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TV Topics: ‘The Blacklist’ makes a Super (Bowl) return

Raymond “Red” Reddington isn’t someone who ordinarily needs much help, but he’s getting a major boost anyway.

“The Blacklist” resumes its second NBC season Sunday as the show chosen to follow one of the biggest events of any television year: the Super Bowl. The special telecast also serves to promote the suspense drama’s move to a different night, since the episode will lead directly into the series’ debut in its new slot the following Thursday.

“With the sort of landscape for programming nowadays, we’ve been very lucky in that right from the jump, we established a fairly faithful audience,” said James Spader, alias ever-enigmatic informant Reddington. “The network and the studio, obviously, are always looking for a way to grow that if they can … and trying to find ways to do that today is difficult. I think the Super Bowl is a platform that stands alone, and you just hope the game is good enough that they don’t turn their TVs off.”

That doesn’t appear likely for the devotees who helped make “The Blacklist” last season’s top-rated new series. Megan Boone, who also stars as FBI agent Liz Keen – Reddington’s main interest in supplying information on the list of elusive criminals and terrorists – promised “more substantial feelings of friendship and care for Reddington, who has proven to protect her at all costs, and in a way that no one ever has before. She steps up to try to protect him when we come back.”

Spader vowed many more mysteries about Reddington remain to be uncovered, particularly about his link to Liz – which prompted him to warn her deceptive and dangerous ex, Tom (Ryan Eggold), to stay away from her in the closing moments of the series’ November fall finale.

“I remember when I first read the pilot,” Spader reflected, “which seems like a decade ago, but was actually only two years ago. At that time, I remember thinking that one of the things I responded to was that possible paths the show could take were limitless.

“You at least had the framework for switched paths and alternate routes … and you could find your way back again. Something that just seems sort of neat at the time can turn into something much more significant than that later on.”

On a similar track, Boone is looking forward to continuing to advance Liz, reasoning the character has “become more autonomous in her decision-making and her actions. Certainly last year, she was more reactionary because so much that was happening was overwhelming to her, I think.

“The minute she made the decision to lie to Red about (capturing and hiding) Tom, rather than him being dead, everything changed,” added Boone. “She became a little nefarious, like some of the Blacklisters. And like Red himself.”