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Red's Top 10 Mic-Drop Moments On The Blacklist

Raymond "Red" Reddington always has something to say on The Blacklist—and he always gets the last word. 

By Constance Johnson
Red's Top Mic-Drop Moments of All Time | The Blacklist | NBC

Has there ever been a better marriage of actor and character than James Spader and Raymond “Red” Reddington in The Blacklist? Creator and writer of the series Jon Bokencamp told Rolling Stone in 2014 that when he originally conceived of the character, he'd been thinking of actors like Gary Oldman or Kevin Spacey in the role, but “Now I can’t see anyone else.”

Red may be known as the “concierge of crime,” but he really has the soul of a poet—one who also knows the power of a good “read.” Consider this gem of wisdom he dropped about his own unique skill set: “As you well know, one of the keys to my success is a clear and consistent understanding of my own limitations.” Or the moment a slightly confused Red said: “You look familiar… Have I threatened you before?”

In an interview with The Guardian in 2016, Spader explained what attracted him to the character of Red. “I wanted to find something which was going to mix irreverence with drama,” he said, “and a character who would continue to surprise me. On a series where you do 22 episodes, that’s such an important thing.”

Now, after more than 200 episodes and 10 memorable seasons, The Blacklist is ending.  In honor of the show’s final season here are the top 10 mic drop moments from Red.

Red’s Philosophy of Life

Season 2, Episode 1 ("Lord Baltimore"), 2014

“Life is far too important a thing to ever talk seriously about.”

Red Does Favors on His Own Terms

Season 1, Episode 7 ("Frederick Barnes"), 2013

“I’m not a gum ball machine, Lizzie. You don’t get to just twist the handle whenever you want a treat.”

Red on Passing Judgement

Season 1, Episode 9 ("Anslo Garrick"), 2013

“You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can by its first few chapters, and most certainly by its last.”

Red Doesn't Like Ultimatums

Season 1, Episode 7 ("Frederick Barnes"), 2013

“You know the problem with drawing lines in the sand? With a breath of air they disappear.”

Red On Moving Through Grief

Season 1, Episode 16 ("Mako Tanida"), 2014

"There is nothing that can take the pain away. But eventually, you will find a way to live with it. There will be nightmares. And every day when you wake up, it will be the first thing you think about. Until one day it will be the second thing."

Red On The Undeniable Pleasure of Being Correct

Season 2, Episode 10 ("Luther Braxton Conclusion"), 2015

“You and I both know thinking on your feet is not your strong suit Luther. You will make a mistake and when you do, I will be there to indulge in the undeniable pleasure and sweet satisfaction of 'I told you so.'”

Red on the Relative Powerlessness of Words

Season 4, Episode 10 ("The Forecaster"), 2017

"I had bullets, he had words. But when he was done talking, for the first time I truly understood which of those was more powerful."

Red on the Importance of Fully Experiencing Life

Season 8, Episode 10 ("Dr. Laken Perillos"), 2021

“I prefer to have my pain ignored than have no pain at all. Without pain there can be no real pleasure. Without the lows, you have no way to measure the highs.”

Red on How Hard It Is for a Man To Cry

Season 8, Episode 10 ("Dr. Laken Perillos"), 2021

“I have many thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears. At the moment, the main one being to put a bullet in your forehead.”

Red on the Joys of Recreational Drug Use   

Season 9, Episode 18 ("Laszlo Jankowics"), 2022

“I find LSD to be helpful in dark times and a blast in good times. Nothing loosens a tight sphincter like a good eight-hour acid trip.”

Watch The Blacklist Sundays at 10/9c on NBC and later stream on Peacock