Watch Harold Cooper confront Ilya Koslov in The Blacklist sneak peek
Raymond Reddington has got some explaining to do.
Viewers of The Blacklist have long operated under the assumption that Reddington (James Spader) and Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix) go way back, but that changed when Liz (Megan Boone) told the task force Red’s secret: He’s actually Russian operative Ilya Koslov, not the man Cooper knew. On this week’s episode, “Kuwait,” Cooper finally confronts Red, and you can get a first look at that conversation in the exclusive clip above.
Now Cooper has to decide whether or not he’ll inform Main Justice about Reddington’s true identity, which could destroy the task force. “Cooper is the guy who does the right thing,” executive producer John Eisendrath recently told EW. “He’s a moral figure, and he is going to be saddled quite soon with making a decision about what to do with the task force.”
This anticipated confrontation takes place on a plane as the pair head out on a mission tied to Cooper and the real Reddington’s shared past. Cooper learns that his former partner Daniel Hutton, who he believed died years ago, is a prisoner of war, and the noble agent quickly heads off to help Hutton when asked to handle the situation.
Without a blacklister from Red’s list, this Cooper-centric episode will give viewers a chance to learn much more about Harold, which Lennix was excited about. “I get a chance to really engage from the point of view of Cooper rather than being given a blacklister by Reddington,“ Lennix says. “This is really something that’s been in his life for a long time that predates the blacklist, so it’s really it’s unique in that way and very wonderful.”
Eisendrath previously teased that we would soon learn Cooper’s dark secret about Kuwait, which was established in season 1. “We’re going to learn truths about Cooper and who he was and what he did that will I think give the audience new insights into Cooper, deepen his character, and make us realize that he’s much more complicated than we’ve ever imagined,” he said.
Cooper’s previous working relationship with Reddington and the international criminal’s drive to protect Liz made navigating the murky waters of their work a little easier. Cooper now has to rethink everything, including Red’s endgame and motives. “If he is not in fact Reddington, then in whose interest is he operating and is it in fact a foreign government?” Lennix says. “Is there an endgame that that is somehow going to compromise the safety and integrity of the United States of America? Those are very valid questions Cooper is going to have to deal with it.”
One thing is clear: Harold Cooper is going to be very busy this week.
The Blacklist airs Friday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
James Spader is Raymond "Red" Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.