The Blacklist's Megan Boone previews Liz Keen's struggle through grief

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The Blacklist will return this week with a very different episode.

Bucking the traditional Blacklister-titled hour, the NBC drama picks back up with a “Cape May”-esque episode that finds Liz (Megan Boone) struggling to deal with her grief in the wake of losing her husband.

Following a 10-month time jump, Liz has awoken from her coma and decided to make a major change in her life. The midseason premiere, therefore, picks up with Liz living in a secluded cabin in Alaska under an assumed name as she desperately tries to put her past behind her, with flashbacks filling in the blanks of what happened in the interim. Can she really leave her life behind? EW turned to Boone to get the scoop on the hour.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This episode is very reminiscent of “Cape May.” What can you tell us about the midseason premiere?
MEGAN BOONE: “Ruin” is a standalone film centered around Liz’s experience after Tom’s death, which gives it a very reflective tone. It’s very different from our fast-paced thriller episodes of The Blacklist. This episode is really cinematic. Even the title is “Ruin” rather than the name of a blacklister, because it really veers away from the formula of solving the cases of The Blacklist.

What is it like for Liz to be away from everything and everyone? And can she ever truly get away?
We find Liz as she’s abandoned her life, and clearly she’s running away from something, but you’re constantly bombarded by these flashbacks that serve to catch the viewer up on key aspects of the aftermath of Tom’s death, but also they show how there’s this intrinsic, inescapable tie to her past life. It’s really allowed insight into Liz’s internal life while she’s really isolated. She lives in obscurity. No one really knows very much about her in this small town that’s adjacent to her cabin. The people she does interact with don’t even know her real name. She’s worked very hard to establish a self-imposed isolation, but her past is always coming back to haunt her.

Both emotionally and physically, where are we picking up with Liz?
She’s really, really injured. Her core physicality is [damaged]. She’s really struggling to just approach her daily life physically. On top of that, with Tom, it’s as if she’s lost a limb. She’s not doing so great. She’s struggling.

What was it like filming this episode?
I got a chance to just work with the crew that I’ve been working with for years now. I mean, the director of this episode has been a D.P. on this show since day 1. The camaraderie was almost even stronger than normal because I got real quality time with them. That aside, the experience of shooting this episode was actually a lot closer to the kind of work I envisioned myself doing as an actor and in my field. I’ve always felt like being in the thriller procedural sort of melodrama of The Blacklist has been a real stretch for me. It’s been something I’ve always been really stretching myself to do. For this episode, I got to return to something that felt very congruent with who I am. After having stretched myself for four and a half years, almost five seasons of a television show, I really felt like that informed the work in a way. In those real quiet moments with Liz, I really didn’t have to create any kind of history, it was all just there.

The first half of the season was a fun ride where we actually saw Liz Keen smile. Would you say heading into the second half of the season that it’s almost going to be the complete opposite?
Yeah, we’re not gong to see a lot of Liz giggling. [Laughs] That was a lot of fun to play. It was nice to be in on the joke at the beginning of the season, because The Blacklist always serves up its thriller with a wink and a smile. I was glad to be tipping my hat to the audience a little bit. I don’t mind going on this new path now that I’ve gotten a little levity. The back half of season 5 will definitely explore how Liz is going to approach this phase of her life, and we’ll see her lean on these maybe genetically inherited darker impulses and behave a little bit like Red. But in that, we’ll also see her able to enjoy the darker underbelly of life a little bit more.

The Blacklist returns Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Check back following the episode for more from Boone on Liz Keen’s next steps in finding Tom’s killer.

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