[Content Note: Minor spoilers for The Blacklist.]

James Spader is a national treasure. I read it on the internet, so it must be true.

I mean, I've already proven beyond a reasonable doubt that James Spader had the most glorious hair of the 1980s (case closed, your honor!), which is no small feat in a decade full of amazing hair, which qualifies him as a national treasure all by itself (I checked the rules), but also the mid-season finale of The Blacklist was last night, and, after being unsure about how good it really was after the pilot, I now consider it one of my favorite new shows of the season.

Largely because of James Spader. (Although the whole cast is pretty solid.) If you haven't been watching, just look at this:

James Spader as criminal mastermind and FBI informant Red Reddington, a middle-aged white man, sits in a small saferoom beside Diego Klattenhoff as FBI Special Agent Donald Ressler, a young white man. Ressler has been critically injured, and Reddington is urging him to keep fighting to stay alive.

Reddington: Have you ever sailed across an ocean, Donald?

Ressler: No.

Reddington: On a sailboat surrounded by sea, with no land in sight, without even the possibility of sighting land for days to come, to stand at the helm of your destiny? I want that one more time. I want to be in the Piazza del Campo in Siena, to feel the surge as ten racehorses go thundering by. I want another meal in Paris, at L'Ambroisie in the Place des Vosges. I want another bottle of wine, and then another. I want the warmth of a woman in a cool set of sheets. One more night of jazz at the Vanguard. I want to stand on summits and smoke Cubans and feel the sun on my face for as long as I can. Walk on The Wall again. Climb the tower. Ride the river. Stare at the frescoes. I want to sit in the garden and read one more good book. Most of all, I want to sleep. I want to sleep like I slept when I was a boy. Gimme that. time.

The thing about those words is that they're kind of trite, just dumped on a page like that. But James Spader breathes something into them that gives them life and makes them compelling. Because he is a terrific actor. AND A NATIONAL TREASURE. The end.

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