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An Excited Hisham Tawfiq Talks 'The Blacklist'

9/29/2015 12:04pm EDT
Hisham Tawfiq On 'The Blacklist' Season 3: 'I'm Excited With Wha
When The Blacklist returns this week, it will have a new series regular; Hisham Tawfiq has been promoted to the main cast after two seasons recurring as Raymond Reddington's bodyguard and confidante, Dembe Zuma. Starpulse spoke to the actor earlier this month about the jump and how art is imitating life for this multi-faceted performer.

"I'm excited with what's going on. It looks pretty exciting," said Hisham, who has added something memorable to the series over the last two years despite the fact that he's playing a character who's the definition of the phrase 'strong, silent type.' Has i...

Fall TV 2014: A Night By Night Comparison Of What May And May Not Work

5/15/2014 2:40pm EDT
Fall TV 2014: A Night By Night Comparison Of What May And May No
Now that all the big networks have revealed what they’ll be showing us this fall, let’s take a look at what may or may not work.


ABC is essentially playing it safe, and keeping Sunday Night intact. American Crime will swap for Resurrection at midseason. Resurrection was a buzzy drama that started seeing a ratings decline. Not waiting till midseason is probably a smart move. You don’t want to lose any more audience. It’s not a winning strategy, but ABC just doesn’t want to be in last place.

NBC has football, another super safe move. CBS is shaking things up, banishing Amazing Race...

'The Blacklist' Season 1 Finale: Meets Keyser Soze

5/13/2014 9:20am EDT
'The Blacklist' Season 1 Finale: Meets Keyser Soze
A superb Season One final for The Blacklist, which leaves us with - warning: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Meera is dead.

Tom is very likely dead. Why just likely? Lizzie tells Red that Tom is dead, but she asked him to leave the room after she shot Tom, and she has some reason to want to keep Tom alive. Also, though Tom was shot a bunch of times, it wasn't in the head. Still, he's likely dead. Just not definitely.

Either Berlin or Red is Lizzie's father. They both have a picture of someone who almost definitely is her, when she was a girl. I guess it's more likely Berlin who's her father, but Re...

'The Blacklist' Season 1 Episode 20: Unanswered Questions

4/29/2014 3:12pm EDT
The Blacklist
An interesting Blacklist 1.20 last night, which seemed to move the major story of Lizzie and Red along a bit, but actually did not, or only barely.

Indeed, the best part of the episode concerned the villain de jour - the Kingmaker, played by Linus Roache, who brought the same presence and power to the role that he does for King Ecbert on Vikings. The other significant part of the episode involved Red's interactions with the Fitch (Alan Alda) nefarious group. Anything that peels back a little more of Red's ultimate doings on The Blacklist is a good thing.

But not much was revealed or moved...

'The Blacklist' Season 1 Episode 19: Leveling the Scales?

4/23/2014 2:56pm EDT
The Blacklist
The Blacklist 1.19 was back with an excellent episode on Monday night - and a significant, maybe game-changing development in Lizzi's relationship with Red.

It all hinges on what Tom says to Lizzie at the end of her interrogation: "I'm one of the good guys. Reddington is not who he seems to be, and I can prove it."

Let's unpack this. Have we seen Tom do things that are not good? Let's take lying to Lizzie off the table, since Tom is apparently saying that his years-along intimate deception was for her own good. But we've also seen Tom do things to other people that are not good - like ...

'The Blacklist' Season 1 Episode 16: True Colors

3/19/2014 5:38pm EDT
The Blacklist
Well, it's been clear throughout The Blacklist that there was something wrong with Elizabeth's husband Tom. Last week, we found that he was indeed a fake, an agent whose "target" was Elizabeth. And this past Monday, in episode 1.16, we find out just what kind of agent: brutal, effectively overpowering, outwitting, and killing two people, Jolene and Lance Reddick's formidable character - who, at a steep price, was doing's Red's bidding.

Reddick's character at least figured it out - too late to save his life, but in time to alert the audience - about the kind of agent Tom is. And now ...

The Blacklist 1.15: The Husband's Other Shoe

3/8/2014 6:17pm EST
The Blacklist
Well, The Blacklist 1.15 finally let the other shoe drop on Elizabeth's patently no-good husband - or maybe it was one of his shoes that dropped - in a revelation which was so obvious from the outset as to be the biggest anti-climax of the television season.

