Variety – ‘The Blacklist’ Team on the Road to 100 Episodes: ‘There Is a Lot of Wish Fulfillment Going On’

The Blacklist

It was a moment five seasons, four years and countless twists, turns and cases of the week in the making when the cast and crew of “The Blacklist” gathered on-set in New York for their 100th episode celebration late last year.

The series started with James Spader’s Raymond “Red” Reddington surrendering himself to the FBI with the claim that he wanted to help track down and capture some of the very criminals with whom he spent the last two decades of his life working. But the show delivered so much in the first 99 episodes that it’s hard for the actors to single out the milestone without acknowledging all that came before.

The first “Blacklist” episode aired on Sept. 23, 2013. Viewers were immediately taken with Red and Liz’s partnership.

Unlike the majority of pilots, expectations for “The Blacklist” were anything but modest. NBC believed so strongly in the Sony-produced series that execs gave it the plum timeslot coming out of “The Voice.”
The network’s faith in the show paid off.

In its first two weeks “The Blacklist” averaged a live+same day rating of 3.6, 10-share in adults 18-49 and 12 million viewers. With “The Voice” as its lead-in, the show quickly established itself as the top freshman drama in both demo and total viewers, and would become the No. 1 new scripted series launched by NBC during the 2013-14 season.

Less than a month after its premiere, NBC gave the series a full-season commitment, ordering an additional nine episodes to round out its first-season order to 22.

To date, the show has been sold in more than 175 territories across the world including Australia, Brazil and the United Kingdom, where the fourth season ranked among the top 15 U.S. dramas on U.K. digital channels.

The show has never shied away from tumultuous and game changing reveals, as well as deaths. The 100th episode was filmed back in November, just two days before the fifth season’s winter finale aired, in which it was revealed that core character Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) had been killed off.

“It’s been a really cool journey figuring out who the guy behind the mask is,” Eggold says of Tom. “Learning who he was and what he really wanted has been really cool.”

Shocking audiences by killing off an original character such as Tom or solving secrets such as Liz learning at the end of season four that Red is her father doesn’t worry Eisendrath.

“It’s part of the way the house is built,” he says. “Anyone can go at any time. I mean, we blew up Alan Alda — a TV legend!”

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