The Blacklist the number one new drama of the fall, and has a greater DVR audience than the population of the state of Missouri. Agent Donald Ressler was recently on a promotional swing through Atlanta. Channel 3 Eyewitness News Anchor Greg Glover went down to chat with him about the show, the cast, and what is ahead.
"If you're an actor, this is what you want to do: be on a hit show that people are really enjoying and also do fun things on it," said Diego Klattenhoff. And on The Blacklist, those fun things include fighting, shooting, and in the current plot line...bleeding.
In the commercials for Monday night's episode, Agent Ressler looked pretty bloodied up. "Yeah, I'm a mess," Klattenhoff said with a grin. "Ressler definitely makes his donation to the blood bank in the next one."
In the role of the veteran FBI agent, he is not too sure about Red Reddington, a most-wanted fugitive-turned-informant portrayed by James Spader. Perhaps they will be BFFs after this week's episode and some quality time in the box. "Yeah, we find out some things from Ressler's past and from Red's past that are quite interesting, Klattenhoff explained, "find out that Red knows a lot more about Donald than Donald thinks he does."
Interestingly, the cast is not that far ahead of the audience in learning about their characters. They pick up new pieces with each new script. "Oh, very much so," Klattenhoff said. "And you never know, even as an actor. It's kind of like a 'choose your own adventure,' like a little thing that you have going on in your imagination of, 'Oh, maybe I'm not...oh, I'm the bad guy, this week. Maybe I'm...oh, I'm the good guy, this week.' Or, 'I don't like Liz, uh, maybe I do like Liz!'"
And speaking of Agent Liz Keen, will sparks ever fly between the two? "At this point, I don't know," Klattenhoff admitted. "I thought it was inevitable and, you know, Tom Keen is not such a bad guy these days, so we'll see what happens."
Diego Klattenhoff credits a strong ensemble, along with strong writing, are responsible for the show's success. "This world that the creators and the writers have crafted," he said, "and then, rich characters. But, then also you have such a talented group of people coming in James Spader, Harry Lennix, Megan Boone, Parminder (Nagra), there's just so many great people; Ryan Eggold."
With such a serious world the creative team has constructed, how does Klattenhoff unwind? Is it easy to get into Agt. Ressler, then take him off at the end of the day? That is all part of an actor's job. "Concentration, focus," Klattenhoff added, "you really have to do your homework and try to keep it as light-hearted as possible."
Light-hearted after hours, perhaps, but on the set it is all business, saving the world week after week, with the personal and professional goal in mind. "You know, hopefully people just keep watching and are genuinely entertained by it," said Klattenhoff.
Watch The Blacklist Monday nights at 10 Eastern, just before Channel 3 Eyewitness News at 11.