who Red's family were as displayed by their background info on him.
*I think Red is going to reveal he did all his illegal stuff to actually gather the names on the blacklist and there are government connections. He turned himaself in for his own protection
*Red didnt cut out the tracker, his buddy did - the guy who winked at Keen as the elevator doors were closing.
*Red was playing Zamani to get the trust of the FBI. So he knew Red gave him the tracker (as he didnt know Red turned him in) = a dying man doing a friend a favor
*The shootout on the bridge was the only plot hole i could see, the only possible explanation i came up with - it was planned by Red.
Someone could have been watching the kid and Red gave the time frame (so they know when), Its possible that all routes were covered (that covers where)
It could have been covered better, but it was a small plot hole really, if you think Red is the mastermind they are making him out to be.

I watched Hostages and The Blacklist is much better.
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Very spot-on, as for :
"*The shootout on the bridge was the only plot hole i could see, the only possible explanation i came up with - it was planned by Red.", i am not sure but there is a possibility that there is a moll somewhere, the general's security or the FBI or someone, but it could have been a plot hole, but even if it was, it's still a small one, and there was a very great kidnapping scene because of it

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my other theory was mind control
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A better and greater other theory i might add :P
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I don't really mind either way but given the character that is Red, it's totally possible that Keen is his daughter.

He may have/have had more than one family -- even not a few ordinary men, not to mention criminal masterminds with several aliases do. As he has many employees and minions, it is also possible that planned as his descent into open criminality was that he had hidden his family before hand or substituted other people for his real family (these last suggestions are far fetched but not impossible or outside the realm of possibility for the kind of character Red presents).
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Well said !
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Oh and as for Lizzy being his daughter. It is a possibility. He looks at her with a sort of a parental pride. But I am not sure why he would put her in danger, and not just kill her husband. But it might be that powers that be think she is his daughter which is why they stuck the husband with her in hopes that Red contacts her. But it could be a decent over arcing plot. But her not informing anyone that her husband is not who he claims to be is interesting. So is the symbol on the box, which I presume means something more.

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The symbol on the box is the same as the scar on her hand.
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I thought it might have been. But I never got a good look at the scar.
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It was better than I thought it would be. But still hilariously predictable. Right down to the whole "He thinks he can manipulate me, obviously he doesn't know me", when in fact she is unbelievably easily manipulated. Right down to her husband seemingly being an agent of some kind.

I do find it interesting though. It kept my attention for the whole episode. It might be able to do what The Event and Revolution couldn't do. Which is to be outlandish, ridiculous, kind of stupid and still with those faults be entertaining. The Event was too outlandish and ridiculous and Revolution is way too stupid to be entertaining to the overall populace. But Blacklist, at least in the pilot, seems to thread that needle. So it gets two more episodes to make it a solid watch.
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I'm kind of hoping the husband is in fact just a normal guy, and that the hidden box is part of Reddington's plan, whatever it truly is, intended to alienate Elizabeth from him. Of course it's possible the writers don't actually have any idea where they're going yet.
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Likely you are correct. You're last point is probably right on. Leaving her husband ambiguous allows them to throw something in when they inevitably, as so very many shows like this, get stuck.
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Who does not love James Spader's fine work? Do we need further accolades heaped upon a wonderfully entertaining actor? I don't believe Mr. Spader would have signed on as a principal cast member unless he believed this melodrama would be successful. So on to the guts of the show.

Mr. Surette's well written review presented the details of the pilot episode.

However I was disappointed with the pilot script because the characters are too conventional looking and the main plot was obvious from the beginning. I would have preferred to have Reddington be physically deformed in some way so that his appearance would have shocked viewers when seen in the first close-up camera shot. Perhaps half his face scarred from a flesh eating bacteria that he contracted during one of his nefarious dealings with the underworld and covered up with a translucent mask. That would have been a good start.

The character Elizabeth is the typical heroine: stereotypically attractive, intelligent, honest, dedicated to her job and sadly, conventionally boring. Why can't these characters look plain, like everyday people? In the miniseries, "The Killing", detective Sarah Linden (exceptionally played by actress, Mireille Enos) had a number of human flaws (e.g., smoking addiction, poor parenting skills, etc.) which made Sarah more believable and she was not made up to appear ready for a glamour magazine photo shoot in every scene.

I’m afraid this show is going to be another dull variant of the typical circus in cop world where the good guys are handsome, pretty and pure of heart, the criminals give up the goods but escape to plot evil again and the audience is left with an emptiness that gives them pause to wonder; has television melodrama reached its entertainment end?

