Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Wednesday’s episode of The Blacklist. Read at your own risk!
The Blacklist unveiled a long-awaited secret during Wednesday’s episode — and it’s certainly going to complicate things as the show races toward a conclusion with the character of Ian Garvey.
As the FBI headed to Paris to arrest Ian Garvey’s drug supplier, Liz Keen decided to stay behind in a bid to take down Garvey himself. Liz discovered that Garvey would drive an hour to Baltimore just to nurse a beer at a bar, after which he’d bid farewell to a mysterious woman named Lillian.
Why is she so important to him? According to Lillian, Ian has been protecting her from her real father: Raymond Reddington. Yup, she’s the long-lost Jennifer Reddington! What? You don’t remember who that is? It’s fine. EW turned to executive producer Jon Bokenkamp to get the scoop.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This woman says she’s the daughter of Raymond Reddington. She certainly believes it’s true, but should we believe it’s the truth?
JON BOKENKAMP: It is most likely the truth. Viewers might remember that as far back as season 2, we had introduced a character whose name was Jennifer Reddington and who was MIA. Reddington was looking for her. The woman’s mother, Naomi Hyland, played by Mary-Louise Parker, was protecting her and wanted nothing to do with Reddington. Reddington had no access, no way to contact her and couldn’t find her. And so there is a character out there who we know to be Reddington’s daughter and this woman, it seems that her foot may fit the slipper.
So technically she would be Liz’s half-sister?
Yes, that’s right. We know that Raymond Reddington is the father of Jennifer Reddington and the father of Elizabeth Keen. We know that Jennifer’s mother is Naomi Hyland, who was Raymond Reddington’s wife. And we know that Elizabeth Keen’s mother was Katarina Rostova, the other woman and the notorious spy presumed dead.
Why has Ian Garvey been protecting Jennifer all these years?
One of the things that’s interesting about Ian Garvey’s character, and what’s gonna be worth tuning in for the next episode, is that we know Ian Garvey is a dirty cop. He’s a U.S. Marshal. The U.S. Marshals run the Witness Protection Program and he’s in bed with some fairly nefarious folks, including the Nash Cartel and their suppliers. And so the question I think is: What is his agenda? Ian Garvey found out in episode 8, or shortly thereafter, the identity of the bones in this duffle bag. So why has he not gone to the FBI? Why has he not gone to the press? Why hasn’t he leveraged Reddington in some incredibly powerful way? For some reason, he’s been sitting on this bag and is trying to unlock or understand something deeper. And that, I think, is the reason to stay tuned, because his relationship with Jennifer, his relationship with Tom Keen, who he murdered, his relationship with Liz, all of those are going to sort of snap into focus in the next episode.
How will Jennifer react to the news that Liz is her sister, but also that Red has basically found her?
Not only how is she gonna react to this, but what information does she have, if any? She could be incredibly dangerous. She knows potentially truths about who Raymond Reddington is. She knows why he stepped out of her life and yet she’s been completely disconnected for years. She’s sort of a grab bag of answers. How emotionally dangerous she might be, she certainly has a different perspective about Raymond Reddington than Elizabeth Keen does. She hates the man. She knows nothing about the fact that he’s working for the FBI, or does she? And yet, how is Liz gonna juggle that? To me, she’s a really interesting window into not only the last couple episodes of this season, but everything that comes after.
What will Liz and Jennifer’s dynamic be like?
Well, it certainly won’t be normal, I’m sure of that. I’m sure it will be incredibly dysfunctional and strangely dark and full of surprises. We’re not interested in telling the reunion story of the two sisters who are gonna get to know each other. It is gonna be one that is fraught with questions and answers, and it’s gonna weirdly answer a lot of questions that we’ve had for quite some time. I think Liz is seeing Jennifer a little bit less a sister and more as an asset or a chip to play.
Since Jennifer considers Ian her surrogate father, will that make the showdown between Red and Ian all the more complicated?
Remember, Red, as of episode 18, has no idea that Liz has found this woman, so there’s also that to consider. What does Liz say to anybody? Does she say something to Reddington? Does she go to the FBI? Does she keep this to herself? But then beyond the question of how does Liz play this new piece of information, this is a weird family drama, in a way. Ian Garvey and Jennifer obviously have a long and deep history. Liz and Reddington partnered up in an effort to find and to hunt down Ian Garvey, but they both have very different perspectives on this duffle bag. And Red made no bones about it that he had every intention of zipping it up and keeping it from Liz, and Liz told Reddington, “Great. I have no intention of doing that and I have every intention of finding and unlocking whatever this secret is.” So, they find themselves in a potentially awkward family dynamic.
The Blacklist airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.