*Ryan Eggold and Famke Janssen star as covert operatives in the thrilling new “The Blacklist” spinoff “The Blacklist: Redemption.” The series premiered Feb. 23 and follows undercover operative Tom Keen as he sets off on a new path… all while on the hunt for his wife’s attacker.
He also discovers that his biological mother, Susan “Scottie” Hargrave (Janssen), is the shrewd chief of a covert military organization. Keen joins forces with her, and together they put their unique skills and resources to work in a dangerous, criminal-filled world, solving problems governments don’t want to get their hands dirty with.
EUR/Electronic Urban Report chatted with Eggold during the Television Association Winter Press Tour last month about the dynamic between Tom, his mother and wife Liz, and the challenges he’ll face balancing the two women, as well as being a new father to baby daughter Agnes.
Peep our conversation below.
READ RELATED STORY: Jude Law Talks Playing ‘Young, Future Pope’ On HBO Miniseries [EUR Exclusive]
— Ryan Eggold (@Ryan_Eggold) February 24, 2017
“Going into this new world is incredibly immersive for him and pulls him out of that life with Liz and with Agnes. But, at the same time, he has a baby girl with this woman, and they have a relationship. And I think that’s especially important for Tom Keen because he never had a family. He never had intimate relationships,” Eggold told us during TCA.
He continued: “He was a guy who was orphaned and trained to be good at killing people and manipulating people and being a spy. So I think this love with Liz is important to him. So it’s not going to go away lightly, but I think the struggle of balancing the sort of work life, which in this case is, you know, espionage abroad in foreign territories, and that home life of having an intimate relationship with someone, especially when you have a child and also, becoming a father when he never really had a father — is also something interesting. But anyways, that balance between the work and the personal is something we’re going to wrestle with.”
Executive Producer John Eisendrath added, “It was very difficult. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the best way to ease Tom’s character out of “The Blacklist” was because of his relationship with Liz and that he is a new father. And so a lot of time was spent trying to figure out how to do it and how to address the fact that he has, like you say, these three women in his life: his wife, his daughter, and his mother. He’s surrounded by very powerful women. Agnes is very strong. She’s a year, but… (laughs)”
Eggold also praised the creative team for writing such a “dynamic” character.
“The writing of this character was so much fun at the beginning because there were all these questions implanted in it with the passports and where it could go, and we sort of found all this fun stuff in Season 1 that was always being mined in the writing and the subtext between Liz and Tom. So I have to say that the character is very dynamic, I think, in large part, due to the great writing,” he said.
Addressing the pressure of doing a new show, Ryan said it’s both “exciting and challenging.”
“The joy and the challenge of a new show is figuring out what it is and what is really working and driving the story, and where that takes him, and because “The Blacklist,” you have an intention with any show, and then you start to do it, and then it kind of reveals itself to you what the show is,” he added. “I don’t feel too much pressure or nerves or anything so much as I feel passionately searching for what this show is. I can’t wait to figure out this dynamic and see where the characters go and figure out what the show is, and that sort of has to be… sort of natural evolution.”
So is Tom Keen off “The Blacklist” forever as a regular?
“He’s always going to be part of “The Blacklist” family,” Eisendrath said. “So how that works, in what way depends on variables that are, at the moment, out of our control. He is not leaving “The Blacklist” with a period. It’s more of a comma.”
“Blacklist’ fans wondering if Red Reddington will be pulling the strings in ‘Redemption’ — Eisendrath said, “‘Redemption’ stands on its own. ‘Redemption ‘is a world that is independent of the ‘The Blacklist,’ and particularly in these first eight episodes, we feel that it’s very important to establish that world and to establish the dynamics of these characters. And then, if we are lucky enough to have more episodes beyond these eight, then I do think there’s a real opportunity to find ways that Red’s character can interact.”
Tune in to “The Blacklist: Redemption” Thursdays 10/9c.