Pilot - Recap

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A handsome, suited man is talking to Raymond “Red” Reddington in front of a government building. The man in the suit asks Red if it’s good to be home again. Red says that he'll see, heads into the FBI headquarters, introduces himself to the guard and kneels, preparing to be arrested. An alarm blares once his identity is confirmed and a slew of armed agents surround Red. There is a poster showing that Reddington is one of the FBI’s Most Wanted.

Higher-ranking agents are called in; some of them have a history trying to bring Red to justice. Red’s files are brought out revealing that he was a military officer who disappeared off the face of the Earth, until several intelligence leaks were traced to Reddington. His allegiance is only to the highest bidder, not to any government or movement. Reddington taunts Agent Cooper, the agent who failed to capture him. Red recalls several global attacks and explains that they were all the work of one terrorist: Ranko Zamani. Reddington says that Zamani is in the USA and he wants Zamani: so does the FBI. Cooper remains suspicious but admits that he was wrong and that Reddington has his attention.

Red says he will help the FBI find Zamani, but there’s one very important rule: Red will speak only with Elizabeth Keen. No one knows who Elizbaeth Keen is.

Elizabeth Keen wakes up in bed next to her handsome partner. They goof around as she prepares for her first day at a new job. She is beginning at the FBI as a new agent. Her partner reminds her to bring her badge. Elizabeth says that she wants to start a family and won’t let her new job get in the way of that. Before she can leave for work, several black vehicles rush her door and FBI agents ask to escort her to work. She is stunned.

At the office, Agent Cooper is interrogating Keen and she is confused: she has no history with Reddington. Keen is a criminal profiler and Cooper asks her to profile herself. She has been with the Bureau for four years; she is a former head of a criminal psych unit. Elizabeth admits that her colleagues think that she’s a bitch; she can display narcissistic behavior. She raised herself and feels she has an understanding of the criminal mind. Elizabeth believes that the fact that Reddington surrendered the day she started work suggests that he was waiting for her. She concludes that he must believe she will be easily manipulated--but she won’t be.

Keen is taken to see Reddington, being held in a small, Plexiglas cell. Reddington seems pleased to see her and is wheeled out of his chamber. Red laughs and greets her, commeting on Keen’s hair and her past in Baltimore, showing that he knows a lot about her. Red says she is very special. He then explains that Zamani is going to kidnap the daughter of a high-ranking US Army General. He says that he knows this because Red is the one who got Zamani into the country.

“Am I supposed to believe you?” Keen asks. Red laughs: “Of course not, I’m a criminal.” Red explains that he knows Keen is the daughter of a criminal-father and a mother who died young and that he’s going to make her famous for capturing Zamani.

Elizabeth is shaken up and tells the FBI agents that she believes him; that little girl is in danger. She then calls Tom, her partner, and he is at the adoption agency waiting for her to meet with them. Elizabeth explains that something classified happened and she can’t get away. The other agents rush Elizabeth off the phone, as she reassures Tom that their family is the only thing that matters.

At the Pentagon, the US General in question is being alerted that his daughter could be in danger. Elizabeth and several armed guards arrive at a children’s ballet recital where they find Beth, the general’s daughter. Beth is being taken in an armored convoy and Beth is bonding with Elizabeth. Elizabeth gives her a US Flag pin and Beth gives Keen a charm bracelet from her wrist. The convoy is stopped by a hazmat team, claiming there’s a chemical spill ahead. Suddenly, the convoy is attacked by men with automatic weapons and a dump truck full of chemicals. Keen and Beth’s SUV has been knocked on its side and both are injured. Elizabeth fires and kills one of the assailants. Suddenly, a man gives Elizabeth a gas mask for Beth and drops a tear gas canister into the vehicle. Keen struggles in the tear gas as Beth is taken and the kidnappers repel from the bridge to waiting speedboats below. One final kidnapper sets off an explosion and they make their escape. Keen and the other agents are left helpless on the bridge.

Back at FBI headquarters, Elizabeth is holding Beth’s bracelet. She accuses Reddington of being behind it. He says that if she tells him something, he’ll tell her something--he asks her about the scar on her palm. Elizabeth says there was a fire. Red asks to see it; she shows him, briefly. He suddenly asks if Elizabeth really wants a child. Elizabeth wonders how he knew that, then fires back about Reddington abandoning his wife and child when he began his life of crime.

A handcuffed Reddington is lead through a situation room where he begins identifying several people in the photographs. He points out dangerous chemists, a German banker moving the money, and explaining how the attackers are likely working. Elizabeth notes that Zamani’s plan is very expensive and asks if it’s an attack. Red says she’s thinking like a cop; she needs to make it personal. Elizabeth realizes that Zamani is sick and the fact that he’s dying makes him dangerous. She thinks through the fact that the general bombed a chemical weapons facility in Bosnia, which ended up poisoning the surrounding village. Elizabeth deduces that Zamani is going to use Beth to get his revenge.

