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Fans of The Blacklist are heading into Season 8 with indescribably heavy hearts. Right before filming on the upcoming season began, it was announced that Clark Middleton had died suddenly from the West Nile virus. A quintessential scene-stealer, Middleton played Glen Carter (Red’s go-to contact at the DMV) ever since The Blacklist’s second season. So, how will the show say goodbye to Middleton’s Glen in Season 8?
There is an answer, and it is a sad one. Following the cast of The Blacklist paying tribute to Clark Middleton on social media, the series’ creator, Jon Bokenkamp, has explained how Glen’s absence will be dealt with on-screen. As Bokenkamp revealed, it took the writing team working through a few scenarios before deciding on how the show would proceed. Bokenkamp told TVLine:
We talked about different versions of it: Do we not say anything? Do we just imagine that Glen’s still out there in Red’s orbit and we just don’t see him and we hide it? We made the choice to acknowledge his death on the show, and that’s going to happen fairly soon in the season. It’s super sad, and it will be for Red, as well.
Glen has been a part of the show so long that it is impossible to imagine it without him. Still, The Blacklist has settled on a scenario that will find Red grappling with his friend’s death. Yes, Glen will share his off-screen counterpart’s fate. Jon Bokenkamp added that Season 8 will not wait long to address saying goodbye.
The decision comes as The Blacklist gave no hints at Glen facing any mortal threat akin to Red’s prolonged illness. Glen dying should, undoubtedly, make Red contemplate his own mortality with even deeper reflection. This fictitious nod to the very real loss of Clark Middleton shows just how much his absence will be a profound one for the veteran NBC drama. Sharing his reaction to Middleton’s shocking death, executive producer John Eisendrath said:
It was incredibly sad and incredibly shocking, and the way we had written him into the show reminded us that there was something so special about him. Hopefully, the way we acknowledge his passing on the show has that same sweet, affectionate story to it.
It will be interesting to learn how The Blacklist deals with Glen’s passing. As John Eisendreath mentions, Glen was an incredibly sweet part of the show as he came and went through the years. Glen’s interactions with Red were often filled with a begrudging affection on Red’s part. Thankfully, Red was able to share how much Glen truly meant to him during a wonderful episodic storyline last season.
The Blacklist’s tough call comes after the show also lost Brian Dennehy before the end of last season. An animated sequence helped prolong Dennehy’s life on the show. Considering that Season 8 plans to roar back without any animated assistance, I expect Glen’s death to be relayed to viewers via a moving monologue from one of the show’s characters. Perhaps from Red himself, or Dembe, as both men were closest to Glen.
I could also see Liz learning of Glen’s death and passing it along to Red. There could be a slight thawing in the ice between them from Liz because of it, however short-lived it may be. The Blacklist Season 8 will premiere tomorrow, November 13, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. It should still be airing new on 2021’s winter and spring’s schedule. You can relive Glen’s best moments via The Blacklist’s past seasons, which are streaming on Netflix.