TV Highlights

What's on Friday 3rd October

The Blacklist

Sky Living - 9pm

Who's in it?

James Spader is back in his hat as Raymond "Red" Reddington, the good bad guy (or should that be bad good guy?) leading the FBI on a merry adventure in this thrilling series.

In a nutshell

Remember when James Spader was a svelte-faced movie actor best known for playing delicate eccentrics? It's hard to associate the current Spader – bulgy, flamboyant, wickedly funny – with the ethereal young man who first wowed audiences in the indie classic Sex, Lies and Videotape. But we like the transition. Especially as he's so darn good in The Blacklist, as a former fugitive helping Feds to track down the worst villains in the world.

The first season nimbly balanced case-of-the-week thrills with the wider intrigue of just what Red's agenda is, and why he's so stuck on working with profiler Liz Keen. Well, expect plenty more questions to be thrown into the mix as season two unfolds. For one thing, we'll be seeing Mary-Louise Parker as a woman with a link to Red's past. Also, there's a former Mossad agent complicating things, as well as a nemesis with a silly name (Lord Baltimore, since you ask). Breaking Bad fans will also be pleased to note the addition of Krysten Ritter – aka Jessie's doomed girlfriend – to the cast.

What's the verdict?

Along with Hannibal, The Blacklist is one of the two shows that'll make people who never thought they'd watch Sky Living... watch Sky Living. If you're late to the party, never mind about the back story: this is James Spader being awesome. And that's reason enough to watch it.

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