Why The Blacklist Midseason Premiere Left Out A Major Character

The Blacklist Katarina Rostova Laila Robins NBC

(Image credit: Will Hart / NBC)

Spoilers for the March 20 midseason premiere of The Blacklist are discussed below

The Blacklist returned last night without one critical character – Katarina Rostova. Liz’s mom disappeared with some help from Liz before convincing Red that assassins killed her. It was one of many bombshells to get dropped before the NBC series took off for its considerable midseason hiatus. So, why did Katarina not return along with The Blacklist?

The series’ creator, Jon Bokenkamp, explained The Blacklist’s reasoning for leaving Liz’s mom off-screen. It sounds like it had a lot to do with the renewed series’ efforts to bring the much-teased “fun” back into the equation for Red and his counterparts. On Katarina’s absence in the midseason premiere, Bokenkamp told TVLine:

In Red’s mind, Katarina Rostova is dead. She’s gone, and so is the threat that she posed to Liz and the task force. Putting ourselves in his frame of mind, it felt like the right approach to come back with the show feeling a bit lighter and more fun.

Well, it worked! Red seemed not to have a care in the world during the show’s first episode of 2020. The questions that resulted following Katarina’s whirlwind run still linger. On The Blacklist’s midseason premiere, Liz confirmed that the woman who kidnapped Red told her she is Liz’s mother, and Red denied it.

That was something that really stuck out to me in The Blacklist’s midseason premiere. Why would Red insist that she is not Katarina Rostova if he knows full well that she is? Could “Katarina” be an imposter, too?

Being an imposter himself, Red would know, right? So, maybe Red is telling the truth. Still, why would Red lie about something that can be proven with a covert DNA test? I'm starting to wonder if Katarina is a full-blown fake or the real Katarina’s twin, despite the fact that fans have been told they can “trust” her.

If you wanted a status report on Katarina, you were out of luck with The Blacklist’s midseason premiere. She told Liz that she was going to be looking for answers about Red, among other things, so time will tell if she comes up with any. Unless I missed something, she did not give Liz any updates.

It could take a long time! Liz has been working on it for a while and still maybe an inch closer to the truth. Speaking of the truth, Liz is still staying quiet on the fact that her mom is among the living for now. Although she did tell Ressler, she continued to lie to Red.

You know that is a revelation just readying to explode. What carnage will be left in its wake? New episodes of The Blacklist air Fridays at 8 p.m. ET with a two-hour premiere on NBC. To check out Red’s past thrills, you can watch previous seasons of The Blacklist on Netflix alongside content arriving in 2020.

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.