Red tells Keen that there’s a man called the Innkeeper who could tell them where the Chemist is. He then says that if they want him to help them catch Zamani, Zamani’s people have to believe that Reddington is free and clear, living it up as always. He talks the FBI into putting him up in a fancy hotel where he enjoys himself and waits for his next move.

We see a montage of FBI agents capturing and leaning on the Innkeeper, then arresting the chemist.

Elizabeth heads home to find that Tom has set up an elaborate “It’s a Girl” display, having succeeded in the meeting with the adoption agency. She begins to celebrate and then finds Tom beaten severely, bleeding, bound and gagged. Zamani, Tom’s attacker, puts a gun to her head and asks Elizabeth how she knew about his kidnapping plan and how they knew to lean on the Chemist. Zamani is asking her what else she knows and stabs Tom in the thigh. Tom is screaming from under the duct tape. “You’re not as smart as Reddington says,” Zamani adds, saying that Red is obsessed with Elizabeth. Zamani stabs Tom in the chest and Tom passes out. Zamani leaves and Keen calls for help.

Elizabeth is at Tom’s bedside in the hospital where Tom is on a respirator. Next, she charges into Red's hotel room and angrily asks if Red sent Zamani to her house. Reddington asks if Zamani mentioned anything useful to the case. “We’re not a team! You’re not my partner!” Elizabeth screams. Red tells Elizabeth that her husband doesn’t matter and that Zamani just did her a favor. Elizabeth responds by jamming a pen in Reddington’s carotid artery and tells him he needs to tell her the truth or she’ll let him die. Red says that if he dies she’ll never know the truth about her husband. Elizabeth leaves.

Back home, Elizabeth is attempting to clean Tom’s blood stains and begins to sob.

The next day, Elizabeth heads to the hospital to interrogate Red, despite being under official review. Elizabeth heads into the room to find that Red has escaped. We see the suited man from the opening scene, now dressed as an orderly, smiling in an elevator.

At a park, Red meets with Zamani, acting friendly. It’s revealed that Red ordered Zamani to go to her house and attack Tom. Zamani mentions to Red that he is after all of the children, to deliver the same plague that was delivered to his people. The FBI is tracking Red via an implant they gave him when he was captured. After the meeting, Red calls Elizabeth and tells her that Zamani’s plan goes far beyond Beth. He asks Elizabeth to think back to when Zamani attacked Tom and Elizabeth recalls a stamp on his hand for the city zoo. That’s the site of the attack.

Elizabeth shows up and finds Beth wearing a backpack with a device inside with less than three minutes remaining. Red calls Elizabeth and tells her to stay put, one of his friends will be there shortly.

The FBI tracks Reddington’s chip to the rooftop of a high-rise. They find Zamani there instead. Reddington pulled out his implant and surreptitiously placed it in Zamani’s pill bottle. Zamani tells the agent to “tell the general that his daughter was an unfortunate casualty,” mimicking what the American military says about civilians caught in their attacks. The agent shoots and kills Zamani, who falls from the high-rise.

A man arrives to meet Keen and Beth, speaking Slovak. Elizabeth realizes that he is Reddington’s friend and the man begins to go to work on the device in the backpack. Elizabeth keeps Beth calm by telling her the story about her scar, explaining that her father gave it to her and she rubs it whenever she needs to feel brave. With seconds remaining, Reddington’s Ukrainian friend disarms the bomb. He celebrates, takes the device. Elizabeth attempts to stop him and Reddington arrives and sends the Ukrainian man away with the chemical weapon. “He’s fascinated by the things!”

The FBI arrives to re-arrest Reddington and the general is reunited with his daughter.

Back at headquarters, Reddington is being debriefed. When the agents rise to leave, he tells them that Zamani was only the first name on The Blacklist: a list he has been compiling for over twenty years of the world’s worst terror threats. Reddington explains that he will continue to work with them to track down the remaining names on the list, but they will play by his rules: he will never sleep in the same fancy hotel two nights in a row, he wants a high-tech tracking chip embedded in his neck (better than the low-grade one he dug out earlier), he wants his own security detail (he has selected a list of acceptable applicants from which the FBI may select two), everything he tells them factors into an immunity deal of his own design and, finally, he will only work with Elizabeth Keen.

Back at Elizabeth’s house, she is cutting up the carpet where Tom’s blood has stained it. Under the floorboards, she finds a wooden box. In the box is thousands of dollars in cash, a gun, and dozens of international passports belonging to Tom, featuring various aliases Tom has used. He is not the man Elizabeth thought he was.

Finally, we see Elizabeth visit Reddington in a top-secret FBI facility. Red calls her Lizzy and says: “you have discovered something troubling about your husband, haven’t you?” Keen stares him down as the episode ends.