Moral Judgment Calls at Center of 'The Blacklist'

Judgement calls.

We all have to make them. Sometimes they are minor (should I go to Target or Walmart for my groceries), but sometimes they aren't. In the most recent episode of The Blacklist, Elizabeth is faced with two judgement calls of the most difficult variety. Both raise tricky ethical questions, and neither come with a bow to wrap up the situation nicely.

In the first instance, Elizabeth must decide if she should take out the biological terrorist Frederick Barnes. Complicating matters is that he has a hostage and nothing to lose. What would you do? Take out the terrorist knowing that you are writing the death sentence for the hostage, or let the terrorist go to save a life? Is one life worth more than other future victims lives? Is that a fair way to frame the situation?

In the second circumstance, Elizabeth must decide whether to allow Barnes to inject his son with an experimental medicine or prevent him from doing so with lethal force. No cure currently exists, so the boy won't live long anyways, and after Barnes injects his son, you can still bring him into custody. But should a criminal be rewarded for his misdeeds by allowing him to finish his experiment?

I don't have the answers, The Blacklist didn't claim to give any answers, and I'd humbly suggest you don't either. But what we do have is the ability to dialogue about the tricky questions posed by these situtions.

So I'd like to say a big thank you to The Blacklist for providing us with something that is altogether much too rare in entertainment today: making us think about big picture issues.