Following three successful seasons on air, The Blacklist creators decided it was time to introduce a spin-off during the show’s fourth season. Having already set up the premise during season 3 when Famke Janssen starred as Scottie Hargrave, the show took Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) out of the main show for an 8-episode jaunt. The Blacklist: Redemption placed Tom in the Halcyon team, run by Scottie who is his biological mother but she has no idea he’s her son.
Tom travels to New York to investigate the death of his father Howard (Terry O’Quinn) only to discover that his father is actually alive and well. Howard faked his death after becoming suspicious of Scottie’s actions and he convinces Tom to join the Halcyon team to gather intelligence for him. Working alongside his nemesis Solomon (Edi Gathegi) and Nez (Tawny Cypress), Tom is pulled into a dark world as the team tries to right the wrongs they’ve have helped commit. As Tom works alongside both Scottie and Howard, he’s not sure which to trust.
The Blacklist: Redemption is such a fun series that injected some much-needed life into The Blacklist franchise, which was showing serious signs of running out of steam in the latter half of season 3 and the first half of season 4. It’s the perfect combination of action, humour and drama with plenty of twists. Unfortunately the spin-off came too late and with so many people tuning out of The Blacklist, the show was always going to have an uphill battle. Had it happened earlier in the series, when Tom was a redundant character in The Blacklist, then the show may have survived the axe that swiftly dropped on its head.
It’s a real shame because Ryan Eggold is a superb leading man. He is so good as Tom Keen and has plenty of charisma to carry a series on his shoulders. Add to that excellent turns by Famke Janssen and Terry O’Quinn as his duplicitous parents and The Blacklist: Redemption had all the ingredients needed to be a real guilty pleasure of a show. Is it believable? Not really. Does that matter? Hell no!
Each episode sees Tom embroiled in a new mission while trying to keep Scottie from finding out that Howard is alive. As the series progresses Tom forms bonds with some of his new team and begins to distrust both of his parents. Which one of them is manipulating him is a core theme over the 8 episodes and the climax doesn’t disappoint. Frustratingly, unless the storyline closes in The Blacklist’s fifth season, we’ll never know!
Extras on the box set include a selection of deleted and extended scenes, and a featurette about the origins and idea behind the show.
The Blacklist: Redemption had its life cruelly cut short and I would have loved to see it carry on as an 8-episode series on a yearly basis. It’s better than The Blacklist has been in ages and was a genuinely entertaining show. The inevitable axe was hardly a surprise but it’s less to do with the show and more to do with the dip in quality of its parent show.
Cast: Ryan Eggold, Famke Janssen, Terry O’Quinn, Edi Gathegi, Tawny Cypress, Adrian Martinez Certificate: 15 Duration: 326 mins Released by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Release date: 9th October 2017