The Blacklist's Stacy Keach Previews Robert Vesco's Return And The 'Certain Brand Of Morality' With Red

Stacy Keach in The Blacklist Season 9
(Image credit: NBC)

The Blacklist debuted in the 2023 TV schedule with bittersweet news for fans: while the hit drama was returning after a long hiatus, the tenth season would also be the last. Fortunately, the show is clearly going out in style, as the swan song season is already bringing back familiar faces and unforgettable blacklisters. In the next new episode on March 12, Robert Vesco himself will turn up again, with Stacy Keach reprising his role as Red's former mentor and notorious con man. Keach spoke with CinemaBlend about his return in the final season!

Prior to Season 10, Stacy Keach most recently appeared on The Blacklist when Red approached Vesco back in Season 9, in an episode that was big for Aram and Ressler as well as Vesco. He and his former mentee didn't part particularly well, as Vesco was arrested and presumably carted off to prison, while Red remained free but without the money that Vesco stole. 

Fans will have to wait and watch the next new episode – called "The Four Guns" – to see what their reunion will look like and whether any grudges are held, but the guest star only had good things to say about working with James Spader again. Keach explained to CinemaBlend that he was "thrilled to be able to" return for the final season, even though he didn't initially know that Season 10 would be the last. He continued: 

Well, I love working with James and I love the relationship that we had established over the years, over the few episodes that we were together. Red Reddington is such a unique character and James did a great job creating that character. I often compare him to Moriarty... and Vesco was a perfect fit for him because he was a shady character as well… The mystery of his history sort of played beautifully into Reddington's domain because they both were very hanky panky characters. [laughs]

"Hanky panky" is a nice way to describe some of the darker deeds that Red has gotten up to on The Blacklist, and what Vesco evidently got up to in his earlier days! Red is certainly a one-of-a-kind character on network television, and the presence of Stacy Keach's con man tends to bring out a different side of him than the typical blacklister. The actor continued to compare Vesco and Red:

They loved getting themselves into trouble. The interesting thing too about both of them is that even though they were on the other side of the law, they still had a certain brand of morality that was above the law. They weren't bad people. They had morals. They had ethics. They had a conscience, which is very unusual in today's world.

Have both Red and Vesco done plenty of bad things in their lives of crime? Sure, but there's a reason why Red is more of an anti-hero than a villain, and has had plenty of fans rooting for him for a decade now. As Stacy Keach said, the two men have their "certain brand of morality." They don't act within the bounds of the law, but the FBI agents also don't have to worry that they'll cross the worst of the worst lines. And what would The Blacklist be without characters like that? 

When I noted that Red and Vesco having their particular kind of morality is part of what makes them fun to watch together, Keach responded:

I agree! I can't wait to see what we shot with these wonderful scripts. The writing is also another one of the great pluses of the show. The stories and the characters are all beautifully defined and very hip, very much of the now and very much dealing with now situations. And I think that's one of the reasons why it was successful for ten years.

Stacy Keach hadn't yet seen his newest scenes as Robert Vesco when we spoke, but his comments indicate that a must-see episode is on the way on March 12. Plus, the guest star's glowing comments about returning to the drama are especially impressive due to the fact that he discovered that he and another actor had both contracted COVID-19 while shooting. 

According to Keach, he "couldn't have asked for a better place to be than in the bosom of NBC and The Blacklist to get well," and he was able to recover and get back to shooting after two weeks. As for what Vesco has been up to (or not been up to) since being taken into custody in Season 9, the promo doesn't give away any clues: 

The NBC episode description for "The Four Guns" sheds a little bit of light with the reveal that Red will send a dangerous present to an old friend. Luckily, the wait to see exactly what this entails and how it brings back Vesco is nearly over. The next new episode of The Blacklist airs on Sunday, March 12 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, at home in its new Season 10 time slot

You can also find episodes streaming with a Peacock Premium subscription, already including the season premiere. If you want to revisit one of Stacy Keach's earlier episodes as the unforgettable Robert Vesco, you can find the first nine seasons of The Blacklist streaming for Netflix subscribers. The show lost some stars ahead of Season 10, but with more former blacklisters turning up every week, the action hasn't slowed down! 

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).