A former US Navy officer, Raymond "Red" Reddington, has become one of the FBI's ten most wanted fugitives. He disappeared twenty years ago and has returned to sell top secret information. To everyone's surprise, he voluntarily turns himself in to the FBI.
Red asks to work with a young profiler, Elizabeth Keen. She has just graduated in forensic psychology and joined the FBI at Quantico.
Reddington helps the team understand and apprehend future criminals. Keen wonders why Reddington only wants to work with her. Ressle, an FBI field agent who has been tracking Raymond Reddington for the past five years, is a little offended that a young rookie is on the front lines. He is determined to understand Reddington's motivation and the nature of his relationship with Keen.
Red has compiled a list of the country's top criminals. These are not known to the FBI. Over a period of twenty years, he has accumulated enough information to identify, track down and arrest them. Reddington has compiled a list he calls "the blacklist".