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The Blacklist had a lot of fun episodes in Season 7, and it turns out one of them took inspiration from your favorite board game turned movie – Clue. Fans will have to recall the that the installment came just after The Blacklist's 2020 return, which saw Red became entangled with his ex and subsequently, a murder mystery.
In the much-anticipated episode, Red met up with his old flame, Cassandra (played by guest star Joely Richardson). And things quickly took a turn, as those congregating for the sale of a rare antique began meeting an unpleasant demise.
Red’s fascinating reunion with his ex was an episode that solely revolved around James Spader’s ever-evolving character. Plus, it gave the show a chance to show Red fighting a battle unrelated to Katarina Rostova. As for Clue, The Blacklist’s creator, Jon Bokenkamp, has now "clued in" fans on the inspiration behind it. Asked how much Agatha Christie and Knives Out played a role, Bokenkamp told Variety:
If I recall right, we were breaking this right before ‘Knives Out.’ I think the trailers were out because I remember talking about it afterwards. The show can become awfully dark especially with all the questions that the audience is grappling with. It felt like after ending on this note where we left viewers in the fall, we really did just want to come back and remind viewers that the show can be a lot of fun too — even if it’s a bit of a murder mystery. The show has a lot of different hats that it wears. It can be a sci-fi show, or a dark thriller, or funny. There’s probably a little more Agatha Christie in spots and then there was inspiration maybe from the movie ‘Clue’ a long time ago.
The Clue movie that Jon Bokenkamp is referring to is the 1985 classic starring Tim Curry and Christopher Lloyd, among others. It was set to be remade by Ozark’s Jason Bateman, although he ended up leaving the project. Nevertheless, the original proved inspirational for The Blacklist, which makes complete sense when you watch the episode.
Jon Bokenkamp also pointed out that The Blacklist tends to try on many genres, and whodunit was just one of the many it has experimented with during its run. The goal was to give Season 7 a mood lift upon its return following that explosively ominous midseason finale, and it worked. On how the show tends to maneuver, The Blacklist’s executive producer John Eisendrath said:
Though our show is a crime show, it’s not really a whodunnit. Going into every episode from the beginning it basically tells viewers who the Blacklister is. This is like ‘Clue’ or an Agatha Christie story, and we really don’t do those often. It’s a fun departure. We often introduce fun and comedic parts of Red’s past, but occasionally we like to dip into his personal life and explore the relationships he had in the past that could tell us about who he was before the show. Certainly the part played by Joely Richardson fits into that category. Fans see this relationship that could have been something more but for his obligations to Liz. Now he feels his obligation to Liz is mostly complete in terms of her safety and he could potentially go off and be with a woman who he had a great affection for, but still he picks Liz.
About that – The Blacklist dropped a pretty big bombshell by revealing that Red was in such a serious relationship before coming to Liz’s aid when the series started. What makes that such a big deal? Red has hinted at past romances yet remained relatively stalwart in his bachelor-hood since the crime drama started.
Red’s relationship with Cassandra was no flash in the pan romance, either. He was going to be with her until Liz needed him. That choice indicates how much Liz means to Red. He sacrificed a life with the woman he loved for Liz before the show and again in the Clue-inspired installment. It makes Liz’s decision in The Blacklist’s Season 7 finale all the more personally troubling.
Thankfully, there will be another season of The Blacklist to sift through the jaw-dropping end to Season 7. There are a lot of shockers I would love to see, including Liz feigning allegiance to her mother. Katarina is still the real villain in my book. Here is to more whodunit (or Clue-themed) episodes, though, as I liked Season 7’s a lot!
More Clue-inspired antics will be able to transpire when The Blacklist comes back for its eighth season on NBC. Time will tell if it is one of this fall’s premieres, as Season 8 does not have a return date yet. Until that time, you can check out past seasons of the crime drama on Netflix, along with lots of 2020 arrivals.