How The Blacklist's Wild Finale Changes All Came Together

The Blacklist Raymond Red Reddington Elizabeth Liz Keen NBC

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Televisoin)

The Blacklist is about to get fans very animated with its wild Season 7 finale, which wasn't the original plan. The crime drama had to end its current TV season early due to the television industry halting all productions. Given the restrictions, The Blacklist will not be signing off with its originally intended Season 7 finale, but rather a snazzy looking mashup of live-action and comic-inspired animation.

Production on Season 7 ended a couple of episodes ahead of the finale, and even before the now-finale episode could finish filming. How did The Blacklist manage to complete the now season-ender? By animating the portions that did not get filmed, inspired by the show's tie-in comic books. Absolutely brilliant, right? When it comes to explaining how The Blacklist managed to pull that off, creator Jon Bokenkamp told ET:

We only shot three or four days of our episode, so we were about halfway through filming the episode [when things shut down]. John [Eisendrath, EP] and I were kicking around ridiculous things like, 'Why don't we play an old-time radio show? . . . We thought, maybe we can use some of those images from the comics that are the likenesses of the characters and cut to them while they're still talking. Eventually, that evolved into finding a company that could actually pull it off.

That company was Proof, and based on the videos that have come out, I cannot wait to see what The Blacklist has in store for viewers. The trailer for the Season 7 finale showed off the animated portions of the episode, with Red giving a cryptically ominous warning to someone, though he's not the only one who was sounding intimidating in previews for the animated/live-action finale. In another Season 7 trailer, it sounds like Liz is threatening either Red or Katarina, and that mini-mystery will soon be solved once the episode reaches audiences.

Thanks to The Blacklist’s animated solution, the show was able to put into action a sequence fans would have otherwise never seen. Jon Bokenkamp revealed:

We had a big helicopter sequence that we could never have done. Someone was supposed to open up a suitcase filled with paper and it was supposed to fly through the rotors of the helicopter but there were a million legitimate safety rules, which in the real world, would've prevented that from happening. Well, there are no rules in animation so that briefcase opens and everything goes up in a way that it never otherwise would have.

At least one medic from The Blacklist probably slept better at night. It will be awesome to see this sequence in action, and fans should also be anticipating the May 15 Season 7 finale for its final guest appearance from late actor Brian Dennehy, who will apparently be seen again as Liz’s grandfather Dom, per Jon Bokenkamp.

Given that The Blacklist seems to be quite pleased with how things worked out with the animation, it makes me wonder if they will utilize it again to flesh out parts of Dom’s story when the show continues next season. Animation makes a lot of things possible.

Elsewhere, fans will want to stay tuned to how The Blacklist could potentially wrap-up Red’s mystery illness storyline. The crime lord has been getting worse and worse, and in the 150th episode, he even started making plans to will his ill-begotten enterprise to Liz. Will Liz succumb to Red’s speculation about her endgame? It will be interesting to see if the impromptu Season 7 finale sheds any light on that aspect.

While Episode 19 will now serve as The Blacklist’s season finale, viewers will not get to see the full way Season 7 was originally supposed to end. Do not worry, though. The Blacklist’s Diego Klattenhoff has assured that “The Kazanjian Brothers,” will totally work as a finale regardless. Now that I know about that helicopter sequence, I am even more enthused that it will. Check out the trailer below!

Check out the animation meets live-action Season 7 finale of The Blacklist airs tomorrow on tonight (May 15) at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. After that, Blacklist fans will have this summer’s premieres to look forward to. You can watch past season-enders on Netflix, along with lots of 2020 arrivals.

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.