The Blacklist Season 7: Questions About Red's True Identity Will Continue To Cause 'Friction'

The Blacklist Raymond Red Reddington James Spader Dembe Hisham Tawfiq NBC

(Image credit: Will Hart / NBC)

Strap on your seatbelts, Blacklist fans. The Season 6 finale is about to open the door to a lot of questions for The Blacklist Season 7. Those queries surround Red’s (James Spader) true identity. If you suspected that the full story had yet to be told, you were right. Liz (Megan Boone) is closer, but she may currently be holding a phony cigar.

Talking about the Season 6 finale, The Blacklist’s creator, Jon Bokenkamp, discussed that earlier “reveal.” Remember, Red equals Ilya? Maybe not. Expect further “friction” as the road to definitive answers continues in Season 7. Teasing the season-ending status of Red’s identity; Bokenkamp told TVLine:

The story we’ve told this year, of Liz’s quest to find out Raymond Reddington’s identity — and the answer that Dom gave her in Episode 19 — is one that brings Liz even closer to Raymond Reddington, not farther apart from him. He never liked the idea that she was looking into this, he has made that clear from the beginning… What that portends, going forward, is continued friction on the question of his real identity.

Let’s dig into this for a second. Viewers are “closer” to the truth after what Dom told Liz. That “truth” supposedly being that Red is really Ilya Koslov, a friend of Katarina Rostova’s ever since childhood. Flashbacks showed him pitching the plan to assume Raymond Reddington’s identity. Dom told Liz he ended up doing just that. However, viewers never actually saw that tell-tale footage.

So, there was a reason to be suspicious regarding those missing pieces, after all. Apparently, there is still more to the story, and it may upend that Ilya answer. Does this mean that Red is not Ilya Koslov? It certainly sounds like a possibility.

The Ilya reveal, courtesy of Dom, has brought Liz “closer” to the truth. If she actually arrived at it, she would not be closer, she would be there. Right? Also, The Blacklist's creator refers to it as Dom's answer, not the real one.

There is more. The Blacklist’s creator also teased how the storyline with Anna McMahon and President Diaz will end, while adding a significant mythology tease. He shared that Blacklister storyline may get its thunder stolen by the overarching mythology. Regarding the mini-arc, Jon Bokenkamp told The Wrap:

So there will be a really satisfying ending and yet it might be undercut by a bigger mythology bombshell. [...] Who Raymond Reddington (James Spader) is and why he entered Elizabeth Keen’s (Megan Boone) life remains to be a question that we haven’t entirely wrestled down. And so there maybe a surprise or two in terms of the larger mythology of the entire series.

If Red is not Ilya Koslov, The Blacklist is sort of heading back to square one. Albeit with a major clue moving forward. It would seem that if Ilya Koslov really existed, he could provide a trail to Red’s true identity. Or at least, some connection. The read I’m getting is that Ilya is not Red.

In the above quote, Jon Bokenkamp does not focus on the question of whether Ilya is really Red. Instead, he zeroes in on the larger, overarching premise of Red’s entrance into Liz’s life. Whoever he is, that is probably the key to unlocking the mystery.

Why Red chose to enter Liz’s life has been touched on without ever getting fully explained. I thought it had to do with Tom turning rogue. However, Red could have easily sent an associate in to deal with that.

For years, it seemed like Red was Liz’s father. Hence, his desire to know his daughter appeared to be the source of interest. Again, not the case.

These multiple surprises that The Blacklist’s creator is teasing will be intriguing to see play out. Could they take Ilya Koslov out of the equation, completely? My initial instinct says “yes.”

Or are these surprises related to why "Ilya" entered Liz’s life? Hence, leaving the Ilya-is-Red story open. Liz already admitted that there are a few missing links in her answer regarding Red’s identity. Will she find a few of them tonight? Or learn there are a lot more standing between her and the truth? Sounds like the latter.

Get the latest clues regarding Red’s identity when The Blacklist Season 6 finale airs tonight, aka Friday, May 17 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Once you've seen the finale, come back to CinemaBlend to share your reaction, and to read our post-finale thoughts.

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.