Raymond "Red" Reddington, one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives, surrenders in person at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He claims that he and the FBI have the same interests: bringing down dangerous criminals and terrorists. Reddington will co-operate, but insists that he will speak only to Elizabeth Keen, a rookie FBI profiler. Keen questions Reddington's sudden interest in her, though he claims that Keen is very special. After the FBI brings down a terrorist he provided information on, Reddington reveals that the terrorist is only just the first of many. In the last two decades, he's made a list of criminals and terrorists he believes the FBI cannot find because they did not know they exist and that they matter the most. Reddington calls it "The Blacklist".
Red and the FBI try to stop a dangerous messenger whose appearance is unknown; Liz is thrust into a kidnapping plot.
When a witness in a case against a drug lord goes missing, Red informs the team that the witness may have been taken by The Stewmaker; Red and Ressler work together for the first time.
The FBI searches for a high-ranking Chinese spy named Wujing -- whom Red claims hired him to help decode a classified CIA transmission; Liz investigates Tom.
Red and Liz go under cover to stop an assassin known as The Freelancer from killing his next target; Ressler and a recently re-hired CIA agent try to protect Red from a distance; Liz wonders what she should do about Tom and the mysterious box.
One of the most-wanted fugitives in the country turns himself in -- under one condition: He'll only speak with newly minted profiler Elizabeth Keen.