Marvel Star’s Hit Thriller Show Is Ending

James Spader's The Blacklist will officially end after Season 10.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

James Spader The Blacklist

While James Spader has always been a Hollywood favorite, his career hit new heights when he portrayed the rampaging robot Ultron in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But before he decided to take on the Avengers, Spader began headlining the NBC show The Blacklist. Now, Variety reports that the series is coming to an end after Season 10.

The premise of The Blacklist was intriguing from the very beginning. In the show, James Spader plays a former US Naval Intelligence Officer who turned to a life of crime, and he managed to elude capture by the FBI for decades. The series begins when he willingly surrenders to the FBI and makes them an offer they can’t refuse: to grant him immunity from prosecution for his many crimes if they let him team up with a rookie FBI agent and hunt down the most dangerous criminals around the globe that he has compiled info on in his titular blacklist.

Part of the reason that The Blacklist has been on the air for nearly a decade is that it is so different from the criminal procedurals that came before it. While shows like Criminal Minds and CSI typically focused on hypercompetent law enforcement agents hunting down the bad guys, James Spader’s show focused on a criminal using his illicit knowledge to turn the table on even scarier criminals. Considering that the best part of many criminal procedurals is casting a big name for a significant criminal of the week, The Blacklist decided to experiment with the idea of making the criminal played by a big name the center of the entire show.

james spader the blacklist

And at this point, it’s fair to say that this experiment has been a rousing success. It’s a remarkable accomplishment for any show to make it for more than 200 episodes, and it looks like this show will remain a fan-favorite long after its final season. This is largely due to the career-best performance of James Spader, without whom there is very little audience appeal.

NBC ended up finding out the hard way that audiences don’t really want to experience the world of The Blacklist without James Spader. Back in 2017, the network launched a spinoff named The Blacklist: Redemption that had Famke Janssen as the lead. Janssen is quite the celebrity in her own right and a gifted performer, but she is no James Spader, and that spinoff was quietly canceled after only one season.

With the final season of The Blacklist premiering on NBC on February 26, fans of James Spader and the rest of the cast have some nail-biting episodes to look forward to. The walls are beginning to close in on Spader’s character because it looks like he might finally be exposed as an FBI informant, and if that happens, basically everyone on his blacklist is going to come gunning for him. We’re pretty confident that he’ll be fine, though, because Spader’s brief tenure on The Office remains a powerful warning about what happens to those who mess with The Lizard King.