Was The Blacklist's Dembe Wrong To Lie To Red For Liz?

The Blacklist Dembe Zuma Hisham Tawfiq NBC
(Image credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Warning: Spoilers for February 22's two-hour event of The Blacklist lie ahead.

The Blacklist just saw a lot of reveals and major bombshells, however, it saved one of its biggest twists for last. Having learned that Liz is behind tipping off the police to arrest Red, Dembe faced a difficult choice. Tell Red or keep it a secret from him. Liz was ultimately able to convince him to do the latter.

Yes, Liz knows that Dembe knows she turned in Red -- and Dembe kept his discovery a secret from Red. At least, he kept it secret in this episode of The Blacklist.

So, the secret of Liz’s betrayal survived another episode. Did Dembe do the right thing by lying to Red for Liz? Well, his motives for doing it were not to hurt Red. Liz argued that if Dembe told Red, he would never forgive her. That is probably true. Eventually, she asked Dembe to be her secret keeper too.

Essentially, Dembe did not tell Red’s secrets to Liz, and he did not share hers with Red’s. It is an unquestionably tough spot for Dembe to be in, especially since Red and Liz are on opposing sides on this one. Red wants to keep his true identity from Liz, and she wants to find out who he is more than anything.

Dembe has been helping Red keep his secret, and not telling Red about Liz’s treachery does not necessarily hurt that goal. He also knows better than anyone the lengths that Red will go to punish a traitor. Dembe knows all about how Red shot Mr. Kaplan as punishment for her helping Liz fake her death.

If Dembe thinks that Liz could be facing similar consequences, it stands to reason he would want to prevent that outcome. Is Red really capable of going through with that? Dembe knows better than anyone. Was that Dembe’s motivation for lying to Red? It is not entirely clear.

Before that episode, it was hard to imagine Red posing a threat to anyone he cares about. However, betrayal is huge for him. Thinking about all this being exposed is downright painful to contemplate.

Red will be devastated by Liz betraying him, and now Dembe has decided to lie for her. Meaning the two people Red is closest to deceived him. That will be a blow to him. However, Dembe clearly has good reasons to go along with it.

The Blacklist’s official Twitter holds vital insight into Dembe’s decision. In response to a fan, the show’s official account responded to their theory on the matter. Check it out below:

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How long will Dembe be able to keep Red from learning the hurtful truth? It seems unlikely to last the entire season. Hopefully, Red will understand and empathize with where Dembe is coming from and respond accordingly.

Now knowing that Liz cannot be entirely trusted, Dembe has a lead on any of her future plans. He knows that Liz is a traitor, and Red does not. By lying for Liz, Dembe has kept Red from being hurt and prevented Liz from being punished. All is well that ends well?

Find out if Red learns about Dembe’s lie for Liz when The Blacklist returns with new episodes, Friday, March 8 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. The crime drama is among many shows offering original content in the midseason.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.