Spoilers if you haven't caught Thursday's episode of The Blacklist yet. If you haven't watch, feel free to click out of this story and check out one of our other exciting articles.
NBC's The Blacklist has largely succeeded because it features a cast of intriguing characters with interesting backstories and motivations. This week the drama lost one of its own, however, although it wasn't a lead character like Red or anything who bit the dust. Regardless, the series lost one of its most intriguing side characters in Mr. Kaplan, who had been played by Susan Blommaert over the past several seasons. Here's why her shooting had to happen, and why it was a long time coming, according to executive producer Jon Bokencamp.
Red values loyalty above all else, and Mr. Kaplan betrayed him in the most impossible way. Remember, Reddington killed Newton Phillips in season 1 by suffocating him with a plastic bag from a funeral urn. He shot an old woman (Diane Fowler) after she betrayed him. Hell, he shot Pee Wee Herman! The man is ruthless. In Red's mind, Mr. Kaplan had to go.
Per EW, we really should have seen the shooting of Mr. Kaplan coming. In fact, the second Mr. Kaplan made the choice to help Liz fake her death, she betrayed Red. Even more meaningfully, she chose someone else over Red. None of these things sit well with the ruthless businessman and criminal mastermind. In fact, according to the producer, she's basically been on the chopping block since she made this decision back in Season 3, during Episode 18.
Still, Mr. Kaplan is a character that will definitely be missed in context with Red, both for her unusual personality and her extremely competent skills. It has been Kaplan's job to clean up over the years on The Blacklist, and she was always pretty good at it. She was also proficient with fireworks and did other jobs for Red, such as negotiating contracts for him. They were a pretty good team in a lot of ways, but not good enough that Red wasn't perfectly fine with shooting her when she no longer suited his needs.
During the episode, Kate Kaplan was given the opportunity to explain why she betrayed him for Liz, noting that she had been protecting Liz from the very beginning--when she was only a wee baby. That wasn't enough to temper Red's mistrust of her, however, and he shot her point black, leaving her for dead. In the final moments of the episode, her hand moved onscreen, which left her death a little more open, and the preview for next week shows her "death" may not be what it seems, which is pretty standard for this show.