Season 1: Towards the end of last year, while in the States, I watched the first half of The Blacklist and I quite enjoyed it, especially the two parter before Christmas. I sat down and blitzed the second half of the season during the week and, after starting strong, (Episode 11, The Good Samaritan) it slowed down a bit, until the season’s big twist were the pace picked up again. Then there was the finale, which didn’t quite work for me. Was it the random villain randomly killing a primary cast member, for no real reason and with no real dramatic consequence? Maybe. Mostly it was issues with the season’s big bad. The fact that a man who’d been in jail all this time was so powerful didn’t really work for me, but mostly it was the issue of casting that bothered me. Anyone with knowledge of how TV and film work could see the episode’s twist coming.
It’s pretty simple: you can’t build up a character, in this case the season’s mystery villain, for an entire season and apparently cast an unknown in the role while casting a famous actor (and in this case one known for playing villains) as an apparently unimportant supporting character and then have a last minute switch that’s supposed to surprise us. As soon as the famous dude’s name pops up in the credits, we know he’s the big important character. Next time, cast two famous actors, at least then I may be left guessing a little.
Despite that I still dig James Spader.