The Blacklist – Smokey Putnum (No. 30)

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By: Robert Warren



At the premiere of Season Five “The Blacklist,” Raymond ‘Red’ Reddigton (James Spader) pretended to be a valet, stole a glossy red Convertible and took it cruising down the street as the engine revs up and back in the New York Groove plays by Kiss. Flashing lights flicker as sirens wail, of the coppers chasing behind him. Reddington`s phone beeps and he answers Elizabeth Keen`s (Megan Boone) call in the middle of a cop chase. Reddington makes a quick conversation, as he has never been better, and ends the call so he can just finish the chase. Reddington slides off the coppers with a few tire screeches, drives in small splashes of water, cruises until he aligns two cop cars right where they will collide, the copper flips over the other police car and off Reddington goes peacefully down the street.  The chase is over and Reddington sells the dreamy car to stay at a lodge and pay for drinks at the social hour.

Once entering the lodge, Reddington walks smoothly to the pool, sunglasses gleaming and hat reflecting the sun as “Paid the Cost to be the Boss” by James Brown plays. Everyone gives Reddington recognition as he enters the pool area.  We soon find out that DNA shows that Reddington is Keen`s father. Reddington sits at the steps of the pool, reading a book at Terrace Vista Motor Lodge leaning with his elbow on a towel as his feet are dipped in the water. Keen approaches surprised that Reddington is there as he offers her a soda pop.

Keen is surprised Reddington isn`t trying to find ways to crawl his way back to the top rather than just hanging at the lodge. Keen wants to know if Reddington has a case, after all he is her father and she just hasn`t got used to saying that yet. The fact Keen now knows Reddington is her father isn`t going to change anything, she still needs the case from him.

Reddington goes into a bail bonds offering to help with their biggest case to get cash even though he himself is a fugitive. The bail bonds hands him the case of Smoky Putnum (Michael Aronov) who is wanted for embezzling over $2 million from the carnival Davis and Foxx Entertainment.  Keen tries to talk Reddington out of it, but Reddington is determined because this could be a good way to pay the rent. Reddington agrees to take the case and talks Keen to joining him on this road trip because he doesn`t have a car.

Reddington talks to Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix) informing him that he still can be part of the criminal underworld but right now he needs to handle this Smoky Putnim case. Reddington tells Cooper how it is important to shift alliances back and forth. Reddington walks into a house in Russel Springs Kentucky to start the journey of looking for Joe Putnum, smoky them call him.

As the carnie talk starts happening between a couple of the people in the house Reddington tries to join in the conversation, and then just gets tired of trying to figure out the words are and just pulls out a gun to get them to talk regularly. When Keen sees a calendar labeled “T.L.” she asks who it is and Reddington pushes the couple to answer. We soon find out the name is Tammy Lynn Thompson.  So, the journey continues.

Reddington and Keen arrive at the estate of Tammy Lynn Thompson and Keen is frank to say she saw a picture of Thompson and Putnum at Russel Springs. Reddington pulls out a gun to Thompson to ask where Putnum is. Reddington starts asking for Putnum to come out or he is going to “make a mess” in Thompson’s living room as Thompson tells Reddington and Keen to leave. Reddington starts shooting holes in the roof of Thompsons living room until eventually a man falls from the roof. Sure enough it is Putnum.

Off Keen drives as Reddington starts interrogating Putnum in the back of the car. Putnum tries to convince Keen to turn around because he forgot his insulin at the house. Keen refuses to do so as she doubts it to be in the least bit true. As they drive U.S. Marshalls follow close behind and pull to the side telling them to pull over the car. Keen gets out saying she is with the FBI and that she is transporting a fugitive.

Turns out that these are not U.S. Marshalls and gunfire breaks loose between Keen, Reddington and the supposed Marshalls. Reddington and Keen jump back in the car, shoot the tires off the other vehicles around them, and the tires screech as they take off.

Keen, Reddington and Putnum end up with the car pulled over near a forest on the side of a road with their hood open because the car is shot. We soon find out that these shooters were the skinheads running a large drug cartel laundering profits from Davis and Fox Entertainment. Putnums business is running on getting profits from the skinheads.

As Reddington and Keen talk to the side about what to do with Putnum, he tries rushing them so Reddington gets out a gun and shoots near Putnum to shut him up.  Putnum tries to convince Reddington to let him go because the FBI does not know that carnies are involved in this yet and that when the truth comes out it will be harder for Reddington to get his forty grand if Putnum ends up dead in jail.

