|The Blacklist episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2|
|Directed by||Andrew McCarthy|
|Written by||Jonathan Shapiro|
|Original air date||February 12, 2015|
Reddington, Liz and Ressler travel to Uzbekistan to investigate criminal Ruslan Denisov (Faran Tahir), who is holding multiple American hostages captive. Denisov, an old associate of Red's, is targeting members of a company that is refusing to replace a pipeline, whose leaking oil is polluting water and poisoning civilians. After unsuccessful attempts to negotiate with Denisov, Reddington works with him to capture a former Russian business associate (Olek Krupa) and use the company's history to blackmail them into repairing the pipeline. The CIA, however, have one of their agents in Denisov's custody and attempt to employ an Uzbek general (Shaun Toub) to eliminate Denisov. Cooper confronts the CIA handler and the mission is called off. Reddington captures the general and assures Denisov that he has helped his country, and despite potential consequences he will emerge a hero. Meanwhile, a Metro PD detective Wilcox begins investigating the murder of the harbormaster Tom killed in "The Decembrist". He finds the Samoan (the bodyguard hired by Liz to hold Tom captive) and begins investigating him. The Samoan leads him to the body and talks about Liz. Elsewhere, Liz asks Aram to determine the nature of the strange item she found in the stuffed rabbit. Aram later says he can only identify it as some kind of recording device.
"Ruslan Denisov" premiered on NBC on February 12, 2015 in the 9–10 p.m. time slot. The episode garnered a 1.7/5 Nielsen rating with 8.19 million viewers, making it the third highest-rated show in its time slot behind ABC's Scandal and CBS's Two and a Half Men. It was also the twenty-sixth highest-rated television show of the week.
Jason Evans of The Wall Street Journal gave a mixed review of the episode, stating: "This was a decent episode, though certainly a step back from the past couple in terms of info about the Fulcrum and the show’s larger mythology. That’s fine. We can’t get juicy info every time. I like the introduction of the harbormaster murder case as I hope it provides a way to somehow bring Tom back into the show."
Jodi Walker of Entertainment Weekly also gave a mixed review of the episode, stating: "And while it wasn’t the most riveting hour—though I’d certainly put it in the running for the most gross-out moments—it’s nothing if not a reminder that good stories take time to tell… negotiations are a series of push and pull: Nothing given that is not earned."
- "Episode Title: (#211) "RUSLAN DENISOV"". The Futon Critic. 2015-02-12. Retrieved 2015-06-07.
- Kondology, Amanda (2015-02-13). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'Backstrom' Adjusted Down, No Adjustment to 'The Blacklist', 'Scandal' or 'The Vampire Diaries'". TV by the Numbers. Tribune Digital Ventures. Retrieved 2015-06-07.
- Levin, Gary (2015-02-18). "Nielsen ratings: 'SNL,' NBA, 'CSI'". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved 2015-06-07.
- Evans, Jason (2015-02-12). "'The Blacklist' Recap: Season 2, Episode 11, 'Ruslan Denisov'". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved 2015-06-07.
- Walker, Jodi (2015-02-13). "'Ruslan Denisov'". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved 2015-06-07.