“The Blacklist” remains to us one of the finest examples of what a network can do to play around with format. Here you’ve got a show that feels in some ways like your standard procedural, but does just enough to twist the format and make it into something new. It also has a great cast of characters, with James Spader topping the list as the ultimate scene-stealer in Raymond Reddington.
We could of course do many an article about Red, but we’re in the process this month of doing a series entitled TV Underdogs that look at some of the unheralded stars of great shows. With that, we’re here to talk about the ultimate chameleon in Tom Keen. We’ve mentioned this before, but Ryan Eggold has done a wonderful job never having this character be the same thing from one season to the next. We’ve seen Tom as the doting husband, the spy, the rogue, and even the defender. We’re not sure that he’s come full circle, but we have seen him try to save Liz more recently than we certainly were by the end of season 1.
What can the show do to spotlight him further? That’s something we are going to take a closer look at.
Why he’s an underdog – Tom is the sort of character you want to constantly root for, even if for whatever reason you know in your heart it’s not a good idea. He’s got that sort of Ben Linus quality where you’ve been burned before, but yet your curiosity about him keeps you wanting to see if things will be different the second time around and if he can be trusted. He’s someone who has the skills to be an asset for the good guys, if he ever permanently decides that he wants that.
Why we don’t see more of him – Tom is often doing his own thing, and sometimes, we don’t even know what that “own thing” is. We’ve seen him disappear for stretches of time, and his story is almost always secondary or tertiary to what is going on with Liz, Red, or the Task Force. We don’t always get enough time with him to crawl inside his head.
Ways to give him more airtime – What we’d love is for the show to do a completely Tom-centric episode where we go more inside his head, learn more of his past, and also how he goes about his daily life now. He’s such a fascinating guy because he has so many different characters at his disposal he could play. There’s probably enough here for him to have his own show, but we’d be fine getting a little more of a window into his soul here or there.
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