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TV Show
September 22, 2017 at 05:06 PM EDT

After The Blacklist revealed what we’ve all suspected from the beginning — Red (James Spader) is Liz’s (Megan Boone) father! — the show will return to its season 1 roots in tone this year.

“Liz and the show are lighter without that mystery hanging over the Red/Liz dynamic,” Boone tells EW. “She’s empowered when she is let in on the secret, and she might even be having actual fun trying to keep it all together now.”

The problem now becomes the balance between being an FBI agent and being the daughter of a criminal mastermind, made even more precarious by the mysterious suitcase left in Tom’s (Ryan Eggold) possession that is on its way to Liz. Suffice it to say, Red is still keeping secrets from Liz. Talk about daddy issues! Actually, Boone does just that below:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How is Liz dealing with knowing Red is her father?
MEGAN BOONE: Liz and the show are lighter without that mystery hanging over the Red/Liz dynamic. Now she just has to keep her pesky dad out of trouble enough to get away with The Blacklist mission and keep him in enough trouble to access the criminal underworld and catch bad guys.

How do you think she’s a different character now knowing this?
Navigating the interpersonal and moral negotiations of a criminal informant’s liaison in the FBI is a risky balancing act, especially when he happens to be your father. That adds a layer of complexity to the relationship, and while Liz just couldn’t seem to get it together in the past when she didn’t know who either of her parents were or why Red had a vested interest in her, a weight has been lifted. She’s empowered when she is let in on the secret, and she might even be having actual fun trying to keep it all together now. The challenges are exciting without all of that confusion.

How do those changes affect her dynamics with those around her?
Adventures with her dad, Red, get her out of her overly serious life, and she moves Red a little closer to a moral center. Everyone else on The Blacklist Taskforce will ultimately cast dispersions at some point, because her actions as a CI’s liaison will sometimes be colored with her allegiance to her father.

Is she even more loyal to Red following the news?
I think what she will do — because of her loyalty to him — surprises her sometimes, but her work means a lot to her. She ultimately wants to be a good agent.

Will Liz learn more, or at least want to know more, about her background now that she knows the truth?
She’s been ready to move on from this and is taking this new information as an opportunity to live her life.

What can you tease about the reunion between Tom and Liz?
I remember jumping on Tom. It wasn’t scripted, but I think it expressed how happy we were to have him back on the show.

Tom has this suitcase with supposed explosive information. Will Liz be filled in relatively quickly and how will that color her dynamic with Red moving forward?
Tom is on a collision course with Red by trying to reveal this information. Tensions are running high again between those two.

What new threats will the team be facing?
We are trying to rebuild Reddington’s criminal empire while also trying to appease new superiors at the bureau who don’t understand the value of our operation yet. The criminals we meet along the way are my favorite kind of threat — they’re risky and smart, unpredictable and unique, and in real Blacklist form, we have great actors coming in to color our precarious world.

Will we get to see Liz and Dom interact this season?
Not so far, but good question for the writers.

What themes will the show be exploring this season?
We’re continuing to explore the moral gray area, and asking the question of whether criminal activity is within the nature of man or a human reaction to the societal and economic systems in which we are forced to contend in our lives. Also, that bad behavior is fun.

The Blacklist returns Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

James Spader returns as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.
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