Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the season finale of The Blacklist. Read at your own risk.
The time has finally come: The Blacklist confirmed what many fans have suspected about Red and Liz’s relationship during the season 4 finale.
During the season ender, Liz Keen (Megan Boone) was given DNA results that confirmed Raymond Reddington (James Spader) is her father. However, the NBC drama ended with a twist as Kaplan (Susan Blommaert) unearthed mysterious bones — now en route to Liz — that could prove a problem for Red.
Odds are the bones belong to Liz’s presumed dead mother Katarina (Lotte Verbeek), but could they actually belong to, say, the real Red, and this Red is someone else entirely? EW turned to Boone to get her take and reaction to this big reveal. (Read our postmortem with executive producer Jon Bokenkamp here.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Red has been revealed as Liz’s father. How long have you known this was the plan?
MEGAN BOONE: Not very long. I’m pretty in the dark about the plot, because Liz doesn’t really know very much about what’s happening, especially in relation to Red, so it’s not really necessary for me to know. So I did not know until I got the scripts a couple months ago.
What was your reaction when you found out, because this is something we’ve all suspected from the beginning?
Yeah, I mean, I suspected it. I didn’t really know what they were going to do ultimately. I felt a lot like an audience member, I think.
What do you say to the audience right now, because isn’t this the obvious answer we’ve expected?
Well, I feel like what they should know is that the mythology of the show has never been the whole show. It’s been an element of the show that kept people interested in these characters. Now that they’ve spent four years with these characters, I think that they have a natural connection, an affinity, a relationship with them despite the fact that the mysteries are really starting to be revealed. We move forward with Red at a very different place because of the war with Kaplan in season 4, wrapping up with Red completely broke and all of his connections in the criminal underworld have been diminished. You see Red in a vulnerable place that you’ve never seen before. That’s going to dramatically change the direction of the series. We take that natural relationship that we already have with our dedicated audience members, the ones who watch it religiously, who will be interested to go along with these characters on the next chapter of their journey.
How do you think this will change Liz going into next season?
When it comes to playing Liz, I really roll with the punches, so I try not to anticipate very much because I really know a week ahead of schedule what is going to be happening in her life and in her story. I can tell you where Liz is coming from: Having learned that Red is her father, she has a new sense of her own genetic makeup and the potential for a certain kind of behavior, a criminality, so I think that awareness will give her freedom to behave in different ways.
Can we really trust these DNA results?
Liz has this DNA test confirming he’s her father, done with blood that had been sealed in an evidence vault for 30 years. Everything he’s done up until this point — turning himself into the FBI, risking his freedom and his entire criminal organization to protect her, watching her since she was a child, encouraging her over and over again over the years — are the manifestation of a father’s love. It all finally clicks into place for her.
Yes, Red is her father, but what if this character isn’t actually Red? There have been theories that this person we’re seeing is not actually her father, but her mother. What do you say to that?
They think that James Spader is playing Liz’s mother? I think that’s a question for James. [Laughs]
Had you heard that theory before?
I think I caught wind of a little bit of that fan fiction world, yeah. I think it’s funny. I don’t really know if it’s going to be the case, but I think that whether he is or is not genetically related to her, what his actual sex is and all of these things, they are sort of irrelevant to the plot of the show at this point, mainly because Liz actually had a father, Sam, who raised her. It would be offensive to adopted kids to suggest that a paternity test is more important than the adoptive father who raised you, and who you have a bond with. So all along, I have seen the father-daughter issue as somewhat of a moot point and sort of like a fun thing to theorize about while you watch characters that you actually enjoy watching doing fun and exciting things in a very strange world full of these nefarious criminals.
We saw Dom (Brian Dennehy) return in the finale. What’s next on that front?
He’s Liz’s grandfather, but I don’t think Liz is aware that he is around. He’s Katarina Rostova’s father.
How will Liz handle Kaplan’s death?
Well, there’s a great loss there. Kaplan has been a real defender of Liz, she’s the one who helped her escape at the end of season 3 in order to try to find a life outside this entanglement she’s found herself in with Reddington. Ever since then, it got complicated because Kaplan did put her new closest, most familial relationships at risk when she put the task force under investigation. Just because there’s an extraordinarily complicated relationship, I think the death of Kaplan is a huge loss, because Liz does not have a lot of people in her life that were there from the early parts of her life. She is orphaned in a way by that death.
There are these bones now en route to Liz. How do you think this will affect Liz since this could potentially be an even bigger reveal?
Well, I think it’s going to be something that greatly disrupts her sense of Reddington and the relationship that she has with him. I think the reason he’s kept his relationship with her a secret for so long is because of this mysterious bag that has some mysterious evidence in it.
Who do you think the bones belong to?
I always get in trouble speculating on this show, so I’m going to avoid doing that this time around and just say I’m excited to discover it a few months ahead of the audience as I read the script in season 5. [Laughs]
What was it like finally getting to shoot that scene with her confronting Red about her lineage?
It was a long time coming. I really played around with the sense that this was just a fact that she had been in denial of for a very long time, so it wasn’t so much, for Liz, a jarring event, this startling realization, as much as it was an admission of avoidance and an acceptance so that she could move forward. So playing that scene with James, it was interesting because we have been in this show for four years now, so all of that came with it, all of that experience was in the room.
The Blacklist will return Wednesdays this fall on NBC.