Needless to say, everyone is highly mistrustful of Reddington and why wouldn't they be? He's deadly, brilliant and has been eluding their capture for years. As they will soon come to learn, Red brings more to the table than this one criminal. He brings a host of them on what he calls "The Blacklist," a list of bad guys so unimaginable that the FBI doesn't even know most of them exist.
Red and Liz soon begin a tenuous relationship as they must work together, but Red's arrival casts doubt and question on Liz and why he is so focused on her. Assistant Director Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix, Dollhouse) and Agent Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) are closely watching Liz, while the powers that be have also brought in Agent Meera Malik (Parminder Nagra, Alcatraz) from the CIA to watch over things. Red has his own list of demands once the FBI agrees that they want to work with him on bringing down members of the Blacklist and they include fancy living arrangements, ramped up security, and his own entourage of two - his trusted friend and bodyguard, Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) and his lover and money handler, Luli (Deborah S. Craig).
While most of the Feebs can't trust Red, they also can't argue with his effectiveness and knowledge of the criminal underworld. They are closing cases on some of the most insidious criminals in the world, and when one of them focuses on Liz and attacks her husband Tom (Ryan Eggold), a can of worms is opened when Liz discovers that Tom might not be exactly what he says. Red has been trying to convey this to Liz all along, but she can't believe the handsome school teacher she married and is trying to adopt a child with could be anything other than a loving husband. But nothing and no one are as they seem in The Blacklist: The Complete First Season, as you will learn.
While each and every member of the cast is simply fantastic, Spader simply owns his role as Reddington. He is enigmatic, delightful and riveting and he is easily my favorite character in the show. Likewise, Megan Boone perfectly plays the role of Liz or "Lizzy" as Red calls her. She transforms throughout the season, starting off somewhat innocent and na´ve, but becoming more hardened and embittered as things progress. Red loves that she must often come to him for help in her cases - the cases he brings her, mind you - but Red also seeks answers that only Liz can provide.
I also found it quite fantastic that co-stars and often the Blacklisters of the week were recognizable actors such as Robert Sean Leonard (Falling Skies, House), Isabella Rossellini, Lance Reddick, Alan Alda (M.A.S.H.), Clifton Collins, Jr. (The Boondocks Saints II), Justin Kirk, Margarita Leveiva (Revenge), Dianne Wiest, Damian Young, Linus Roache, Peter Stormare, Frank Whaley, David Zayas (Dexter), Zach Grenier (Entourage) and even Andrew Dice Clay. There are many more, but you get the picture. The show is chock full of not only great characters that come back week after week, but you'll want to watch just to see who shows up next.
The criminals the task force will encounter run the gamut from kidnappers for hire, to men who make people disappear - either those who want to escape their life or those who are in someone's way, a human trafficker, a courier who has a particular way of carrying his goods, terrorists of different kinds, whether biological or political, serial killers, plain old assassins, hackers and secret-sellers and plenty of enemies from Red's past, naturally. As the season progresses, we learn that a much bigger plan is in motion and someone is making things very difficult and dangerous for both Red and the task force. With every step closer that Liz and Red get to discovering the truth, the closer they come to dancing with death. The season finale gives the viewers some information we've waited the entire season to discover, but with it a whole slew of new questions.
Special features include commentary on select episodes, a behind the scenes featurette and Beyond the Blacklist featurettes on every episode in the season. All of the special features are well worth watching and the commentary is quite interesting and informative, even though I don't typically enjoy commentary.
Overall, The Blacklist: The Complete First Season is a stellar show and one of the best in its genre on network TV. It's action-packed, intense, and brilliantly written and executed. Do not miss out on this show. Take the time to watch The Blacklist: The Complete First Season before Season Two kicks into gear in September. You won't be sorry. Highly, highly recommended.