SPOILER ALERT: This story includes details about tonight’s episode of The Blacklist.
In the final act of tonight’s jam-packed Season 3 finale of NBC’s The Blacklist, Liz (Megan Boone) came back from the dead and met her father (nope, still not Red Reddington). Her death had been faked by Red’s trusted associate Kate Kaplan, who did it behind her boss’ back. But as Tom (Ryan Eggold) and baby Agnes fly to Cuba to reunite with Liz, they are tracked by the people of Alexander Kirk, Red’s old foe who had been trying to abduct Liz. By the time Red’s team gets to Cuba, Liz, Tom and the baby are gone, and Red’s threatens Kate, “What am I gonna do with you?” Meanwhile, Liz, tied to a chair, meets Kirk who tells her he is her father. Here is The Blacklist creator/executive producer Jon Bokencamp shedding light on tonight’s developments, the decision to fake Liz’s death, Red and Kirk’s history, what the future holds for Liz, Tom, and their baby, what Kate’s fate might be, and what the impact of the shocking revelation would be on Red and his relationship with Liz.
DEADLINE: First off, I assume Tom and the baby are alive and well? (after all, one has a spinoff, the other one is a baby)
BOKENKAMP: Well, they might be alive, but I certainly wouldn’t assume they’re ‘well’. I can think of a lot of strange, dark and unusual things that might happen with those two.
DEADLINE: Where are the three being held?
BOKENKAMP: Held? Are they being held somewhere? I think that’s only one option, isn’t it? One of the things I love about the end of this season is that it gives us so many different options in terms of where we go next. I’d say Tom and Agnes are…unaccounted for. Or maybe they are being held. I do like that idea.
DEADLINE: How was the decision made to “kill off” Elizabeth Keene as you were looking to accommodate Megan’s pregnancy?
BOKENKAMP: You know, we really embraced Megan’s pregnancy from the beginning. We never really considered trying to hide it — having her walk around carrying potted plants and standing behind furniture. Her pregnancy allowed us to find an organic way to deal with Liz’s own childhood and feelings of abandonment and identity. In the end, it was less about “killing her off,” and more about the Red/Liz dynamic. She was thinking about her child when she made the decision to try and get away from Red.
DEADLINE: Were you influenced by Game of Thrones‘ Jon Snow?
BOKENKAMP: I’ve never actually seen Game of Thrones, but I hear John Snow is alive and well. I’m happy for him.
DEADLINE: Why did Alexander Kirk go though so much carnage to get to his daughter and didn’t just reach out to her?
BOKENKAMP: Well, that’s the question, right? I think you gotta tune into Season 4 to learn the answer to that.
DEADLINE: Alexander and Red have been feuding for years. What is their history? Does Red know Alexander is Liz’s father?
BOKENKAMP: Red’s knowledge about Liz and her family is a thread we’ve been pulling for some time. The secrets he keeps are important for a variety of reasons, but – for example – when Liz was forced to remember the fire, it helped them find the fulcrum. Red’s self-interest is fueled by his history, and Kirk is part of that history. I think you’re going to see we have a lot of story to tell about these two and their relationship.
DEADLINE: What is Kate’s fate?
BOKENKAMP: Mr. Kaplan’s betrayal is unlike any of the others we’ve seen in the past three seasons. You know, you see her stand up to Red, and I think she made him really look at the way he’s been trying to protect Liz. I also think it’s important to remember that this whole idea — Liz faking her death — this didn’t come from Liz’s or Tom’s; it was Kaplan who concocted this plan. Liz only went along with it (while in child birth). I’m not excusing what she did, she agreed to do it, but it’s not as simple as Liz running away. From the day we met Elizabeth Keen in the pilot she wanted a normal life; a husband and a baby and this was a chance to finally escape Red and have that dream. Unfortunately it turned into something more of a nightmare, I think.
DEADLINE: What about Liz, Tom and Agnes’ future?
BOKENKAMP: Right! Talk about a splintered family unit. Liz meets Kirk, and has no idea where her family is. She was trying to protect them from Red, but didn’t know what was waiting around the corner. Now they’re in the exact jeopardy she was trying to avoid. I feel like this child is going to need some serious therapy if she makes it to adulthood.
DEADLINE: Where does the show go from here — is the next arc Red tracking down Liz?
BOKENKAMP: Look, that’s what’s so exciting to me about this next season. I feel like — at the end of season three — we landed on a really great engine driving us forward, and I think we have a similar engine here. The entire team is splintered, not just physically, but emotionally. The one person that Red cares about in this world is now missing and in the hands of his enemy. It’s gonna be really exciting to spin those in the room this year. As for Red, rest assured, he will be on fire.
DEADLINE: Would Red work for the FBI again if Liz returns or his blacklist as we know it is over?
BOKENKAMP: Well, Reddington certainly wouldn’t work for the FBI without Elizabeth, he said so much in tonight’s episode. He’s only there because of a secret agenda that Liz is central to. But our show has, and I hope always will have, a strong procedural element. That said, here’s what I love about this arc and her death — our fans, the really die hard fans, they were pissed when Liz died! They’re smart enough to know that Red and Liz are the show. The questions of who Red is to her, why he cares so deeply for her, what he wants from her — that’s all that ultimately really matters, and when we took Liz away from them the fans were rightfully upset. Hopefully, they see we’re not going to abandon that relationship, no matter how strained it becomes. And believe me — it will be strained. But that relationship is everything.
DEADLINE: How will the shocking development change Red’s relationship with Liz, and how will it change Red?
BOKENKAMP: I think the decision Liz made to fake her death will have significant impacts, not only with Red, but with the entire team! How much of a betrayal was this? How understanding will the others be? I think there is a lot of fertile material there, story wise, and that’s going to be a big part of Season 4. You think this was a roller coaster ride? Just wait.