‘The Blacklist’ Producers Pay Close Attention to Social Media

Megan Boone and James Spader at
D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

Fans of NBC’s “The Blacklist,” take note, the show’s producers are watching.

“We pay very close attention to the feedback,” said exec producer John Fox at the Television Academy’s Evening with “The Blacklist” Wednesday at New York’s Florence Gould Hall.

Fox was joined by stars James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff, Ryan Eggold, Harry Lennix, Parminder Nagra, Hisham Tawfiq and Amir Arison in conversation with moderator Bill Carter of the New York Times.

Boone said she was dedicating herself to social media “every waking hour” to engage with fans. “I like their reaction. I’m of service to these people. All of that is worthwhile because there are 17 million people a week enjoying an hour of their lives because I’m sacrificing all of mine.”

On the show, her character, Liz Keen, enjoys an exclusive working relationship with Spader’s Raymond “Red” Reddington. Some fans took this to mean she would also relay social media messages for Spader, “as if I’m some sort of carrier pigeon,” she said.

Spader, who does not email and barely texts, confessed to being unaware of this whole new world outside of the show, even stumbling on the terminology for “tweeting.” Spader was on the phone with creator Jon Bokenkamp when Bokenkamp stopped to live-tweet. “I didn’t even know the show was on,” Spader said. “It’s fascinating that we’ve all assimilated that into our lives and into our business.”

“You told me to take up cooking,” Boone said to Spader. “I didn’t. I tweet.”

Spader and the cast also talked about their characters and the intricacies of the show. “The procedural is directly connected and entwined in the serialized aspect of the show,” Spader said.

“Life would be so much easier if it was a ‘whodunit,'” Fox said. “But our show is, ‘How’s he going to do it? How are we going to stop it?’ It’s challenging.”

Fox said the writers and producers have a clear inspiration: Christopher Nolan and his “Batman” movies. “We aspire to do a Batman villain every week,” he said.

As for the relationship between Boone’s Liz and her murderous husband Tom, played by Eggold, Fox teased, “Even now, Tom is not what he seems.”

“I’ll never get another date,” Eggold joked.

When asked if Liz seemed naive, Boone defended her character with an unlikely comparison. “Jesse Pinkman (of “Breaking Bad”) made mistakes left and right, and he was ignorant of many things and people loved him for it!” she said. When Carter noted that Liz is an FBI agent, she retorted, “But he was in the meth trade, which requires… chemistry!”

The central relationship on the show, between Liz and Red, is a question Spader is often asked about. “What I know about their relationship is so far down the road. The lifespan of this show dictates how things are going to unfold. You have to allow fluidity. You can’t have an endgame on a television show in its first year, if you don’t know if it’s going to last two years or ten years. I also have to accept the fact that it can change dramatically,” he said. “But yes, I do know what the eventual desire would be.”

But what is Red’s motivation for turning over the “Blacklist”? Is he a good guy or a bad guy?

Fox gave a few scenarios. “Is he doing this out of some selfish motivation? Self-preservation? Or is he on the slow path to redemption?”

“Boy, that would be disappointing,” Spader interjected.

“I hope that’s a question we can keep alive for a long time,” Fox said.

“I think the bad guys are good,” Tawfiq said.

In the meantime, Spader will definitely be playing a bad guy after the “Blacklist” finishes its first season. He will head to London to play Ultron in the “Avengers” sequel helmed by Joss Whedon.

Go to the Television Academy website to watch a replay of the panel.


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  1. Barbara Smith says:

    To the producers of the Black List, Ted O’Connor, Brandon Margolis, Brandon Sonnier. I am a huge fan of your show, The Black List. We faithfully watch it.
    We are deeply OFFENDED by your profane use of God’s Name being taken in vain. You chose to do curse His Name on last night’s show. We will discontinue watching if you do it again.

  2. Hawk says:

    Myself and others in my group are great fans of Black List, but lately Reddington has smaller parts in each show. Also, James Spader is the hero and was always a head of anyone trying to pull something on him or anyone and always had the solution at hand.The show revolved around him, now he has short appearances and people are starting to get over on him. He eliminated anyone he didn’t like or crossed him. Get him back to being the super hero he was in the earlier shows like when he went after who killed his female assistant. Without Reddington as an action hero, all you have is just another cop show with some soap opera. The last two shows are going to slow and, get it over with for Reddington to tell her he is her father so you can start a new father daughter team of fast action.
    Thank you

  3. Kerry says:

    The blacklist is the best show I have ever seen love red

  4. nancy says:

    This is my favorite show, or was. David Spader and rest of the cast are fabulous, with the exception of Lizzy. Really tired of her poor me, don’t trust you Red, trust you Red, don’t trust you Red on and on bullshit. Combined with her ‘ I can do it all by my self and don’t need you’ attitude and her washed out new look and …. Rather than exonerate Lizzy this series, please exonerate the show. Give us a break from Lizzy and bring back Red, Tom, and the rest. Lizzy in the first series, great, but that’s kind of where it stopped.

  5. judi adams says:

    We love this show but this season they have made Liz into a dish rag. On the last episode of the Jhin it was a joke how the petite women had once been the man’s son. Did anyone take note of the size and features of his other son??? It would also be so much more believable is Ressler and the other FBI agent had some faith in Liz’s character. Please, please don’t let this show go down the tube!

