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'The Blacklist': Red's shooting will bring Liz closer to the truth

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Will Hart/NBC

The Blacklist‘s Liz Keen may put her own life on the line to save the one man who basically destroyed hers.

After learning that Red (James Spader) was responsible for inserting Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) into her life, Liz (Megan Boone) turned over the Fulcrum with the vow to rid Red from her life for good—though she’s made that promise several times before. Will this time hold true? EW caught up with executive producer Jon Bokenkamp to get the scoop on what’s in store:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can you tease about where the show will be picking up?

JON BOKENKAMP: We pick up almost immediately where we left off. Liz and Dembe and Red are under fire. Red is wounded in an incredibly desperate situation. In this episode, there’s a void left from Red. Liz, in a way, is going to have to step up and fill that void. The entire episode is a little bit of a different feel because it’s more frenetic, it’s faster. It’s less of a typical Blacklister, although there is a Blacklister-of-the-week. We pick up and are thrown immediately back into the desperation of where we left off.

I hear someone from Liz’s past may help save Red.

Yes, that is true in more than one way. Liz is going to have to dip into her history. We meet a new character—not new to the mythology, but new to the audience. Liz is scrambling. Red is not a guy who is just going to roll into an ER and be helped. In fact, even when the full force of the FBI is saying, “Hey, we’re going to clear out a floor,” he’s not interested. That is not his contingency plan. What we’re going to see snap into action is the contingencies that Red has in place for this type of situation.

At the same time, Red also has the Fulcrum. What’s his next step? And will we, as the audience, actually find out what’s on the Fulcrum?

All of this business with the Fulcrum is going to, in this next episode, come into focus very quickly. A lot of the stories that we’ve been juggling, a lot of the clues from other episodes and questions which may not have been answered are coming more into focus as we finish out the season. I think it’s going to happen in a really satisfying way. Yes, the story of the Fulcrum and what it is and how its leveraged is front and center in this next episode.

Will Tom help? Liz said goodbye to him, but are they ever really over?

Their relationship is such a strange and dysfunctional one to me. He’s at a place where he’s ready to leave. She gave him the passports that he wanted so he could get out of town. What I would say is he’s not gone quite so fast. His storyline is definitely not over for the season. They’re in this really strange place that is probably not healthy, but in some weird way, I think there’s a similarity between those two characters. I really think they both probably just want to be normal. I think he would love nothing more than to actually be somebody like Tom Keen, to have a wife, a dog and a nice little house. She would love nothing more than to have Raymond Reddington have never entered her life and have a very simple, normal life. I don’t think that’s necessarily possible for either of them, but they [each] recognize that in the other. It’s a very unhealthy relationship, but it is a relationship, and it’s at the center of the show at the moment.

My favorite Blacklist drinking game is to sip every time Liz says she wants to keep Red out of her life, but then goes back on her word. Will that change at any point? Is there a line that Red could cross that would make it so she just couldn’t actually let him stay in her life?

Look: When they come back, they are not in a healthy place at all. One of the things that’s interesting to me about this character is he’s somebody who we’re constantly revealing truths about. We think we have a sense of who he is, and then we learn that’s maybe not quite right. It’s a perspective issue. Here, when we pick up the story, Liz has just found out that Red inserted Tom in her life, and she’s not happy about it. Nor should she be. That’s definitely the conflict there, and the drama that’s going to come from that is something we’re definitely going to embrace.

Whether she gets to a point where she just rolls with it or wants to push him out of her life altogether, I don’t know. I think their relationship is still evolving and they’re finding their footing with each other. It’s strange: If you go back to the pilot to where we are now, they’re in a similar place, but they’re in a very different place in terms of how much she knows about him and who he is to her and how much they need each other. All I would say about that is they, as well as Tom and Liz, are in an incredibly unhealthy place and she’s not terribly interested in hearing more of his excuses and half truths.

What might Liz discover about Red as she tries to keep him alive?

Liz, all season, has been on a path that feels like one that’s more towards darkness than light. I think that she is afraid of potentially recognizing some characteristics that Reddington has in herself. In the next episode, she finds a secret apartment of Red’s that nobody knows about. It’s separate from his criminal life, one where he might be able to go and be normal. In stumbling upon this place, she’s going to find not only some truths about him, but about herself and about their shared history.

The Blacklist airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.