The Blacklist Review: Who is Tom?

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There have been some scary, freaky and deadly people on Red's blacklist, but the Judge was in a class of her own.

On The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 15, the Judge took the noble idea of the Innocence Project and turned it into a dangerous and deadly initiative.

Ruth and Frank were victims of the system and attempted to be the judge and jury for those who wrongly convicted innocent people. An eye for an eye.

The Judge's downfall began when she released Mark Hastings, a prosecutor who she sentenced to 12 years in lock up for failing to turn over exonerating evidence to the defense team. The victim spent 12 years in prison and Hastings was given the same sentence. Red tied the pieces together and Liz began to investigate.

The Judge got away with it for so many years, that it's a bit amazing that Liz was able to bring it all down within a couple days. While the Judge's intentions were noble, the case of Alan Ray Rifkin demonstrated that all forms of justice have some inherent flaws. She believed Rifkin was innocent, but he wasn't.

Innocent people are imprisoned and put to death, though it's also possible that she did the same thing. It's dangerous for one person to decide who is innocent and who is guilty. Liz and viewers were put in the same position as the episode unfolded. Was Rifkin innocent and Harold guilty? 

If Red hadn't pulled some strings and used a likely burned contact to dig up the truth, the situation could have taken deadlier turn. Cooper and Connelly may not have been innocent, but they weren't responsible for an innocent being put to death. They used questionable means to get a confession, but it was a truthful confession. Rifkin was a terrorist and was properly sentenced based on the law.

Liz put her career on the line for what she believed was right. The confession was coerced, so should it have been thrown out? That would have been a decision for a legitimate court of law to decide. She held her head high and did the right thing. And, even though it implicated Cooper, he understood her decision.

When all was done, I give him credit for giving her the okay to report what she found out. He proved his credibility in that moment. He may have made a mistake and was willing to suffer the consequences for his actions. That didn't include being killed though as the Judge wanted. 

Liz showed her own strength and judgment by not forcing the issue further. Whether he was right or wrong, it happened long ago and he wasn't the same person. And, ultimately, he took a terrorists off the streets. It will be intriguing to see if other similar actions come up again from Cooper's past.

Red proved his value once again. And, this time he didn't hold the FBI hostage to help. He did it on his own without anything in return. That was a refreshing shift. I'm sure it's not a permanent one though. Afterwards, he did ask  Harold for help, but it was for the Admiral and not for himself ... yet!

Red warned Harold that a war was coming. That's going to be dangerous for them all. When it hits will Harold still think his "secret weapon" has been worth it?

That's not the only battle coming. Tom is playing Liz. Poor girl. He married her under orders from some organization. It's unclear why they wanted him to marry her or what his job would be. He hadn't heard from his handlers in two years. He held firm to his cover and rejected Jolene's advances, but she know about his real mission. Is she working for the same organization? Or, does she have other intentions?

Whatever it is, it seems likely that it's all related to Red. Someone who knows about his connection to Liz put an asset inside her home. And, Jolene has been tracking Red for awhile. Is it Fitch? Or entirely unrelated to him? It's getting interesting!

I'm glad that the Tom storyline is moving forward and has been revealed. It was time to get answers about at least one of the major questions. The only bad news is that The Blacklist isn't back for two weeks. That's enough time to speculate about what's coming next!

Who is Tom working for?


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (66 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Tom admitting to the girl was poor writing. He so easily admitted "Ihis is my job". The reason I say that is because he knows Red is trying to expose him. He doesn't know if that girl is working for Red or not. Any "smart" person would deny or walk away without saying anything. Walking away without saying anything would've been a better conclusion, leaving us with some doubt.

@ Mickey P

I didn't like the reveal either. It felt weird, like, "So, what's his endgame then?". Was he supposed to kill her or just get close to her? This damn thing is getting too complicated for its own good. Spader is what keeps it worth watching.


this show is just getting better and better !!! i love James Spader as Red and he always plays his characters with such intrigue mystery but brings in so much compassion at the same time .Liz and Red are great together !!!


"He hadn't heard from his handlers in two years." When did we get this information?

@ Morten

You're right; that quote is from the preview for the next episode (March 17). Don't miss it!


