"Now I join you — as a fan — to see where The Blacklist takes us next," the executive producer says.
The Blacklist - Season 2

The mind behind The Blacklist is stepping down.

On the heels of a game-changing season 8 finale, series creator Jon Bokenkamp announced his departure from the NBC crime drama Thursday. His exit follows that of leading lady Megan Boone, whose character met her shocking end in Wednesday's episode.

"I love this show with all of my heart and it's been an incredible journey," Bokenkamp said in a statement posted to Twitter, "but after eight years I feel it's time for me to step out of my comfort zone, try something new, and explore a few of the other characters and stories that have been crawling around in my head."

NBC declined to comment on Bokenkamp's exit.

THE BLACKLIST -- "Godwin Page (#141)" Episode 820
James Spader on 'The Blacklist'
| Credit: Scott Gries/NBC

The Blacklist premiered in 2013, with criminal mastermind Raymond Reddington (James Spader) walking into the life of fresh-faced FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen (Boone) and forging an unconventional partnership devoted to catching bad guys. Bokenkamp had been at the helm from the beginning, and during his run the show also spawned a short-lived spin-off, The Blacklist: Redemption.

Bokenkamp is departing after a season that saw Liz's story take a major turn and ended with two of the show's biggest episodes to date. "It's really hard after eight years to find new surprises, and I think [these two] episodes have some of the biggest surprises we've had in eight years," he told EW recently.

In his statement Thursday, Bokenkamp thanked the show's dedicated fans and mentioned that he has enjoyed following their podcasts, tweets, fan fiction, and more.

The Blacklist has been renewed for a ninth season, and its creator says he's excited to follow along as a fan.

"I genuinely believe the series remains full of life, creatively strong, and that bright days lie ahead," Bokenkamp added.

Related content:

Episode Recaps

The Blacklist - Season 2
The Blacklist

James Spader is Raymond "Red" Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.

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