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i liked the first episode i thought i was watching a movie though i will give this a 3 episode run then if im not into it then im gone
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I truly hope she is not Red's daughter because it is so obvious... Red ends up being a hero in deep deep deep undercover... Spader carried the show but the two FBI guys and Keen were not bad. The action scenes were pretty good and the idea that they go for a really bad baddie each week while the team dynamics develop sounds like fun. Some of the theatrics around Spader's larger than life persona added a sort of Hannibal flavour...
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I feel like they should have done a better job with casting, the main character, seems way too uninteresting to be Spader's daughter.
I liked it enough to watch a few more episodes though, it would be easier to suspend disbelief if the FBI actors looked like people who actually work in the FBI. Oh and was that Skinny Pete handing Spader the briefcase and helping him break out of the hospital?
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I agree with your take on the characters. Megan Boone's character was too hysterical. I couldn't tell if her acting or the writing were to blame. The rest of the cast was pretty invisible except for the lead FBI character who was unconvincing. I hope Spader and the concept aren't wasted. Because of Spader, I'll watch a few more episodes to see if the show gels.
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I thought this was decent. I'm willing to overlook some bad writing in a pilot because it's a pilot, and sometimes it's difficult to introduce us to everyone and still maintain an exciting first episode. The adoption bit did kind of bug me though, that doesn't seem like a responsible thing to do, for the adoption agency or the FBI. The two leads were very good though, and I'm also a fan of Harry Lennix so he's welcome back on my television.

As for her being Red's daughter: wouldn't she know? When they were running down his back story in the beginning of the episode, it mentioned he was being groomed as an Admiral. I would imagine his disappearance and then re-emergence as a criminal would have been national news? It would be pretty difficult for her to not know she was his daughter if that were the case.

All in all I'm willing to give this the 4 episode test and see where it goes.

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They need a Maury Povich segment on the Season 1 DVD to settle the "Is Reddington the father or not?" question that seems to linger.

My thoughts are the husband is either CIA, with Reddington being rogue CIA (hence the request of only speaking to Keen), or he's on Reddington's Blacklist, but won't come into fruition until later.

I wonder how long the firearm, money, and passports have been hidden under the floorboards, and if maybe in the stack that's still in elastic is maybe one's the husband made up for her (she didn't seem to touch those yet).

I liked the show, seems to have a strange workable combo of absurd (pretty FBI people), flashy (the bridge scene, the whole convoy just to take her to work (all that was missing was an M1A1 Abrams Battle Tank), and comical (the bomb tech of Red's running with the bomb while yelling "Thanks!".. notice that how odd it looked, no one in the zoo seemed to notice a homeless looking dude running with a strange device in his hand, must be an average occurrence, wondered if he paid admission?).

I really really hope it's not a father/daughter deal ("No, I am your father!", or uncle/niece (wouldn't want to ruin her good looks by having her punched all the time, a la Charlie in Revolution), seems more a bizarre Hannibal/Clarice kinda relationship (hell, she even ran into a dangerous situation without backup!)

I'll see how long it lasts, might surprise us yet.
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Spader does what Spader is, so I'll watch it. Some stuff is pretty stretched but hey, it's some Tv in the absence of something decent to watch this fall anyways. And now we have Keen's hubby a possible spy too? Hmm, Boston Illegal anyone?
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Blacklist - see more reviews
http://reviewothers.blogspot.in/2013/09/even-if-youre-not-james-spader-fan-you.html
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I guess the problem is the old "I am your father" [surprise face] can never work again since the Empire Struck Back in 1982. Can't get enough Spader drinking expensive wines and out-thinking everyone in the room. Liked the snazzy containment "black" sites.
Knew the boyfriend had to be suspect, after all, who wants a partner who's reasons for selecting a field trip is that it's "gender neutral", or who tries to unsuccessfully to scrub blood out of a carpet or agrees to profile herself. The last person that asked me to do that well... I ate their liver with fava beans and ..you know the rest!
Still they must be sinking money into it with the helicopter, zodiacs and gunfights. I dig a show with a good amount of stabbings however convenient and Red obviously needs to help the FBI catch the bad guys cause all those sexy agents can't do much more than look good in control rooms.
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I love Spader but thought "Boy, has he let himself go." I blame all the time he spent with William Shatner. He's developed the same bloated look that Shatner (who I also enjoy watching) has. Totally evident when you contrast his look now with the photo in the FBI files of a younger Red. Hope that Spader makes it through the series and doesn't stroke out or something.
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Yeah I'm finding his look concerning, considering how sharp he can look in other stuff but I'm thinking he's done that actor thing and put on some pounds and made an effort to look the international concierge of crime. I mean Carlos the Jackal was considering liposuction at the end of his run. Can't see Spader doing the Shatner thing and wearing a girdle, in any case, glad he opted for the look, if the whole cast (of good guys) was struggling to be shiny and sexy it'd take out the realism and be Bold and the Beautiful with guns and long pausing glances.
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Yeah, you may be right. He may also be trying to play older than he really is. Like I said, I hope his health is okay though.
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Good pilot, bad pilot, doesn't really matter. It's James Spader. This show is bound to be both great and classic. There are a few actors who can pull off the trick of making everything they appear in be good AND a success. A few of these movie stars were Sean Connery, Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman, more recently Matt Damon and Tom Cruise. For TV, it's James Spader. Just wait and see...
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I liked the premiere, it wasn't great but it didn't suck either. Gonna stick around for a few more eps
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I too thought about Keen being Redington's daughter BUT so far in this series NOTHING is what it seems so NO!
I am sold on this series already.
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About the bridge ambush: it was obviously a setup that depended on Red making the FBI grab the generals daughter - forget what Zamani told Keen while puncturing her husband - when Red and Zamani were talking it was clear that Zamani was doing that on Red orders, including being "surprised" for what the FBI knew, when instead it was planned - by Red - from the beggining.
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The whole plot may have been Red's ploy to get Keen and the FBI (but particularly Keen) to trust him.
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