When The Blacklist premiered, the series was immediately dubbed The James Spader show. He embodied the criminal mastermind, Raymond "Red" Reddington.
While the rest of the cast may not have been as well-known as Spader, the other actors all had experience in both movie and television prior to joining The Blacklist. The least known series regular in the first season was likely the co-lead, Megan Boone. Previously, she portrayed the Deputy DA on the short-lived Law & Order: LA.
Less known coming into the series was Amir Arison, but he was just upped to series regular status for The Blacklist Season 2. Ryan Eggold has been included as well, even though it's unknown whether or not he'll be returning. What did happen to his body?
Check out where the The Blacklist cast got their start and their professional journey to joining The Blacklist!
Spader was a star well before he joined The Blacklist cast. His first role is listed as Jimmy on movie, Team-Mates. In the 1980s, he had roles on some of the decades notable movies, including Pretty in Pink, Mannequin, Baby Boom, Less than Zero, Wall Street, and Sex, Lies and Videotape. He never stopped making films throughout the 1990-2000s. He also stopped by Seinfield in 1997 as Jason 'Stanky' Hanky. Spader made the move to TV as Alan Shore, first on The Practice and then on Boston Legal. Before The Blacklist, he played Robert California on 25 episodes of The Office.
Boone's first movie role was in 2007's The Mustachioed Bandit Meets His End as Kate. Her start on television was a guest spot on The Cleaner in 2008 as Rae. She had roles in a few movies, before getting her first multi-role TV role as Deputy DA Lauren Stanton on Law & Order: LA. She's navigated towards law enforcement roles by playing Detective Candice McElroy on Blue Bloods before portraying Agent Elizabeth Keen on The Blacklist.
Klattenhoff started out in 2001 with a role on the television show, Doc. In 2006, he had his first multi-episode role in At the Hotel as Young Jacob, which he followed up with guest spots on Psych, Supernatural, as well as, roles on a few TV movies. Before joining The Blacklist, Klattenhoff starred on Whistler in 2007, played Ivan Palacinke on Men in Trees the next year, Mike Callahan on Mercy in 2010 and Mike Faber on Homeland Season 1 and 2. He was also on the big screen in After Earth and Pacific Rim.
Lennix's first credited role was in the Gene Hackman movie, The Package, as Johnny's Field Soldier in 1989. He continued to take roles on television and TV movies until 1997 when he had a six episode stint on ER as Dr. Greg Fischer and then the next year on Diagnosis Murder as Agent Ron Wagner. His never slowed down his work on both TV and movies. In 2006, he had his first series regular role as Jim Gardner on Commander in Chief. He followed that up with an arc on 24: Day 6, then Boyd Langton on Dollhouse and in 2012 he played Tim Dupre on Emily Owens, M.D. Prior to The Blacklist coming out, he was seen as General Swanwick in the Superman movie, Man of Steel.
Eggold got his start on an episode of Related as Lloyd in 2006. He also made stops on Brothers & Sisters, Veronica Mars, and as a Barrista on The Young and the Restless. In 2008, he landed the role of Farber Kauffman for seven episodes of Dirt. In 2011, he had his longest lasting role as Ryan Matthews on 90210.
Arison's first role was as Armande, a photographer on Guiding Light. His early roles included guest spots on The Jury, Law & Order, Hope & Faith, and two separate roles on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. His first multi-episode prime-time arc was as Dr. Manning on Law & Order: SVU between 2009-2011. (He had previously had a different role on the series in 2005 ad Dr. Ghupta.) He portrayed a prince on Homeland in 2011. His longest role before The Blacklist was as Dr. Gurveer on the TV series, H+. He went on to play Theo Riley on six episodes of Zero Hour and had a stint on Girls as Kevin Mimma.
You know the problem with drawing lines in the sand? With a breath of air, they disappear. You may not like me. You may not understand how or why I do what I do. But I'm here because you want answers to questions you haven't even thought of yet.