Now James Spader's a Bad Guy! Or Is He? 'The Blacklist' Isn't Telling

The actor is wowing critics with his portrayal of an enigmatic criminal on the new NBC thriller

The last time NBC viewers saw James Spader, he was playing an enigmatic creep who weirded out his entire Dunder Mifflin staff on The Office.

On Monday at 10 p.m. ET, he returns to the network to star in the new thriller, The Blacklist. He's still enigmatic and creepy, but now he's also a criminal mastermind.

Anyone remember the '80s, when Spader used to play the self-important preppy guy in cheesy teen movies?

Ah, those were the days.

After moving through his Boston Legal years as a maverick lawyer, Spader now appears to have settled into playing the self-important, slightly terrifying guy. And boy, does he do it well. Watch the opening sequence of The Blacklist here:

 

As you can see, there are a number of mysteries waiting to be solved. Why would "the world's most wanted man" voluntarily turn himself in? What's so special about Elizabeth Keene (Megan Boone), the young FBI profiler he insists on working with exclusively? Who's on his "black list," and why is he willing to help the feds catch them? And... and... what happened to Spader's once-lovely locks?

Of course, you don't need hair to win over TV critics; you just have to give what The Hollywood Reporter calls a "dazzling" performance. "You can’t take your eyes off of Spader," the THR's critic gushes. 

Variety likes the show, too. "Spader has always been a particularly interesting actor," writes their critic. "And he’s well suited to this sort of twisted figure, where so much is going on behind those eyes." And while Variety has a few reservations, they still call the show "one of the fall's more promising new network hours."

Creepy or not, people still love Spader.

Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.

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