‘The Blacklist’ Season 1 Panel [Comic-Con 2013]

The Blacklist - Season Pilot

On Thursday afternoon, the new NBC drama The Blacklist had its world premiere at Comic-Con 2013 and much to the surprise of this reporter the pilot episode was really quite entertaining and that is all thanks to the charisma of the one and only James Spader, who made his debut appearance at the annual fete in San Diego.

Without giving too much away, Spader portrays one of the ten most wanted criminals in the world named Raymond “Red” Reddington, who inexplicable turns himself over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation under one condition: that he will only speak with Elizabeth Keene (newcomer Megan Boone). What transpires from there is best to be seen for yourself but rest assured there are some great twists and turns.

Since the panel mainly consisted of the world premiere of the pilot episode there was a limited amount for the moderated panel, but when Alan Sepinwall took the stage as the moderated, he quickly introduced the cast – including the aforementioned Megan Boone and James Spader – as the well as Diego Klattenhoff (of ‘Homeland’ fame) and series creator Jon Bokenkamp and executive producers Jon Eisendrath and John Fox.

Of course, the first question logged at Jon Bokenkamp was where did the idea of the show ‘The Blacklist’ originate? He explained that the origins started between him and FOX around the time of the capture of career criminal Whitey Bolger. They used that real-life story as the Rosetta stone for the series, developing the characters and the mythology of ‘The Blacklist’ from there.

When asked what made him want to play the lead role in the series, Spader joked in his usual deadpan humor “I just thought it was a great show”. But then he also shared that he was looking for a “character that (would) sustain and go on for a while”. He continued by saying he “saw an opportunity for humor with this guy (who) is such a strange mix of dangerous and scary at time and (also) compelling.

Between James and Jon Bokenkamp they both shared that Red has an “enigmatic quality” that draws people to him; but the other characters are just as compelling. James shared that viewers will be drawn into the lives of the other characters in ‘The Blacklist’ as well because just when you think you know who each of them is something happens or is revealed that will make you question just who are these people.

When Megan and Diego were asked what it is like to work with James, they both wholeheartedly agreed that it is “humbling to work with him” and Megan also stated that she “couldn’t do the show without him as he brings out the best in others”.

The creative team and the actors were reticent to give any spoilers away but they did joke “just watch the show”, which TV viewers can do when ‘The Blacklist’ debuts on NBC this fall on September 23.