Former The Blacklist Producer Claims He Was Wrongfully Fired And Blackballed

Raymond Reddington James Spader The Blacklist NBC

Red and Liz are no strangers to legal woes, but now The Blacklist is tied to some potential courtroom drama in real life. A former executive producer is claiming he was wrongfully terminated. Michael Watkins, who had been with the NBC series for several seasons, has filed suit against the show citing wrongful termination, claiming his termination has blackballed him at Sony. Here's what the suit alleges, in what sounds like a sticky situation for all involved.

The lawsuit states that Michael Watkins was removed from The Blacklist following an alleged incident in which he "laid hands" on a male camera assistant. The suit claims the incident was never investigated, and that if it were, it would've been discovered it was the assistant that laid hands on Watkins. Variety reported on the lawsuit, which said Watkins was dismissed from The Blacklist in February 2018.

Instead of a proper investigation of the incident, Michael Watkins' lawsuit states that another executive producer on the show used the situation "to facilitate her own rise in position and power.” Watkins suit also claims that executives badmouthed him after the incident to various people, which supposedly led to his being "blackballed" at Sony for the "beating of a camera assistant."

The lawsuit ultimately states that Michael Watkins believes he is the victim of unlawful termination, and the victim of a "scorched Earth campaign" to hurt his professional career. The lawsuit stated Watkins has yet to be given a true explanation behind his termination, or had an opportunity to engage in discussions with Human Resources in regards to what happened. Watkins is suing Sony, Woodridge Productions, Laura Benson, another co-executive producer William Roe, and a Senior VP at Sony Jordan Feiner.

Michael Watkins had additional duties on The Blacklist beyond executive producing, and directed 22 episodes of the show during his tenure. Watkins has worked since, and directed an episode of SEAL Team that aired in 2019. He also directed an episode of Grey's Anatomy in 2018, which aired months after his dismissal from The Blacklist. Watkins' workload post-Blacklist is not as prolific as it was prior to, although a shorter amount of time has passed since then.

While all this is happening behind the scenes, The Blacklist currently has Raymond Reddington in jail, preparing for the trial of his life. Around that courtroom drama, the truth about Raymond Reddington's true identity continues to unravel. It feels as though the true story behind Red may never fully be uncovered, or if it is, it will probably come closer to the show's final season. In the meantime, fans can continue to hang on for the ride and debate amongst themselves whether he's who he says he is.

The Blacklist airs on NBC Fridays at 9:00 p.m. ET. For a look at what other shows are set to air in the coming weeks, head on over to our midseason premiere guide.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick contains multitudes and balances his time reporting on big happenings in the world of Star Trek, the WWE, reality television, and other sci-fi shows.