Red’s mysterious game to help the FBI stop his “Blacklist” of the world’s most dangerous criminals in Season 1 brings his past crashing down around everyone.
Previously on The Blacklist – “A war is coming,” Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) admits with a little more urgent emotion than his normal controlled tone. That war, sparked by an unseen adversary deeply connected to Red, Agent Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone) and her double agent husband Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) in ways even Red doesn’t yet understand, comes crashing down on everyone. When a downed plane lets loose a number of Russian prisoners into the streets of New York, Tom’s boss—the mysterious Berlin—finally arrives.
As Red attempts to flush out Berlin to confront the threat head on, the entire FBI Task Force now finds themselves targets while they race to collect crash escapees. Agent Keen, Agent Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff), Deputy Director Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix) and Agent Meera Malik (Parminder Nagra) realize that most of Red’s Blacklist cases have been connected by his attempt to find Berlin. The FBI Task Force has now become the “hunted” in a deadly game of cat and mouse between Berlin and Red.
After a series of violent attacks that leave Deputy Director Cooper clinging to life in a coma and Agent Malik killed at the hands of a knife-welding assassin, the team finds themselves reeling. Red embarks on a violent killing spree of Berlin’s associates in a furious pursuit of his adversary. During his climatic interrogation of Berlin/Milo (Andrew Howard), Red is interrupted by Tom holding Liz at gunpoint. In a final struggle that leaves Tom shot by Liz and Berlin/Milo dead, Tom, though struggling to speak, apologizes to her and confides that her father is still alive before slipping away.
In the aftermath, Liz and Red uneasily come to grips with where to go next. Having both independently come to the conclusion that the man Red killed was not the real Berlin, Liz still cannot face continuing with Red who quietly acknowledges to her that he will go.
Liz, still struggling with the knowledge that Red killed her adopted father, returns to Red, stopping him before he can leave. In the final quiet moment sitting together Liz tells Red that before Tom died, he told her that her father was still alive. Red assures her that her father died in that fire. Whether true or not, they both accept it for the moment. Because the real Berlin (Peter Stormare) is still out there. And no one is safe.
- Raymond “Red” Reddington: Last seen viewing the picture he retrieved from The Stewmaker’s collection of the a mysterious young woman and removing his shirt to reveal scared burns long since healed. Who is the girl? What connection does she have with Berlin who also has the same picture? How are Red, Berlin and the girl connected to Liz? And do the scars on Red’s back mean he is linked to the fire where Liz got her own scar?
- Agent Elizabeth “Liz” Keen: Her life has been turned upside down through Season 1. Liz is left near the end almost emotionally spent. Still coping with the knowledge that Red killed her adopted father and reeling from the betrayal of Tom, her life up to now seems to have been at best a terrible dream or at worst a complete lie by everyone around. Can she continue to work with Red toward the good end of capturing some of the world’s most dangerous criminals and keep the Task Force going? Who IS her real father and what connection did he have to Red, her adopted father Sam (William Sadler) and perhaps even Berlin?
- Donald Ressler: Still haunted by the loss of his love Audrey and the bitter betrayal of a long-time friend, things begin to seriously pile on with the recent death of Malik and Cooper’s uncertain recovery. Ressler seems to be at a crossroads. The demons within him are recognized by Red who warns him there are things he may do in the darkness from which he cannot return. It would seem as the season ends that the only people Ressler may trust are Liz and oddly enough Red himself (as long as their interests are aligned).
- Tom Keen: Whereabouts and condition unknown. Tom was last seen shot multiple times by Liz who later tells Red he is dead, but when authorities process the scene, his body is no longer there. Is it possible that Tom survived? And how did he “know” Liz’s father was still alive?
- Harold Cooper: Last seen struggling for life after a vicious attack at the hands of Berlin’s men left him in a coma with a small glimmer of hope as he moved a finger near the end. Will Cooper retain his status as leader of the Task force if he survives? How will the coming war between Red and Berlin affect the direction the team takes next?
- Ranko Zamani: The first blacklister in the series pilot is Ranko Zamani (Jamie Jackson), who kidnapped the daughter of General Daniel Ryker (Chance Kelly).
