Blacklisters, tonight is the night. The season finale is upon us. Red Reddington is in custody. Liz Keen is as confused as she’s ever been. Tom Keen is armed and dangerous (and possibly infected with something?) Agent Ressler is on hand to throw some muscle behind Liz’s wild ideas. And dear Dembe with his deadpan humor is surely plotting Red’s escape. Lastly, there’s Berlin–man, woman, masked crusader?
But the big question that has been hanging over the series is, who is Liz Keen’s biological father? Actress Megan Boone told EW that “Liz reveals a memory of her biological father” in the finale and “it could relate to Red.” As for her husband-turned-spy-fugitive, she said that “there is something very very surprising about Tom’s involvement in the finale.” Could he be a good guy? Anything is possible on The Blacklist.
To get more of a taste of what’s to come, we talked to creator Jon Bokenkamp about tonight’s showdown.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Do we finally find out who Berlin is in the finale?
Jon Bokenkamp: Berlin has arrived. And so now, Red is being hunted and we will introduce this character and we will get to know bits about Berlin, but really the interesting thing to me is to see Red on his heels. For the first time, we’re really getting to see what he’s afraid of, what makes him vulnerable. And this is a figure who has been after him for years, and so there’s a lot at stake. There’s a large question of what Red has done to gain the wrath of this figure. That’s not a terribly articulate answer is it?
No, no that makes perfect sense. Is Berlin’s history with Red connected to Liz at all?
We’re not sure. I wouldn’t say it’s not connected.
That’s basically the subtitle to all of The Blacklist: “I wouldn’t say it’s not connected.”
[Laughing] Yes, that is the translation of The Blacklist. I mean, yes, Berlin is connected to Liz in that he understands that Liz is important to Red, and as someone who could be used as a bargaining chip, as collateral. Because Liz is important to Red she is in jeopardy.
Is there going to be any more interaction between Liz and Tom.
Yes, we will be seeing Liz and Tom in the finale.
Is there a future for Liz and Tom?
It doesn’t look good. Things don’t look promising for Liz and Tom.
What about Liz and Ressler?
That’s interesting. I think what I would say about that is they started off as polar opposites. Ressler had zero respect or interest in Elizabeth Keen. She’s somebody who’s very new and does not have the experience they have. When you look at the pilot and then look at where they are now, I think they’ve both experienced similar loss in their life. They’ve both been through the ringer and they’ve both had the loves of their lives ripped away from them. So in that capacity, I think that—I think they understand each other in a way that they couldn’t before.
I’ve got some questions about minor characters. Tell me about Scary Gary. I love him.
[Laughing] Walter Gary Martin? I love that. We are continuing with him in the finale and he and Red will have a little showdown. Red has zero respect for Scary Gary.
Yeah, I get the sneaking sense that Red doesn’t like bureaucrats.
Yeeeeah. He doesn’t.
Or really just authority in general.
[Laughing] I like that. That’s correct.
What about the Apple Man? Who was he working for? I don’t think we ever got confirmation of his allegiance before he was killed.
I think I read somewhere—I love reading the recaps you do. I love the shorthand, like “Scary Gary” is fantastic. Anyway I read somewhere that one of those guys was still alive, but they’re both gone. Liz killed Apple Man in the second part of “Anslo Garrick,” but as far as who he was connected to, that group that was watching is—how do I say this? I gotta be careful. Ahh, I think I can say this. Alan Alda and his people were watching Liz.
I’ve been calling them “the Alliance.” Is that right?
Right. That’s correct. I just get anxious talking about it because I don’t want to mess things up. But the Apple Man was implanted by the Alliance. So there’s the Alliance, Red and then Berlin.
Who does Scary Gary work for? The Alliance?
It’s not certain yet. We don’t know. Well, I know.
Just so long as you know, Jon.
[Laughing] We’re just wingin’ a lot of this.
What about Madeline Pratt. Will we see more of her? People really liked the chemistry between her and Red.
They had a good back and forth trying to top each other. We may see her. We won’t in the season finale, but I will say she’s still out there. There are a handful of Blacklisters who haven’t been killed. Gina Zanetakos, obviously. We just found out in Monday’s episode that she’s escaped from prison. But there are a few more out there.
Alan Alda is another one who is so great against Red.
I love Alan Alda. Those two are fantastic together. We will be seeing them together again. We will see him one more time in the season finale…in a sort of unexpected way.
What is his character’s real name? There seems to be some confusion.
Yeah I read that! People thought we made a mistake. His name is Alan Fitch. Just before we shot it, we were going to use Crowley. But for some reason that name didn’t clear, so we changed it to Alan Fitch.
Well, I’m super excited for the finale. I’m expecting some great music too.
Definitely. The stuff recently has been sort of somber and melancholy, but I think we’re gonna have some great stuff in the finale. It depends on how it all comes together, but I have one tune that I’m really excited about using. It’s gonna be great.
Is it an upper or a downer?
It’s an upper.
Nice. Well I love, love that you held onto “Jolene” and named that character, so you could use the song.
Oh, you know, I was so nervous. I knew I wanted to use that song, but we couldn’t get clearance because it was something I found online. Somebody had slowed it down, so they were like, “this isn’t an official thing. We can’t do this.” But, I thought I’m gonna call her Jolene and hopefully in four episodes we’ll be able to use this song. And finally the music department reached out to Dolly Parton directly and she was like “sure!”
Dolly is such a boss.
Right? I’m thrilled you liked that song.
That was epic. Although every week you guy have such great songs. We have a section on the website called TV Jukebox, where we collect great songs from shows each week and The Blacklist makes the cut every single week.
Oh believe me, I’m constantly searching for that. That’s a hallmark. When we make that, I’m a happy man.