How The Blacklist Managed To Land Joely Richardson For That Major Role

Joely Richardson as Cassandra Bianchi in The Blacklist (NBC)

(Image credit: Will Hart / NBC)

Spoilers for the March 27 episode of The Blacklist entitled “Cornelius Ruck (#155)” are discussed below

Last year, The Blacklist thrilled fans with the news that the show would be introducing Red’s ex-girlfriend, Cassandra, for a future episode. Adding to the excitement was Nip/Tuck’s Joely Richardson would be taking on the exciting role. Now, after months of anticipation, Richardson finally made her debut in the March 27 episode “Cornelius Ruck.”

Still, how did The Blacklist manage to score Joely Richardson for the role that meant a temporary reprieve from Red’s single status? Well, The Blacklist’s creator, Jon Bokenkamp, explained how Richardson’s guest appearance came together, and it turns out she was one of the renewed drama’s first picks! Bokenkamp told Variety:

We knew that there was going to be somebody from Red’s past that we wanted to bring back and we would meet somebody who he maybe had had a relationship with or was somebody who was close to him, specifically because of that ending where she needs to let him go and suggest he stays with Liz. When we started talking about people, Joely was brought up very early on and we were huge fans. We were lucky to get her, they felt like they had a real history together. It was earned.

James Spader and Joely Richardson definitely did a great job of portraying their characters' shared a romantic history, in this writer's opinion. The depth of Red and Cassandra’s relationship has been one of the many surprising developments to encapsulate The Blacklist’s 2020 return so far.

Joely Richardson’s character added yet another critical piece to the twisty puzzle that is Raymond “Red” Reddington; or at least, the man that viewers of The Blacklist know under that identity. Cassandra provided insight into Red’s personal life, yet fans didn't get a whole lot more info into who Red really is, since he's not Ilya Koslov.

Now that viewers have met Cassandra, what does it mean for The Blacklist going forward? It is tough to say. I could definitely see her coming in to help Red whenever he finds himself in a tight spot in the future. Case and point, Katarina has been missing since the show’s 2020 return for a particular reason.

Considering that a “huge family fight” is on the horizon, I suspect that Katarina should come into play again later in Season 7. Could Cassandra come back to help Red out, or remind him about how much he cares for Liz when he inevitably feels betrayed after learning she kept the truth from him about Katarina being alive?

Truthfully, after Cassandra made her grand debut, I really wanted to see her and Katarina go toe-to-toe on The Blacklist, as that would make for a thrilling face-off! I really think Cassandra could hold her own against her. It's also interesting to speculate about just how much Cassandra knows about Red’s real identity.

Cassandra and Red’s relationship was pretty red-hot, and I definitely ship it. Hopefully, this is not a one and done deal. The Blacklist has welcomed some great guest stars during its seven seasons, and it's great that Joely Richardson is now one of them! Here's to her coming back again! Could Season 8 be an option?

New episodes of The Blacklist air Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC as one of the midseason’s fresh content. To check out The Blacklist’s other exciting guest appearances, you can watch previous seasons 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.