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James Spader makes ‘The Blacklist’ a solid addition to NBC’s lineup

Yeah, James Spader’s pretty much up to no good in NBC’s The Blacklist.

Two stars

The Blacklist Mondays, 10 p.m., NBC.

Judging from the promotional bombardment, you might think that The Blacklist is the only new series premiering on NBC this fall. Clearly a lot is riding on the high-concept drama, which mixes procedural crime-solving with serialized conspiracy storytelling in a sometimes effective, sometimes generic way. The effectiveness comes mostly from star James Spader, who overacts luxuriously as master criminal Raymond Reddington, an evil genius who decides to turn himself in to the feds and offer up information on his fellow evil geniuses. He’ll only talk to newbie FBI agent Liz Keen (Megan Boone), setting up a blatant The Silence of the Lambs rip-off in the first episode. Although the case of the week is nothing special, Spader is a lot of fun to watch, and there are a few twists that point to an intriguing long-term storyline. If NBC has to place all its fall hopes on a single show, this isn’t a bad choice.


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