The NBC drama The Blacklist has gone from strength to strength in its first three seasons, building a loyal fanbase and showcasing the intimidating talents of James Spader, in the role of U.S Navy Officer-turned criminal-turned FBI informant. In this new age of franchise television, it comes as no surprise then that the creator of that show, Jon Bokenkamp, and its executive producer, John Eisendrath, are crafting a spinoff.
The fledgling series will star Famke Janssen in the lead role, and has already secured The Blacklist cast member Edi Gathegi to reprise his role as Matias Solomon. Today brings the news that The Blacklist star Ryan Eggold will also be bringing his character – Tom Keen – to the new show as a co-star for Janssen. Speculation currently suggests that Janssen and Eggold will provide the same dynamic in the spinoff show that James Spader and Megan Boone provide in The Blacklist – that of handler and informant.
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The Blacklist is currently airing its third season, and the finale of that run will see the spinoff show set up. Episode 3.22 is reportedly earmarked for the introduction of the character to be played by Famke Janssen – Susan “Scottie” Halsted – and the reveal of her planned connection to the character played by Ryan Eggold. Moving forward, it seems that The Blacklist will leave its door open for Eggold to return to the fold, should the spinoff series prove unsuccessful.
This move to create a spinoff show generates two important points with regard to the endeavour as a whole. Firstly, to include characters from the original series brings a level of cohesion between the two shows that is unusual in franchise television, but also implies that some changes will be happening in The Blacklist itself. If the spinoff proves successful, then Eggold, Gathegi, and possibly others will be generally out of the equation as the original show progresses through its fourth season – requiring some fresh narratives from the show’s writers.
Secondly, in a move clearly designed to create what is essentially a female-led version of The Blacklist, it will be interesting to see whether such a project will generate more opportunities for women behind the camera than the original show. Of 31 credited writers of The Blacklist episodes thus far, only six are women, and of 28 credited directors, all but three are male. A similar hiring pattern is reflected throughout the production with, notably, no female cinematographers credited at all. Will The Blacklist spinoff show reset the balance? It seems we will find out soon enough.