Robert Lee Vesco (December 4, 1935 – November 23, 2007) was a criminal financier in the United States.
Vesco was accused of securities fraud after several years of risky investments and dubious credit dealings.
He immediately fled the ensuing SEC investigation by living in a number of Central American and Caribbean countries.
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The Blacklist’s Robert Vesco Was Based on a Real-life Conman
There’s no denying the popularity and allure of crime shows; there’s a reason why so many different ones are on the air, and why no one can stop themselves from sitting down to watch them whenever they get the chance.
When there’s a hint of real life behind the villains or the heroic detectives, the interest in crime shows seems to grow even more. It also keeps things interesting; how many plotlines can you come up with before you get bored, stuck, or feel like you’re repeating yourself? Real-life inspiration undeniably adds to the appeal.
Consider the television show “The Blacklist.” The premise is intriguing; long-wanted fugitive Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) turns himself in, promising to assist the FBI in bringing down criminals he’s previously worked with. Robert Vesco (Stacy Keach) stands out from the crowd.
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Vesco, who first appeared in Season 6, Episode 13, was reunited with his former apprentice, Red. Red’s team, which included Liz Keen (Megan Boone), Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff), and Aram (Amir Arison), got to know his old mentor, who was thought to be dead.
Not only is Vesco not dead, nor is he reformed as he tries to convince Red, but he is based on a real person. Robert Vesco was a real criminal, and much of his life was drawn into the show to create the character who introduced Red to the criminal world.
The Robert Vesco on the Blacklist
Stacy Keach plays Vesco twice in the series, once in Season 6 and again in Season 9. In Season 6, he and Red devise a plan to recover the treasure from The Ballad of the De La Cruz, which is now housed in the New Orleans opera house.
Vesco is initially unprepared to pull off such a complicated heist on such short notice, but Red reminds him of his abilities: “Rediscover that dapper rascal whose charm and wit could deceive even the very best of us.”
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They are successful, and Red initially believes Vesco has been reborn; Vesco, on the other hand, appears hesitant to retrieve the fortune, claiming he has realized he can achieve happiness without wealth. Of course, this is all a ruse, because after Red promises the funds to Liz and the FBI for charity, he opens the truck containing the treasure to discover that Vesco has stolen everything inside.
In Season 9, Vesco returns as the leader of a religious cult that steals valuable religious artifacts. His followers believe they are destroying them, but Vesco turns around and sells them on the black market for millions of dollars.
The cult is disbanded after Red is exposed to his followers and rogue members attempt to bomb a church. When fan favorite Dembe Zuma (Hisham Tawfiq) reminds Red of the damage Vesco has done, Vesco is finally apprehended once and for all. Red tries to appeal, but eventually gives up and Vesco is arrested.