Ryan Eggold is gearing up for a new adventure.
The 32-year-old actor has been a crucial cog in The Blacklist machine, playing covert operative Tom Keen since its debut in 2013 on NBC. With the fourth season of the action drama -- led by James Spader and Megan Boone -- underway, Eggold is in the early stages of transitioning into his own spinoff, The Blacklist: Redemption, when filming kicks off in the beginning of November.
Though plot specifics of Redemption will become clearer as The Blacklist progresses, Eggold hints that the new show references “classic espionage,” such as the 1975 Robert Redford film, Three Days to the Condor; the Mission: Impossible TV series of the ‘60s; and the current Jason Bourne franchise.
“It’s exciting to be at the beginning of something that you can help mow a little bit,” the Los Angeles native tells ET, adding that Redemption will be “a little lighter and more tongue-in-cheek,” and possibly more political than the mothership.
Even as Eggold prepares to lead his own ship, he’s focused on the new season and where Tom goes before he heads off to Redemption.
“Every year, we have found something that we wanted to explore or some new direction to push the character in,” he says. “Now, with the new show and what’s happening in season four of The Blacklist -- that he’s potentially discovering who his mother is and [he’s] raising a baby -- that’s what’s kind of fun to explore now: What does it mean to be a spy and a father?”
Eggold says it’s been particularly fulfilling stepping into “uncharted territory” on The Blacklist, with fatherhood being front and center for Tom.
“It’s the notion of responsibility, it’s the notion of self-restraint, it’s the notion of altruism and doing things for other people -- putting other people before yourself,” he says. “Having a child grows you up very quickly, and Tom is still a child in many ways -- he’s not really a grown man with that [level] of emotional intelligence [yet].”
For the former 90210 star, Redemption marks an opportunity to contribute to the creative process of conceiving a new TV show to bringing it to life. It’s something Eggold, who recently directed two movies (one stars Cobie Smulders), admits he would not have had the confidence to do a decade ago.
“Ten years ago I probably wouldn't even get an audience,” Eggold says with a laugh. “I think I’m knocking on that door and I’m getting to the place where I’ll start having those opportunities and that’s exciting.”
The Blacklist airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. The Blacklist: Redemption premieres midseason on NBC.