The cast of NBC's "The Blacklist" – James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff, Harry Lennix, Ryan Eggold, Parminder Nagra, Hisham Tawfiq, and Amir Arison – and executive producer John Fox were on hand at the Television Academy's panel event in New York City on Wednesday, and while they were tight-lipped about what's next on the show, they did share some insight.
Keep reading for more about the show's "Batman" inspiration, "Breaking Bad" connections, and promises to answer (some of) the big questions before this season ends.
Social Media Love
"It's wonderful… All these theories, it's great," Fox said of all the social media love for the show. "We actually pay very close attention to the feedback."
But not everyone is as connected to the fans. Spader admitted to not even knowing when the show is airing, he's so immersed in the process of playing Raymond "Red" Reddington. His leading lady Boone, who plays FBI agent Elizabeth Keen, joked that she's become the unofficial go-between from fans to Spader, saying they send her messages for him "like I'm a carrier pigeon!"
Nagra talked about not knowing whether or not her character, Meera Malik, was the FBI mole, saying there were a few weeks when she thought she might be and was worried that she'd be written off the show.
But she's not the only one left in the dark about some character details. "I found out today that I know a lot about architecture," Arison revealed about his Aram Mojtabai, joking that he was thrilled to find out Aram was more than just a super-hacker. When speaking about Red's right-hand man Dembe, Tawfiq knows very little: "I just know he's an ex-freedom fighter from south Sudan," he said, joking that he thinks Dembe is bad, but that on this show, "I think the bad guys are good."
And the biggest question mark of the season has to be Ryan Eggold's Tom Keen, Liz's husband who is actually undercover. "I knew that he was going to go somewhere interesting, and wasn't what he appeared to be," Eggold said. We've seen Tom switch from mysterious to cold-blooded killer mode, but his transformation isn't final: "Even now, Tom is not what he seems," Fox teased.
[Related: 'The Blacklist' Renewed For Season 2]
The inspiration for the show's weekly big bads comes from a very interesting place: "Chris Nolan and the 'Batman' movies," Fox admitted. "We aspire to do a Batman villain every week."
"Breaking Bad" Connections
When talking about Eggold's Tom, Fox used some very interesting terminology, saying: "We knew we were going to break him bad" from the beginning. And that wasn't the only reference to the award-winning AMC drama.
Later, Boone responded to criticism about Liz's naiveté, comparing her character to Aaron Paul's Jesse Pinkman. "He made mistakes left and right, and people loved that about him." When reminded that Jesse Pinkman wasn't in the FBI, Boone replied: "But he was in the meth trade, which requires chemistry."
And Answers! (Eventually)
While this season has giving the show a strong launching pad, there's a long-term plan – but that doesn't mean viewers will have to wait several seasons for answers. "We're definitely going to provide some answers and some clarity," Fox said of the end of Season 1, adding this inevitable caveat: "… which will raise more questions."
When asked if all of them would survive the season, Eggold got noticeably paranoid and laughed: "Why do I feel like everyone's looking at me?"
Spader knows more about what's next than anyone else in the cast, but he's in it for the long game. "For me, the pilot script really told you very little about how the story would eventually unfold… I'm not sure we know very much now about how it might unfold."
"What I know about their relationship is so far down the road… depending on the lifespan of the series… Every time I've done any press on this show at all there's always a desire to know where we're going to end up. The lifespan of this show dictates how things are going to unfold – you can't have an endgame on a television series in its first year if you don't know if it's going to last two years or 10," Spader said. "So I also have to accept the fact that it could change, dramatically. But yes, I do know what the eventual desire would be."
"The Blacklist" airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC.