NBC’s thrilling crime series followed the life of Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington (played by James Spader) as he teamed up with the FBI to take down the most wanted fugitives. Despite being a firm favourite, fans were surprised to discover which Hollywood A-lister almost replaced Spader. After premiering in 2013, The Blacklist secured its position as one of the network’s must-watch series. Even after season nine came to an end in May, the show’s popularity didn’t falter as episode 17 reached its highest rating yet with 3.1 million live viewers in the US.
A major part of The Blacklist’s admiration from fans is the lead character, Red who became a firm favourite as he was manipulative yet charming. Which is why it was a huge surprise when executive producer John Eisendrath and creator Jon Bokenkamp revealed Spader was almost replaced.Eisendrath continued: “When you want to cast someone who’s unknown, as a centrepiece of your show, you’ve got to do some lobbying to make sure everybody is okay with that and comfortable with that. “And we really felt comfortable, from the beginning, that she was the right person,” he confirmed. Much like the viewers, the showrunner admitted he couldn’t imagine anyone else portraying Red. “It’s hard for me to believe that he’s never played a master criminal before because he has the ability to be mysterious, dangerous and mischievous, in a way that seems perfectly suited to playing someone where you don’t know whether he’s good or bad.”