Megan Boone has been acting for a while, so she's doing her best to take her sudden success with
"Blue Bloods" and
"Law & Order: LA" cast member is one of the new TV season's breakout performers on one of the fall's biggest new shows. She plays novice FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen, the only person former fugitive Raymond "Red" Reddington (
James Spader) wants to give information on international felons who have slipped through the cracks.
Out of the gate, the show has scored the rare combination of strong ratings, positive reviews and impressive ad sales (commanding the most for a 30-second spot of any new series). It also has set DVR records, with episode 2 adding 5 million people to its viewership in Nielsen's Live + 3 ratings and 6.5 million for Live + 7.
"It's right at that sweet spot of just being really entertaining and not so highbrow that it doesn't appeal to a large group of people," the friendly Boone tells
. "I didn't really have any expectation whatsoever of how it was going to be accepted. I just knew I was a part of something that was better than anything I'd ever been a part of before, and that in itself was satisfying to me.
"That completely distracted me from focusing on the results, and that's kind of a cool thing that's been happening throughout the process. Even now."
In Monday's (Oct. 21) "Blacklist" episode, Elizabeth -- or "Lizzie," per Reddington -- gets a tip from Red that an unidentifiable courier is about to deliver a valuable package to an Iranian spy. Boone was cast in the series before Spader, and she remembers clearly the moment of getting the news he would be her principal co-star.
"I was jumping off the walls," she says. "I was already in New York and ready to do the job, then I found out I would be doing it with James Spader, who is obviously just great. It's been the best working relationship I've ever had, and a lot of the credit goes to him. He's really generous and very knowledgeable."
Emmy and Tony winner
Jane Alexander ("The Great White Hope") was one of Boone's acting teachers -- and a recent "Blacklist" guest star. "That happened completely independent of me," Boone says. "It was just totally synchronistic. She is one of the greatest teachers, and one of the most supportive people for whom I have some of the deepest respect of anyone in my life.
"Years go by after I've left her classroom, and I get this show that has completely changed my career, and she's on it! I gave her a big, long hug and thanked her so much for doing the show. That was a big coup for us. It helped establish ours as a place where wonderful actors can come and do little arcs."
"The Blacklist" airs at 10 p.m. ET Monday on NBC.