An Open Letter to The Blacklist Fan Community

The BlacklistAn Open Letter to The Blacklist Fan Community


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens writes in the opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities as he paints a picture of life in England and France. The year is late 1775, and Jarvis Lorry travels from London to Paris on a secret mission for his employer, Tellson’s Bank. Joining him on his journey is Lucie Manette, a 17-year-old woman who is stunned to learn that her father, Doctor Alexandre Manette, is alive and has recently been released after having been secretly imprisoned in Paris for 18 years.

Does this sound familiar to any of you? An orphaned child learning about her parental lineage taken under the wing of a man on a secret mission that we all want unveiled.  Unfortunately for The Blacklist fandom the opening line of this story applies to all of us this very day.  Over three and half years, fans around the world have been asking questions about Raymond “Red” Reddington, Elizabeth Keen, Tom Keen, and the rest of the crew.  But with that statement, already half of the fandom, or City #1 if you will, is rolling their eyes because I said two words. Tom Keen.  City #2 is also rolling their eyes back at city #1 and here in lies our dilemma.

Every week my co-host, Aaron Peterson and I put out a fan podcast called “The Blacklist Exposed.” We take a light-hearted look at the most recent episode, dissect it at the character level, and try to understand how the motives and stories tie into the overall mythos of The Blacklist.  Some would call this type of analysis a critic review, others would call it fanaticism.  Whatever it is, WE do it because WE love to do it.  We love talking about the show, talking to other people that love the show, and in the end rejoice in the experience of how a broken world full of criminals and terrorism can unite around a singular topic and share in a common bond, our humanity and relationships with each other.

Which is why it is saddening today to have to write this open letter to all of The Blacklist Fandom.  We are spectators. We sit down to watch The Blacklist (whenever it airs in your country) to escape the real world, to pretend all of our troubles are gone and immerse ourselves into the experience of The Blacklist.  Every week people from writers to directors to editors to craft services people, from makeup and location scouts to executive producers and actors work tirelessly to put out 40+ minutes of content only to have to go back and grind it out all over again.  Yes we cheer every time Liz rolls her eyes at Red, we hang on every word that Red dishes out in his stories, jump for joy when Dembe shoots bad guys and melt inside every time we see some #Aramdorable event.  Every single one of the people that made those events happen for us to enjoy are just that, people.  Our brothers and sisters in humanity and deserve our respect just as each of you deserve respect from one another.

I love The Blacklist, I enjoy the ability to talk to my friends – yes my friends in the fandom about the show.  I enjoy conversations with the cast and crew on twitter, and over email. I was blessed to have the opportunity to visit the room and talk with Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath to help promote season four. But what I cannot stand for, and will not stand for any longer is the hate that goes on via social media toward each other, toward the writers, and toward the powers that be themselves, my friends.  It is a TV show.  The beautiful thing about media is that it has an on and an off button.  If you don’t like the show turn it off. If a character doesn’t fit your morals or way of life turn it off.  Turning off the show is like casting a vote in an election, something that our country has forgotten is a privilege to have.  The spinoff has not taken away from the main show. In fact, it has given a renewed depth to the main show over these past few episodes of season four.  The characters are as deep and as interesting as ever and if you spent more time watching the show instead of chastising it maybe you would see it too.

Instead some of you continue to hide behind the social word, fake accounts, and waste energy spreading rumors, lies, and hate.  I am here to say once and for all, STOP THE MADNESS.  If you want to share your viewpoints on The Blacklist, Redemption, Tom Keen, or the powers that be then start a podcast, write a blog, put your NAME on it loud and proud like Aaron and I do at the start of every podcast episode.  We have been displeased with the direction of the show a few times and have openly stated it on the podcast, but we are providing feedback, not hate and disgust for something none of us have control over.  The powers that be and the writers have a story to tell, their story.  It is their creation and we are blessed to have the privilege to come along for the ride.  If you want a seat on the bus come watch with us. If you are mad about the show not going your way, hop off the bus and find your own ride.

