Series creator Jon Bokenkamp loosely based his Raymond Reddington character on real-life Boston mafia boss, Whitey Bulger. As explained at the 2013 Comic-Con panel, many news stories concerning Bulger's arrest & trial were prevalent at the time. Bokenkamp tossed around a few "what if?" scenarios and came up with the basic concept of the show, anchored by the nefarious "concierge of crime" we now know as Red. Although Spader came in very late to the concept (within approximately two weeks of the principal shooting of the pilot), he can be credited with largely contributing to the final "look" of Reddington: closely cropped hair, hat collection, Rx shades (for practicality - Spader really does need them to see), iconically tailored vest-tie-trousers-shirt ensemble, and the infamously expensive ($5,000?) all-weather navy blue coat. As for the acerbic humor & raconteur tendencies of Red? Spader claims these were already present in the pilot script, however one can't help but think that the writers expanded these qualities once they got to know Spader a bit better.