The Blacklist Dr. Adrian Shaw Review
The Blacklist: Season 4, Episode 7: Dr. Adrian Shaw is liable to be remembered as one of the most woefully misnamed episodes in the show’s history as well as one of the most egregious examples of underusing a highly-venerated character actor in TV history.
And no, it’s not because the ostensible antagonist of the piece, Dr. Adrian Shaw (Linda Emond), is a woman. After spending so much time with a major female character with an unambiguously male alias like Mr. Kaplan (Susan Blommaert), viewers are very unlikely to be phased by such trickery at this point. Which raises the question of why the show’s writers bothered with it, but let’s not get too hung up on this strangeness.
What makes the episode’s name so misleading is that Shaw (or Sonia Bloom, as her real name is revealed as) is almost a side character in her own storyline. Yes, she gets a fair amount of screentime, but that screentime is never properly leveraged to create a genuine sense of menace or at least interest in the character. She isn’t even named at the start of the episode when Red (James Spader) approaches Liz (Megan Boone) with his latest Blacklister, which brings us to my next point. Pointing the FBI in the direction of a mysterious underworld doctor called The Coroner, Samar (Mozhan Marno) is able to lure their quarry out into the open. The Coroner, as it turns out, is an elderly gentleman played by none other than veteran actor James Hong. With such an experienced talent at their disposal, you would think the producers would have erred on the side of using him to the greatest extent possible. Yet within five minutes of screentime, Red gets what he wants from him, the bureau takes him into custody, and he is never seen from again, discarded in favor of the oh-so-engaging Dr. Shaw. What a waste, and hopefully one that The Blacklist doesn’t commit in the future.
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