The script and the direction of the series has shown us there was something wrong with Tom Keen from the beginning. Good acting by Ryan Eggold - his subtle facial expressions - as well as what he said and did made this nearly apparent. Red has been warning Elizabeth about Tom from the start. Only Elizabeth didn't see this.

Why? ...

'The Blacklist' Season 1 Episode 13: Red Writ Large

1/28/2014 9:23am EST
The Blacklist
Whew, a crackerjack episode of Blacklist 1.13, in which Red continues to do what he does best - getting to the root of his problems, identifying his enemies, and dealing with them, no matter how powerful, in the only way he reliably can: killing them.

That enemy would be US Assistant Attorney General Diane Fowler - played by Jane Alexander - identified by Red as the true rat who almost killed him and Lizzie. Fowler's rage when she learned there was a double agent in the FBI's ranks was a clever ploy to throw suspicion on someone else.  We learn early in last night's episodes that it's not ...

'The Blacklist' Season 1 Episode 12: DNA Meister

1/21/2014 11:12am EST
The Blacklist
A close to science fictional Blacklist 1.12 - which in my book is always a plus - as Lizzie and the team hunt "the alchemist," a guy who makes people disappear by putting their DNA and other biological evidence into the bodies of people he's murdered.  The FBI etc then think the people with the original DNA are dead.   This is in effect a witness protection program par excellence - except the protected are criminals that the police very much want to capture.  I'd say this is one of the best story set-ups thus far on The Blacklist, so good it could have been the basis of a movie, and maybe s...

'The Blacklist' Season 1 Episode 11 Review: Red's Retribution

1/14/2014 9:14am EST
The Blacklist
The Blacklist was back with a good episode - 1.11 - for Red, in which we get to see another, tougher side of him, or a side we knew existed, but up until now had not seen in such back-to-back, vivid evidence.

Red was nearly killed in the last episode, and we couldn't expect him to take that lying down.  Indeed, we'd expect him to unleash just the reign of retribution and terror that we saw on the screen last night, as he methodologically hunts down and eliminates just about everyone responsible for the depredations he and Elizabeth and the FBI suffered in December under Anlso's onslaught.

'The Blacklist' Season 1 Episode 10 Review: Those Words

12/3/2013 9:16am EST
The Blacklist
The Blacklist 1.10 concluded the two-part episode that began last week, with a sharpening of everything already in place, a new major player, and some words at the end by Red to Lizzie which preserve what we knew and didn't know, and set the agenda for the resumption of the series in January.

Let's start with those words.   When Lizzie asks Red point blank if he's her father, he answers no.  The question is more than warranted from Lizzie, since she's just seen Red put his own life at risk to save her, after he brilliantly staved off the bad guys when he was locked in that transparent encl...

'The Blacklist' Review 1.9: Field Transfusion

11/26/2013 10:38am EST
The Blacklist
The Blacklist 1.9 is the first half of a two-part Fall finale, and put up the most powerful show of the series thus far.  It showed us something you don't usually see on television - Red giving the badly wounded Ressler a field transfusion of blood from Red's own arm - and much more from Red.

James Spader gives an even more inspired than usual performance, highlighted by an instantly classic Red soliloquy about why he wants to live - drink the wine (two bottles), sleep like a baby, make hot love on cool sheets, and more - that Shakespeare would have enjoyed.   And the loss of life is a ver...

'The Blacklist' 1.8: Review: The Father And The Husband

11/12/2013 10:04am EST
The Blacklist
An important Blacklist 1.8 last night, in which Lizzie's father dies.

He's her adoptive father, and, with just six weeks left to live with terminal cancer, he's put to death by Red.  But it's not quite a mercy killing.  It's Red wanting to make sure that Lizzie's adoptive father doesn't tell her the truth before he dies.

She already knows that she was adopted, so that's not the truth that Red wants hidden.  Again, the overwhelming likelihood at this point is that Red is Lizzie's biological father.  But that seems so clear that the truth is likely to be more, and the question is what more....

'The Blacklist' Season 1 Episode 7: Natural Immunity

11/8/2013 8:53am EST
The Blacklist
One of the best Blacklists on this past Monday, reminiscent of Fringe in its biological theme, which makes sense, given that J. R. Orci wrote it, and he was one of the best writers on Fringe.

I guessed that Barnes was out to get a cure for his son, as soon as it was clear that he was interested in the woman who survived his germ attack in the courtroom.  Spreading an almost instantly deadly illness - a hyped up version of what is afflicting his son - is a bit extreme, but makes good epidemiological sense.

