I initially started watching The Blacklist just to see the always fantastic James Spader doing his thing on TV again, but in the end I kept on watching because… well, actually, it was still to see the always fantastic James Spader doing his thing on TV again. That doesn’t mean though that the show didn’t have more to offer, as the show’s freshman season boasted a fresh face Megan Boone’s FBI Special Agent Elizabeth Keen as well as some top notch episodes that culminated in an explosive finale.
But Spader’s Raymond “Red” Reddington, with his “I’m always the smartest man in the room” veneer, towered above all of that. He seems to be keeping that up in the next season based on this first trailer, but now he seems to finally have found himself pitted against a worthy adversary in Peter Stormare’s Berlin.
One of the big criticisms I had about the first season of the show was that the show’s biggest mystery, or at least what it hoped was its biggest mystery, was a complete dud. When Red peeled off his shirt to reveal the burn scars on his back in the finale’s final moments, producers were hoping for it to the big “Ah-Ha!” moment that finally pulled back the curtain on the fact that Red is Elizabeth Keene’s father. But to anybody with more than two brain cells, this was pretty much well known already.
But according to what Spader told Collider, things may not be as straightforward as we may think it is:
“We are shooting Episode 4, right now, in the second season, and that story has not been extrapolated on. That is just percolating for a little bit. The other thing to remember is that Elizabeth Keen has spoken of a memory of being in a fire when she was a child and somebody pulling her out of that fire. She may be assuming that it was her father, but we’ve never said whether it was her father or not.”
Spader continued, referring to prior comments he had made that Red being Elizabeth’s father was just too easy a “twist”, something that he still maintains.
“[I still feel] the same way. It is very, very hard to predict a roadmap of a television series, especially a broadcast network television series that does not have a finite lifespan. Our show could last two years, or it could last seven years or more. That makes it hard to have a very specific roadmap. You can have an idea of the larger art, but the lifespan of the show dictates how circuitous the route has to be. And once you’ve started taking all of those back roads, the back roads become much more interesting than the destination. It’s funny, I wonder whether that will continue to be the most important question that people ask or wonder about or are curious about, as the show goes on, or whether the more immediate stories and relationships, and the nature of those relationships, will eventually become more compelling. Given our show, I don’t think anything is as simple as it may appear.”
You can read the full interview, where Spader also talks about how Red has evolved, his relationship with Berlin and also the difference between work in television and film.
Season 2 of The Blacklist premieres in the US tonight, and follows on DSTV on October 8, 2014.
Last Updated: September 22, 2014