Baz Baz, who plays Red's (James Spader) chief of security Baz, is a veteran US marine and a former member of CIA's Special Operations Group. He is the founder of the Association for the Recovery of Children (ARC), which rescues abducted children. In 1991-2012, they had conducted 56 successful rescues.
Creator Jon Bokenkamp loosely based Raymond Reddington character on the real-life Boston mafia boss, James 'Whitey' Bulger. As explained at the 2013 Comic-Con panel, many news stories concerning Bulger's arrest and trial were prevalent at the time. Bokenkamp tossed around a few "what if?" scenarios and came up with the basic concept of the show, anchored by the nefarious "concierge of crime" we now know as Red. Although Spader came in very late to the concept (within approximately two weeks of the principal shooting of the pilot), he can be credited with largely contributing to the final "look" of Reddington: closely cropped hair, hat collection, Rx shades (for practicality - Spader really does need them to see), iconically tailored vest-tie-trousers-shirt ensemble, and the infamously expensive ($5,000?) all-weather navy blue coat. As for the acerbic humor & raconteur tendencies of Red? Spader claims these were already present in the pilot script, however one can't help but think that the writers expanded these qualities once they got to know Spader a bit better.
Agent Ressler Diego Klattenhoff is possibly named in honor of Robert K. Ressler, a decorated FBI agent, now retired. He played a significant role in the psychological profiling of violent offenders in the 1970s and is credited with coining the term "serial killer". He was also fundamental in the setting up of the ViCAP system (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program) and the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit. He is currently a consultant and best selling author,
Writer John Eisendrath said the casting process was difficult. In February 2013, NBC offered Kiefer Sutherland the lead role of Raymond Reddington.After considering other actors for the role, Eisendrath and Jon Bokenkamp called James Spader to see if he would be interested in it. Feeling confident in Spader's understanding of the character, they cast him three days before filming began.
As of January 2018 (S05E08), there have been 89 of 97 total episodes with a unique Blacklist number (excluding no numbers shown or two-part Episodes). Of these, the highest was 184 in The Blacklist: Natalie Luca (No. 184) (2017), and the lowest was 4 in The Blacklist: Mr. Kaplan (No. 4) (2017). There is no order to the list throughout the seasons, as both the highest and lowest took place in Season 4. Using 184 as the highest number, this leaves room for another 95 Episodes.
Megan Boone took a week to prepare for her audition as Elizabeth Keen. Feeling like her initial audition was one of the better auditions of her career, Boone later was called back for multiple auditions. In March 2013, Deadline.com reported that she accepted the role.
The series is filmed in 4K using Sony PMW-F55 video cameras that are adapted to use Panavision lenses. It is edited using Avid Media Composer, and editor Christopher Brookshire says the show has "a very distinctive look and pace". An average of three cameras are used at one time, but as many as six cameras are sometimes rolling.
Agent Samar Navabi speaks six languages fluently - English, French, Arabic, Farsi, Spanish, and German. Her actress Mozhan Marnò genuinely speaks five of those languages in real life herself. (The one she does not speak is Arabic)
A mobile game by Gameloft based on the series, The Blacklist: Conspiracy, was released on June 23, 2016, for Android, iOS and Windows devices. The game mainly consists of searching for missing items in different environments, as well as mini games to further the investigations. Players can also make decisions that alter the route of the story.
At the 2014 Saturn Awards, the series was nominated in the "Best Network Television Series Release" and James Spader was nominated in the "Best Actor in a Television Series" category. Neither award was won.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The 6 digit number Red (James Spader) receives from Wujing 042983. April 29 1983 is the real birthday of Megan Boone, the actress who plays Elizabeth Keen. This number was used by Red to access ViCAP where he found Lucy Brooks aka Jolene Parker.
The origin of Mr. Kaplan's (Susan Blommaert) name is revealed season 4, episode 17. Kate, originally Kathryn Nemec, took the last name of her bail bondsman girlfriend, Annie Kaplan (Amy Rutberg). The moniker "Mr. Kaplan" was given to Kate by an angry customer who fatally shot Annie, before turning his gun on Kate's head--the source of her metal plate. The name is NOT after the character Cary Grant is mistaken for in North by Northwest (1959), but rather a coincidence.
As said on the FBI's top ten most wanted fugitives at the end of season two, Raymond Reddington's (James Spader) official charges are: sabotage, destruction of government property, conspiracy, unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, violent crimes in aid of racketeering, rico violations, weapons violations.
The character Susan Hargrove, played by Famke Janssen, was considered as the main character for a potential spin-off of The Blacklist (2013). This came to fruition when The Blacklist: Redemption (2017) was produced. It aired in February 2017 and was cancelled after eight episodes.
In season 3, Kate Metcalfe who played evil FBI agent Teresa Snow technically wasn't a villain when she helps Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) rescue the hostages when the bomb in the building explodes killing Teresa.
If Reddington is an impostor, doubtful he'd fool the FBI simply by a face change from plastic surgery, as his fingerprints and dental work could never be replicated and he'd also have to have the same blood type and height.