If there’s one show that knocked it out of the park in its freshman season, it was NBC’s The Blacklist.
When was the last time a mysterious character could captivate us in the way that Raymond “Red” Reddington grabbed our attention last fall? Credit great writing and the always amazing James Spader but one thing is definitely not a mystery: The Blacklist Season 2 begins tonight!
While some answers were given in the first season finale, we go into The Blacklist Season 2 Episode 1 with just as many new questions that will surely drive much of the action on tap.
Thankfully, I was able to grab some time with star Megan Boone, who plays Elizabeth Keen, the FBI agent who basically saw her life get turned upside down when Reddington insisted she become a part of her world.
Is Reddington really Lizzie’s father? Why does he care about her so much? And, as we go into the new episodes, is her husband still alive?
Besides these issues, Boone teased some other questions we’ll be asking in the new season, while offering her take on the new villains ahead and, most importantly, whether she thinks it’s a good thing or not that we be left in the dark about who Reddington really is...
TV Fanatic: Now that you’re well into Season 2, what do you think you learned from Season 1 that helped you this season?
Megan Boone: I got a lot more comfortable with everything surrounding being an FBI agent, out in the field. So I’m very, very comfortable wielding weapons and with understanding tactical strategy steps so that’s one thing. Then Jimmy Bodnar, who works on set with us, he’s a retired detective he complimented me this season on that and I think for me a lot of the things I’ve learned have been sort of unbeknownst to me. You just go along and you just become good at something and you don’t notice. You don’t know why! You say ‘Oh! I got good at it!’
TVF: I’m guessing you must be in the best shape of your life, because they have you running a lot!
MB: Yeah, I am very active on the show but I’ve always been active, thank God, because you actually have to be in good shape to do the things that the show requires you to do, otherwise you would kind of burn out.
TVF: When the season starts does Lizzy trust anybody? I’m guessing this girl’s got to have a lot of trust issues after everything she’s been through.
MB: Yeah, she doesn’t trust a soul. She’s highly paranoid. And she’s definitely very autonomous in her decision-making now.
TVF: Do we see her seeking anybody out or is she really happy just being on her own as much as she can?
MB: When she operates without trust everything about her intentions are very subversive so you don’t really know what she’s after for the whole first half of season two and you just start to unravel and start to understand exactly what she’s doing as the season unfolds.
TVF: How would you describe her feeling for Reddington in the beginning?
MB: I think her feelings for Reddington confuse her. I think she feels a growing bond with him that she doesn’t totally understand and she develops sort of an obsession with him and her world kind of revolves around him. I think that he purposefully made her feel that way. That was his intention. Ultimately, Reddington sets the stage for how she feels and I think that to tell her story in a way that would make her a more independent character she has to start to find a way to decide for herself how she feels about Reddington so it isn’t always him that controls her emotions.
TVF: For Lizzy and the viewer, we know so little about Reddington. We get little pieces but we really still don’t know a lot about this guy. Do you think that’s a good thing for the show and the story?
MB: Yeah. I think people are really entertained by these characters and as long as they enjoy going on the journey with them then we can take them on a long journey. I think that we can’t keep asking the same questions about them over and over but we have to develop and we have to develop new questions but we’ve been really good about doing that I think.
At the beginning of the season last year we ask is [Reddington] her father? In the middle of the season we are talking a lot about Tom, is he good or bad? And at the end of the season we are talking a lot about where is Tom? Is he still alive? And then we came back and sort of hook ended it with, is he her father? So you just have to manage what kind of questions are being asked and make sure that they don’t get stale.
TVF: Can you say at all what our question is going into the new season?
MB: Between Berlin and Reddington and what that has to do with Elizabeth? That’s what I think people are most curious about. Also, where is Tom Keen? His body didn’t come up. Is he dead, or is he revived somehow from that severe wound that he was given?
TVF: The first season villains were so amazing. Are the villains going to keep surprising us? How would you say this season’s villains compare?
MB: I think they’re getting even more interesting. We’re getting some really fantastic guests to come in and play them. The writers’ room on the show is extraordinary at coming up with these very, very odd characters. I think Season 1 was about pushing the boundaries and seeing very subtly how far we could go with these villains and I think that what we learned was that we can go as far as we want to, with a free rein. And I think in Season 2, we’ve really unleashed the impulses of the writers and they’re really going for it at this point.
TVF: Any chance Elizabeth is going to get some good loving this season? She needs something, doesn’t she?
MB: I think after what she went through I don’t know that that’s necessarily what she wants. I mean, everybody should have that obviously but I think when you have the experiences she’s had you’re pretty self-protective and she definitely goes into the season that way. Now, will there be chemistry between her and people in a really strange kind of unorthodox way? Yeah. Yes. But she’s not a cuddly, lovable girl any more.
TVF: I like the little spark we see between she and Ressler so is that going be explored at all?
MB: Tensions are high between them and I don’t mean they’re in a fight. I mean that kind of tension between people who have chemistry, too. Their partnership is stronger going into season two because of everything that they’ve been through together and so they’re kind of people who’ve been to battle together, where there’s a deeper level of trust.
There’s an eternal and sort of undying brotherhood of men happening in the force that they work from and so Ressler and Liz are able to yell at each other and get each other’s goat now. So that’s a new level to watch. We don’t want to go there too quickly, I think, with them. We want to draw that out.
The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.