Wednesday, September 25, 2013

He's Got A Lengthy List

I watched The Blacklist, NBC's highly-touted crime thriller.  The debut rated well.  Now the question is will viewers stick around. I can only speak for myself, and I'm wavering.

The concept is mostly Silence Of The Lambs, with a little Person Of Interest thrown in.  James Spader is Raymond "Red" Reddington--a criminal mastermind who acts a lot like James Spader--who walks into the FBI HQ and surrenders himself.  But don't let this worry you. As a mastermind, he can do whatever he wants, including escape whenever he wants, so surrendering doesn't really cramp his style.

The point is he promises to help the agency track down the worst terrorists and criminals in the world--shouldn't he be working with the CIA then?--but he'll only talk to profiler Elizabeth Keen (played passably by Megan Boone). Keen is a newleywed strongly devoted to her family, and also just starting out in the Bureau, so the already-confused authorities don't get Reddington's request.  It's never fully explained, because it's a mystery the show is saving for later (though most people speculate he's actually her father).

The pilot, jam-packed with action, is nothing but secrets and twists.  Reddington has deep dark secrets he's not telling.  Keen has deep dark secrets she's not telling. It even turns out her milquetoast husband has deep dark secrets he's not telling.

Meanwhile, though she's a tyro, Elizabeth walks around like she owns the place.  Reddington tells her a terrorist is in town who's going to kidnap a general's daughter, and for some reason the whole Bureau not only accepts it when she says he's telling the truth, but Keen the Profiler is allowed to go protect the kid.  Which the terrorist expected and, using major firepower in the middle of town, takes the kid anyway as the useless FBI help watches.

Next thing you know she walks right into the room where Reddington is being held and without so much as a how do you do stabs this very important prisoner in the neck.  Later, after committing this felony, she's allowed to walk alone into his hospital room--to talk to him one hopes, or maybe just stab him again.  Except he's gone, because there's no reason when you've got a criminal mastermind in a hospital to worry about his escaping through the window.

By the end, the general's daughter is saved through the machinations of Reddington and Keen and some pretty helpful clues, but not before the entire FBI is befuddled and Keen's husband is attacked.  Reddington once again allows himself to be picked up so the series can continue.  Apparently each week he'll give out information about a new criminal who, with the help of Keen, will be stopped just before he strikes.  Also, presumably, as the series continues, more of the shady past will be unveiled.

I guess The Blacklist has the potential to be fun, but I'm not the biggest fan of procedurals, and I'm not sure if I want to see more of this week in week out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would he work for the CIA? Is he naturally incompetent?

3:44 AM, September 25, 2013  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

Well I'm on board for at leastthe next episode. With the exception of stabbing Reddington in the neck (which I assumed at first was a daydream, it's so ridiculous), I thought the episode showed a lot of promise. But I love riddles within riddles.

I watched 10 more minutes of Sleepy Hollow - I'm done. I do like Crane, but the stopped watching when it became clear he couldn't figure out right away what his ghost wife meant when she said the evil spirit is "one of us." Gee, let's see, what's the distinguishing feature we learned about his wife last episode. Oh yeah - she's a WITCH! Seeing how dim he is, why does his ghost wife talk in riddles - does she want to help or doesn't she?

Add to this, the best scene from the pilot was a demon killing a main character - John Cho. They completely undid it, and it doesn't even make sense. Why would the demon bring back a person who can be of little further use, since he can't very well step back into his job as a policeman now that he spent a night in the morgue. Dumb Dumb Dumb - I'm out.

8:05 AM, September 25, 2013  

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