Mid-adorable "how could I oversleep on my first day" banter with her husband, Boone's character is whisked away to an undisclosed location where Red is chained, Hannibal Lecter-like, in a box.

And so it begins. Clarice, the quid pro quo of jaded wisdom with fresh-faced brilliance, mercifully free from the nausea of cannibalism and the skinning of young women.

Red clearly has a paternal interest in Elizabeth; although she knows of no connection between them. He is going to make her career by allowing her to help him take down his Blacklist, a group of Moriarty-like criminals so deft that the FBI doesn't know they exist. Yes! Eastern European terrorists!

Red's first "gift" to the feds is a bad guy with an accent recently arrived with a nefarious plan that involves the abduction of a child and several layers of accomplices who all have super-cool nicknames. All the hallmarks of political thriller are accounted for — visualization boards, exploding cars and oh, which wire to cut?

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But there is at least one truly surprising twist of plot, which is reassuring. Even a big-personality-driven procedural like this one does not live on clever dialogue alone. It needs smartly written story lines to keep things interesting.

Red's antagonistic history with FBI head Harold Cooper (Henry Lennix) will also no doubt bear fruit, while Elizabeth is entering a competitive camaraderie with Agent Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff). The show revolves around her dance with Red, or rather his dance with her, because Spader is the one who has all the moves.

Boone brings the requisite youthful loveliness, and she is convincing enough as a profiler with her own painful past. More important, she seems to know just how much room Spader needs, which is good. Because if she, like her character, pays attention, he will teach her everything she needs to know.

mary.mcnamara@latimes.com

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'Hostages'

Where: CBS

When: 10 p.m. Monday

Rating: TV-14-LV (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 14 with advisories for coarse language and violence)

'The Blacklist'

Where: NBC

When: 10 p.m. Monday

Rating: TV-14-LV (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 14 with advisories for coarse language and violence)