NBC's crime drama The Blacklist
centers around one of the FBI's ten most wanted fugitives, Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader), after he has surrenders to the FBI and agrees to give information on other dangerous criminals and terrorists in exchange for immunity. He has compiled a list of some of the worst criminals around who the government is unaware even exist. He, however, refuses to work with anyone other than Agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone).
At the end of the second season, after Keen killed the corrupt Attorney General and was framed for murdering a U.S. Senator, she went on the run with Reddington. Season three picks up where the finale left off, with Keen now a fugitive.
She and Reddington work to clear her name while her ex-partner, FBI Agent Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) is now the director of the task force leading the manhunt to bring her in, while FBI Assistant Director Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix) is under investigation. Ressler and her other coworkers struggle to decide if their friend and colleague is really a terrorist or being framed by the Cabal.
I very much enjoyed this season of The Blacklist
. The show is always fast-paced and keeps you guessing. Each script always drawls you in, even though the arc of the first part of the season spanned so many episodes, which sometimes on television can become tedious. Here, it never missed a beat.
I love the relationship between Reddington and Keen and seeing them in a different place this season as he tirelessly tries to protect her and clear her name was really interesting and gives it more weight. I also just in general love Spader in this role and his sarcastic quips and slick plans.
In addition to the leads, all of the cast gel really well together and each character is easy to care about. I especially enjoyed Amir Arison as Aram as he sneaks to help Keen at times while he's pining over Samar (Mozhan Marnò). Actually I liked how at times, the other members of the team ended up helping her in one way or another, regardless of their duty to bring her in.
Other characters that stood out this season were Solomon (Edi Gathegi), who was downright scary when he tortured Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq), and the director of the National Clandestine Service at the CIA played by David Strathairn.
There aren't a whole lot of bonus features, but what are there are enjoyable ones that add to the experience, and I found them very interesting and informative. It’s a shame that there are actually more features then it at first seems, but you have to hunt to find them. I’ve listed them all here by disc to make it easier. The extra scenes for each episode can either be played all together or separately (running time is total for each episode).
Note that the deleted and extended scenes, episode commentaries, and the bonus features "From the Shadows: Villains of Season 3" and "Creating the Stunts: From Script to Screen" are exclusive to the blu-ray edition. DISC ONE:
* Deleted & Extended Scenes: - “The Troll Farmer (No. 38)” -
3:30 - Patience, Stick Shift, You Let Her Go - “Arioch Cain (No. 50)”
- 2:37 - The Bounty, Broken Glass DISC TWO:
* Deleted & Extended Scenes: - “Sir Crispin Crandall (No. 86)”
- 0:37 - Lawyer - “Kings of the Highway (No. 108)”
- 1:40 - Protecting Karakurt - “The Director (No. 24)”
- 0:30 - Into the Cell * Episode Commentary for “The Director (No. 24)” with Jon Bokenkamp,
Brandon Margolis, and Kat Goodson
– 42:12 – Some discussions include Keen
on the run as a fugitive, cast additions, as well as other production aspects.
* Deleted & Extended Scenes: - “The Vehm (No. 132)”
– 1:02 - Budget Cuts - “Alistair Pitt (No. 103)”
- 1:18 - Anger - “Lady Ambrosia (No. 77)”
- 4:36 - Death Certificate, Watching Ethan, Access
to Ethan, No Hard Feelings, Speech, Duct Tape, Finding the Children, Happy
* “The Caretaker (No. 78)”
- 3:30 - Gathering Information - “Mr. Solomon (No. 32)”
– 0:41 - Mara - “Mr. Solomon (No. 32): Conclusion”
- 0:22 - Masha's Dead - “Cape May”
– 15:07 - On the Beach, By the Fire, Away from the Window,
Breaker Box, Axe, Have You Ever Killed Anyone?, Finding the Keys, Through
the Kitchen, Just Me * Commentary for “Cape May” with Jon Bokenkamp, Brandon Margolis, and Kat
– 43:10 – Discussions include the all Reddington episode, using Boone’s
pregnancy as part of the story, and other areas of production. * Creating the Stunts: Script to Screen
- 11:10 - The cast and crew talk about
filming the action sequences and stunts, including both how what's written in the
script changes before the final versions are filmed, and the actual process of
filming them. The stunt coordinator is also featured. There are a few scenes that
are discussed, the main ones include the church action sequence, a deleted fight
scene in "The Director" between Donald Ressler and Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold), and fight scene
with Dembe Zuma. * All About Aram
- 10:49 - The feature is what it says: the crew, as well as the
actor who plays him, talk about Aram, including his love life or lack thereof. DISC FIVE:
* Deleted & Extended Scenes: - “The Artax Network (No. 41)”
– 0:25 - Private Security - “Alexander Kirk (No. 14)”
– 3:53 - Rooftop, Red & Tom, Getting to Kirk - “Alexander Kirk (No. 14): Conclusion"
- 1:08 - The Switch * From the Shadows: Villains of Season 3
- 14:21 - The cast and crew discuss
the villains and how some of them are inspired from the news. The first part is
about the main members of the Cabal - the Director (David Strathairn), Hitchin (Christine Lahti), and Solomon.
They also talk about some of the blacklisters and how they each have a specialty
they are good at. They include Gerard (Fisher Stevens), Samar's brother (Sammy Sheik), Kings of the Highway,
the Jinn (Christine Tawfik), Gregory Devry (Jake Weber), and Alexander Kirk (Ulrich Thomsen) (formerly thought to be Rustov). They
also tease a bit about what's to come in season four. * Outside the Box: Making The Blacklist Comic Book
- 8:42 - This features Blacklist
staff writer Nicole Phillips who took on writing the comic stories, as well
as editor of Titan Comics David Leach and digital artist Beni Lobel. They discuss
the process from script to print, and talk about things such as the comic books
being from the same mythology as the series, and that they can tell more
character backstories, as well as certain things that wouldn't work for a television
series. * Red's Game: Favorite Lines from Season 3
- 7:05 - The producers and story
editors talk about their favorite lines of Reddington. Packaging:
The series comes in the normal blue clamshell case with five discs. Rather than "pages" in the case to hold the discs, they are just stacked on each other on each side, which I didn't like. If you want a particular disc, you have to take more out to get at the one you want.
The back insert does list what episode is on each disc, but you have to take it out to read it or remove all the discs since they are stacked. The first three discs contain five episodes each, while the last two each have four.
The insert does not list where the bonus features are, which is annoying. The main features are split between the last two discs, but the part that is really irritating, is that the episodes which contain commentaries and/or deleted scenes, aren’t easily accessible. It's easy to miss that these even exist unless you look under each episode (or read my review). Each disc, however, does at least have the complete list them in the onscreen menu, but you can't tell which is on what disc unless you try to access them, as it just tells you which disc to insert. I was really disappointed with the menu system and setup, having to do that to see all the features.
The set also includes a code for the digital version of the episodes with an ad for Sony Rewards on the flip side. Also included is an ad for the official mobile game, Blacklist Conspiracy
Season three of The Blacklist
is a great to own, and I highly recommend it. Even if you haven't watched the series, you can jump right in, though I do suggest you watch seasons one and two as it's a great show. If you are a super fan, the set may be worth it for the bonus features alone, though normal viewers might be less impressed with the selection, especially considering the lack of ease in accessing the features. Of course the set does also come with the digital versions of the episodes as well, so that also adds to the value.