The Blacklist Season 1 Review “The Freelancer”

By virtue of their name, procedural beats can follow a rather specific pattern. Regardless of who stars in them, the procedural can struggle to stay relevant and interesting in 2013. In an attempt to avoid this fate, The Blacklist decided to turn their procedural into the Hannibal Lecter buddy comedy we all demanded. The show is tossing in the vast majority of its eggs into the James Spader basket and telling him to just go nuts. He has taken their advice and definitely run with it. After the pilot, I had my concerns about Spader quickly descending into a Shakespearean hamminess that comes so naturally to him. Tonight proved I was right to be concerned. While it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have James Spader run amok on your television show, Spader is at his best when he’s being reigned in by the writing of the plot or the nuance of his character. Here, there are no reigns on Spader. The man chews through the entire show like a buzzsaw. It’s not a terrible idea given how entertaining he can be, but the decision to let him go could say more about the abilities of the rest of the actors than the show is willing to admit.



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