Musings on The Blacklist show

The blacklist is an American crime thriller show which premiered on NBC in 2013 and recently concluded its eighth season. The show follows the lives of a most-wanted fugitive Raymond Reddington (James Spader) and a FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) as they work together to capture notorious criminals while navigating through their complicated relationship.

I have always loved thriller genre, so this show was a perfect fit for my watch list. The only doubt I had in mind was the length of the show (more than 150 episodes) and whether it will be able to keep me hooked till the end. And after investing more than 100 hours in watching 8 seasons of this show, I have mixed feelings.

After 3rd season, I stopped watching the show as I was losing interest. I was expecting the stories of main characters to move ahead but the narrative deviated towards newer characters with whom it was difficult to connect with. Some characters in the show looked rather forced and unnecessarily extended the length of the show. The show could possibly have worked fine without some characters, like Agent Park. I continued watching the show after a break.

Barring a few exceptions, the show's writing and character development is meticulous. Each and every character is carefully written and is acted by capable actors on screen. Unlike a generic arc taken by many shows, this show doesn’t have characters that can be classified as good or evil. Each character has its own journey and has instances where they are on the wrong side of the line. I was vouching for multiple characters at the same time. The show doesn’t hesitate to show the darker side of the characters and you end up loving and hating a character at the same time.

Another interesting aspect of this show is how perfectly the classic American songs are integrated within the episodes. Even without dialogues, they precisely communicate the mood of the scene to the viewer.

Like “Jolene” song which is used to convey the emotional dilemma of Elizabeth Keen when she learns about her husband Tom’s affair. It seems as if the song was written for this moment only. I heard the song for the first time in that episode and I felt that there can’t be better lyrics than this to capture the emotional state of Elizabeth.

The background score in a movie or web series no matter how rarely or frequently it is used, can leave a lasting impression if done properly. I still fondly remember the theme song of the Schitt’s Creek even though it only played trumpets. It stayed with me because it’s so unique compared to anything I had heard.

Finally, I will leave you with some beautiful lines from “The Eye of the Tiger” song which was used to portray the dedication and fearlessness of Glen (played by late Clark Middleton).

It’s the eye of the tiger
It’s the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger

Face to face, out in the heat
Hanging tough, staying hungry
They stack the odds ’til we take to the street
For the kill with the skill to survive



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