Is ‘The Blacklist’ Inspired By A True Story? Who Is The Real Raymond Reddington?

The Blacklist
The Blacklist

Crime-drama series always makes one question the real existence of the character or the plot. Sometimes, it is baffling to know that the content may be based on true events or inspired by real life. Although there are chances that real events might be fabricated just for the sake of entertainment. But does The Blacklist fall under this category or was it completely born from the writer’s imagination? ‘The Blacklist‘ starring James Spader is a clever, twisted, and dubious crime-thriller series.

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It follows the life of a former U.S. Navy officer, Raymond Reddington who identified himself as a high-profile criminal. He suspiciously surrenders to the FBI and uses the list of dangerous criminals as leverage for prosecution. If this does not get weird, wait for more! Raymond demands something surprising to help him finish the hit list-Elizabeth Keen, who is a rookie FBI agent. But did any of this happen in the real world?

Read more: ‘The Blacklist’: Does Elizabeth Keen Actually Die And How?

Is ‘The Blacklist’ Based On Real Incidents?

James Spader and Megan Boone in 'The Blacklist'
James Spader and Megan Boone in ‘The Blacklist’

It is always fun to watch a crime drama when it is based on a real person or a true incident. Importantly it also depends on the writers of the show who incorporate the life of real people with their fictional lives. And the writers of ‘The Blacklist‘ have successfully induced a somewhat fictional story with a real person. Basically, the character of Raymond Reddington is loosely based on James Joseph Whitey Bulger.

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James Joseph Whitey Bulger is a Boston supercriminal who was ultimately arrested after 11 gruesome murders. He was so good at escaping that the FBI took years to track James and put him behind the bars. In 2013 John Eisendrath, co-creator of ‘The Blacklist‘ revealed to Collider, “So, the idea was, Well, what would happen if a man like Whitey Bulger turned himself in. ‘I am here. I have some rules that I want you to follow, but if you follow them I will give you the names of people that I have worked with, during the 20 years that I have been a fugitive‘.” Now, this is where fiction becomes the hero. In the series, Raymond surrendered himself, whereas James Joseph Whitey Bulger does not but most of the crimes from the series were borrowed from real life.

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All About James Joseph Whitney Bulger, Who Inspired Raymond Reddington’s Character

James Joseph Whitey Bulger was listed as one of the 10 most wanted fugitives by the FBI up till his arrest in 2011. The American crime boss was a leading figure in organized crime from the late 1960s to the mid-1990s. Since his teenage years, James was involved in a street gang and was arrested several times for many charges.

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In 1975 James Joseph Whitey Bulger agreed to corporate with the FBI as a so-called Top Echelon Informant. This is where ‘The Blacklist‘ extracts its idea from. His FBI handler, John J. Connolly was 10 years younger than him and the son of South Boston. But things escalated real quick and the relationship instantly turned corrupt, with the handler describing it as devil’s deal. Soon the tables turned as the crimes boss began to manipulate the FBI instead of another way around. Late in 2011, the FBI finally trapped him and arrested James.

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