I am so impressed with James Spader, he plays Red to the 10th power. When he's not on the screen, I'm annoyed. Don't like Lizzie, still, not at all. What are her redeeming qualities? None, Red tells her he's proud of her, but honestly, he does all the work and all the thinking. And I will say it again, if Red told you your husband is a plant, why would you not believe him. He has never steered you wrong before, so, if he says your a horse, go get a saddle. Just saying... Tom may be a good guy, but that's not how it started out. Also, he was with her for two years before Red showed up, so who knew about this and why didn't Red just dust him before he turned hisself in. Who ever this is pulling the strings is playing a very long game and I for one can't wait to find out who. I love the Blacklist.


I agree with others I think Tom really does love lizzie after two years. I think he wants a life with her because why is he pushing for having a baby with her so hard. If I just here for cover I would not care about having a baby with him unless the "baby" has something to do with the "plan". I also think it is Tom fighting Jolene not Lizzie. I ready for badass Tom! Also I think if Tom where really evil Red would have taken him out long ago. Tom and Lizzie will stay together in the end. Also it is odd Tom and Red call her Lizzie and everyone else calls her Liz. The Jolene person, who she works are the problem. I wonder if it has to do with Alan Alda's character? I think Red is getting old and he is tired and he is trying to get from under who ever is in the government who think they control him. When he was in the glass box talking about he wanted to live...Red wants out, to love and he wants answers. Such a good show I hope the writing stays good in season two. Ok stupid NBC what is up with the two week off mess? The show just came back on and now you are taking it off for two weeks...Really!? This show sure has great music on it.

Sarah silva

I really did not want Tom to be bad. I was really hoping he was being set up when Liz found the box. However it just further cements the fact that Ressler and Liz will together.
I can not stand Cooper and I was kind of hoping he would be tortured.
He was threatening Liz's job early in the episode when she went digging but at the end all was forgiven.
I know the chances are slim to none, and with the preview for the next new episode, it sure looks like Tom really is bad. However it would be pretty nuts if the show pulled a bait and switch and Tom really is good and he new that Red would one day come for Liz or something and he really is there to protect her but is playing all these angles???
So glad others think Tom is good too! If he is then we can all say we were right!

@ Mrs alex o'loughlin

I hope Tom ends up working with the FBI. I want him to be revealed as a good guy, similar to that of RED. I love Spader, he is an awesome actor in every role. He always appears so laid back, it must be a part of his real-life demeanor. I would like to be a guest on the Blacklist, wouldn't you?

Sarah silva
@ Toni

I know! I hope Tom is good too. I too love Spader, his wit and demeanor are so great. That would be tons of fun to be a guest star on that show! :)


I like Tom.


I think Tom really does love her after two years... And was trying not to let the ppl he works for realize he's really in love with her. And I think the fight scenes we were seeing are with Jolene not Liz. It's just twisty enough that it might be true. "He's a snake! But after all this time he's a snake that's fallen in love with you!" Idk. Maybe he's just a snake? I'm glad they are finally moving forward with this story line, to be honest it hasn't even started and it was/is getting old. Not the kind of way you want to write a story line guys.


Definitely same organization as Jolene, makes it obvious when he says "did they send you to test me"


Tom was obviously a fraud after the episode where she found his gun and passports. Tom would have had no reason to look for them under the floor if he didn't know they were there. He also wouldn't have scoured the house and yard for them and gotten so upset they were missing unless he knew what was hidden under that floor. They just delayed the full reveal for several episodes but this was inevitable.

@ Jim

Plus the conversation Red has with Tom outside the hospital was a huge give-away for me. The way Tom stares at Red. It was a knowing stare of a man who knew that Red had found him out for what he was. The only interesting thing to see is whether they do a Severus Snape on him. As in, he was one of the baddies, but ultimately turns because of the love he has for Lizzie. If they do, they better make it worthwhile, or it is going to turn into a cliche. We'll see.

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The Blacklist Season 1 Episode 15 Quotes

Connelly: I thought you were gone. What happened?
Cooper: My secret weapon.

Tom: I'm sorry. I can't. That's why I came here. To tell you, I can't do this, because I love my wife.
Jolene: Wrong answer. Elizabeth Keen is not your wife, she's your target.