The Blacklist postmortem: Can Liz Keen clear her name? | EW.com

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The Blacklist postmortem: Can Liz Keen clear her name?

(Eric Liebowitz/NBC)

Warning: This story contains spoilers from “The Director,” the winter premiere of The Blacklist. Read at your own risk!

The Blacklist sent viewers through a roller coaster of emotions during its midseason return by nearly killing off its lead.

After landing in FBI custody, Liz Keen (Megan Boone) is thrown in the box that once held Red (James Spader), but it’s not long before the Director (David Strathairn) arrives to smoke her out and silence Liz for good. Meanwhile, Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) reveals info about Karakurt’s (Andrew Divoff) location and intentions to exonerate Liz to Laurel (Christine Lahti), unaware until after the fact that she’s been working with the Cabal. Fortunately, all ends well as Ressler is not only able to arrest Cabal operative Mr. Solomon (Edi Gathegi), but safely escort Liz to court. But will she be able to clear her name in part 2 of “The Director”? EW turned to executive producer Jon Bokenkamp to find out:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can you tease for part 2 of the two-parter?
JON BOKENKAMP:
What’s coming next is exactly what Reddington says at the end of this episode: It’s time to take down the Cabal. One of the joys of writing this character, and really the fun of the series, is seeing how Reddington can manipulate situations and play people against each other and off of each other. He has, really since the second episode of the season, been working toward a strategy that he plans to implement in this very next episode. It really is a fun episode. It’s a caper, in a way, in which Reddington is going to gather what’s left of the team. It’s a very fractured team in Samar (Mozhan Marnò), Aram (Amir Arison) and Cooper (Harry Lennix). He’s bringing everyone back together in a very scrappy, deconstructed way. He has a plan, and it’s a really fun one to see play out.

Now that Liz is en route to court, will she be able to clear her name, and what lengths will the Cabal go to protect themselves?
She is really in the passenger seat. She really has very little control. Liz is being transferred to a federal courthouse, where she’s going to be arraigned and she’s going to be charged with the murder of 14 CIA agents, a senator, and the Attorney General of the United States. The stakes, for her, are incredibly high, but she’s forced to hold her breath and wait for the best. There’s very little she can do from the inside. She’s our protagonist and it’s a very strange situation to have her hands quite literally shackled.

Ressler finally believes Liz. How does that change their dynamic moving forward?
What’s interesting about their relationship and what’s been happening recently with them is that Ressler is a guy who is by the book. He believes in what he’s doing for very good reasons. It has to do with the death of his father, as we found out. He’s very black-and-white. What Reddington has done by entering the world of this task force is he’s made everything incredibly gray, including Liz’s perspective on good and bad, and marriage and her entire life. Ressler is somebody who is struggling with that. And yet, I think Liz respects what he’s done. There’s a righteousness and a goodness within Ressler that she admires. What’s between these two is incredible respect and that’s an odd connective tissue for them to have given everything they’ve gone through. But I think he respects her and thinks she should face the music for what she’s done, and at the same time, she respects him for what he’s doing, but they’re on opposite sides of the table.

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Ressler also believes Laurel is to blame for Reven’s (Adriane Lenox) death. Will he get he be able to get justice soon, or will she be sticking around?
As much as we might call it “The Director” and “The Director: The Conclusion,” it’s a lot of story to try to button up. There clearly will be more story lines, whether it’s with Mr. Solomon, Laurel or Liz and the fallout from what she’s done, that will spill over and carry over. This is, by no means, an ending. There is closure to it, but these characters, I think, we might see more of.

The logline says that Red delivers a final ultimatum. What can you tease?
His plan is one that is rooted in a really twisted view of the American legal system. As perverse and strange as it might be, it’s rather sound and strangely so. It involves both the laws, blackmail and crime. It’s a rather unique ultimatum, and one that I hope won’t soon be forgotten.

Will we actually get information on what Red wants from Venezuela?
Absolutely. Red’s plan with the Venezuelans and how that factors into the Director and the ultimatum he’s forcing the Director with, all comes to a head at the end of this episode.

Mr. Solomon believes he’ll get out of jail rather quickly. Is that the case? Because I really want to see you knock him down a peg.
I know! Edi is so fun. Yes, he plays it with such arrogance. Is he going to be knocked down? I don’t know. Maybe a little bit, but he’s not a guy who is going to stay down for very long. There’s a fun moment or two to be had with Solomon and getting what tastes perhaps like a little bit of a comeuppance, but again, is in no way a resolution. He is too fun of a character to have on the show to simply be knocked down and buried, so we’ll have to see where Mr. Solomon goes.

The Director mentions the connection between Liz and Red. Might she get more information on that in the coming episodes?
Yeah, in the coming episodes, absolutely. That’s one of the story lines that’s been parked in having them on the run. Now that Liz has been captured, we’re still dealing with a lot of the fallout from that, but one of the things that’s been on her mind, but hasn’t been answered is that she has questions about who she is, where she comes from. Katarina Rostova, her mother, that has been outed that she’s the daughter of a Russian spy. There will certainly be fallout from that in the coming episodes, and answers to some of those questions as well.

The Blacklist airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.