Parents' Guide to

The Blacklist

By Kari Croop, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Twisty plots save violent crime drama from predictability.

TV NBC Drama 2013
The Blacklist Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 24 parent reviews

age 18+

Salacious Violence Really Warps Your Sense of the World

As both a parent and former social worker, I checked out several episodes trying to find a reason of any value in this series on Netflix. First place, if it was a single movie, it could have shown the primary character played by Spader, as an immoral person who lives a life resulting in death, often played by his own hand, able to manipulate law enforcement, and justify his lifestyle of wealth and privilege, it may have fallen into the "Silence of the Lambs" category. But because this is a series, that has had several years of existence and still under contract, it feels like salacious violence in a world of no-trust, and controlled by evil people and /or cartels, is only managed by a "smart" murderous psychopath, who charms and "saves lives". If I wanted to show performances that question in untidy ways, human nature, life, the world, something that allows young adults the chance to really explore in a healthy way, the value and contradictions of life, Shakespeare would make more sense. A friend who is an educational psychologist compared this series as porn for those who want to get off on the cruelty and selfish of humankind. Neither of us would want our children to cross paths with Blacklist.
age 14+

The performance of James Spader was brilliant

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (24 ):
Kids say (52 ):

We're not sure whether NBC wanted us to think THE BLACKLIST was basically a Silence of the Lambs rewrite, but at first glance, that's exactly what it feels like. Spader summons his best Hannibal Lecter, and Boone steps into the shoes of his Starling-esque protege. Other details feel all-too-familiar. It's possible the similarities were all homage? Either way, The Blacklist is thankfully more original than its promotional trailer.

One of the twists that takes The Blacklist in a different direction is its female lead's decision to seek adoptive motherhood with her supportive husband while pursuing a potentially dangerous new career, which brings up all sorts of worthy questions about men, women, marriage, and "having it all" (whatever that means). There are also some intriguing mysteries about Elizabeth's past -- and her possible connections to Reddington -- that are just weird enough to keep you watching.

TV Details

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