The Blacklist honors the 'lovable' late Clark Middleton in new episode
Beloved character Glen Carter gets the eccentric and touching sendoff he deserves.
The Blacklist is honoring a cherished actor who played an equally beloved character.
Clark Middleton, who played eccentric DMV employee Glen Carter, died in October, and the NBC drama will conclude the character's story. In the episode, Raymond Reddington (James Spader) will learn of Glen's death and be given a seemingly impossible task ahead of his friend's celebration of life.
The character of Glen was created because of the strong impression Middleton left when auditioning for a one-off role. After coming in for the audition early in The Blacklist's run, the role of Clark was created for him, which is the only time that has happened on the show. "We just loved him," says executive producer Jon Bokenkamp, "His character started with our love of Clark and how great he is at what he does."
Viewers will see the impact of Glen's passing on Red, which will be more profound than people might expect. The pair have a special relationship, one where Glen was one of the few people who could give Red a hard time. It was surprising to see someone speak to Red, a mastermind criminal that many feared, in a way that would really lather him up. According to the executive producers, Spader loved Clark and their dynamic. "For some reason, this incredibly frustrating, annoying, inappropriate man, Red thought there was something admirable about him, or there was part of his character that he respected or understood in a way," executive producer John Eisendrath says. Staying true to their relationship – even in the afterlife – Reddington will find the task Glen has given him super annoying.
After news of Clark's passing, the executive producers worked to find a thoughtful way to honor him. Initially there was an episode written featuring Glen that they were excited about, but the heartbreaking loss required them to make a new plan to conclude the character's story. The decision was made to have Glen die because they "[didn't] want to pretend that [Glen's] off on a case somewhere or that he fell out with Red," Bokenkamp explains, "We came up with the idea of acknowledging his death."
Glen may have only been in 13 episodes of The Blacklist, but he's a standout character who fans love. "It's crazy to me that you said he's only in about a dozen episodes," Bokenkamp shares. "It really feels to me like he's just part of the DNA of the show."
"It was interesting to me how important he became to the show and to Red," he adds, "It was all born out of our love for this great, quirky, super lovable actor."
Not only did Clark define who Glen became throughout the series, but his impact goes further than that. "Clark was a great guy," says Bokenkamp, "He really helped define the spectrum of different characters and people that we have on our show."
Throughout the series, Spader has shown Reddington's empathy and how moved he can be someone's humanity, and Glen's send-off is no different. Those bonds speak to who Red is at his core, which Spader has always believed, according to the executive producers, is someone who has fundamental decency about him. "This episode is most surprising in the way that [Red] can shift from being so frustrated and annoyed by what Glen has in store to this incredibly emotional appreciation for who Glen was," Eisendrath shares.
Ultimately, the episode speaks for itself, according to the executive producers. Glen is a beloved, eccentric character, and his send-off brings the same energy he brought to The Blacklist. "We really miss the guy," says Bokenkamp. "It's sad and hopefully a great send-off for a really beloved character."
Video courtesy of NBC.