Good versus evil. On TV, I am drawn to shows that don’t let the bad guys get away with anything… vindication. Unless the shows have blood, dismembered body parts, or beeping monitors, I’m all in. There are moments, unavoidable, when blood, from a shooting or dirty bomb, ends up on the screen — but as long as blood is not a regularly recurring theme, and the bad guys get wants coming to them — I’m hooked.
The Blacklist, however, stands apart in crime shows. I’ve noticed through holiday conversations I had this past year, that as far as females go, this show carries a special appeal. The Blacklist has an undercurrent that seems to get missed, or passed by the male viewers; it’s an afterthought, and maybe they think this theme has nothing to do , really, with the show. Because the show is about saving the world from terrorist.
This is not what the show is about. The terrorist thing? That’s just background — filler for what’s really happening.
Is James Spader the father of the FBI agent he has attached himself to — like a ghost? Monitoring her movements, her plans, her whereabouts. He knows she’s pregnant before she does… he sobs when friends save her from the grip of death, and fiercely protects her from her, tragic, painful, mysterious past — actually manipulating her flashbacks, just to keep her from getting too close to the truth.
Why is he so attached to her? He won’t say. No, that’s not true. He does say… everything but the truth. We look for clues in her traumatic flashbacks she has while she tracks world terrorists. And sometimes — he throws us a bone to distract us.
And yes — there is James Spader. Remember the cool guy in the white suit from Pretty in Pink? He’s all grown up, gentle and paternal. He drops profound quotes and sprinkles the show with treasures and humor from obscure places.
The father-daughter thing is subtle, barely there throughout the series… but it’s a tension that weaves through every dialogue. It builds tension and suspense, regardless of the crime that just happens to be appearing that week. I’ve gone through the old files on Netflix, from the beginning to catch the slivers of the tension between the two, back when I didn’t even realize this would be an important thing — and it’s even stronger there, but we missed it. That mystery has continuously built over time.
Last week, he told her that her parents died tragically. Then, he added, “Lizzie, I don’t want you to regret not raising your child, like I did.” OK… so what are we supposed to take from that? Did he end the mystery right then? No, I don’t think so. he created a new one. Because the only child he could be referring to is his own — and that must be Lizzie. Do you mean, like you regret not raising Lizzie? What other child are you talking about? And if, you are not her father, why are you so attached to her? Why can’t you live without her?
For a TV miniseries, this one transcends quite nicely and comfortably.