The Blacklist star James Spader may have been snubbed for an Emmy nomination this year, but he got a lot of love today from the Comic-Con crowd. The actor drew a roar from the more than 1,000 fans in the packed room 6A of the San Diego Convention Center. “It’s been quite a journey, this craziness — and the craziness really started last year right here at Comic-Con,” Spader said after the applause died down. Then again, one year after his debut at the confab and with a breakout show success in the crime drama, the man who plays former super-fugitive Raymond Reddington is a geekfest multitasker this time round thanks to his part as the primary villain in next year’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron pic – which got a big cheer when Spader mentioned his work on the Marvel movie.
Not that the panel didn’t cut to the Blacklist chase. There was a big casting announcement with the revelation that Mary-Louise Parker would be joining the NBC series in Season 2 in a recurring role as a character named Naomi Highland. EP/creator Jon Bokenkamp didn’t reveal any more details of the former Weeds star’s Blacklist involvement, but he described the character as “completely tied to Reddington.”
Then there is the question of relationships on a show all about unknown relationships. “The question of who is Reddington to Elizabeth Keen is the central conceit to the show,: responded Bokenkamp to questions of whether Reddington is the rookie FBI agent’s father, “but we’re really not going to answer that.” From burn marks to pocket photos and the secrets of a dying man, the May 12 Season 1 finale set up a lot for the show’s return – especially about who Reddington really is and what his relationship with Keen might be. Spader himself had some thoughts on the big question. “The real relationship is their present relationship,” the lead actor said. “Destinations aren’t enough. The ultimate answer should be that looking backwards.”
Added Spader: “The second season I think portends even more as the show sort of blew up at the end of the season and allowed the second season to become more expansive. We start to learn little bit more about Reddington and his mythological history.”
EPs Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath joined the actor on the panel in the SRO room. NBC also handed out swag of the Spader character’s trademark black fedora and Blacklist T-shirts. (UPDATE, 2:33PM: There was no sneak peek at Season 2, but fans were treated to a video mash-up of the highlights of Season 1.)
Renewed for another 22 episodes by NBC at the end of last year after a strong ratings finish of its fall run, Season 2 of The Blacklist debuts on September 22. With NBC airing the Super Bowl next year, the network in May at the Upfronts announced it was gifting Blacklist the coveted postgame spot before moving it midseason 9 PM Thursdays. Bob Greenblatt said that Super Bowl episode and Blacklist’s first Thursday airing will a two-part arc, with the obvious hopes that the massive postgame crowd will carry over to the Thursday debut.
As it did last year when the show had its heavily hyped Comic-Con debut, The Blacklist was an unavoidable presence for fans heading from San Diego’s Gaslamp District to the Convention Center. The NBC show again wrapped an entire restaurant right across the street from Comic-Con in its logo and imagery and offered fans who ventured in a look at footage and a special Blacklist photo.