James Spader Reflects On ‘The Blacklist’ Ahead Of 150th Episode: It’s ‘Continued To Surprise Me’

'The Blacklist' will be airing its 150th episode on May 8. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with James Spader about this milestone moment and why he's still intrigued by the show 7 seasons later.

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Any time a show reaches 150 episodes, it’s a celebratory occasion. The Blacklist’s 150th episode will air May 8 on NBC, and it’s going to be one roller coaster of an episode. As the Task Force investigates a kidnapping executed by seemingly impossible abductors, Dembe lands in a perilous situation. Meanwhile, a recent health scare causes Red to think about a successor. James Spader has played Raymond “Red” Reddington since the show premiered in 2013 and has been a key figure in the show’s success.

During a set visit in Feb. 2020, James discussed with HollywoodLife why he’s still drawn to the show and role of Red after close to a decade. “It’s held my interest just based on story. It’s really sustained my curiosity and continued to surprise me again and again and again just based on story, and the relationship between the characters and the trajectory of their lives independent of one another, and then also in conjunction with one another,” James said.

Unlike shows he’s worked on in the past, The Blacklist “lives in a parallel universe.” James appreciates that the show has “really never established a paradigm. Not even from episode to episode really. The tone of episodes are very different and just the context and the settings and how they unfold are all so very different.”

James noted that it means a “tremendous amount” to him that The Blacklist has reached 150 episodes given how dedicated he is to the series. “Besides my family and the state of the world around us, the show means everything,” James continued. “I work on this show 7 days a week in some capacity for 10 months out of the year. It’s really more than that because before we come back, the two Johns [Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath] and I have a little bit of breathing space and then we reconvene and talk what’s upcoming. We start talking more intensely about that again about a month and a half from when we start filming again. It’s really immersive.”

The Blacklist’s reign is far from over. The show has been renewed for season 8. The season 7 finale, which will be animated, is set to air on May 15 at 8 p.m. on NBC.

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