Most people that know me in the fandom will call me the ‘MomTheory’ champion.  It is a crazy off the wall theory I know, but until it is proven otherwise I will stick with it. But if it turns out the Red is just some crazy brother’s uncle twice removed on his step-sister’s side, will I fire off a bunch of angry tweets and Facebook posts to Jon Bokenkamp and company, NO. They told their story and whatever the ending is it will be a shock to all of us good or bad, and in the end I just hope we can still be friends when it is over to keep talking about and reliving all the fun we had over the many seasons.   In closing I hope whether you are a Tom Keen fan, a Shipper, a Daddygater, a member of Keen2 or Team Mommy you will come together to enjoy this great show we all love and have passion for.  I truly want us all to be there when it concludes in one piece stronger as a united Blacklist fandom.  It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done to leave this with you the fans of The Blacklist with this wish.  For those that are no longer fans of The Blacklist, I hear Westworld is a great show.


Troy Heinritz
Creator and Co-Host
The Blacklist Exposed Podcast


  1. Hi Troy. Thank you, thank you for writing this open letter. What you have expressed so well and so clearly matches exactly what my feelings have been upon the self-entitled, hate-filled venom that has been spewing forth through social media towards those involved in creating this show. Kudos to you and I hope what you have just shared will bear positive results within The Blacklist Community.

    • Thanks Davina! Can’t we all just get along! LOL

    • I also Thank you Troy,I was going 2 say on a post if your in it for the Romance aspect there are plenty of shows for your tastes bachelor’ and ett should suit you nicely. The same issue is going on with the end of Grimm.For these women why do you have to have a Love story within a great Drama is beyond me.I Like stories that make you think that’s why I don’t Live tweet.If your truly a fan you can’t possibly be paying attention. Sorry too all you ratings ex.That weight in how much mobile data has been used.Love the Show and those that want the story line changed 2 suit u write a book.Go to school for film making. But don’t complain shows aren’t on long enough.

  2. I agree with you totally. I read so many people who CONSTANTLY complain about the show, characters, writers, and how horribly the aforementioned people involved with the Blacklist have ruined the show. IT’S A TV SHOW, for goodness sake. Complain once, then move on. I have found a way of coping with the constant negativity, and feel free to use it if you need to. I picture the negativity trolls watching season 8 of the original Dynasty show, and then imagine their heads exploding.😁

  3. Vera Fulgham Cooper

    I am in love with what you wrote b/c it so very much expresses my perceptions and feelings of late. I came to the fandom sites to find new avenues to express my love of the show–even when the show makes me gasp–and I found willing to posit theories and listen to the theories of others…then, lately, as if too much of the real world had seeped into us (and I say “us” b/c I have not yet relinquished any of my memberships), I only found…well…what you so eloquently stated. Hopefully, we will find our way forward…so that we can revel in our show and each other’s company and without finding rancor our persistent member.

    • Thank you, Vera. I feel the same way you do. All fans or fading fans need to remember that to watch is a choice, not a demand. If someone is unhappy with what is unfolding, move on to something else. A fan base is for the truly dedicated persons who relish each episode, discuss, question, but never belittle the script, writers, or characters. I will follow Blacklist to the end and then rewatch my favorite episodes if and when the show ends. Thanks to Troy for this open letter and hope it cleanses the fandom back to the loyalists of viewers.

  4. Josee Bouchard from Montreal, Canada

    Hi Troy and Aaron! Thank you for the podcast, i listen to it religiously and love it. It help process each episode and understand more about the show with your perspective. Sometimes, it makes me laugh and i love it! Please keep the podcast alive!

  5. I haven’t seen any of the horrible feedback and I agree that people who don’t enjoy the show should turn it off. I think it was a little rocky there for a while when Megan Boone was off with her baby but I think it has regained its footing. Spader is magnificent- I think there is no show without Spader but I also like what they’ve done with some of the other characters, too! I think people bring abusive towards writers, etc. Ought to take it down a notch – it’s a show!!!

