Harry Lennix as FBI Assistant Director Harold Cooper on NBC's "The Blacklist"

Harry Lennix as FBI Assistant Director Harold Cooper on NBC’s “The Blacklist”

*Veteran actor Harry Lennix is back on series television tonight with the premiere of NBC’s “The Blacklist,” a drama starring James Spader as a longtime fugitive on the FBI’s Most Wanted List who turns himself in so that he can help catch more bad guys like himself – while continuing to secretly pursue his own agenda, of course.

But there’s a catch. Spader’s Raymond “Red” Reddington says he will cooperate only if he can work exclusively with rookie FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone). His sample intel leads to the capture of one suspect, and he promises the FBI many more where that came from. For the past 20 years, Red has been compiling a “blacklist” of villains that the government never even knew existed.

THE BLACKLIST -- "Pilot" -- Pictured: James Spader as "Red" Raymond Reddington -

THE BLACKLIST — “Pilot” — Pictured: James Spader as “Red” Raymond Reddington –

Lennix, a big and small screen workhorse who starred on The CW’s short-lived drama “Emily Owens M.D.” last year and in “Dollhouse” and “24,” plays FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Harold Cooper.

“Clearly, he’s a man who is able to fit into a big system, a big structure. So he must be, to some degree, a company man,” Lennix says of his “Blacklist” character. “And at the same time, it is intimated that I have a long history with Red. He is, in fact, the character in this pilot that I know the best. And so that’s a very curious relationship that’s going on there.”

The Chicago native slipped comfortably into the role. After all, he’s surrounded in real life by law enforcement types; and Harold Cooper, Lennix tells us, isn’t the first…or even second time he’s  played a G-man on screen. Listen below.

“The Blacklist” premieres tonight (Sept. 23) at 10:01, following the 2-hour premiere of “The Voice” on NBC. Watch the show’s opening scene below.