The Blacklist has been one of the rare dramas with longevity that doesn’t fall prey to always having a procedural bent. The NBC drama has often featured more elongated arcs in regards to its plots and its villains and has made it all the way to Season 8 by investing fans in one or both of two components: The complex chess games Red is playing and the family secrets the series has been teasing for most of its run. But now, some fans are really starting to get annoyed with the latter, even creating an open letter to the writers about it.
A poster on Reddit recently shared these sentiments online in regards to what we’ve been witnessing for a while now on The Blacklist. As part of a longer post (and thread) the basic crux of the open letter read (edited for grammar):
Dear showrunners and writers, please write about chasing worthy criminals again; I don’t care about the family secrets anymore. Let the post office and Red chase worthy criminals again. (Liz being Number 1 on the list is ridiculous as she is neither worthy nor interesting.) Enough with the convoluted family secrets.
Some other comments underneath touched on the things they preferred about The Blacklist earlier in its run, which included a funny but also apt take, noting the “show was a lot better when it was James Spader Vs The Illuminati, as opposed to the dark and gritty remake of My Two Dads it turned into.” Others echoed the open letter sentiment that the show should “be done with the literal or figurative skeletons in the closet.”
Not everyone clearly feels this way, as some defended the show and Megan Boone’s character Liz in the comments, but I do think the general idea of keeping “family secrets” at the forefront of The Blacklist is an example of a struggle that a lot of network shows have. When The NBC drama was conceived, it needed a hook to reel viewers in. At the time, Liz’s connection to Red Reddington and her family background provided that hook and those secrets have simply kept going and going and going.
Other shows try to keep the same hook going for too long of a period of time time, and with reason. An example of a show that did this for too long was Bones. The show needed that will-they-won’t-they chemistry between Temperance Brennan and Seeley Booth to be successful. Thus that chemistry kept going on for several seasons too long before they ultimately hooked up. Yet it's worth noting that once the two married and had a kid on the show, it really kind of lost a lot of its magic. So it’s easy to see why writers on shows -- particularly long-running shows -- want to keep going with the angle that works. As a side note, it also likely doesn't help matters that network shows push out way more episodes per season than either cable or streaming series.
Meanwhile The Blacklist has already been renewed for Season 9 -- 9! -- so it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And as recently as earlier this season, Red’s illness was teased as a potential connection to Liz. There have been even more explosive plots this season since then, but the point is, even if you are someone that is annoyed with this component of The Blacklist, it’s so much the heart of the show at this point it would likely take the major death of one of the main characters to change that.
The Blacklist Season 8 airs on Friday nights on NBC at 8 p.m. ET, but if that’s past your bedtime, there’s plenty of other TV content heading your way in the new year.