The writers for the hit NBC show The Blacklist have managed to weave together a storyline that has lasted seven seasons and viewers still have no clue as to what’s going in terms of relationships and final destinations for its characters. Seven seasons in and viewers are still trying to figure out who Raymond Reddington is and what is his relationship to Elizabeth Keen.
Related: The Blacklist: Most Shocking Moments From The Show, Ranked
With the show heading for its summer break, fans are left wondering what they can watch to fill that void. While The Blacklist is in a league of its own, there are shows out there that are very similar in terms of storylines and mystery. Here are 15 shows to watch if you love The Blacklist.
Updated July 10th, 2020 by Matthew Rudoy: With the show still on hiatus, it felt like the right time to update this list with additional shows. The new additions are shows that not only feature similar storylines and mystery, but also shows that feature similar formats, character personalities, and character relationships. The Blacklist is a unique show, but it’s not the only series driven by a unique and mysterious relationship, along with characters who sometimes have to bend the rules in order to save the day.
15 The Following
Raymond Reddington may be a mastermind criminal, but he also possesses undeniable charisma that inspires loyalty. In The Following, James Purefoy’s character Joe Carroll has a similar kind of endearing charm that captivates the other characters as well as the audience. The serial killer and cult leader Carroll is more of a straight-up villain while Reddington is more of an antihero, but they are equally mesmerizing to watch.
Kevin Bacon’s character Ryan Hardy, Shawn Ashmore’s character Mike Weston, and the other FBI agents are dedicated to tracking down Carroll and other serial killers, but much like The Blacklist’s FBI task force, they often struggle with morality as they toe the line between what is legal and what is right.
While The Blacklist doesn’t exist in the world of superheroes and supervillains, it does have a lot of similarities to Gotham. Both shows begin with a procedural, case-of-the-week format. As the episodes progress in the seasons of both series, it becomes clear that these individual cases are all connected to a bigger bad like Berlin in The Blacklist or the Court of Owls in Gotham.
RELATED: Gotham: 5 Characters Who Got Fitting Endings (& 5 Who Deserved More)
Gotham’s rogues’ gallery and Reddington’s Blacklisters are bizarre, colorful villains. They often have outlandish skillsets and strange quirks that make them far more memorable than the average television show villain.
Graceland tells the story of undercover agents from different U.S. agencies living together in a Southern California beach house. They work together on a variety of undercover cases and form close-knit bonds with each other. There are definitely parallels to the close-knit team dynamic and undercover work of the Reddington task force, along with the secrets they keep from one another.
Much like Reddington, Daniel Sunjata’s character Paul Briggs often has ambiguous motives and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty or manipulate others in order to do what he believes is right. The relationship between Briggs and Aaron Tveit’s character Mike Warren is somewhat analogous to the relationship between Reddington and Elizabeth Keen. Briggs is both a mentor and a corrupting force for Mike, with the “student” developing and learning from the “master” in unexpected ways.
Much like The Blacklist, Quantico tells a story about FBI agents that keeps the audience guessing and unsure of who they can trust. Both shows contain little details that fans have to piece together to uncover the truth of larger mysteries.
Both stories also emphasize exposing corruption within the FBI. Reddington’s Blacklisters, the terrorists in Quantico, and the FBI in both shows examine the gray area between right and wrong.
11 How to Get Away with Murder
The mysterious relationship between Raymond Reddington and Elizabeth Keen is at the heart of The Blacklist, just as the relationship between Annalise Keating and Wes Gibbins is at the heart of How to Get Away with Murder. While fans try to figure out why Reddington cares about Liz so much, HTGAWM makes fans just as invested in uncovering the truth behind Annalise’s relationship with Wes.
RELATED: How To Get Away With Murder: 5 Things That Brought Us Closure (& 5 That Didn’t)
Beyond the central relationship, HTGAWM also takes on a procedural, case-of-the-week format in its earlier seasons. The courtroom cases and larger narratives often deal with social injustices and corrupt authorities, similar to many of Reddington’s Blacklisters.
A lady shows up in the middle of Times Square in New York City in a duffel bag with no clothes on. That opening scene should have been enough to let viewers know Blindspot is aiming to be different than anything else on TV. With her memory wiped clean, Jane Doe becomes the central point of the show. Who is she and what does she want?
The storylines get more intense when she learns that the baddies are her brother and mother. The rest of her team has to now figure out if Jane can be trusted. Plenty of nail-biting scenes and intense fights should have Blindspot as a must-see for fans of The Blacklist.
