Get to know the brothers Ressler!

By Alamin Yohannes
April 30, 2020 at 12:30 PM EDT
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The Blacklist
Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Donald, you’re up!

After diving into Harold Cooper’s (Harry Lennix) past in Kuwait earlier this season, The Blacklist is giving Agent Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) an episode to explore what led him to the FBI in “Brothers.”

The Blacklist
Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

"We’ve been talking about a Ressler origin story for years now — since the first season, really,” says executive producer Jon Bokenkamp, “How Ressler became the agent he is, what’s driving him, what’s hidden in his past — all of those things are unpacked in this episode, which is a really powerful and emotional story that I expect will catch fans off guard."

Although Donald has been avoiding his brother Robby’s (Anthony Michael Hall) calls for a few episodes, a dangerous secret from their past sends the strained pair back home. The animosity and friction between them is well deserved, assures Klattenhoff, who shares, “It’s safe to say that Donald Ressler and his brother haven’t gotten along in a while.” Bringing the Resslers home gives The Blacklist viewers a surprising look at Donald’s teenage years. Turns out Donald and Robby were not always the by-the-book and shifty pair they are in the present.

The Blacklist
Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Exploring Ressler’s past will shed light on his darkest secret and provide an opportunity for him to change moving forward. Longtime viewers will be excited by this insight into how the rigid FBI agent's by-the-book approach was born. Klattenhoff believes his character may lighten up a bit after this trip down memory lane, “Going forward, there may be just a little more forgiveness and then letting go of this responsibility Ressler has carried around forever.”

“Also, we’ll have to see how much this does or doesn’t change his outlook,” he teases.

The Blacklist
Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

The hour, which is directed by Mahesh Pailoor, also doubles as a first for The Blacklist. This is the first episode in 7 seasons to not feature James Spader’s Raymond Reddington. Klattenhoff shares, “I’m honored to be in the position where they give [me] the reins of the show to do our thing, and it’s also a fun episode.”

In the end, the actor wants fans to enjoy the hour as much as he enjoyed reading it and doing it. “And, hopefully, we’ll see some more of this stuff in the future,” he adds.

The Blacklist airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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