Executive producer Jon Bokenkamp says the show will definitively reveal Tom Keen's fate

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The Blacklist: Season 5
Credit: Will Hart/NBC

The Blacklist will finally catch up to that grim flash forward in the fall finale, thus definitively revealing Tom Keen’s fate — and it doesn’t look good.

After Tom (Ryan Eggold) was abducted by new big bad Ian Garvey (Jonny Coyne) over the contents of that mysterious suitcase, Liz (Megan Boone) will stop at nothing to find him during Thursday’s episode of The Blacklist. “Tom gets as close as anyone has gotten to unlocking the deeper mythology of the show, [but] Red is willing to go to the end of the earth and back to put these bones back in the ground,” executive producer Jon Bokenkamp tells EW. Read our full interview with the Blacklist boss below.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Now that we’ve met this big bad pulling the strings, what can you tease of the fall finale?
JON BOKENKAMP: This man, Ian Garvey, is ultimately an incredibly powerful and dangerous man with a big reach. He has Tom is his custody and all he wants are the bones. By the end of the [previous] episode, Tom has told Ian Garvey that he can give him Reddington. He’s basically trying to save his life, begging for his life. He’s essentially lying to Garvey by saying he’s an ally of Red’s, and was tracking down this suitcase for Red, and that he can deliver Red to Ian Garvey. So now we’re in a place where Tom’s trying to weasel his way out of this situation and trying to stay alive, and potentially putting Red in incredible danger.

Ian seems to think whoever controls the bones will have something over Red. Is that the only reason Ian wants them or is there a deeper connection there that you will unveil?
I think it’s potentially both. The contents of the suitcase are devastating to Reddington. He obviously is going to great lengths to bury this secret, put it back in the ground where it belongs, and to let it be lost to the sands of time. That said, is there a bigger emotional hook or something more personal to Reddington that he’s afraid of as well? I think so. As we get into the back half of the season, we’ll explore more of what the bones represent and why they’re so damning to him. At the moment, the only thing that’s really important to understand is that he is willing to go to the end of the earth and back to put these bones back in the ground.

Will we reach the flash forward that we saw in the premiere, in which it appears Tom dies?
In our premiere episode of season 5, we saw at the very end a very odd dream-like impressionistic image of Red standing over Tom and essentially what appeared to be him shooting Tom. We are now, in episode 8, eventually going to catch up to that moment, reveal exactly what happened in that moment, and that is something we’ve been building toward all season. I think of it as an almost haunted memory that this place holds that we saw in episode 1, this thing, this premonition that’s going to happen. We are now, because of Tom pursuing the suitcase when Red had told him not to, on a collision course with what we saw in the opening of the season.

Will you definitively say whether Tom is indeed alive or deed in the fall finale?
Yes, for sure. It’s very clean. I think we have a great cliffhanger, and also some really concrete resolution in terms of what have these people been up to? What did that pop at the beginning of the season mean? I think we have a really unique and fresh springboard that is going to send us into the back half of the season in a very unexpected way. I’m really proud of this fall finale. It’s incredibly emotional. It’s got a great pace. It’s a freight train. It’s a very urgent episode, and yet at the same time, we have moments within it that are just incredibly emotional and really boil down to putting our main characters — the people who are the center of the show — in some great moments together.

Will we get some more info in the fall finale about whose bones those are?
Yes and no. I’ll say this: Tom is basically holding Red’s secret in his hands, and holding — as Red feels — Red’s destiny in his hands. He gets as close as anyone has gotten to unlocking the deeper mythology of the show. So we’re not answering everything for the audience, but big pieces fall into place.

Anything you can tease about the fall finale cliffhanger?
Our cliffhanger, as we move forward, is completely unexpected. We find Liz in a really unique and surprising place. In a way, the show is thrown up in the air. As much as we did this with Reddington in losing his empire — and he’s been clawing his way back, trying to figure out who he is without all the money and power, and has been on this path of self-discovery and trying to earn his way back to the top of the most wanted list — we find Liz in that same position where she’s in an incredibly vulnerable place. As is Reddington.

The Blacklist fall finale airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Episode Recaps

The Blacklist - Season 2
The Blacklist

James Spader is Raymond "Red" Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.

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