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While The Blacklist universe will seemingly have no problem bringing Tom Keen's father into things when the spinoff kicks off, the twisty crime drama has spent more than three seasons keeping audiences in the dark on Liz Keen's parentage, both on and off the screen. The most recent midseason finale seemingly played its hand in having Red reveal to Kirk that Liz is his daughter, which was then seemingly refuted by his stance to Liz that her father is dead. Red's duplicitous nature has many fans thinking one of these claims must be false, but one crazy fan theory would allow for both statements to be true: Red is actually Liz's mother.
Yes, that's a statement that makes one weak in the knees with laughter at the inherent ludicrousness of such a concept. But that doesn't make it the most ridiculous and unbelievable piece of conjecture out there, especially when one considers how this mystery has been handled both on and off the screen. We'll start with the simpler stuff, such as the fact that Katarina Rostova has never exactly been proven dead, since her body was never found after she supposedly committed suicide by walking into Cape May. Definitely not proof that she became Red if and when she dried off, but it's a foundation.
Creator and executive producer Jon Bokenkamp has been notably non-committal when it comes to the topic, which isn't surprising in and of itself, since creators are often protective of their shows' secrets. But almost everybody offers up something about big mysteries like this, and Bokenkamp has been steadfast in keeping mum on the subject, as pointed out by TV Guide, and he holds up the show itself as the answer to its own mysteries. It would make complete sense that a envelope-pushing reveal like this would be avoided at all costs in interviews.
As well, almost nothing we have heard about Katarina Rostova is known to be 100% true, considering how many different stories have been told. Many don't believe she exists, and that she was just a KGB myth meant to intimidate, while others believe that her status within the organization was embellished; many who believe she was real think her death was faked. (What better way to completely disappear from everyone's radar than by becoming a whole new person?) That fateful night where Liz killed her father is also a jumbled mess, without a clear and untainted source of information to learn from. Even when she seemed to actually be appearing on the show, as was the case in "Cape May," it was revealed that Red was just having flashback-related hallucinations; some have apparently taken that episode to be a metaphorical interpretation of Red getting closure over leaving his female side behind.
There are obviously as many ways to poke holes in this theory as there are ways to make it work for believers, but it's hard to argue with how wild and shocking a twist like this would be, especially for a fan-pleasing drama on network TV. As well, it would get very uncomfortable for all involved if conversations come up about whether the Katarina-to-Red change was from a transgender perspective or merely a change made solely to save both her and her daughter's life. If this theory doesn't end up panning out, I certainly hope the real answer is just as thought-provoking.
We won't have long to wait to probably still not find out who Liz's mother is, as The Blacklist will return to NBC for more mystery-deepening on Thursday, January 5. To see what else the small screen has to offer in the near future, check out our midseason premiere schedule.