The season begins with Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) on the run, a fugitive and wanted terrorist, framed for the deaths of numerous agents who were actually killed by a Russian spy named Karakurt; well, except for one, but... greater good and all. Liz is now firmly immersed in the world of Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader) and just staying alive will be quite the task. Her own team is hunting her, although most of them still hold out hope that she is innocent of these crimes and the shadow government group called The Cabal, led by The Director (David Straithern) is out to get her, with God knows how many members placed in high ranking government spots. Liz and Red will continue to give Blacklisters to her former team, while they evade death and capture, because many of these individuals serve dual purpose and will help to bring down The Cabal. A life on the run can't be easy, especially when Liz discovers she's pregnant.
Once the threat of The Cabal has been quelled, it's time for happier things like baby showers and yes, even a loving reunion for Tom (Ryan Eggold) and Liz, but can this doomed couple ever find peace and happiness? When a shocking event tears a hole right into the heart of the team, it's hard to say whether they'll recover. More and more mysteries will reveal themselves as the season progresses and viewers will have their minds blown not once, not twice, but three or four times, depending on how good a guesser you are.
During all of the drama of the various Blacklisters, the members of the Post Office will deal with their own personal problems, including deception and betrayal by loved ones, upheaval with various positions on the team itself, and the tremendous tragedy of dealing with the loss of one of their own. We'll get a peek into Samar's (Mozhan Marno) background and also more of what makes Red tick, as we see some very personal moments for him as well.
A bevy of fine cameos appear this season including Famke Janssen (How to Get Away with Murder), Chris Chalk (Gotham), Fisher Stevens, Leslie Jones (Ghostbusters), Christine Lahti, Tony Shalhoub (Monk), Jake Weber (Medium, The Following, Hell on Wheels) and Brian Dennehy, among others. We'll see the return of Red's core group, including Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq), Mr. Kaplan (Susan Blommaert) and Mr. Vargas (Paul Reubens), and also some familiar faces from seasons past, specifically the tenacious and wicked Matias Solomon (Edi Gathegi, Twilight), who will be a particularly prickly thorn in Red and Liz's side.
So much happens this season that it is almost two seasons crammed into one, since the tone between the mid-season finale and the last half of the season is so very different. I am intentionally being vague in this review, for anyone who hasn't yet seen it, as some pretty huge things develop and spoilers are no fun for anyone. For those who have waited for the Blu-ray release (and even for those who have already seen it), The Blacklist: The Complete Third Season comes packed with lots of cool extras, including deleted and extended scenes, episode commentary on several key episodes (including my favorite episode of the season, Cape May); and featurettes on the stunts, The Blacklist comic book and its creation, the villains of the season, Red's epic lines from the season, and a featurette devoted specifically to fan-fave Aram (Amir Arison).
All in all, the entire cast is brilliant, the writing is spectacular, and James Spader is at once mesmerizing and terrifying. The Blacklist reminds me a lot of the old Mission Impossible series and movies, where there's danger, action and improvisation at every turn. This is must see stuff. If you haven't yet seen The Blacklist, do yourself a favor and get caught up. I know I can't wait to see what tricks they have up their sleeves for next season.