• Network: NBC
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 23, 2013
Season #: 1, 2
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Sep 22, 2013
    75
    Blacklist doesn’t have the pulse, say, of a '24,' but it races in the right direction.
  2. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    Sep 19, 2013
    75
    It could be the fall’s best new drama if it doesn’t veer off course and drive into the ditches of hokey predictability or outrageous implausibility.
  3. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Sep 11, 2013
    80
    His name is above the title and, depending how you feel about James Spader, NBC’s The Blacklist may become your favorite fall show.
  4. Reviewed by: Jeff Jensen
    Oct 9, 2013
    83
    Here and now, The Blacklist is top-of-the-list escapism.
  5. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Sep 23, 2013
    67
    It's a pretty shameless "Silence of the Lambs" rip-off--one scene in the pilot beat-for-beat copies the "quid pro quo, Clarice" scene where Lecter gets Clarice to talk about her childhood--but also a fun character for Spader to play, and the writers know what to have their leading man do and say.
  6. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Sep 26, 2013
    70
    It helps to have a great actor like Harry Lennix in the supporting cast, but the writers of The Blacklist need to prove that it’s about more than just Red.... But, for now, Spader is enough reason to watch.
  7. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Sep 23, 2013
    80
    Creator Jon Bokenkamp matches up a deliciously absurd uber-story (20 years later, rogue spy turned freelance criminal comes in from the cold...) with the mother of all procedural shticks (and he's going to bring all his friends and enemies with him). But the ace in the hole is Spader.
  8. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Sep 23, 2013
    80
    The Blacklist won’t be the most cerebral show on television. It’s a fast-paced mystery that’s just plain entertaining.
  9. 80
    It's probably a mite too ridiculous for the dire tone it sometimes affects, but it's confident, verging on brazen, and one tends to respect that quality in entertainment.
  10. Reviewed by: Michael Starr
    Oct 3, 2013
    75
    [Spader’s] magnetic, chewing on the scenery so much that you can’t look away from him.
  11. Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    Sep 20, 2013
    83
    Spader seems to be the only one who actually gets the gameplay here.... And the script seems to incite his appetite.
  12. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Oct 11, 2013
    75
    [A] pleasurable, cheeky new crime drama. [21 Oct 2013, p.47]
  13. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Sep 23, 2013
    80
    Both pilots ["Hostages" and The Blacklist] are among broadcast TV's better offerings this fall.
  14. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Sep 20, 2013
    80
    Viewers who can handle the twists and turns will be intrigued, particularly by Mr. Spader's performance.
  15. Reviewed by: Michael Landweber
    Sep 23, 2013
    70
    An intriguing twist suggests her involvement in his scheme is more complicated than the setup suggests, but we knew that. Moreover, she may also be more complicated than Red anticipates, which might make the introduction of this so familiar dynamic more a point of departure than a retread. That will be helpful because, based on the first episode, The Blacklist‘s plot makes little sense.
  16. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Sep 23, 2013
    75
    There's no doubt that The Blacklist will present a terrorist case of the week. But the marvelous action sequences and intriguing plot twists should lift it above any standard procedural.... If none of that interests you, Spader's magnetic performance alone is enough to warrant at least a couple looks.
  17. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Sep 19, 2013
    100
    You think you know this situation and how it will turn out, but there are surprise, yet entirely credible, twists throughout Monday's episode.
  18. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Sep 19, 2013
    90
    It’s certainly an intriguing pilot--you can’t take your eyes off of Spader and the writers have thrown in a couple of other interesting twists.
  19. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Sep 23, 2013
    70
    The Blacklist is never going to be anyone's idea of great art, but at least it has a pulpy kind of momentum that may well be worth watching for a while; I will stick around to see whether Spader's performance really is the only dish on the menu.
  20. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Sep 20, 2013
    70
    The many layers of feints and puzzles are compelling, but it’s hard to see how they can last more than a season or two.
  21. Sep 23, 2013
    80
    The result is a combustible cocktail of explosive action and sly intrigue, which provides an ingenious showcase for Spader to work his inscrutably enigmatic magic.
  22. Reviewed by: Lily Moayeri
    Sep 26, 2013
    80
    Those two alone [Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader) and Liz Keen (Megan Boone)] are worth watching Blacklist, but the drama's storytelling is powerful enough to make you commit to it from the very first episode.
  23. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Sep 23, 2013
    88
    A solid weekly crime show built around a genuine TV star. That's the kind of series the networks have to be able to pull off to survive. And with Spader in command, odds are NBC will.
  24. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Sep 19, 2013
    70
    Spader has always been a particularly interesting actor, and he’s well suited to this sort of twisted figure, where so much is going on behind those eyes. That said, he’s all that lifts The Blacklist above the mundane.
  25. Reviewed by: Dorothy Rabinowitz
    Sep 20, 2013
    80
    How this works out over its many episodes isn't easy to predict, but we have, at minimum, a strong beginning--Zamani notwithstanding--one that reaches undeniably satisfying levels of menace.
  26. Reviewed by: Terri Schwartz
    Sep 23, 2013
    80
    The criminal-teams-with-agent dynamic is nothing new, but it's taking the journey of The Blacklist with Spader and Boone that makes this show so engaging. It only helps that they have a strong supporting cast featuring the likes of Ryan Eggold, Diego Klattenhoff and Harry Lennix.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 380 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 64 out of 99
  2. Negative: 17 out of 99
  1. Sep 25, 2013
    2
    Has the potential to be great, BUT it sadly looks like it will not live up to it's potential. Conceptually, it is great, but the writing isHas the potential to be great, BUT it sadly looks like it will not live up to it's potential. Conceptually, it is great, but the writing is terrible, nonsensical, and illogical. All the problems are too easily solved by Spader's character, the FBI is portrayed as one big idiot as everyone seems to be out of the loop. Spader's outfit in the opening? WOOF. It was offensively cheesy. Full Review »
  2. Sep 30, 2013
    1
    cliché, badly written and predictable script. Example 5 seconds after Reddington mentions Ranko Zamani's name they've matched his prints oncliché, badly written and predictable script. Example 5 seconds after Reddington mentions Ranko Zamani's name they've matched his prints on the plane he just flew into Washington on....c;mon, really?..I can't see this series lasting 3 months before it goes on the chopping block... Full Review »
  3. Sep 28, 2013
    10
    The Blacklist is an amazing, intense, well-acted, well-written, and well-directed. James Spader and the female lead (I forgot her name) areThe Blacklist is an amazing, intense, well-acted, well-written, and well-directed. James Spader and the female lead (I forgot her name) are amazing together. I highly recommend this show Full Review »