  6. i agree i hate when people criticize the story its the writers story to tell it goes the way they want it to no matter what you want like or feel.. don’t like it don’t watch, and i personally don’t think the spin off has affected the show in anyway they have barely touched on it on The Blacklist maybe 3 times at best so to those who say the show is all about the spin off now clearly have not been watching the show and just running there

  7. Bravo, Bravo, I agree with every single word. I am absolutely disgusted at some of the vile tweets I have read which have been directed at and tagged to the writers and actors of one of my favourite shows The Blacklist. There is even hate directed at Redemption which hasn’t even aired yet! I am at a loss to understand why these people think its ok to berate the cast and crew with their trash talk, like you said all they need to do is watch something else. I feel it is a privilege to be able to converse with the writers and actors and i hope these despicable haters don’t spoil this pleasure for the true loyal fans. Your letter hits the nail on the head. Thankyou

  8. Thanks for your eloquent words. I am a sworn Blacklister from Season 1, esp Part 1 Anslow Garrick-that soliloquy!!! WOW!
    The likes of a show so complicated, so intertwined with the characters is one in a million. I think when the show ends, it will give dignity to the writers – because the writers created amazing characters with loving quirks, pathos, heroism. But always, no matter how long The Blacklist runs, I will appreciate the ones who wrote in their blogs and told it like they thought it should be.

  9. Hear, Hear!!! What you, Troy, and all the comments above me have said! I’ve stayed away from certain people and groups lately because of the negativity. Enjoy it for the show that it is. I appreciate every single person who puts each of their days into “The Blacklist”…they bring me fantastic writing, superb acting and directing, surprises, shocks and thrills, and while I may not agree with everything a character does, I have too much respect for this phenomenal show and its family of artists AND fans to spew the negativity and hate I’ve seen from some people. I’m so grateful you wrote this open letter, Troy. I hope it effects some positive changes in what’s been happening in the Fandom. Thank you!

  10. I LOVE the Blacklist and am looking forward to Redemption. I may not always like the direction of the show, but overall it is a well written, exceedingly well acted series and I’m in it for the long haul. Not every episode is going to be a home run, not every episode will feature your favorite character. Some of our favorites will be gone forever (Malik) and some hopefully not forever (Mr. Kaplan) but as we move forward, whatever your particular point of view, it is in everyone’s best interest that we express ourselves with respect for the talent that writes, directs, and acts in this show and to each other. We, as fans, should sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.

  11. Love the show. Look forward to reading your blog and comments by fellow enthusiasts. The discourse gets me through until the next episode. Haters can turn the channel. Keep on writing!

  12. BRAVO!

  13. With you 100%. While I do not have the connections that you guys have, I find plenty of interesting things in each episode. I do not believe that the show is in danger of cancellation and (IMHO) I think we have a way to go yet before the show wraps up. Appreciate your work as well as all of those who contribute to the production of The Blacklist.

  14. Just throwing it out there – but instead of painting everyone with one of two brushs and then go “just don’t watch if, you don’t like”. Why not grab one of these critics (the nice ones – cause ya there are some not so nice ones) and have a conversation with them on your show?

    You will find that a lot of the resolutions to these issues rest on really the writers hands & instead of putting water on some fires, they continue to fan the flames. Making it much worse out there for any fan! Or you might even understand that you actually need a couple of more paint brushes!

    Just a thought…I respect what your trying to achieve here. Though I am not nuts about being painted into of those the 2 groupings.

    • That is a fantastic idea Ashley – Consider this an open invite to the critics to be a guest on the podcast. Would love to do a special podcast ep with them if they have the means!

      • Then set one up. It’s ridiculous to be ridiculed if you disagree with how things are going and told to “shut it off” if you don’t like it. Fans on either side of the argument are allowed to ask for better.

        • Consider it done have them email us at and we will work out the details spread the word to them if you cold Ashley It’s an open invite. Would love to have a few and we can do it panel style.

