TV preview: The Blacklist

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As leading lady in the gripping US drama series The Blacklist, it’s a given that Megan Boone should have a good handle on the direction and nuances of the show.

But even Boone, who plays FBI agent Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Keen in the series, couldn’t hide her surprise when her opinion was sought out by a certain screen idol.

“We had Dianne Wiest play the judge in the first season,” explains the 31-year-old, of the veteran actress known for her work in Edward Scissorhands and Hannah And Her Sisters.

“She was so sweet in person. She asked me loads of questions during the scene to try to make me feel comfortable, like, ‘How do you think we should approach this, honey?’

“I replied, ‘Why are you asking me? You’re a living legend!’”

While Wiest’s role was just a guest one, there will be plenty of criminal activity in the conspiracy thriller series, should they be in need of a judge again.

Last series saw Elizabeth’s life turned upside down when fugitive Red, played by James Spader, offered to share his extensive knowledge of the world’s most wanted criminals, on the condition that he works exclusively with her.

Together, they tracked down a host of unsavoury characters, discovering along the way that Liz’s husband, Tom, was in fact a spy on a mission to kill her.

This series, which features guest appearances from Breaking Bad’s Krysten Ritter, West Wing actress Mary-Louise Parker and Mozhan Marno from House Of Cards, kicks off a few months on, with Red left figuring out how to take out his deadliest enemy, as well as managing a new threat from an elusive figure known as Lord Baltimore.

Though she can’t reveal much about what’s in store (“So many people want answers and I’m not allowed to tell,” she admits, laughing), Boone does reveal that her character will go “to a much darker place” this time round.

“I had a lot of fantastic moments throughout season one,” she says, smiling. “My favourite scene was when Red holds Liz’s hand for the first time. It was during a conversation between the pair in a gazebo, and my character is confiding in Red about her fears that her husband Tom isn’t who she thinks he is.”

And it’s clear that the actress is rather protective of her character, who she admires for having a “lion’s heart and feet made of clay”.

“Once I heard a journalist scrutinise Liz for being naive,” recalls Boone, who wears a long brunette wig in the series to cover her gamine crop. “And I thought, ‘Well, the hero’s journey doesn’t begin with them already being a hero’. A hero’s journey is about facing adversity, overcoming it, learning something and being a better person for the experience.

“That is exactly what Liz is going through. It’s a little presumptuous to call her naive, when she’s faced with so many unconventional challenges and overwhelming situations.”

While she may relish those challenges, she admits it’s sometimes hard to keep situations out of mind after a long day on set.

“I’ve never had such an intense role before,” she says. “For me, rising to the challenge is first and foremost, and in order to do that, I needed to find levity and so listen to music on set.

With so many big storylines expected in the coming series, Boone will be donning the headphones a lot. But she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I don’t think anyone is ever prepared for this level of success,” says the actress. “I certainly wasn’t. I’m still flabbergasted by it, so much so that this is the first time I’ve ever said flabbergasted!”

And as for the future, she is looking forward to more of the same.

“It’s important for me to continue to do my job to the best I can,” Boone adds. “The way I approach things seems to be working, so I have to continue.”

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