After a lacklustre episode 11 and an average episode 12, "The Cyprus Agency," the episode 13 of "The Blacklist," finally delivers, hitting all the right notes to surprise and re-claim 'excellent'. It has all the elements that make a good crime thriller: a suave, calm, unrepentant criminal, a regular adoption business that balloons into a crime of a bigger, unimaginable proportion, the whiff of the haunting past, the killing of a bad rat, emotional decisions and the cold-blooded revenge seeker.
The episode opens with a zombie like woman, looking for her child. She approaches a cop to help find her child, saying "they took my baby." The lady is almost mumbling. Before the cop can help her, a man, with a thick moustache, comes, claiming to be her brother, to take her away. When the cop asks him to wait, the man shoots down both the cop and the woman.
Liz and Tom are watching the sonogram video of their unborn baby. The couple realise that it is real now. Liz tells Tom about her decision to quit the job for a while to take care of the baby. She believes the child is more important and does not mind losing the job.
Red gives Liz the file on Cyprus Adoption Agency, a "truly evil organisation." Liz sees no co-incidence in Red serving-up an adoption agency, especially at a time when Tom and she are adopting a baby. Red calls it "life is full of lovely little ironies." The agency's clients order from an unlimited genetic menu. It promises a genetically, perfect baby to its clients and delivers on its promise, as the babies offered by the agency have some genetic advantage. The evil, however, does not reside in the offer but how the babies are put-up for adoption. The babies are stolen from their mothers. This adoption agency is in the abduction business.
Red provides details on the baby who will be delivered next. Liz and Agent Ressler meet the couple who were going to adopt that baby. The couple is shocked to hear about stolen babies and agree to co-operate with the FBI. Ted Caldwell, the lawyer representing the agency, meets the couple for further discussion on adoption. However, Caldwell gets suspicious when the couple starts asking uncomfortable questions. He walks out of the restaurant to call-up somebody, telling the person about the questions.
Liz and Agent Ressler are keeping a watch on the couple and the lawyer. Sensing the lawyer might be up to something, they approach him, flashing their FBI IDs. Seeing the FBI agents, Caldwell is a bundle of nerves and looks terrified. Before he could reveal anything, a bus runs over him. He is dead.
One of Red's men tells him that Agent Malik is telling the truth. Agent Malik tells Red that they can help each other to find the truth, killing her would not serve any purpose. She also wants to get to the bottom of the truth about Garrick's attack on the post-office.
Liz and Agent Ressler visit the office of the agency and meet Owen Mallory, the CEO and founder of the Cyprus Adoption Agency. He promises them his full co-operation and feigns ignorance of any wrong-doing. Also, Mallory puts a full stop on adoption till the investigations are over. The FBI team takes all the files and data, with them.
At the FBI office, Agent Ressler tells Cooper that 27 adoptions were brokered in the last three years, which is unusual. Also, it is revealed that not a single adoption can be authenticated. Red tells Liz to find about parents and relations, and not babies. This advice gives results. Agent Ressler tells Liz that five women gave birth to 12 children out of 27. These women are described as smart, attractive and in their 20s. They have been missing for the last three years and were part of top universities. It looks like these women were abducted to give birth to babies for adoption. The truth turns out to be more horrifying than that.
Agent Malik steals Cooper's card and uses it to transfer confidential information into a drive. She gives this drive to Red. He tells her that their business is over.
With Aram's help, FBI team figures out the woman who will get abducted, next. Agent Ressler and Liz are unable to stop the thick moustache man from abducting the woman. The man's boss, Mallory, however, is not happy with this abduction, as the FBI is digging deeper. Mallory kills the thick moustache man. He meets a doctor at Galatea Fertility Clinic.
Digging more on Mallory's background, Liz and Agent Ressler find out that he was adopted at the age of seven by a couple. However, he was soon returned to foster care because he showed symptoms of severe attachment disorder.
The body of one of the missing women is discovered. This woman has been in induced coma, with the help of a powerful sedative, for the last three years. However in her coma state, she has given birth to babies, multiple times. The missing women have been used as vessels to nurture and give birth to babies.
The powerful sedative is rarely used and most of the pharmaceuticals do not store it. Red introduces Liz to one of his acquaintances. This man provides the information on the sedative as well as doctors using it. One of the doctors is a fertility expert. This leads Liz and Agent Ressler to Galatea Fertility Clinic. Mallory is having a meeting with his partner in crime. The two try running away but are soon caught. Liz finds the room where the pregnant, heavily sedated women are kept.
Mallory is unrepentant. He says his legacy is completed and no one can change that. Liz figures out that he is the father of the children. Mallory tells Liz that the couple who adopted him never wanted a child but an accessory to smile on their Christmas cards. He believes he was returned because he was defective -- a damaged good.
Red had said to Liz to not go ahead with the adoption if she has a shred of doubt about Tom. Liz had said that she does not doubt Tom. However at the end of the day, Liz tells Tom that she is not ready for adoption. Tom tries to convince her but fails. She tells him that they cannot say, without a shred of doubt, that their relationship is not broken. Tom tries finding solace in Jolene.
Diane finds Red in her living room. She is the bad rat who had betrayed Red and Cooper, leaking the blacksite information. She tells Red about Fitch protecting her and how he is part of the plan. Red cuts her, telling her that Fitch and he had decided to not interfere in each other's business. They have an agreement but there is no such agreement with Diane. He shoots at her. Diane says that she knows what happened that night and what happened to his family. Red is not interesting in knowing from her. He tells her: "... if you know the truth then somebody else also does." He puts more bullets in her.
Lady Kaplan, Red's cleaning lady, arrives at the spot to clean-up the mess. She is there to erase all the evidence against Red.
There is not a shred of doubt that this is one of the best episodes of "The Blacklist" Season 1. It provided a reason to look forward to next episode and also heightened curiosity about Red's past. Red is driven by his horrifying, undisclosed past. It is clear that he can go to any extent to find what he is seeking to find. Will he ever be caught? Or, the body counts will just keep rising and no one will be aware about that.
To contact the editor, e-mail: