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James Spader: ‘Blacklist’ Compared to ‘Columbo’

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James Spader keeps fans coming back week after week to watch the NBC hit show The Blacklist. He and costar Megan Boone have some kind of chemistry that outweighs any of the show’s absurdities and the cast of characters behind Elizabeth Keen and Red Reddington’s bizarre interactions. One must admit it’s a bit far fetched to watch Keen observe a high profile international criminal like Reddington walk in and out of the FBI headquarters per his will. But that’s how it is–and fans love it.

Time magazine compares The Blacklist to Columbo.

“Perhaps Peter Falk was one of those actors who, like James Spader, is so easy to pay attention to that the idea of applying any kind of critical thought seems almost frightening, in case you realize that the show was actually kind of terrible and coasting on the lead actor’s charm all along,” they recently published in their entertainment section.

They later take a bit of a softer approach, saying, “But at least The Blacklist has the ingredients necessary for contemporary Columbo-esque greatness. We have Spader at the center (or, center-adjacent, at least), gleefully enjoying the larger-than-life quality of his character, as well as villains played by recognizable actors, who we can root against for reasons beyond their criminal activities. On Falk’s show, there was always an element of class warfare in play as Columbo regularly proved that being rich and successful didn’t let you literally get away with murder, while in Spader’s we have characters who are not only criminals, but also on some level misrepresenting themselves within society and fooling the common man for nefarious, selfish reasons.”

The comparison between the two hit TV shows likely won’t gel with most, even when looking past the upgrades in technology, criminology and even acting that have taken place between the time Columbo reigned in the late 60s to late 70s and the inception of The Blacklist this past September. James Spader has a special finesse Peter Falk lacked–not because he wasn’t a good actor, but because that’s not what the character called for. And The Blacklist seems a bit more intricate than a standard “whodunit.”

This past Monday on The Blacklist a mole was revealed, and fans were likely surprised to learn who it was.

James Spader was nominated for a Golden Globe for The Blacklist but didn’t win. By this time next year he will likely have an award or two on his shelf for his unique (read: non-Columbo-esque) hit show.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

James Spader: ‘Blacklist’ Compared to ‘Columbo’
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  • Janet Dial

    What an unintelligent, lazy comparison.

  • Diane

    Love, Love this show. James Spader is amazing he should win every award he can. He is a mean guy but you can’t keep from liking him anyway because he is so funny and smart. Don’t see the Columbo caparison, doesn’t matter great show.

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