I have to admit: procedural television is not always my favorite thing. While I enjoy the comfort and stability that X-of-the-week style series provide, I often crave new and exciting over that which I irrationally (and judgmentally, I know) deem as too often predictable to invest time into. But this year has been different — procedurals are getting better and I was determined to see the good in them that so many others do. Like NBC’s The Blacklist, which returns from winter hiatus on Monday, January 13th at 10PM.

So when the show exploded onto the scene this season, I knew I would be well-served to jump in. The only problem being that, as a TV writer, it is very hard to find time to watch TV that isn’t work-related sometimes. So, naturally, I made it my mission (and a deadline-enforced duty) during the winter holidays to catch up with the series in order to see if I could be converted to the land of procedural lovers. Because as it turns out: lots of people like the show, as evidenced by its number one ratings overseas.

Though this post will be largely free of any major spoilers, the synopsis is this: Raymond "Red" Reddington (the truly incomparable James Spader), is a former government agent turned most-wanted FBI fugitive. Upon surrendering at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. one day, Reddington reveals he and the FBI both desire the same thing: getting rid of dangerous criminals and terrorists. Given his extensive and impressive network of baddies, he claims to have access to some of the most dangerous people in the world — so bad that the government doesn’t even know about them. With the help of Elizabeth Keen, a newbie FBI profiler Reddington’s taken a curious interest in, the duo work together (albeit begrudgingly) to neutralize the baddies on his list: the so-called Blacklist.

Verdict? The Series is Surprisingly Fun

Turns out? The Blacklist is pretty, pretty good and far more entertaining than most others like it out there. Having blown through the first 10 episodes quite quickly — the show is well-paced and the twists and turns well-timed as to keep up viewer interest — I can safely say this is one series worth adding to your TV-viewing repertoire if clever crime drama done well is your cup of tea.

The series was one of the first of the season to get a renewal, and with good reason. The show has a host of characters with varying levels of interest and investment in Red’s list of super-bad guys. Diego Klattenhoff plays Special Agent Donald Ressler, a super by-the-books type who has a fraught relationship with the development of Red’s case. We won’t get into specifics but their dynamic is an interesting one, and by the last two episodes of 2013, you learn a lot more about the duo’s curious chemistry.

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