9 Chicago PD
Raymond Reddington is one of the best characters on TV. But there is another who doesn’t get as much credit. Chicago PD has a man by the name of Hank Voight who leads the Intelligence Unit on the tough streets of Chicago. Everything about Voight suggests he and Reddington would get along if their paths were to ever cross.
Chicago PD is gritty where The Blacklist displays a different level of criminals. Even so, the action is great and the writers for Chicago PD expand on multiple storylines throughout a season.
8 Criminal Minds
Criminal Minds was done so brilliantly that the carousel of characters never made a difference. What made this show so great was the thought process viewers had to go through trying to figure out, not only who the killer was, but why he/she may have done it.
Related: The Blacklist: 5 Best & 5 Worst Episodes Of Season 1, According To IMDb
The FBI profilers were tasked with getting inside the minds of criminals and figuring out what drove them to do what they did. It was intense in every aspect and, for at least an hour out of the week, the writing made you feel like a member of the cast.
Based in New York, FBI is another cog in the Dick Wolf saga of great television shows that include Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, and Law & Order: SVU. FBI is more The Blacklist than the rest of his shows, as they fight terrorism, organized crime and just about any other high-profile crime roaming the streets of NYC.
Maggie Bell and Omar Adom form a great team, but it wasn’t always smooth sailing between the two in the beginning. Not to be outdone by the above-mentioned shows, FBI still manages to chase the bad guys but has enough room in the storylines to focus each character’s backstories.
The war on terrorism is still looming and the United States of America has some of their best agents taking action. Carrie Mathison has been through more heartbreak, terror, and deceit than one agent should be able to carry. Her war on terror begins with a simple question of who can she trust?
Homeland has touched on sensitive topics, but when hasn’t The Blacklist? Both shows can pull viewers in with their well-crafted storylines that will have them sitting on the edge of their seats.
5 Seal Team
Action all the way through is the best way to describe Seal Team. Jason Hayes is the team leader and, with this, comes tons of responsibility. Recently divorced, Hayes must work through the high-stakes pressure at work, then deal with his personal life. His team members are dealing with their own backstories, which is like watching a live version of Call of Duty.
Related: 20 Secrets Only True Fans Know About The Blacklist
Seal Team does not disappoint in terms of action. There’s plenty of explosions, gun battles, and hand-to-hand combat. It may not be widely viewed as must-see TV on the primetime docket, but for fans of The Blacklist, it’s a must-watch.
4 The Wire
What set The Wire apart from most dramas is the insight into different aspects of society that viewers were given. Is the show based on the cops, the street hustlers, the school district, the politicians, or the media? Fans of The Blacklist can walk away from this hit HBO show with a different mindset that doesn’t include love and mystery and still offers a great story.
The characters in The Wire have gone down in TV history as some of the best ever scripted. The storylines were so heartfelt that a character’s murder was front-page news on the USA Today when the show was at its peak.
3 Designated Survivor
Ever wondered what the outcome would be if something not only happens to The President but everyone in the Oval Office? If so, then Designated Survivor will provide that answer. After a deadly explosion, one man is left to take over as the new President of The United States of America.
Kiefer Southerland is no longer the protector he was in 24, he’s now the one being protected. The storylines were great and although Designated Survivor was canceled by ABC, it was later picked up by Netflix for season 3.
After leaving the hit CBS show Criminal Minds, Shemar Moore found his way over to S.W.A.T. to lead the elite team and headline a new action-packed show. S.W.A.T. is everything The Blacklist fans will want to reunite with. It focuses on a group of cops who track down criminals in Los Angeles with some of the best tech on TV.
While the storylines are not as in-depth as the Raymond Reddington and Elizabeth Keen saga, S.W.A.T. is more action-based. In terms of a storyline, it improved in season 2.
1 The Blacklist: Redemption
If fans wanted to know more about the background of Tom Keen, then The Blacklist: Redemption is the show. While it only ran for a single season, it revealed the secrecy surrounding Tom’s parents. But there were a few more surprises. One of the best villains on The Blacklist, Matius, returns. But this time, he’s on the good side.
Tom is thrown for another loop as he now has to decide who he can trust, his mother or father. It’s another cat and mouse game that should have lasted longer than one season.
Next: The Blacklist: 10 Best Characters, Ranked
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About The Author
Mark Wilson has his favorites TV Shows. We’re talking The Blacklist, The Chi, all the Chicago One dramas and many more. He spends his spare time writing, watching, and traveling to events as a credentialed member of the media.
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