- The Freelancer (No. 145): An assassin known as “The Freelancer” turns out to be a decoy hired by Reddington to poison Floriana Campo (Isabella Rossellini), who used her charity to aid in running her sex slavery ring and also eliminate the competition.
- Wujing (No. 84): (Chin Han) In custody after being tagged with Liz’s tracking device.
- The Stewmaker (No. 161): One of the most memorable Blacklister’s, Stanley Cornish a chemical expert called “The Stewmaker” (Tom Noonan), who uses chemicals to dissolve his victims. It’s this episode that introduced the complexity of Red’s character when he kills Stanley by pushing him into a bath of his own chemicals, then takes a photograph from the photo album of all The Stewmaker’s victims that revealed clues that we’ll later find out towards the end of the season.
- The Courier (No. 85): The fifth blacklister wasn’t the central focus in this episode as Elizabeth begins to suspect Tom her husband and starts to investigate him.
- Gina Zanetakos (No. 152): (Margarita Levieva) The deadly corporate terrorist, is the sixth blacklister, who revealed to Liz that Red was behind the Boston incident.
- Frederick Barnes (No. 47): (Robert Sean Leonard) The brilliant scientist, who weaponized a deadly and rare disease in order to force the pharmaceutical industry to fund the research that would produce an antidote to save his son.
- General Ludd (No. 109): (Justin Kirk) Handed into custody by Red, but not before Red takes the hard drive with the digital blue prints for newly minted U.S. currency.
- Anslo Garrick (No. 16): (Ritchie Coster) We find out, there’s a price on Red’s head as we witness the story arc taking on an assassination attempt.
- The Good Samaritan (No. 106): (Frank Whaley) A serial killer from Liz’s past.
- The Alchemist (No. 101): (Ryan O’Nan) A scientist who was hired by a mob informant and his wife to change their appearance and to transform their DNA into someone else’s.
- The Cyprus Agency (No. 64): Owen Mallory (Campbell Scott) is in custody and the abducted mothers from the baby factory freed, but Owen’s legacy lives on since ALL the children were his own.
- Madeline Pratt (No. 73): (Jennifer Ehle) Escaped after being tricked by Red into giving the location of the stolen Effigy, but managed to steal an invaluable painting from Red before she mysteriously vanished.
- The Judge (No. 57): (Dianne Wiest) Last seen in custody after her years of underground justice were revealed leading to her capture.
- Mako Tanida (No. 83): (Hoon Lee) Known in this episode for killing Ressler’s love, Audrey, and then shown to be dead himself when Reddington sends Ressler Tanida’s decapitated head.
- Ivan (No. 88): (Mark Ivanir) The true Ivan turned out to be innocent of the Skeleton Key incident and is still at large in Russia with no desire to tangle with the FBI. He was impersonated by a young teen, Harrison Lee (Will Denton), who was taken into custody by Liz trying to win the affections a Skeleton Key developer’s daughter.
- Milton Bobbit (No. 135): An insurance claims adjuster, who targeted terminally ill people to commit murder-suicide in exchange for financial benefits that would be given to their surviving families.
- The Pavlovich Brothers (No. 119–122): If you remember the pilot episode, it’s the first appearance of The Pavlovich brothers who specialty is abducting high value targets.
- The Kingmaker (No. 42): (Linus Roache) plays the strategist ‘behind the rise of some of the world’s most powerful politicians,’ and one of the Blacklisters who died before Reddington was able to interrogate him and find out who ordered the incident in Prague.
- Berlin (No. 8): (Peter Stormare) Undeniably ruthless and currently at large. He cut off his own hand to escape the plane crash posed as a guard. He has with him the same picture of the young woman Red now holds. It’s hinted that the young woman may be Berlin’s daughter who is likely dead if she were in the Stewmaker’s collection. If so, does Berlin blame her death on Red? And how are they all connected to Liz?
- Dembe: (Hisham Tawfiq) Still has the back of his loyal compatriot Red. Who else may step up to help Red in the coming war with Berlin?
