Photographed by Isa Wipfli

The Blacklist premieres Monday, September 23 on NBC.

In The Blacklist, criminal mastermind Raymond Reddington (James Spader) turns himself in to the FBI, offering to help the agency catch other fugitives, so long as he can work with rookie profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), a request that’s perhaps most puzzling to Keen herself. While Boone, a regular on Law & Order: L.A., is no crime-drama neophyte, meeting her co-star for the first time had a similar effect. “James Spader is this enigma, and he maintains a sense of mystery, while also being a really good collaborator and a very kind and generous co-worker. That’s hard to do.”

I start off as someone he’s toying with. But throughout the series, I slowly evolve into a more formidable crime fighter who can also go toe-to-toe with him.

I’m taking Krav Maga lessons. It’s an Israeli martial art. I want my character to be really agile and competent, and I want her to be able to do some intricate fight scenes. 

I lived in London for a year when I was in school. I saw a lot of theater and I worked at a children’s boutique, a Pilates studio, and a nightclub—London is expensive. I wanted as many experiences under my belt as pos- sible before becoming the workaholic that you have to be to do this job. I’m so glad I had that time. I spent weekends in different cities—it was a blast.