          • Troy I love your podcast and listen to it. I agree wholeheartedly with your views and have fought the bullies that get so vocal and upset. so if you do a panel I would love to be in it. I am a huge fan of the character of Tom, and of all of the Blacklist characters. I am a theorist, not a shipper, and my interest in the Keens is that for me they reflect each and every one of the themes of the show so far. Count me in.

  15. I too agree with you. I don’t understand people that get on as a fan than trash it. Go to another show if you disagree with this one. Don’t stay on it just to complain. I have not always agreed with everything the writers do, but I love the show, and will stay with it no matter what.

  16. ” EXACTLEY” Thanks Troy!

  17. Thank you for this incredible letter. You are so right. The writers are the heros of the show. Your outstanding imaginations to create the show is the most of all it is. The fandom like me sit on the couch and see on screen the actors. Of course are they obviously the heros at first view, but who ever have using a little bit brain knows, one show needs more. Actually I love all of you, the complete cast and crew. You make my time fantastic. Clear, I am a big Spader fan and I would be sad, if he goes off. But for now, I say thank you to all, what you do every day at work. My English is horrible, sorry for that. Best regards from Berlin Germany. Christine

  18. Great post, Troy, but don’t except the all-time haters to stop : what would they be busy with if they did ?

    I’m a big TBL fan, and even when some phases of the show don’t match what I like the most in it, I stay waiting because I know it’s the calm before the storm.

  19. It is one thing to despise hatred towards actors/ showrunners/ writers (which I agree with); it’s an entirely different thing to give constructive criticism to the same people.
    I find interesting that when those individuals were getting high praise, no one was mentioning it, but now that a lot of the viewers are unhappy and voice their unhappiness, that is not acceptable.
    And reading a lot of social media comments; most are constructive, not hateful as you describe.
    The reality is the show ratings are tanking; viewers have been expressing their displeasure with certain storylines and not listened to, for a long while.
    Some writers’ interactions with fans have just been egocentric and dismissing the comments about poor ratings.
    And here we are, with all time low ratings, the lead actor (James Spader, sometimes this needs to be reminded), having to go on talk show and “begging” people to watch the show. This is insulting to him and his career.
    As you say if you are not happy, don’t watch.
    Going from 13 m viewers to merely 5 m viewers in 4 seasons, is proving that people are and in masses.
    Most of us want this show to succeed!

    • People are way to focused on Ratings. The show got 12M viewers because it was after the Voice and After the Superbowl. We are also in Season 4, Not even LOST had big numbers in Season 4-6. The show still does almost 10M when Live +7 are accounted for and is a Big DVR show consistently because of the Thursday at 10PM slot. 10PM is way late for a lot of people … they would rather watch on Friday at 8 or over the weekend. with live + 7 the show does a solid 2.0 in 18-49 which is pretty good in a 4th season.

      • Then we’ll have to disagree.
        Of course the viewership matters; this is why some TV critics are now talking about cancellation for the show; this is the first year that this is happening.
        DVR is one thing, but that doesn’t bring the money from ads, during live viewing, to NBC.
        Of course, no one is expecting to keep the same numbers after 4 seasons; but 5m, this is a drop of more than 2 millions from season 3B.
        And if the number of viewers was not an issue; then James
        Surely wouldn’t be asking people to keep watching.
        We perhaps should stay objective about this…

    • No Voice Lead in – moved to tough Thursday Night and is now at 10PM Thursday which is historically a DVR time slot. All of that is never going to retain 13m viewers. but it does do almost 10M after 7 days and after 4 seasons is pretty damn respectable.

      also I don’t see HTGAWM getting the DVR bump and Blacklist beat it consistently in the fall.

      • Plus I have always have had the feeling a show like The Blacklist is a point of entry for NBC into content TV. The TV as we know is on the way out and quality programing is what they can sell. In fact they get 22 million from Netflix alone.
        And most watchers will come after the show is over , when people will re-watch to get all the clues they missed the first time around.