- Mr Kaplan: (Susan Blommaert) The one-woman clean up crew with a long history of helping Red hide his crimes from the world is certainly one of the most interesting characters on this show. We know little about her except that Red trusts her to erase many messes he creates.
- Aram Mojtabai: (Amir Arison) Our resident tech geek and information guru is patiently waiting for whoever is left in the Task Force to return and track down Berlin.
May They Rest In Peace:
- Sam: (William Sadler) Liz’s adopted father, was smothered by Red with a pillow to both prevent a long suffering death and perhaps more importantly to keep the identity of Liz’s real father a secret.
- Malik: (Parminder Nagra) Was killed in the finale by one of Berlin’s associates while hunting down escapees from the downed plane.
- Audrey Bidwell: (Emily Tremaine) Ressler’s one-time fiancé and love briefly re-entered his life bringing smiles to the mostly stoic Ressler until her untimely death at the hands of Yakuza boss Mako Tanida (Hoon Lee).
- Grey: (Charles Baker) Long time associate to Red who ultimately betrayed him to Diane Fowler leading to Anslo Garrick’s successful attack of the Post Office. Once discovered, he was killed by Red, but not before Red honorably promised to take care of Grey’s family.
- Luli: (Deborah S. Craig) Was killed by Anslo Garrick in an attempt to get Red to open the cage in the Post Office.
- The Cowboy: (Lance Reddick) Hired by Red to tail Jolene and catalog where she’d been and where she was going in an effort to find her employer (Berlin). The Cowboy finds himself instead captured and killed by Tom.
- Anslo Garrick: (Ritchie Coster) Attacked the Post Office, killed a number of agents and even Red’s loyal assistant Luli. He was ultimately killed by Red with a pair of scissors.
- Jolene: (Rachel Brosnahan) Posed as substitute teacher and also worked for Berlin. Was killed by Tom to maintain his cover.
- Diane Fowler: (Jane Alexander) Shot multiple times by Red after learning she set up the attack on the Post Office—with the backing of Fitch (Alan Alda) and his secretive Illuminatie-esque group.
- Every other Blacklister: All deceased at the hands of Red, the FBI or themselves.
Who’s Still Around
- Fitch: (Alan Alda) With mysterious ties to Red’s past and seeming ties to the U.S. Government, Fitch is something of an enigma. Season 1 saw him both capture and torture Red (via Anslo Garrick) and in the end work to protect Red despite the protests of others in the secret back-room group of international power brokers that clearly have a separate agenda from everyone else. Fitch repeatedly reminds this group that Red holds damning information over them and in the event of Red’s death “protocols” go into place to release this crippling information to the world.
- Very Few: Not many others that aren’t already detailed above, the body-count on The Blacklist is high.
- Naomi Hyland: (Mary Louise Parker) a recurring character with ties to Red.
- Tamar Katzman: (Mozhan Marnò) A new series regular as spy who will go head to head with Red.
- Rowan Mills: (Krysen Ritter) Guest staring as “a troubled analyst at a data security firm” in the Season 2 opener.
- Unknown Villian: (Paul Reubens) Who according to series creator Jon Bokenkamp will “shake things up when he enters Red’s orbit.”
- Lord Baltimore: Someone whom Red believes can lead he and Liz to Berlin.
What’s Next: Berlin is out there. And a War is indeed coming…
The Season 2 official Trailer opens with a monologue explanation of Red’s motives from Season 1.
“The day we met, you asked me why I surrendered to the FBI. There were many reasons. Berlin was one. That’s why he’s here. Because the work we’ve done has forced him out of the shadows.”
“A war is coming”
In the season opener, Red and Liz embark on a search for “Lord Baltimore” who Red believes may very well point them to Berlin.
But Berlin has his own deadly agenda in store for Red.
Who Berlin is and why he so desperately wants Red to suffer will likely take center stage early in Season 2. Red may well have met his match and the ensuing war will put himself, Liz, Ressler and everyone else in the fight of their lives.
The Blacklist series premieres, MONDAY, SEPT 11. at 10/9c on NBC
Catch up with our WEEKLY REVIEWS on season two of The Blacklist
If you have a quirkly tagline about the show you want to add here do it.Season 1 Reviews | Season 2 Reviews