Whether or not The Blacklist really proves to be "the fall's best new drama," as one of the quotes in the latest preview declares, the opening scene is nothing short of riveting. Then again, James Spader tends to have that affect on a scene. The above video shows us the first few moments of the series premiere, which introduces us to Spader's Raymond "Red" Reddington, a man who warrants an alarm-siren welcome at the FBI.
The scene begins with Red Reddington being delivered a briefcase while standing outside the FBI headquarters. The briefcase deliverer says, "It must be good to be home again, sir." I assume by the sir that this guy works for him. Red laughs and says, "Well, we'll see about that. He strides toward the building and straight up to the very secured looking check-in desk, where and FBI police officer asks him if he has an appointment. "I do not," he says, handing her his ID. "Tell him it's Raymond Reddington." The security camera is on him, but his hat is blocking his face from view. He then walks to the seal at the center of the floor, takes off his jacket and hat and waits. When the officer pulls up his information, she sounds the alarm and he drops to his knees, putting his hands behind his head as every guard in the nearby area points their gun at him. And the villainous music plays over the scene, taking the tension all the way up.
The preview goes into a trailer for the series, which shows Reddington insisting on speaking only to rookie FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone). She doesn't know why he wants to work with her, but his "I'm gonna make you famous, Lizzie" suggests some familiarity, at least on his end. How does he know this woman and why is he determined to work with her? Why is he eager to give up information other criminals? These are mysteries that will hopefully be solved as the series resumes. What's evident even from these first few minutes is that Red is in control here. Or mostly in control. I suppose he forfeited a fair amount of that control when he handed himself over to the FBI, but that was his choice. He has some kind of end game, I'm sure. We just don't know what that is.
Here's the official description for the series:
For decades, ex-government agent Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader, “The Office,” “Boston Legal”) has been one of the FBI’s Most Wanted fugitives. Brokering shadowy deals for criminals across the globe, Red was known by many as “The Concierge of Crime.” Now, he’s mysteriously surrendered to the FBI with an explosive offer: He will help catch a long-thought-dead terrorist, Ranko Zamani, under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone, “Law & Order: Los Angeles”), an FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico. For Liz, it’s going to be one hell of a first day on the job. What follows is a twisting series of events as the race to stop a terrorist begins. What are Red’s true intentions? Why has he chosen Liz, a woman with whom he seemingly has no connection? Does Liz have secrets of her own? Zamani is only the first of many on a list that Red has compiled over the years: a “blacklist” of politicians, mobsters, spies and international terrorists. He will help catch them all… with the caveat that Liz continues to work as his partner. Red will teach Liz to think like a criminal and “see the bigger picture”… whether she wants to or not. Also starring are Diego Klattenhoff (“Homeland”), Harry Lennix (“Man of Steel”) and Ryan Eggold (“90210”).
NBC has more videos and other content for the series on their site. The Black List premieres September 23 at 10:00 p.m. ET on NBC.