    • Sandie I am one of the few that agrees with you 100% constructive criticism is exactly what I see coming from the viewers. Now my Take on this for Mr. Heinritz. The fans that keep coming back with the hopes of the feeling of the first season. It saddens me that instead of listening to their viewers, this particular writer, has taken offense. The fans are what males or brakes the show, in case some one doesn’t know. If you sell a product and it sells fr a while then sales starts to drop, only one to blame is the maker of the product. Not the people who stop buying. You may think your product is outstanding, the best, if so, why are the consumers unhappy? Never put blame on the people that pay for your product. There has been a lack of empathy, passion,love, excitement , the kind that touches your soul, Not just guns and bullets. The more obstacles created for this one show, the less time for quality. If this as written as a soap opera, maybe there would be enough time to figure out the mystery of every single actor in the play. We still have not heard from Mr Kaplan, such an intense character, yet there is room for new ones. The baby was understood due to the fact that the co-star of the show was pregnant. Yes James is the Lead star and that is something you ca no longer ignore. Also the death of Liz? The shooting of Kaplan, the fact that there are so many people having had their daughters missing and looking fore them. How many Elizabeths now? Most of us adore James, his talent, his intensity and humility. without him, you have just another cop show. He needs to be the key to the co-star’s story. But when? Too little too fast too long. I hope and pray this show comes back with a boom! If not I will always remember James and Liz being under-casted. Wish you the best and no hate here..just real facts…a Lizzington shipper

  20. What an honest point of view…. As some of you will know I often times have to hash-tag myself a mantra..TheyAreOnlyPretendPeople when I find myself pondering who the hell Lizzie is at stoopid o’clock 🙂 I understand people wanting to express their opinions & theories. We all have them, and right now, NONE of us are right nor wrong. We will find out when the series finally ends. I LOVE discussing the show, and yes, I love seeing differing of opinions, the friendly banter, it cn offer us all a different outlook, and let ourselves think, wow, never thought of that one! Yes there will always be the trolls, they are in EVERY fandom, Blacklist is not exempt from them. That is the point of a troll isn’t it? To cause unwanted and constant criticism to the fandom, not necessarily even being a fan of the show themselves.

    Let us all continue to enjoy each others company, when discussing the show. Let us all respect each other theories ( even Troy’s! ) because, the creators of the show, aint finished creating it yet folks 🙂

  21. Well said my friend…well said.

  22. Couldn’t have been said better!
    The Blacklist is a darn great show, but it’s a show!
    One created by very talented people!
    Sometimes there’s a twist in the story where I thought ‘oh no’ but that doesn’t affect my opinion about the series, the actors and creators at all.
    If I don’t like a part, I write fanfiction! 😁

  23. Thanking you is all I can do…its only a show let’s all forget about our troubles, issues etc and enjoy B/C 👏👏👏Bravo,Bravo.

  24. With this open letter, you make EVERYONE who is critical towards the show (the writing in particular) look like a miserable, negative person who should not be allowed to watch the show–and if they do, they should keep their criticism to themselves.

    You probably wanted to address the few loudmouths who spread their hatred towards Tom Keen across Twitter, but in fact, you addressed everyone who is no longer fully in love with the show.

    Yes, there’s a lot of hatred going on in the fandom (and I’m not happy about the recent events because these people behave as if they spoke for the whole critical fandom), but with telling everyone how to behave and how they have to see the show, you make EVERY critical viewer a “Tom hater” or a “fake fan,” which is not true.

    “The characters are as deep and as interesting as ever and if you spent more time watching the show instead of chastising it maybe you would see it too.”

    I disagree strongly with you on the first part of the sentence, and I could reply that if you spent more time watching the show instead of gushing over it, you would be able to see all the plot holes, inconsistencies, the lack of development and many other things I notice in every episode. It would be immature, though. You obviously don’t want to see the writing mistakes (because it’s TV) and you have every right to ignore them. You cannot, however, tell me to ignore them too.

