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TCA press tour: James Spader has hair issues on 'The Blacklist'

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James Spader has gorgeous hair.

You've seen it in "Pretty in Pink" and other Brat Pack movies. You've marveled about it when he was on "Boston Legal." It's been a trademark throughout his career, which included his recent TV stint on "The Office."

But when viewers first spot him in the new NBC drama "The Blacklist," the suave actor is wearing a distinctive derby. When he takes it off, his hair is -- well, he barely has any.

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Spader's appearance is one of the distinctive calling cards of the NBC show, in which he stars as former government agent Raymond "Red" Reddington, who has become one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives.

Red has mysteriously surrendered to the FBI with an explosive offer: He will help catch a terrorist who has long been thought dead -- under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth "Liz" Keen (Megan Boone), an FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico. He knows things about her, even though they've never met and have no apparent connection.

They eventally form an uneasy alliance.

The actor said that when he first filmed the pilot for the show, he had very long hair. "I thought it would be a great moment when the audience sees him in the present and the juxtaposition of his fugitive photo," in which the character had long hair.

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Spader also said he wanted to look a bit different from what viewers are used to: "Actors are burdened with everything they play. It's nice to have a different look."

He downplayed similarities between the show's premise and "Silence of the Lambs," the classic suspense film in which serial murderer Hannibal Lecter becomes an advisor to FBI profiler Clarice Starling.

"That's a relationship based in obsession, not based in reality," he said. One key difference: Lecter is behind bars, whereas "Red" is free to roam.

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