The Blacklist: Is The Twin Theory Really Dead?

The Blacklist James Spader Raymond Red Reddington NBC
(Image credit: Will Hart / NBC)

When it comes to The Blacklist, you can rarely take a theory entirely off the table. Last season, it seemed as though fans could remove the one that Red is Raymond Reddington’s identical twin. In short, the assertion that Red is actually the dead Reddington’s heretofore unknown twin brother.

In what feels like a reveal from ages ago, The Blacklist dropped the bombshell that Red is not actually Raymond Reddington. Rather, he is an imposter who assumed his identity long ago. Cut to last season, and for whatever reason, Liz had not really considered the theory that Red could be Reddington’s twin.

Then, The Blacklist seemed to take the theory off the table with the “reveal” that Red is actually Ilya Koslov. Despite some missing pieces that did not fit, there was enough evidence to make it plausible. However, it was not until Season 7 that the truth was revealed.

The Blacklist Hisham Tawfiq Dembe Zuma James Spader Raymond Red Reddington NBC

(Image credit: Will Hart / NBC)

The Truth And Its Impact

The truth is that Red is definitely not Ilya Koslov. It is important to remember that the only thing that really brought the twin theory off the table was the assertion that Red was Ilya Koslov. Now that Blacklist viewers know for sure that he is not Ilya, we are all back to square one.

That development means Red being Raymond Reddington’s twin brother is very much a possibility. One thing that makes The Blacklist theory still so viable is Occam’s razor, the philosophy that the most straightforward answer is usually the correct one. The explanation about Ilya temporarily undermined that. Albeit, I braced myself for the potential that it was not valid.

In many ways, it is a simpler solution to say that Red is Raymond Reddington’s twin. The Blacklist is not above hiding the real answer in plain sight, and considering it has not cancelled that one out, it seems reasonable. That brings us to Liz, who has tried to find the answers by investigating Red.

The Blacklist Megan Boone Elizabeth Liz Keen NBC

(Image credit: Virginia Sherwood / NBC)

Liz Needs To Look Elsewhere

The truth probably lies with an exhaustive search into her supposed biological father’s background. In the latest episode of The Blacklist, it was revealed that Liz was trying to find the real Ilya Koslov. Good luck with that, Liz! He was last seen in the midseason finale, and he has not been spotted since.

Ilya Koslov is unlikely to tell Liz anything if they catch up on The Blacklist. His first loyalty is to Red. Even if he did have a wistful expression when he saw Liz earlier in the season without her realizing, he is Ilya. That being said, Red and Ilya’s discussions have hinted that the pair go way back.

Was Ilya around when Red’s dad was teaching him about insects? That recently revealed chestnut did provide some unprecedented insight into Red’s relationship with his real father, which was dynamic that had always come across a bit strained on The Blacklist. The question is if Red was talking about only his father or Raymond Reddington’s too.

The Blacklist James Spader Raymond Red Reddington NBC

(Image credit: Will Hart / NBC)

The Past Holds The Key To The Future

I do not expect The Blacklist to all of the sudden have Red reminisce about growing up with his identical twin brother, “Ray.” On the other side, Red’s childhood does seem to be based on true stories. Thus, providing the most accurate insight into his real past. Thankfully, Red has reflected on it frequently.

None of what Red has shared has ruled out that he is Raymond Reddington’s twin. In truth, The Blacklist’s strange quietness on confronting the obvious twin theory leads me to think there is something to it. There is just too much evidence that supports the notion and not enough to refute it.

Now that “Ilya equals Red” is out of the equation, “Red equals Reddington’s twin” is the top solution. Perhaps Liz is starting to suspect that Red is Reddington’s twin and hopes to have Ilya Koslov confirm it. Liz may or may not realize that they go back to childhood, so Ilya should know if there was a “Blue” Reddington. (You have to have a counterpart to “Red.”)

The Blacklist James Spader Raymond Red Reddington NBC

(Image credit: Will Hart / NBC)

Seeing Double Is No Trouble

Red has pulled a lot of twists out through the years, none more surprising than the reveal that he is an imposter. With the possibility that the woman currently identified as Katarina Rostova also being an imposter, The Blacklist is home to those who potentially wear two faces. Red may not be borrowing Reddington’s after all.

While The Blacklist has showcased some progressive technology and techniques, a stranger being turned into the spitting image of Raymond Reddington is a stretch it does not need. The greatest illusion lies in the simplest of tricks. Just ask Penn & Teller. (Note: I want them to guest star on The Blacklist.)

Craziness” is said to be on the horizon between Liz and Red, along with more trust issues. Liz potentially learning that Red is actually her father’s identical twin, and therefore her uncle would be a frustratingly close answer that she missed. The Blacklist is counting on viewers to follow Liz’s lead in conjuring elaborate theories. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction, though. Just ask Netflix’s Tiger King.

The Blacklist Elizabeth Liz Keen Megan Boone NBC

(Image credit: Virginia Sherwood / NBC)

The Answer Is In Liz’s DNA

Or stop asking all of these references and look at the cold, hard facts. Red left the woman of his dreams to go help Liz. Without having ever met her before, that sounds like something an uncle would do for his niece. Not a sacrifice that a complete stranger with a tumultuous personal history with Katarina would do.

Considering this new evidence and The Blacklist’s silence on the twin theory, it is all pretty deafening. As with everything related to the fantastic series, I think there is a reason. Until Liz clears this one off the books, I am not going to be satisfied. There is one way for her to do so, and that would be with a DNA test.

All Liz has to do is make sure she has Red’s DNA and match it up with hers. If there is a match (or not), it would answer a lot of her questions and the audience’s. Remember, The Blacklist made a point to have Liz’s DNA tested against the original Raymond Reddington’s.

Without a DNA test between Red and Liz, anything is possible, including that twin theory! My only issue is figuring out why Red would be so determined to keep the twin truth a secret. Why is The Blacklist determined for Liz not to run a DNA test between herself and Red, if there is no connection between them? It all has a reason.

Stay tuned and find out if Red ends up being Raymond Reddington’s twin when new episodes of The Blacklist air Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC as one of the spring’s offerings. To check out a double dose of previously revealed clues from The Blacklist, you can watch past 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.