Why The Blacklist's Dramatic Farewell To Liz Keen Was Super Unsatisfying

the blacklist season 8 finale liz
(Image credit: NBC)

Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD for the Season 8 finale of The Blacklist, called "Konets."

News that The Blacklist would be saying goodbye to none other than Megan Boone's Elizabeth Keen in the Season 8 finale broke days ahead of "Konets" hitting the airwaves, so it wasn't a question of if the finale would write a character out, but how. Unfortunately for any fans who were somehow holding out for a happy ending for Liz, The Blacklist delivered a tragic conclusion to her journey. And for me at least, it was incredibly unsatisfying.

Liz's death would have come as quite a shocker if Megan Boone's departure hadn't been revealed ahead of time, as "Konets" seemed to be setting James Spader's Red up to die. Resigned to dying from his illness, Red concocted a scheme that would allow Liz to take over the Blacklist after his death... by killing him, with the promise that she would have a letter from her mom packed with answers after he was dead.

Liz was ultimately unable to pull the trigger, but that wasn't the case for the not-so-dearly departed Townsend's right-hand man, Vandyke, who shot Liz before being shot and killed himself by Red. Liz ultimately died in Red's arms after living just long enough for a poignant flashback sequence of the people who had been important to her.

In the grand scheme of things, the fact that Liz died wasn't what made The Blacklist's goodbye to her so unsatisfying for me. As soon as the news broke that Megan Boone was out but The Blacklist was continuing, the odds seemed pretty good that Liz wasn't long for the world, especially after she started to actually get some answers in the penultimate episode. What was so unsatisfying was that she died without actually getting the biggest answer of all: who is Red?

It's not altogether surprising – even if it is frustrating – that The Blacklist didn't want to give away the big answer about Red to the viewers when the story is still going, but the show certainly could have let Liz find out before she died! It could have been Red whispering it in her ear too quietly for viewers to hear, or Liz reading the letter that was conveniently positioned so viewers couldn't see it, or even having Liz's dying words as some variation "I know the truth."

(Image credit: NBC)

As a viewer, I'm already resigned to possibly not getting the answers to the show's biggest questions until perhaps the series finale, but I wanted more for Liz than for her to die without getting the one answer she wanted most of all when she was so close.

And sure, the show seemingly dropped some clues in favor of the fan theory that Red is actually Katarina and therefore Liz's mom, but Liz won't be around to puzzle those clues out! I wish I was just sad about Liz dying, instead of also offended on her behalf about it. What would have been the harm in her learning the truth, if she was going to die anyway?!

While fans may need some time to process how The Blacklist said goodbye to Liz Keen after nearly a decade of her as leading lady, they can at least rest easy knowing that the show will be back. The Blacklist was renewed for Season 9 way back in January 2021, so Red and Co. will return to NBC in its regular 8 p.m. ET time slot on Fridays in the fall.

For some viewing options in the meantime, check out our 2021 summer TV premiere schedule! If you want to relive Megan Boone's time on The Blacklist, you can find the first seven seasons of the series streaming on Netflix now.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.