‘The Blacklist’ returns for season 7 on Oct. 4. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the EPs about Red’s dire situation, Katarina and Red’s ’emotional’ dynamic, and what’s ahead for Liz, Aram, and more.
The Blacklist season 6 ended with the kidnapping of the one and only Raymond “Red” Reddington. This time around, Red does not have the upper hand. This is Katarina Rostova we’re talking about. With the show’s return for season 7 on Oct. 4, HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with The Blacklist bosses Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath about what’s in store in the new season. First and foremost, Red is in trouble and Katarina is unlike an enemy the show has ever seen before.
“He is in mortal danger because of Katarina Rostova,” Eisendrath says “Her life depends on getting a truth from Reddington that he is unwilling to tell her. So she will do anything to get that from him, and he will do anything to keep her from getting it.” Bokenkamp adds: “This is Katarina Rostova. This is somebody who we have alluded to and heard of over the past 6 years and have been building towards. So it is somebody who has intimate knowledge of Reddington’s past, knows deep truths and secrets about him, knows potentially about some of his agendas and why he’s here. Just by virtue of walking into the room, she carries with her a much more formidable, dangerous sort of air, and poses for that reason, a much greater threat than we’ve ever seen before.”
Katarina is not going away any time soon. Eisendrath says she is “somebody that we will continue to see” and is the “big bad of the season.” However, Katarina and Red have a connection that makes their situation even more complicated. “I think the push and pull between these two characters this season is different in that it is so emotionally front-loaded,” Bokenkamp admits. “The scenes between Laila Robins and James Spader are just approached in a very different way. They’re very emotional. You can see that it pains her what she is putting him through. Again, all of that comes from the history that they share.”
Katarina’s reach will extend far beyond Red. Liz is her daughter, after all. Eisendrath reveals, “This season will be as much about her personal relationships with Red and Liz and even Agnes as it is about the overarching plot story of what she’s coming for. In fact, in many ways, this season is really the family drama that has been sort of promised from the beginning of the series between Liz, Katarina, and Red.”
As for Liz, she’s not just dealing with Red, she’s focused on making sure Agnes is safe. “She has a child that she’s caring for and has brought her child back on the expectation, hope, and promise that her life was free and clear of risks and dangers and then she brings her child back and suddenly Katarina shows up thrusting her into the middle of the exact kinds of risks and dangers she had hoped to avoid,” Eisendrath tells HollywoodLife. “Her conflict, certainly the first half of the season is that she has this child and wants nothing more than to protect her. Then she finds herself in a situation where that may be difficult.”
The other members of the team will also have big story arcs in season 7. Bokenkamp teases that “we’re going to learn some truths about Cooper, some truths that go all the way back to the first season where we heard Red talk about a little bit of nastiness that happened in Kuwait. We’re going to open that box and unpack a story that relates to Cooper and Reddington. Aram is still on the sort of mend from losing Samar. There is a story that sort of blossoms out of that. It is sort of where he is emotionally and where he’s going.” As for Ressler, Eisendrath adds that there are some “residual stories that we have not seen yet of Ressler’s that we’re going to unpack this year in a very dramatic way. They go back to sort of his origin story, which had a lot to do with what happened when his father was killed. So we have many, many personal stories for Ressler, Aram, and Cooper that we’re going to talk about this year.” Basically, buckle up. It’s going to be one hell of a season. The Blacklist airs Friday at 8 p.m. on NBC.