Why The Blacklist Can Get 'Diabolical' With Red And Vesco In The 200th Episode, According To One Actor

James Spader as Reddington in The Blacklist Season 10
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of The Blacklist Season 10, called “The Four Guns.”

The latest episode of The Blacklist sent the elite team of agents (as well as newcomer Siya Malik) in an unexpected direction: chasing pickpockets. These were no common pickpockets, however, and their stealing contributed to a near-death experience for Senator Panabaker. In true Blacklist style, not all was as it seemed, and Red (James Spader) had a plot of his own going on the side: break Robert Vesco (Stacy Keach) out of prison, just in time for next week’s 200th episode. Keach spoke with CinemaBlend about the upcoming milestone!

Naturally, Red found a way to break his former mentor out of prison (where Vesco has been since Season 9) in a way that nobody could have seen coming: a poisoned copy of Oliver Twist that landed Vesco in the hospital, from which it was much easier to smuggle him to freedom than from behind bars. When they were reunited, Keach wasn’t entirely ready to trust him not to poison him again despite what Stacy Keach described as the “certain brand of morality” that they have in common, while Red insisted that Vesco was a guest rather than a prisoner. 

Then Red pulled out a copy of Treasure Island, which clued Vesco in that his old mentee had a treasure-related plot. Red didn’t start sharing any details, but with the 200th episode coming up on March 19, it’s safe to say that something big is in store. After all, the 100th episode delivered a memorable heist back in 2018 and the 150th in 2020 dropped some clues about Katarina. While Stacy Keach didn’t reveal all the spoilers of what’s to come in the 200th episode, he did share what it was like for him to be part of that milestone on The Blacklist, saying:

That was so special! That was prior to my contracting COVID. That was a wonderful day. I remember the celebration very vividly. It's quite a milestone, 200 episodes. That's really quite an accomplishment. I was really proud to be a part of it.

Stacy Keach contracted COVID while shooting for The Blacklist Season 10 (and had good things to say about being in “the bosom of NBC and The Blacklist to get well”), but he remembers filming the 200th episode as quite a special experience. And it’s really only fitting that Vesco was brought back for this episode. After all, he was Red’s mentor, and with the series ending after the current Season 10, the 200th episode will be the last big milestone.

The Blacklist's Stacy Keach image for mid story

(Image credit: NBC)

So, how dynamic will the con men duo be now that they’re reunited for the 200th episode? NBC’s episode description teases that Red’s treasure hunt will involve challenging clues; based on what Stacy Keach said about his latest adventure with James Spader, they could be more diabolical than dynamic together. Keach shared that it was “wonderful” and “absolutely” fun to work with Spader again, then elaborated on playing Vesco to Spader’s Reddington:

[James Spader as Red] has a wonderful sense of humor. He has a ferocious wit and diabolical sense of irony. I think that that's one of the things that I shared with him, and my interpretation of Vesco shared, that they weren't just your common criminals. They were unique, and particularly in the realm of intelligence and wit, and that appealed to me greatly.

How “diabolical” will The Blacklist get with the 200th episode on March 19? Fans will have to wait until the milestone next week to see how much the show takes advantage of this quality that Red and Vesco have in common, but I think it’s safe to say that it’ll be fun to watch… at least partly, anyway. With how sky-high the stakes are in Season 10, viewers may not want to take anything for granted! ! For a sneak peek at what’s to come, check out the promo for the 200th episode:

Tune in to NBC on Sunday, March 19 at 10 p.m. ET to catch the milestone 200th episode of The Blacklist, called “The Hyena.” There’s no saying at this point how long Vesco will stick around, so be sure to watch Stacy Keach back in action with James Spader! You can also find earlier episodes of Season 10 streaming with a Peacock Premium subscription, and Keach’s earlier episodes of The Blacklist with a Netflix subscription

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).