  6. Al says:

    Sorry guys but the new season of blacklist 2015 the writing is terrible it’s no longer exciting and anticipating it’s gotten rather drab sorry about that

  7. Al says:

    I’ve been a fan from the beginning but unfortunately the writing is not good for season 3 sorry guys you don’t have my interest anymore

  8. Bill says:

    One of the greatest TV showed ever made, my/our sincerest applause. My comment, please consider making the back round music volume less than the spoken words or no music when speech is present. While we have a rather sophisticated built in sound system the script words are drowned out frequently. Other programs with rare exception lack the problem. We do love the music, it’s just the timing.

    Thank you

  9. Mary says:

    I cannot understand why The Emmy’s ignore thuis program. Everyone I kniow can hardy wait from one segment to the next. James Spader is magnificent in this part! Megan Boone is perfect for it, and the rest of the cast fits perfectly. NO ONE can play the part Spader does. The plots are griping, and suspense is there at the end of every program. Don’t let the “beautiful” peop[le scare you off. You LOVED by the public!

  10. Eric says:

    P.S. No matter what happens to the show. James Spader WILL go down in history as one of the greatest actors of our time !!

  11. Eric Moore says:

    Ok, allow me to make this brief. This show could go down as one of the greatest shows ever. BUT, if you continue to produce poor quality crap like this most recent episode. It will be short lived !! Did anyone watch it before showing it ??
    The explosion killing 14 CIA operatives in a building while Keen and Ressler are less than 40
    yards away, Ridiculous !! Second, THERE HAS NEVER BEEN IN THE HISTORY OF THE CIA A
    Short of this and contrary to popular belief.
    EVERYONE is NOT stupid !!!

    I counted no less than a dozen such ridiculous occurrences in this episode. If your goal is to be believable. THEN DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND WATCH IT BEFORE RELEASING IT !! If you want to be believed, THEN IT MUST BE BELIEVABLE.

  12. Chantay White says:

    Bravo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Blacklist Season 2 episode 12 is buy far one the best I have seen. It’s brilliant how you took a subject so sensitive as cults and child marriages and include a lighter side of Red and his relationship with Glen. I hope to see more of Glen. He definitely knows how to get Red lathered up! They have great chemistry together. The scene in his office was so entertaining, I laughed until I cried. I watched it twice. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • JM says:

      Blacklist started off great, we have a fan base here, but everyone was TOTALLY disappointed in the Major, why would Liz blab everything to the judge, he asked questions, that really a lawyer would have stopped!! Just thought this was very odd, the writing has been so good, but we all felt very disappointed in this episode, – the writing has been creative and good at keep it “real” and entertaining but felt this episode was like – lets hurry and get home kind of thing!

  13. D.E. says:

    If they are reading this I really do hope Red is Liz’s dad, and I want her and Ressler together too.I hope Tom and Ressler fight over Liz. I also wish that red would tell someone he is Liz’s dad and Liz can wait till the last season to find out but let the viewers know for sure.

  14. Jo Stewart says:

    Tried to watch the Television Academy website video. Ridiculously bad audio engineering on that clip. Levels far too low and lower thirds incorrect! You need someone who at least knows the difference between John Fox and James Spader. Hope the cast didn’t see it afterwards!!!

  15. R says:

    The Keen character has to be smarter

  16. Ali says:

    Well, if they’re reading this, my wish is that Red really is her Dad, and that she get’s involved with Ressler as they’re perfect for each other. I also would like to see Tom hook up with Parminder’s CIA agent. That would be fun if they were in kahoots. I love the show and enjoy all of the characters nuances.

  17. Cesar Arango says:

    Blacklist. Cannot wait for new episodes. Good stuff.

  18. Cesar Arango says:

    Blacklist. Love it. Watch it in Colombia.

  19. June Mueller says:

    James Spader is a great actor. I’ve followed his career as I am a huge fan. The cast of The Blacklist was well picked. The story line could continue for a long time as we, the viewers, watch the marriage of Elizabeth & Tom unravel and I don’t recall Red telling them how many names were on the list. Anyway, I will be the first to protest if they try to end it too soon.

  20. VIRGINIA says:

    Black List is an outstanding show. I make sure I never miss an episode. I am always excited to see what is going to happen next. Thanks to all for the great enertainment!

  21. Liz is always so cold. I got a big kick out of seeing her act all giddy and girly about renewing the vows when really she was calling Tom’s bluff.

  22. drea0223 says:

    I absolutely love this show. I used to get irritated by Liz for not seeing through Tom’s nonsense. Now I’m sorta understanding that it would have been really difficult to believe your husband is this bad guy. The character Liz was in love with the man, so of course she didn’t suspect he could be that horrible. Now the show is getting really interesting to me because she’s a tad more informed now.
    I love how each episode has the “bad guy” so we follow that story line and of course we have the main characters story as well.
    I hate to see shows come and then go away because nbc is greedy. If it happens with Blacklist I’ll be only watching sho time or hbo series.
    The Blacklist is NBCs last chance with me :)

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