By Alamin Yohannes
March 20, 2020 at 09:01 PM EDT
Virginia Sherwood/NBC

For once on The Blacklist, Agent Elizabeth Keen is a step ahead of the elusive Raymond Reddington.

In the season 7 spring premiere, Red (James Spader) and the task force faced off against an art forger, but the real tension came from Liz (Megan Boone) and Red. Katarina Rostova (Laila Robins) is alive and Red is unaware, so Liz, who is in the know, is being careful about her next steps.

We spoke to executive producer Jon Bokenkamp about what’s coming in the back half of the season.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: There’s this huge, damaging secret between Red and Liz. How bad will things get between them this time? And what lengths will Red go to in order to maintain their relationship?

JON BOKENKAMP: I think our series always ebbs and flows regarding that core relationship. At times Red and Liz are close, at times they’re emotionally far apart. But again, for the time being, Liz is a step ahead of Red and sort of taking things slowly. She’s not in a rush to confront him because she knows she’s not going to get answers. You saw that in the end of tonight’s episode. Red feels like he’s answered the Katarina question, and he has nothing more to say about it. In his mind, all this business with Katarina Rostova is in the rearview mirror. Liz on the other hand — well, we’ll have to wait and see how she responds. But for now, she’s playing her cards close to the vest.

Katarina is not seen but mentioned, and she’s definitely out there. How heavily will she loom over the second half of the season?

Not for a while. Liz knows her mother survived. The audience knows she’s out there somewhere. But again, looking at the series from Red’s point of view, he’s feeling positive. He believes a mortal enemy is gone. And that sense of relief is going to be seen in the run of upcoming episodes, which in my mind are a lot of fun.

Karolina Wojtasik/NBC

The first half of season had Harold’s epic Kuwait adventure; what can we expect from the other members of the task force?

We have great stories for all of our core cast. Remember, Aram is deep into an unexpected relationship, so we’re going to continue to explore that. We’re going to take a little trip to Alaska to learn about our newest task force member, Alina Park. It’s fair to say she’s got a secret or two. And speaking of secrets, one of the biggest secrets is being kept by Agent Ressler. We tend to think of Ressler as a very by-the-book agent — a real boy scout whose career is built upon integrity — but I think the audience is going to be really surprised when they peel back the curtain and take a peek into his past.

Any Blacklisters you’re especially excited for viewers to meet in the back half of the season?

Oh yeah! Next week is a super-fun episode with Cornelius Ruck. It’s a really great whodunit. But looking ahead, we've got a great corporate villain, a few real misguided creeps, and really fun bad guys that tie into our core cast. We’ve got some really fun episodes coming up.

What else can you tease about what’s coming this season?

I think the best part about what’s to come on the Blacklist is that it’s fun. We can be a very dark show, but this next run of episodes is a blast. Red’s in a good mood and having fun. And when Red has fun, we all have fun.

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

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