How 'Real' The Blacklist's Liz And Ressler Kiss Was, According To The Creator

The Blacklist Elizabeth Liz Keen Megan Boone NBC
(Image credit: Sony Pictures Television / NBC)

Before The Blacklist returned, speculation ran rampant regarding the romantic future of Megan Boone's Liz and Diego Klattenhoff's Ressler. The long-time friends and partners have been the subject of plenty of predictions, with fans wondering if the pair could embark on a legitimate romance. Season 8 got off to an optimistically puzzling start for those hoping that the characters are heading in that non-platonic direction, as Liz and Ressler shared a surprising kiss in the premiere.

The rather shocking moment happened as Liz was making a break for it after kidnapping Dom, so that she and Katarina could work him for the truth about Red. Ressler caught up with Liz, who first locked eyes and then locked lips with him. The Blacklist’s writers had previously been split on the topic, but have they finally decided on where Ressler and Liz’s relationship is heading in Season 8?

Heading into Season 8, there had been signs that fans might realistically be able to hope for Liz and Ressler to get together. The Blacklist teased fans with Liz opening her heart to Ressler last season without any agenda-laden context, but cut to Season 8, and Liz was kissing Ressler with a motive. When asked if the kiss was legitimate, or merely Liz manipulating Ressler to get his gun, The Blacklist’s creator Jon Bokenkamp told TheWrap:

All those questions are legitimate, and I think the answer is all the above. Was the kiss real and did it come from an emotional place? Yes. Was Liz using Ressler? Yes. Could she have used him if it wasn’t a real, earned moment? No. It’s such a complex moment filled with so many emotions — that’s what I like about it. What’s even better is where this story goes. Trust me, that kiss between Ressler and Liz is the beginning of a really great story that’s been years in the making.

Is that “really great story” he talked about going to be a love story? I am not certain. The Blacklist has been heavily teasing the potential for a Liz/Ressler romance since Tom (the love of Liz’s life, in my opinion) was murdered. Now might not be the best time for Liz to dive into a new romance, of course, since she is dancing on thin ice as she skates between her mother and father figure’s battle lines and the actual law, made all the more complicated by her career obligations.

The Blacklist creator’s response indicates there were a lot of layers to the characters' smooch that Liz laid on Ressler. I, for one, think that Liz was playing Ressler, knowing that he has feelings for her. Liz is a profiler, and it does not take Captain Obvious to understand that Ressler has had a crush on her for a while. In truth, I sensed that when the show began, and Tom was still alive (sniffs).

There will be more to this story as The Blacklist continues to unfold its Season 8 narrative, according to the show’s executive producer John Eisendrath. Having teased Katarina’s Red revelations this season, Eisendrath also shared a little more insight into Liz and Ressler’s dizzying dynamic as the show continues. As expected, there will be some push-and-pull. On Liz and Ressler’s complicated relationship moving forward, Eisendrath said:

Yes there is more! But their feelings for each other will be at odds with what they are doing — Liz on the run and Ressler trying to track her down. Will Liz take advantage of Ressler’s feelings — like she did to get his gun — or will Ressler be able to use her feelings for him to try and get her to come back? Stay tuned!

I will continue staying tuned along with my fellow Blacklist viewers. It sounds as though fans could finally get to see the show take a firm position with the secret-keeping potential couple. To me, Liz was working Ressler, and the confusion she unleashed on him will not keep him from hunting her down. It has not stopped him in the past, though, so we will have to see.

Ressler puts duty above most everything. So Liz bringing up Ressler killing his dad’s murderer when he was a teenager proved to be a low blow, in my opinion. It just proves that she is an expert at keeping others on their heels, which is an ability she developed as a profiler, and through her tutelage under the ever-secretive Red.

It will be fun to see if Liz circles back to more of her seductive techniques as Season 8 continues. New episodes of The Blacklist air Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, and they will hopefully continue into 2021’s winter/spring schedule. While you wait for more Liz/Ressler moments, you can catch up on their previous ones during past seasons of The Blacklist via Netflix’s releases.

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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.