I watched the first season of NBC’s The Blacklist because, back in 2013, I somehow had enough time to watch a network drama on the basis of the performance of one actor (James Spader). I was not alone. Around twelve million people watched The Blacklist during its first season.
Here’s something that may not surprise you: In its most recent season, The Blacklist only averaged around 4 million viewers. Here is something that might surprise many you: The Blacklist is still on the air. It wrapped its Covid-shortened season back in the Spring (by using animation to complete some storylines), and it has been renewed for an eighth season.
The series has been on so long that I asked a very similar question to the one in the headline four years ago. What is the relationship between Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Keen (Megan Boone) and Raymond Reddington (James Spader). This has been the central mystery over the course of the entire series, and every once in a while, I will stumble upon a mention of The Blacklist on the Internet and wonder again if that mystery has been resolved. When I was still watching it, it seemed obvious that Reddington was Keen’s father, as much as he seemed to deny it. As of 2016, that mystery continued to be open.
Now? Based on my research — and absolutely no time spent actually watching the series — it appears that Raymond Reddington is Liz Keen’s father. There was storyline where a DNA test proved that Reddington was Keen’s father. But here’s the twist: The character played by Spader purporting to be Raymond Reddington is not actually Reddington. The real Reddington is a man who Liz Keen accidentally shot and killed when she was four years old.
Meanwhile, the man played by James Spader claiming to be Reddington is actually a man named Ilya Koslov. Ilya Koslov was the childhood friend and occasional lover of Keen’s mother, Katarina Rostova, a former KGB agent. Katarina faked her death by walking into the ocean, and although no one had seen her for 28 years, she is still alive, living in France. Spader’s Ilya Koslov took on Reddington’s identity in order to protect Katarina.
Got it? There is one other loose string for those who watched season one and bailed, and that is Liz Keen’s husband, Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold). It turns out, he was an assassin, and it seems like after Liz found that out, they had an uneasy relationship but ultimately reconciled. Stabbed in the abdomen, Tom died saving Liz in season 5, after his spin-off with Famke Janssen , The Blacklist: Redemption, was cancelled.
Header Image Source: NBC