Tonight on NBC, hit show Blacklist turns the big 100 and they are celebrating with a bang.
Before the milestone airs tonight at 8 PM, BSO sat down with series star Harry Lennix to get the inside scoop on the episode’s blacklister, the evolution of his character Harold Cooper and the interdependency of law & order and crime & punishment.
BSO: In honor of the big 100, let’s take a look back at the evolution of Harold Cooper. What would you say is the biggest change in him from the beginning until now?
HL: I think that he’s less “by the books.” I know even the very function of the task force is very sub rosa, [we’re not really telling people what we are up to] so the very relationship with Reddington is a little dodgier than he might like by his temperament.
But I think he has learned the nuances of law and order and it’s co-dependency on crime. So I think he has become more of a realist, the rose-colored glasses are off and he’s willing, for a bigger cause to bend some rules and I like that about him.
BSO: Examining the co-dependency of law & order and crime in real life society, would you say you see a lot of parallels to what’s happening in the show? Or would you saw the show is still pretty mythical in a sense?
HL: You look at what happened in Los Angeles after the crack epidemic. There were a lot of murders in Los Angeles County, largely drug-related. A few years ago, I don’t know what the numbers are now, but the largest cause of homicide in LA county was domestic violence and domestic disputes, not gangs. That was a direct effort of community policing and giving the people in the community power. Holding town halls in places like Faith Central, the church, the community, the people who were first responders in the neighborhood. People like my friend Skip Townsand and Gerald and Linda Thompson, who were there in crisis mode on the ground. That worked. Why has that not been applied in my hometown, a place like a Chicago [which curiously the murder rate has gone down like 16%]? I don’t know what happened, but I don’t think it’s due to community policing.
My friends are police officers, my friends are gangsters and hustlers on the street, but there is a mutual respect that needs to be encouraged and developed and I think if that can be applied, whatever they did in Los Angeles right [not that its perfect], it can be used as a best practice in a lot of these hot spots around the country.
So I hope Blacklist shows the possibility that crime & punishment and law & order have to co-exist and if you going to keep the nation safe because we are not a papacy or a theocracy, we are a democracy.
The people who came to America and made it what it is today were outlaws and criminals and traitors and religious zealots and freaks and slaves. There’s always been the reality and an illusion of America being a perfect utopia of America and that’s just not true. So I like the reality the show suggests and I think it does have resonance in the real world.
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