The Blacklist begins a new chapter with Liz as No. 1 Blacklister
Reddington has often told Liz to "think like a criminal," and that advice may be his downfall.
The Blacklist, which was recently renewed for a ninth season, returned from hiatus after a game-changing event, the murder of superspy Katarina Rostova (Laila Robins). Raymond Reddington (James Spader) has killed Elizabeth Keen's (Megan Boone) mother right in front of her, and she plans to avenge the death. After attempting to kill Reddington in the winter premiere, Agent Keen found herself earning the top spot on the Blacklist, starting a new, defining chapter for the NBC drama.
In the clip above, watch Reddington and his people hunt for Agent Keen, and see the title card listing her as No. 1 on the Blacklist. These new circumstances push the show into a new chapter. "How this unfolds is the great promise of this season," executive producer Jon Bokenkamp says, "It's totally, entirely new in every way."
Reddington's lessons will be beneficial to Liz as she tries to take the criminal mastermind down. Having her on the run allows viewers to see Liz thinking like a criminal. "She will be flipping, in a way, his pattern and aligning herself with Blacklisters," Bokenkamp shares. Looking ahead, the FBI agent is going to display what she's learned about the criminal underworld and use it as a source of power. Specifically, in the upcoming episode, she will be reaching out to Blacklisters she's crossed paths with and even Reddington's assets in an attempt to flip them.
"This is an episode [fans] are going to love because it is going to both excite them and break their hearts," executive producer John Eisendrath.
From the second Reddington walked into her life, a dark path was always a possibility for Liz. "One of the dramatic questions from the beginning is how this master criminal's desire to connect with this innocent FBI agent would change her life," Eisendrath explains. To find Blacklisters, Reddington has encouraged Liz to understand the mindset and think like a criminal. "She's learned at the feet of a master," he adds. The FBI agent's key moments, including learning she has the Warrior gene in her DNA and covering up a murder she committed, coupled with what Reddington has been teaching her, have been leading her to this place. Now, she's been pulled far enough into the dark side to be at the top of Red's list.
The hunt for Liz will be incredibly difficult for the members of the task force. They will be chasing a member of their family. "It does change the dynamic, but it also underscores how much they care about each other," says Eisendrath. Unlike Reddington, who sees a bigger and more dangerous future for Liz, the task force is looking for a way to somehow save Liz from this. Unfortunately, putting everything back together may not be possible after what Red has done. "I would say it would be very difficult to put the genie back into the bottle," Eisendrath adds.
Katarina may be gone, but the mystery she brought out in the open isn't completely closed yet. To discover the truth about Russian operative N13, Katarina faked her death and then gave that information to her daughter. "We're going to be learning a lot about N13 and the stories that surround that person," executive producer Jon Bokenkamp explains, "That's all going to fold into the season in a way that is going to be relevant and important."
The Blacklist airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
James Spader is Raymond "Red" Reddington, a mastermind criminal who teams up with the FBI.