Was That Major Blacklist Shocker For Real? Here's What James Spader Says

Major spoilers for The Blacklist are below.

Well I’ll be Red-damned. TV deaths are so plentiful these days, it’s pretty hard to get a real rise out of a seasoned viewer. But The Blacklist just  delivered a shocker that was worth a dozen second-tier small screen fatalities, as the show just killed off Elizabeth Keen. No, not some background extra whose name also happens to be Elizabeth Keen, but Liz. That Liz. According to actor James Spader, that head-twister of an ending isn’t a trick, either. 

I think it’s most prudent not only as just myself and what I know or don’t know for that, but also in terms of the character of Reddington: Elizabeth Keen is dead.

Sure, it’s easy to read into that as saying, “Well, maybe ‘Elizabeth Keen’ is dead, but maybe she just recently got her name officially changed, so the person is still alive, but just with a new persona.” And yeah, I could easily see this show doing something like that. But it actually makes more sense for Liz to legitimately be dead than it does for the show and creator Jon Bokenkamp to be pulling a Walking Dead on us. 

For one, actress Megan Boone actually is pregnant, and Spader said that circumstance allowed the creative team to come up with some “really wonderful storylines to work” around it, because killing off a lead character is wonderful, I suppose. But it sounds like both Boone and the producers made the decision to go forward in a way that didn’t need to put the actress through more stress than necessary. Assuming she’s actually dead. 

As well, it explains why actor Ryan Eggold’s Tom Keen is going to make the jump to the impending spinoff, even though the plan was for him to remarry Liz in these past two episodes. If Liz is dead, then it allows him to move forward in a direction away from Red. Albeit with lots and lots of mourning involved. Again, assuming she’s actually dead.

At least Liz went out in a hell of an exciting way. Having a wedding turn into a barrage of bullets isn’t great for characters, but it’s exciting for viewers. And even when it was clear that the emergency birth had taken everything out of Liz, it still seemed like the episode would see her making it to the care of a couple of life-saving ER workers. But alas, she flatlined, presumably leaving a lot of jaws flat on the ground. And Edi Gathegi’s Mr. Solomon was allowed to drill a hole into viewers’ memories long before also heading to the spinoff. A job well done, if the intent was making eyelids get whiplash.

Of course, Liz’s death has been faked before, and this wasn’t something that fans were expecting, like the impending exit of NCIS’ Michael Weatherly. But if you need further “proof” that this isn’t some big stunt, EW even has pictures of the funeral from next week’s episode. That’s going to be one sad room, even if she ends up coming back in Season 4 after Megan Boone is ready to come back for more.

The Blacklist will return next week, without a living and breathing Liz Keen, on Thursday, April 21. It’s going to take at least that long to process this. What do you guys think?

This poll is no longer available.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.