The Blacklist is only about halfway through Season 6 at this point, and NBC already renewed it for Season 7. One of the major mysteries of the series has been the truth about Raymond "Red" Reddington's (James Spader) identity. Who is this guy, really? Show creator Jon Bokenkamp was asked if the series could actually end with the audience never knowing who Red really is. Here's his response:
I don't think so. I think it's over when we know the truth. When we have the answers, it's over.
So, as Jon Bokenkamp told TV Insider, we will get answers. But when the big answers arrive, that will be The End. That could be a while. Fans aren't pushing for the show to end, but hopefully The Blacklist does at least give a few more answers along the way, adding breadcrumbs to the trail. And hopefully once the truth is known, it 1) makes sense with what they've shown so far and 2) also leads to a satisfying conclusion on other fronts. The Blacklist isn't just entirely focused on Red's identity, there are other characters and storylines involved.
In fact, Liz Keen (Megan Boone) -- who is so desperate to get the truth about Red she's been crossing all kinds of lines -- even gave up a huge chance to get the truth out of Red in the most recent March 15 episode. She looked like she was on the verge of asking him for the truth of who he really is, but stopped herself. Instead, she told Red she loved him. He looked shocked.
There's no way we really lose Red -- the show wouldn't have been renewed for Season 7 already, with James Spader attached, without Red surviving his current botched prison escape turned death row execution. But it's interesting to think of what that choice could mean going forward. Could it melt Red a bit, once he learns the inevitable truth that Liz betrayed him? Knowing that she ultimately fought hard to save him, and chose to just give him love when she thought it was the end? Liz has fairly taken a lot of heat for her decisions up to this point, but there's clearly love there on both sides.
Since Red has to get out of this somehow, it renews the question of who he really is. It may be a while before fans get solid answers, but The Blacklist did reveal more hints recently in that two-hour event. Fans learned more about Liz's mom and Red, and some of those pieces could fit into the theories out there. Is Red a twin -- either identical or fraternal? Other?
The Blacklist Season 6 should have 22 episodes, like most of the previous seasons. By that reckoning, Season 7 should also have 22 episodes. And the show may continue onward from there. That's a long time to wait for the truth. Too long?
It might be too long if that were the only thing keeping fans watching The Blacklist. But James Spader could show up and just stare into the camera and he'd gather an audience. There's more than that going on, though, and it sounds like the show knows what it's doing and where it wants to go from here. As long as there's a plan, that's good news.
As Jon Bokenkamp added to TV Insider, when asked about planning for the series endgame:
We decided last year to tell the story that we felt like was the right story to tell, which is Red is not Red. And if that was the end of the series, we would have to find another way to continue the story, whether it's local community theater or a puppet show or a novel. We couldn't end with that, but we wanted to be bold in the story telling. We're not going to be a show that's ever going to write toward—“Well, maybe this is the end of our season.” I'm proud of the room being bold in the choices we've made, and we're going to continue to do that. Until we're out of story.
Please don't wrap up the story of Red's identity with a puppet show. Actually, rethinking, please do? I'm kind of curious to see how that would play out.
The Blacklist Season 6 continues Red's death row drama with Episode 12, "Bastien Moreau: Conclusion," on Friday, March 22 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, as one of the many shows still airing in midseason 2019.