When you see crime dramas, there is always that wonder of whether it’s based on a true story. What about The Blacklist? Is that a true story?
Sometimes, a story seems way too weird to be true. And then we’re reminded that truth is often stranger than fiction. A lot of content is based on something real that has happened, even if there’s just a loose tie to reality within there.
Crime dramas have more truth to them than we’d always like to believe. Dick Wolf is known for his “ripped from the headlines” stories, but there are a lot of other shows out there that include some reality. Is The Blacklist one of them? Was there really something like Red who worked with a secret FBI task force to take down bad guys on his list?
The Blacklist is very loosely based on truth
Red is based on a person from reality. James Spader’s character is based on James Joseph “Whitey” Bulger, the Boston supercriminal who was finally arrested after 11 murders. It took years for the FBI to track this guy down and catch him.
John Eisendrath, co-creator and EP on the series, explained to Collider that Bulger was the inspiration for Red’s character in terms of notoriety. The writers wanted to see what things could have been like if Bulger turned himself in with a list of names of all the people Bugler had worked with over the years on the run.
Bulger didn’t turn himself in, though. Red’s actions are that of fiction, along with the rest of the story. Of course, there are some crimes that are based on real events or people with conditions that are very real in our society. The overall story with the task force, though, is fictional.
The Blacklist is available to stream on Peacock.