Fans of “The Blacklist” got a glimpse at new corners of the covert thriller’s expanded world last season, when Ryan Eggold’s Tom Keen (or whatever his name actually might be) encountered private mercenary contractor Scottie Hargrave (Famke Janssen), a formidable, shadowy force in her own right and the woman who may or may not be Tom’s birth mother.
The episode “Alexander Kirk” served as a successful backdoor pilot for the hotly anticipated spinoff series “The Blacklist: Redemption,” which launches on NBC on a still-top-secret date early next year and will unite Tom and Scottie once again as he joins forces with her Grey Matters organization and also delves into the mysteries surrounding his own murky past.
And while much of the direction new series remains as enigmatic as Tom’s origins, Eggold hosted a debriefing session with Moviefone to unveil many of the behind the scenes secrets of the spinoff.
Moviefone: It must be a fun experience for you to see the world of “The Blacklist” get bigger, and to be right at the heart of that expansion. What got you excited about the prospect of doing this?
Ryan Eggold: I will tell you truthfully what excites me about the new show is that we could do a show about espionage, and classically so. I’ve got high hopes for it, and I know [“Blacklist” creator] Jon [Bokenkamp] does as well. And, you know, we want to do a spy show. We want to do a show about Robert Redford in “Three Days of the Condor,” the ’70s flick. We want to do a show that’s Jim Phelps in the ’60s “Mission Impossible” TV show.
We want to do a show that’s like that. We want to do Jason Bourne and those things, but more so than the action, and the fun and all that stuff, which I really want to have because that stuff makes a great show, that classic spy stuff. If we could get into that, then it’s not like we’d be getting into brand-new territory, but we’d getting into a genre that I think hasn’t been really explored so much recently. Or, like the Jack Ryan novels, or just like world. That’d be really fun.
For you, to do that show, and kind of have that distinct identity, what’s the link that still keeps it “The Blacklist”? What’s that element that keeps it firmly in the franchise?
Well, a couple of things. First, the question of Scottie and Tom, whether or not she’s his mother — it comes out at the beginning that she is, and we think that’s the truth, and I think that may end up sticking to be the truth. Of course, it’s “The Blacklist” so it may not be!
But the thing that makes that — “The Blacklist” work, and the thing that this will carry over that I really love is the thematic juxtaposition of discovering one’s humanity and empathy, and connecting with other human beings and wanting relationships, and wanting love and these fundamental human principles, juxtaposed with violence and deception, and corruption and conspiracy, and power and all of that. Those two things meeting together will be, I think, what is the element that crosses over, which is what I like about the show.