Less understandable is why Lizzie killed him, rather than letting Barnes inject his ...

'The Blacklist' 1.6: Truth And Enigma

10/29/2013 9:23am EDT
The Blacklist
A really good Blacklist 1.6 last night, in which Elizabeth thinks she clears Tom, walks away from Red because she's sure he framed Tom, and we find out at the end that Tom is indeed up to more than he seems to be, so Red may be right after all.

The series continues with pretty good standalone stories, and a better infrastructure which has the potential to be riveting, and sometimes is.  James Spader's intensity as Red makes what he says to Elizabeth - and to us, the audience, with his facial expressions when he's alone - pretty much believable.   But if that's true, then Elizabeth has a pr...

'The Blacklist' Recap 1.3: Construction Site Heights

10/9/2013 8:51am EDT
The Blacklist
The Blacklist offered another high-intensity episode last night - 1.3 - with a fight on a construction site that had so many good moves and punches that it could have almost come out of a Mission Impossible movie.  Which I consider a plus.

Red also continues to be a plus, with his wisecracking that he likes to play by himself, "in private," and his calm and powerful insouciance to all around him, as his strategies mostly bear fruition.   Liz continues to be appealing, even if she's too willing to accept Red's sliver of answer when she finally gets a response to her question of why she mean...

2013 Fall TV Season: What Will Be The Second Cancellation?

10/8/2013 6:00pm EDT
NBC- The Voice is still doing good numbers on Monday/Tuesday. The Blacklist is winning its timeslot, and was the first show (technically) to be rewarded with a back-nine pickup. Chicago Fire is also doing solid numbers on Tuesday. Revolution needs to regain some audience members if it wants a second season. With the success of The Blacklist, and Chicago Fire doing OK, Revolution is looking to be one of NBC’s weaker points right now. I can’t see it not running the full second season, but it might not get a third. Also, Ironside is definitely going to get cancelled. The premiere was so low, a...

James Spader Tells What Drew Him To 'The Blacklist'

10/7/2013 12:15pm EDT
The Blacklist
NBC's The Blacklist has been one of the fall's most buzzed about shows, in large part due to the return of James Spader to our small screens as notorious criminal Raymond 'Red' Reddington. Last week, BFTV was able to chat with Spader about coming back to television, how his newly announced role in The Avengers 2 impacts his TV gig, and Red's many mysteries.

After having reinvigorated The Practice in its final year and spearheading the long-running Boston Legal, the veteran actor was drawn back for another series by the fundamental thing that attracts many actors. "That character," he expla...

Fall 2013 TV Report (So Far)

10/5/2013 2:06pm EDT
Sleepy  Hollow
Here’s how the Fall TV season has been shaping up.


ABC doesn’t have a lot to celebrate about. Once Upon A Time and Revenge are both down season-to-season, yet up from last season’s finales. So, really, you could say they are even for the night. Their new drama, Betrayal, however is a disappointment. Low ratings. Does ABC have anything ready to replace Betrayal though? They’re already definitely going to cancel the much lower rated Lucky 7 (an almost certainty), can they afford to axe two shows?

CBS has a nice strong lineup of returning shows, all performing well. FOX’s shows are ...

'The Blacklist' 1.2: Mysteries

10/2/2013 8:37am EDT,_The/
The Blacklist continues to intrigue, with a second episode that features action in Montreal and New York City, and brings us a little closer to confirming the relationship between Elizabeth and Reddington.

As I indicated last week, it seems pretty clear that Reddington is Elizabeth's father.  The scene at the end of 1.2, in which we learn that Elizabeth has been adopted, all but confirms Reddington's fatherhood. On the other hand, in a show in which twists excel, there's still a good chance that something else is going on.

Elizabeth's husband also presents an interesting mystery. Elizabet...

'The Blacklist' Pilot Shows Real Potential

9/24/2013 1:30pm EDT
The Blacklist
An antagonist walks into a bar. He says, “Gosh, I know we’ve had our differences but I really want to help you out.” It’s dubious but he gives you information you’ve desperately needed and assistance in a task you couldn’t have completed yourself. Do you then trust him? Probably not. But say your antagonist helps you again. And again. And again. How many times does he have to help you before he gains your complete trust, despite his past misdeeds?

That’s a question that’s surely going to haunt Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) throughout the run of The Blacklist. In her mind, she’s just a newly...

