The Blacklist: Is Liz Really Buying Into Red's Identity Reveal?

Elizabeth Keen has been in hot pursuit of one thing on The Blacklist. It all started last season, following the murder of her husband, Tom. Liz’s desperate desire to learn what Tom died knowing about Red took her down a relentless quest for answers.

After standoffs with Red and a scavenger hunt for the bag of bones, Liz finally uncovered part of it: that Red is not the man born as Raymond Reddington. He is an imposter. That revelation led to another question. Who is he?

In this past Friday’s episode, she seemed to learn the truth. Based on that episode, Red is her mom’s good friend and go-to-guy for help, going by the name of Ilya Koslov. Does Liz really buy it? Or does she still have suspicions? Let’s dig in with the first possibility.

The Blacklist Elizabeth Liz Keen Megan Boone Raymond Red Reddington James Spader NBC

Yes, Liz Probably Believes She Knows Red’s Identity

One of the things destined to make Liz believe she has learned the truth is that she did not learn it from Red. Hence, this was not a controlled release of information from the man she does not entirely trust. Liz learned it from her mother’s father, Dom.

Had Red been the one to tell her, she probably would not have believed it. By learning the truth from Dom, she has found these answers independent of Red. Is this a sign they are legitimate? Dom has no motive to mislead her when it comes to Red/Ilya’s identity.

Dom arguably knew Katarina incredibly well, despite being shocked by her actions with the cabal. He was her father and her handler though. If someone besides Red has the inside info to know how Katarina disappeared and who took over Raymond Reddington’s identity, it would be him.

Liz’s attitude hinted that she was finally at peace about Red’s identity. She did not come in and drop her truth bomb with any hint of doubt. Instead, she went into the scene filled with zeal and a self-satisfied glow. Liz gave Red and the audience every reason to believe she has finally uncovered the truth.

Red’s reaction only seemed to solidify her belief. He was not thrilled or amused by what she told him. That only fuels suspicion that Liz has, in fact, uncovered his true identity. Red had worked very hard to keep her from learning about the bones. Accordingly, he had been no more helpful in providing other answers.

If she has uncovered another false answer, he should have been less grim. Red did take the news as if he was not pleased, which hints he is not happy she knows the answer, a.k.a. the truth. As a profiler, Liz was likely paying attention to all of that to confirm her assertions.

Liz seemed to accept everything her grandfather told her. For her, all of the pieces seemed to fit. Dom knew Ilya and confirmed Ilya was a close friend of Katarina’s. Dom’s story about Ilya was also filled with Red’s signature moves. The Blacklist showed that Ilya has Red’s incredible marksmanship, going so far as to reveal Ilya shooting an assailant from the shadows to drive the point home.

Red has always seemed to have intimate knowledge about her mother. Ilya being her best friend fits with that. Red has also had a deeply vested interest in Katarina. One that has often come across as romantic and further explains his motivation to keep her safe. As shown in the flashbacks, Katarina and Ilya shared one such flirtatious relationship.

The Blacklist explained that Ilya was in the house when it burned down with Raymond Reddington, which explains Red’s burn scars. Everything about Ilya being Red fits perfectly into place. The mystery of who Ilya is still leaves a lot to speculate on. Liz may or may not feel the need to dig into that.

The Blacklist Megan Boone Liz Keen NBC

(Image credit: Will Hart / NBC)

No, Liz Probably Does Not Believe She Knows Red’s Identity

Liz acting like she believes she knows the truth is not entirely telling. It would not be the first time that Liz has wanted to seize on an opportunity like that, by choosing to make Red believe she is operating under assumptions or intel she really is not.

She has proven she has some pretty remarkable acting skills this season. After learning about the contents of that duffle bag, she kept acting like nothing had changed between her and Red.

Albeit, she did not do such a great job that Red did not pick up on some underlying tension. Still, she remained relatively convincing. What does all of this mean? Liz could be pretending to buy her grandfather’s version of events. This would give her the chance to sell Red on her investigation being over, when it is far from case closed.

Liz had Red’s identity revealed to her by Dom. Not only is Dom a former KGB agent, but he is also the grandfather she just met. It would be slightly naïve of Liz to believe she learned the truth from a man she barely knows. Other than being her grandfather, she does not have a wealth of reasons to trust him.

Trusting people outright has gotten her into some tough spots in the past. Liz should have learned a lesson from that by now. She should not take truths at face value, even if there were flashbacks that verified it for the audience. Of course, Dom has no real reason to lie to her. Or does he?

Dom has a relationship with Red. He also knew Ilya before he supposedly became Raymond Reddington. Given that Dom and Red share a connection, Liz could eventually suspect they are working in concert to deceive her. To what end though? Liz has to be wondering.

There is still a lot left for Liz to confirm before she believes everything about Red’s identity reveal, even if she is acting like she's completely sold on the premise of Red equaling Ilya. There are still a lot of unanswered questions. How can she be totally sure as it currently stands?

She has not yet verified Ilya Koslov’s existence or when he went off the grid, etc. Unless I missed it. Liz has not confirmed that Ilya is who Red looked like before his procedure with Dr. Koehler’s records. Nor has she has found any of his relatives to do a DNA test to confirm Red is Ilya. A need to tie up all of the loose ends could end with Liz pursuing them. In short, her quest for the ultimate answer may not be over yet.

The Blacklist gave viewers a lot of answers regarding Red’s true identity. Whether it revealed the entire truth is still open to speculation. Whether Liz will leave what she thinks she knows alone is another question.

She seemed satisfied at the end of the latest episode. Will, that continue being the case for Liz? Or will she still keep pushing it? Maybe not out of disbelieving the truth about who Red is, but to find her mother. Anything is possible.

Keep watching to find out. The Blacklist continues Season 6 with new episodes airing Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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.