    I still watch–for reasons that aren’t your business because I can watch whatever I want; it’s also a choice–and I notice the problems (and I even agree with you that Tom isn’t the biggest problem they have) and I’m allowed to tell the writers that I’m not pleased. Wouldn’t you agree?

    I don’t attack the writers, but I criticize them. With your letter, you make me a “bad fan” who doesn’t worship the awesome writers and their wonderful creation. You also have no right to tell me how and where to express my displeasure. I could write a blog, but I don’t have to. It’s my choice.

    “In closing I hope whether you are a Tom Keen fan, a Shipper, a Daddygater, a member of Keen2 or Team Mommy you will come together to enjoy this great show we all love and have passion for.”

    I’m not a Tom Keen fan, not a shipper of any pairing, not a Daddygater, not a member of Keen2, not a member of Team Mommy. What does that tell you? And what if I don’t want to join you in order to “enjoy this great show”? Am I not allowed to join those who are displeased as well, but still watch for the same reasons I do? You ignore a growing group of completely different fans who are not involved in any “shipping wars,” but who are not pleased with certain developments. It’s fine that you enjoy the show and I see your point about the aggressive shippers, but don’t make every critical fan a nutjob.

    • Not at all … people are entitled to their opinion and critical comments. but you have to do that in a respectful manner. The people that bad mouth writing assistants, writers, and John and Jon for losing focus and saying untrue things to spread rumors are not being critical or helpful. Example – I really did not like that Tom had to mack on the girl from the coffee shop to get the data he needed. what does that say about his character. OK and invites discussion
      Tom is man-whore and why the writers spend time giving him the spotlight over X character is disgusting – Not OK.

  25. I really enjoy your podcast and the show. Very much enjoy the analysis as well as the comeraderi that you and Aaron bring to your podcast. I was not aware that there has been an influx of trolls. I am so sorry you have had to endure them. Some of them are real and some of them are crested by “public relations” or “marketing” firms, which is the saddest thing of all, they aren’t real but a marketing strategy by competitors. It is the world we live in in now, sadly. I don’t know if it is consolation to know that many of those accounts are not real – but it is not wrong to just mute or block them. They aren’t created for discourse but to implement a competitor’s business or political strategy.

    Again, thank you for all you do. I look forward to your podcast each week.

  26. Hi, Troy i would like to thank u for writing this letter. The feeling is mutual . !! And those who don’t like any of the characters are bloody fools,. The perfectly executed series…. It has became a part of life !!

  27. Just as you say, social media can be turned on and off. You can do the same. If you don’t like what people say online, you can stop reading it. I love the show, but everyone is entitled to their opinion….I honestly don’t know why everyone feels the need to constantly flaunt their opinion online, but do as I do, stop reading it and stop getting upset over it. You’ll give yourself a heart attack worrying so much about what people say

  28. I missed out when Blacklist started and having received Netflix from our son for Christmas, we have binged every episode and loved it.
    Your open letter was a snapshot of my feelings. All shows have twists and turns and if you aren’t happy with the story/plot line, don’t watch, but don’t be a hater. You have the choice!

    • best part about our podcast to IKE is that you can watch and listen at your own pace. hope you get caught up to hear the podcast or at least use it to pass the time til you can see S4.

  29. Pingback: 11 Things You May Not Know About The Blacklist |

  30. Yep. Totally agree with you. I was an avid fan for the first couple of seasons but then felt genuinely disturbed by the way the writers seemed to play on the “are they Daddy/Daughter – May September or a bit of both.” For me that was in bad taste. I don’t watch it anymore. There’s a lot of quality TV out there at the moment. Don’t lower you standards or waste you time. Walk away. Peacefully.

  31. It’s been six months I don’t watch the blacklist anymore. Yes, it’s just a tv show and a poor one as a matter of fact. Westworld is indeed a better show. I advise you to stand back and you will see the madness of this fandom.



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