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Who Was in the Cast of The Blacklist in Season 1?

The initial cast of the crime show starring James Spader included some unforgettable fan favorites.

By Jessica White

Taking down over 200 Blacklisters over the course of the show, the dynamite cast of The Blacklist is a tour-de-force of talent. The series' 10 nail-biting seasons are a testament to its smash success and, for each of these intense episodes, the cast never failed to deliver a powerhouse performance. 

From The Blacklist's 2013 debut, it was clear the series would be a bona fide thriller. The enigmatic Raymond Reddington (James Spader) instantly captivated audiences with his wicked charm and ruthless tenacity, hooking fans the moment the "Concierge of Crime" turned himself into the FBI in the series premiere.

RELATED: When and Where to Watch The Blacklist

For a decade, Raymond and his dedicated FBI task force tracked down the world's most insidious criminals, dismantling entire criminal networks and placing hundreds of Blacklisters behind bars. Many would agree that between these white-knuckling Blacklister cases, the complex characters and their intricate evolving relationships made for some of the most memorable moments of the series. 

The cast of The Blacklist has always been the heart of the NBC drama, with many viewers sad to bid farewell to fan favorites with the 2023 series finale. The series' timeless charm is partially thanks to the Season 1 characters that set up everything that makes The Blacklist such an addictive watch. Below, look back at the Season 1 Blacklist cast that got us hooked all those years ago. 

James Spader as Raymond "Red" Reddington

Seasons 1–10

James Spader as Raymond "Red" Reddington

At the helm of The Blacklist's endless action was James Spader as Raymond "Red" Reddington, the creator of the infamous "blacklist" of criminals and informant within the Reddington Task Force. For all 10 seasons of The Blacklist, Red juggled commanding his discreet criminal empire while eliminating nefarious foes, leading to the series' many mind-boggling criminal pursuits.

Before his shocking demise in The Blacklist series finale, Red was as magnetic as he was intimidating, with fans falling in love with elaborate soliloquies and ruthless takedowns. Red was the underdog's cheerleader and intensely loyal, willing to go to the ends of the universe to keep the select few he loves in it safe. 

Megan Boone as FBI Special Agent Elizabeth Keen

Seasons 1–8

Megan Boone as Elizabeth Keen in The Blacklist

Standing beside Reddington for many intense seasons of The Blacklist was Megan Boone's Elizabeth Keen, a fresh-faced FBI Agent recruited by Reddington at the start of The Blacklist. For years, Elizabeth was at the center of every Blacklister arrest, assisting Red in whatever case fell on his radar.

It was eventually revealed she was deeply connected to Reddington's past before his criminal indoctrination, a mystery that plagued viewers for years. Boone's final episode of The Blacklist was in Season 8, Episode 22 ("Konets"): She was tragically murdered moments after assuming the role of Reddington's heir to his criminal empire. 

Harry Lennix as FBI Assistant Director Harold Cooper

Seasons 1–10

Harold Cooper appears in a courtroom during The Blacklist.

The Blacklist's many thrills and chills were thanks to the amenable connection between Reddington and the FBI, and the man tasked with commanding the Reddington Task Force was none other than Harold Cooper, played by the talented Harry Lennix.

RELATED: Harry Lennix on the Legacy of The Blacklist

Cooper spearheaded the FBI task force for all 10 seasons of The Blacklist, watching over Red and his agents with utmost compassion in each action-packed episode. While Cooper initially struggled to adapt to Reddington's mystifying madness, their relationship became one of the most heartwarming parts of the series. 

Diego Klattenhoff as FBI Special Agent Donald Ressler

Seasons 1–10

Diego Klattenhoff as Donald Ressler

For each of The Blacklist's 10 seasons, Diego Klattenhoff's Donald Ressler set his sights on putting the world's worst criminals behind bars. Before the events of the series, Ressler was the FBI Agent assigned to track down the elusive Reddington, which made him the perfect man for Season 1's newly-formed Reddington Task Force.

RELATED: How Does The Blacklist End?

As the specialist on the Criminal Concierge, he was swiftly recruited in the series premiere and assisted in Blacklister cases alongside Elizabeth. The years of frantic searching for Reddington combined with the sudden command to collaborate led the pair to have an entertainingly resigned relationship. Ultimately, by the end of the series, Ressler got his man. 

Ryan Eggold as Tom Keen

Seasons 1–5

Ryan Eggold

Another member of The Blacklist's dynamite premiere cast was Ryan Eggold as Tom Keen, Elizabeth's former husband. (You might also have seen Eggold in the lead role in the NBC drama New Amsterdam.)

During his Blacklist era, Eggold played Elizabeth's husband — but it shockingly revealed that Tom was a spy and former employee of Reddington's. 

Years before the series' events, Red hired Tom to keep an eye on Elizabeth but, after developing romantic feelings for his target, Tom ended his relationship with Red. Eggold's final appearance on The Blacklist was in Season 5, Episode 8 (“Ian Garvey”): Loyal to Liz to the very end, Tom was killed while protecting his wife.

Eggold reprised the character in the spin-off series, The Blacklist: Redemption.

Parminder Nagra as Meera Malik

Season 1

Meera Malik on The Blacklist

Parminder Nagra was a beloved Season 1 character on The Blacklist as the fearless CIA Agent Meera Malik. Meera joined the Reddington Task Force in Season 1, Episode 2 ("The Freelancer") as the crew's go-to interrogation specialist, preternaturally skilled in getting Blacklisters and criminals to talk. 

RELATED: Anya Banerjee Reveals There May Be Secrets to Uncover About Meera Malik's Death

Meera assisted in several high-stakes cases but was sadly killed in the Season 1 finale, marking Nagra's final appearance on The Blacklist. Fortunately, Meera was survived by her daughter, Siya Malik (Anya Banerjee), who joined the Reddington Task Force a decade after her mother's death to learn more about the mystifying nature of Meera's demise 

Amir Arison as Aram Mojtabai

Seasons 1–9

Aram Mojtabai in The Blacklist

Amir Arison is also within the select camp of Blacklist O.G.s as Reddington Task Force recruit Aram Mojtabai, a quirky tech genius with unparalleled computer skills. Introduced in Season 1, Episode 3 ("Wujing"), Aram began as a recurring character but quickly became crucial to the task force's success, leading to Arison's main cast role in Season 2. 

Serving as the thriller's comedic relief for many high-strung seasons, Arison's Aram quickly became a fan favorite. His final appearance as a member of The Blacklist's main cast was in the Season 9 finale, when Aram decided to take some time away from the FBI to focus on himself and moved to NYC.

Fans got to check in on the entertainingly anxious tech wiz in the Season 10 premiere when he gave Cooper a call after spotting Red in the Big Apple. 

Hisham Tawfiq as Dembe Zuma

Seasons 1–10 

Dembe on The Blacklist

Hisham Tawfiq shined as Red's trusted bodyguard, Dembe, for all 10 seasons of The Blacklist. Like Aram, Dembe was initially intended to be a recurring character, but his presence quickly made for a series-long friend. 

RELATED: The Blacklist Post-Finale Interview with Hisham Tawfiq

Dembe is one of the few people who truly knew Red and saw through his criminal exterior, and their relationship being one of the most captivating arcs of the series. The tight-lipped and sarcastic bodyguard went through many changes throughout his time working with Red but ultimately reflected on his time with joy.