Ever since the death of "must-see TV" in the early 2000s, NBC hasn't had a whole lot to crow about, with the possible exception of 30 Rock, The Office, and The Voice--and let's face, that show's more about those four superstar judges/mentors/whatever-they-are.

But stick around after The Voice goes off, if you haven't already done so, and enjoy the best drama NBC has committed to the airwaves since...well, I don't know. Actually, this may be the best hour-long NBC drama I have ever seen. Yes, The West Wing was awesome, but based on what I saw, The Blacklist really could be better.

And it's debuting at the precise moment when the networks really to step it up if they want to start legitimately competing with cable.

The Blacklist doesn't waste any time in the first episode as it opens with the surrender of Raymond "Red" Reddington, played by the perfectly-cast James Spader. Reddington is one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives. His expertise at brokering deals with arch-criminals is likely one of the reasons he's an FBI target, but there has to be more. And I'm sure we'll eventually learn what that is.

In the meantime, Reddington plans to help the FBI capture these global villains, but he will only do so through Special Agent Elizabeth Keen, played by Megan Boone (who I've never heard of before AND who is very, very good). Why will Reddington ONLY speak to Keen? We don't yet know. And neither does Keen. But we do learn that Reddington knows a great deal about Keen.

I don't know if this was the writer's or director's intention--or maybe both?--but I get the feeling, sometimes, during this first riveting episode that Reddington is only helping the FBI because he just WANTS to work with Elizabeth Keen. And, if that's the case, that's an interesting dynamic. How does he know her? Is there something about her past of which even SHE is unaware?

A man like Reddington doesn't move through life without, at the very least, an ARMLOAD of ulterior motives. I mean, he thinks the Bureau is a joke, so why help them?

I loved the first episode of The Blacklist. It was exciting, well-written, and riddled with twists.

Clearly, I crave more.

The Blacklist airs at 9PM on NBC.