Putnum tries advising for Reddington to let him go then and he can just give Reddington forty grand rather than getting it from the bondsman. Reddington enjoys every damn penny; however, by getting stuck with Putnum through all of this. So, Putnum, Keen and Reddingron end up taking a bus.

Putnum makes a loud announcement to all the bus riders that he needs orange juice because he is going to be sick because of his blood sugar. So, Keen, Reddington and Putnum stop off at a diner where Putnum can get his orange juice. Reddington gets a phone call from his boss Maurice and assures him that even though there was a hiccup in the plan he should have Putnum in custody in time before his trial. The only problem is that when Reddington says that he is in Cincinnati the cartels are also listening in on the line.

Reddington, Keen and Putnum are in a train station in Ohio as the train is delayed again. This annoys Reddington so he goes to see if he can find a car to steal to take Putnum in. Keen continues watching Putnum then he has to use the restroom. Keen agrees, but she goes in with him at first to make sure there are no windows. There are none. Putnum takes a leak and Keen waits outside the door for him.

She sees the one other person that was in the restroom leaves and then goes in to check for Putnum. As Keen goes in she sees that a man is dead on the floor with Putnums jacket over him and that Putnum had switched clothes with the man and left.

Putnum casually walks down the road as Keen dashes to find him. Putnum gets in a truck and drives off as Keen yells “Watch out, FBI” and runs with a gun in her hand down the sidewalk path. The truck tires screech and quickly swerve around the corner as Keen seems distraught putting her gun in her back pocket.

As Reddington unlocks a vehicle Keen dashes to him and explains that Putnum is gone. Keen has the FBI looking to see about finding any clues to Putnum or the skinheads involved with his money laundering. The FBI discovers a man named Odin Neiland (Steve Grodewald), a man who died five years at FCI Lewisburg for distributing drugs and he has ties to Romon LeMarc (John Bedford Lloyd) who has a ruthless crime team of smugglers who smuggle drugs through the federal prison. Reddington finishes hotwiring a car and tells Keen to get in so they can go look for Putnum. Reddington thinks he knows where to find Putnum.

Putnum is in Virgina with his crime team and Reddington walks in a gun and with Keen as backup. Reddington tells Putnum to go get his money and he starts talking to LeMarc about a deal. Reddington offers LeMarc to take Putnum in exchange for LeMarc keeping the money and Putnum not mentioning any of LeMarc`s business operations.

Keen gets irritated with Putnum for making that deal. Keen, Reddington and Putnum take off in the car once more. Putnum starts telling a story of why he took the money to try to make them feel guilty for why he took it. Reddington arrives at the courthouse and they let Putnum make a quick call.

Putnum tries taking off quickly. Keen runs after him and tackles him to the ground. Police come over and take him into the courthouse. Keen tells her FBI boss that Putnum is caught and her boss apologizes as her relationship with her father, Reddington, is going to be disclosed which may open her up to some scrutiny.

Keen tells Reddington she is going to help him reopen his empire because it will help them (her and Reddington) to catch criminals, but she is not going to lose who she is in the process. So, they brought a fugitive to justice and LeMarc is out running free.

Morgan (Genson Blimline) and Chuck (Jonathan Holtzman) arrive to Reddington to deliver a fugitive that was ready to testify against Putnum to try to sentence him. Reddington tells the fugitive if she sticks with him then her sentenced will be reduced to where she does not have one. The judge is there and since Putnum does not have anyone testifying against him he is free to go and Reddington still receives the money that he wanted to get from turning him in to the bail bondsman.

Keen, Reddington, Putnum and the fugitive all meet up at the lodge to enjoy their time as both Putnum and the fugitive have no time to serve. Reddington makes them both an offer to work for him and his criminal empire now that they are both set free. “Don’t you Forget About Me” by Paul Stone plays and they both agree.  Keen and her father Reddington dance.

Two men start talking about how Reddington`s security man Mr.Sturgeon  knew details only the police should know. It turns out Mr. Sturgeon is actually FBI special agent Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) who is now threatened to do what is asked of him. Reddington tells Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) he needs to find a suitcase that Keen shouldn’t see with dry bones in it. Where is it? Reddington needs to find out.

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