Best And Worst Dressed At The Emmys, 'The Voice' Returns With Original Judges, 'The Blacklist' Has Solid Premiere

9/24/2013 9:50am EDT
Sofia Vergara
Who was the best dressed at Sunday night's 65th Annual Emmy Awards? We've got lots of pics of all the best fashions from the red carpet, including Kaley Cuoco and Sofia Vergara, both wearing Vera Wang designs. It's a tough call who looked the best, though. Decide for yourself: (story)

For every best dressed celeb, there's someone whose outfit is, well, not so much. Check out all the worst dressed celebs, like "Girls" star Lena Dunham, from the Emmys red carpet here. (story)

"The Voice" is back! The original four judges are back together again for this season of the hit singing competition...

'The Blacklist' Debuts: Alias Meets Jay Z

9/24/2013 9:14am EDT
The Blacklist
One of the best nights of Alias - the early J. J. Abrams complex spy thriller - was when Irina Derevko shows up one day and turns herself in to the CIA. She did this for more than one reason, but high among them was to be closer to her daughter, Sidney Bristow, in CIA black-ops. The Blacklist reminded me of that moment - which is to say, it was fast-paced, thoughtful, and struck tonight like a hammer on an anvil.

So is Red Reddington - played by world-class actor James Spader - agent Elizabeth Keen's father?  I'm suspecting that he is. He wants only to talk to her - shades of Hannibal Lect...

Fall TV Preview: NBC's 'The Blacklist'

9/23/2013 12:15pm EDT
The Blacklist
Every fall, dozens of new television shows waft on to the air hoping to survive the season.  I am here to offer preview of the not-for-review pilots I had to pleasure of previewing.  Consider me your DVR Whisperer, guiding you on which shows should get your season pass.  NBC's "The Blacklist" premieres tonight at 10/9c.  Here are my first impressions.  

The Premise: James Spader stars as uber-terrorist mastermind Raymond “Red” Reddington.  After decades of working as a “facilitator” for international terrorists, the FBI's most wanted peacefully surrenders with the sole purpose of sharing h...

Harry Lennix Stands Out In 'The Blacklist' And 'Mr. Sophistication'

9/6/2013 12:13pm EDT
The Blacklist - Season Pilot
Harry Lennix is pulling double duty this September. The 24 and Dollhouse alum is one of the stars of NBC's highly anticipated new drama series The Blacklist, and he's also starring in a new star-studded film called Mr. Sophistication, which is out today. BFTV connected with Harry recently to chat with him about both projects, and how he became the veteran character actor we've come to know and enjoy.

On The Blacklist, Harry plays FBI Assistant Director Harold Cooper, the boss of newbie agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone, from Law & Order: Los Angeles), who has a past with the master crimina...

The 2013 Fall TV Preview: the New Shows on NBC

9/2/2013 10:30am EDT
The Blacklist : NBC
Three and a half years ago I wanted to tell a story about a duck that didn't know how to swim. I'd title a documentary about NBC 'The Duck That Didn't Know How To Swim.' I wonder if the exeuctives bought the staff pizza and soda after reading the ratings for the premieres post-Olympic coverage. (Those numbers didn't hold).

Michael J. Fox and Sean Hayes represent NBC's glory days. The peacock relies on the actors again to lift them from the rubble it's been trapped under for a few years while helping to soften the blow of no The Office. I bet Community DOES get a sixth season. Bring on, mid...

Top 10 Predicted Hits And Misses Of The New 2013 Fall TV Season

8/17/2013 4:00pm EDT
With the dog days of August winding down, the TV season is just around the corner with lots of new series premieres being served up. We've taken a closer look at the big networks fall offerings – here's what we think will be the top hits and misses of the new TV season.

Top 10 Hits:

Mom: Chuck Lorre is pretty close to owning CBS at this point. Even if the show is dreadful, it will still benefit from being a part of CBS’s strong Monday night lineup, and leading out from 2 Broke Girls which has evolved into a hit over the last two seasons. Plus, the addition of Anna Faris and Allison Janney...

10 TV Shows We Are Most Looking Forward to This Fall

7/28/2013 2:00pm EDT
Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Every fall a new batch of television shows emerge, and this year’s lineup is filled with familiar faces, promising new talents and exciting storylines. Here are 10 TV shows we are most looking forward to:

1. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” ABC (airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m., premieres Sept. 24)

Joss Whedon thrilled Marvel fans with “The Avengers,” and they’re are likely to geek out once more with “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Whedon serves as executive producer on the show, which follows the team that assembled the Avengers on varying missions around the globe. Leading the pack to solve unexpla...