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The Blacklist is

A list I've been cultivating for over 20 years.
— Reddington, The Blacklist, S1E1 "The Pilot"

The first subject on the list that Reddington tells the FBI about, is #52, Ranko Zamani. The next ten are, in the order Reddington hands them over, #145, #84, #161, #85, #152, #47, #109, #16, #106, #101.

If there is any order to the list, why is Reddington going through his list seemingly at random?

Is there any significance to the numbers a person on the list has?

And is there any significance to the order in which Reddington reveals them?

share|improve this question
Heh. It seems pointless to wonder about the significance of the Blacklist numbers when the Blacklist itself seems to be completely non-existent as a concept in its own right at this point. A show-naming concept whose shelf life infirmity is bested only by that of "The 100", a show about a group of 100 kids that hasn't actually had 100 kids in it since the pilot. (Although, if you ignore that, "The 100" is excellent :D) – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 18 at 14:31
@PreferenceBean I'm now halfway through the second season, so I wouldn't know :) – SQB Feb 18 at 14:32
Meh, I found by halfway through the first season it was already looking pretty tenuous. – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 18 at 14:32
up vote 12 down vote accepted

From an interview with Jon Bokenkamp (Creator/Executive Producer)

I know a few who, in the mythology of the show, will end up in the top 5. But, to be quite candid – Spader said this once – there are as many Blacklisters as there are episodes that NBC will let us do. There’s no hidden algorithm or method to the Blacklist numbering. But, they are sort of weighted. The Stewmaker might be off a bit because that was one of the first few episodes we did and he might be higher if we were doing his episode today. We do think a bit about it and wonder, “where does this guy fit? How would Red rank him?” So that’s how we come up with the numbers.

share|improve this answer
That quote makes it sound like the numbers indicate roughly how "bad" or "serious" the blacklisters are relative to each other in Red's opinion, which would be a non-zero amount of significance. But +1 for the perfect quote. – Ixrec Feb 18 at 13:04
Indeed, I have to concur with my previous commenter (except for the +1 statement). If you could change your statement that there isn't any significance to include the actual significance of the numbers being roughly based on the perceived severity of the persons behind them, this would highly improve your answer. Currently it's quite contradictory and ingoring an important part of the quoted interview. – Napoleon Wilson Feb 18 at 17:14
@Napoleon Wilson Good advice. Thx – madmada Feb 18 at 17:21

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