'The Blacklist' bosses discuss season finale's surprise returns and shocking twists.

By Alamin Yohannes
May 17, 2019 at 09:00 PM EDT
Virginia Sherwood/NBC
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Warning: This article contains spoilers about the season 6 finale of The Blacklist. Read at your own risk!

Liz’s family is all together again with one major returning member she’s not even aware of!

In the season 6 finale of The Blacklist, the task force defeats Anna McMahon — thanks to Dembe — and discovers what the assassination plot is actually about. With the President alive — and tendering his resignation — Liz (Megan Boone) goes home to finally be reunited with her daughter Agnes.

It’s a happy day at the Keen household, but Reddington (James Spader) is up to his usual secretive maneuvering. With the help of a mysterious old friend of his, Reddington finds the elusive Katarina Rostova in France. She kisses him, sticks him with a needle, and her guys appear out of nowhere, collecting his body and tossing him in a van. Executive producers Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath break down the Katarina of it all and tease how long Liz’s happiness will last.

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start with Katarina. Why bring her back into the story in the flesh and what is it going to be like after everything’s she been through? That was quite the introduction!
JON BOKENKAMP: Katarina is a character that is very much part of the DNA of the show. We met her a number of other times, played by Lotte Verbeek, as this very crafty, sort of dangerous spy and we have also been talking about her a lot this season. We’ve sort of been platforming this moment, building to it. Liz wanting to know what really happened to her mother. Hearing Dom’s story about how Katarina walked out of the water and did not die at Cape May as we had previously believed. And so, we’ve been talking about Katarina a lot this season. The characters have been sort of circling her, they’ve all been in her orbit and it just felt like a great moment, an unexpected moment really, especially after Red has just told Liz that Katerina is not a danger to Agnes.

So, I think it’s finally time for us to meet, in the flesh, the present-day version of Katarina Rostova and I think she’s an enigma. I think she’s a very mysterious, powerful, formidable person as seen in just a very brief moment that we saw her in at the end of season 6. So, that’s a promise of what is to come for season 7 and I think there’s a great momentum going into next season.

Katarina has Red! How concerned should we be about his safety?
JOHN EISENDRATH: It’s always fun to see how Red sort of tries to wiggle himself out of these dangerous situations and this will be a seismic one. However, I think just the mere fact that Katarina is there and has betrayed him and what she represents, I think is probably far more dangerous than the physical peril that Red’s in at the end of season 6.

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Speaking of Liz’s family, Agnes is back. Are we going to see more of Liz as a mother? Or will Katarina or something else she’s unaware of ruin their time together?
EISENDRATH: Katarina’s presence will definitely impact Liz and Liz’s family life. In terms of how it impacts them going forward, we have yet to completely figure out, to be completely honest.

The Blacklist is a show at its core about a parent-child relationship. That’s Red relationship to Liz and now Katarina’s relationship to Liz and Liz’s relationship with her own child. Ultimately the decisions Liz makes regarding her own family are definitely going to be colored by the experience she has with both Red and Katarina.

On a happier note, Dembe’s (Hisham Tawfiq) back! He says his journey during his time away brought him back to Red, but will their relationship be the same moving forward?
EISENDRATH: Dembe this season explored more than he has in any previous seasons. The conflict that he has between his love and admiration of Reddington and his concern and disagreement about the secrets that he has kept from Liz. It only works that he’s come back if he’s made some genuine decisions about the fact that he can accept some of the choices that Red has made, but that does not mean that going forward he won’t be equally adamant that Red act in a way that is true to the better angels of his nature. And Dembe is always going to appeal to the better angels of Red.

This season saw the exit of Samar Navabi (Mozhan Marnò). Should we be expecting some new faces on the Task Force next season?
BOKENKAMP: We’ve talked about that and are talking about it. It obviously changes the dynamic of the task force with Samar being gone. We’ve seen Aram sort of step into a role that he had wanted actually, to be field-trained and to be a bit more active. So, I would suspect we might see a little more of Aram in a more physical sort of role, maybe get out from behind the keyboard a little bit.

But, also, yes we’re totally open to and have talked about other characters, both with the task force and with Red. You can see with Red one of the things we like to do is to bring in and introduce new and different and unusual people and I think the task force is no different. And so that is, I think, definitely something worth talking about.

Is there anything you can tease about the next chapter of The Blacklist?
BOKENKAMP: Our show is often two things at once: a procedural and a serialized show. We’re juggling lots of different kinds of stories. The story with Red is in incredible jeopardy now and there is going to be a great story behind where he is, the jeopardy he’s in, and how he’s going to get out of it. Yet, at the same time, we have introduced Katarina, a character that we’ve talked about for years on the show and she is obviously incredibly formidable. And with her, I believe, will come more answers and an endgame will snap into focus even more. I think in the relationships between Reddington and Katarina and Elizabeth Keane, all of that, there is a really interesting story and mythology to unpack as we look ahead in season 7.

The Blacklist will return this fall on NBC.

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James Spader returns as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.
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  • 09/23/13
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