When the local entertainment world shut down last spring, many TV series left two-thirds of the way through their planned stories – and without a proper closing chapter..
Not wanting to finish Season 7 without some semblance of suspense in the future, the creative team « The Blacklist » found an unusual solution..
They crafted a uniquely crafted season finale (mix of live action and graphic novel-style animation), perfectly paving the way for what promises to be a spirited year for FBI Agent Elizabeth Kane (Megan Boone) and her most-wanted father character / Criminal mastermind Raymond Redington (James Spader).
In a somewhat unexpected twist, Liz tells her comatose grandfather, Dom (the late Brian Denny), that she’s 100% Katarina’s team – and those who oppose Liz fall prey to her darkness.
Well, since the beginning of the series, Liz endured « Red », despised him, loved him, used and learned from him, as she sought to arrest and banish the most dangerous criminals in the world (found on « Red’s » « The Black List »), and to learn more about her past.
You see, it was a strange request when « Red, » a long-awaited target not caught by the FBI, turned himself in – with a request to speak only with a junior profile expert, Agent Kane.
What did Red want from Liz? Over the years, we’ve learned that « Red » may or may not be her father – at least he has a deep but unclear background with Liz’s parents..
In seven seasons, Liz has gone from keeping the law up to and sticking to it, to circumventing it, breaking it, and using it to her advantage – just like « Red, » which, despite self-interest, adheres to the purpose of justifying – means self-rule. But that’s getting more difficult now with the rise of Liz’s mother, Katarina Rostova (Lily Robins) – a former Russian spy believed to have died many years ago..
« The Black List » « The Kazanjian Brothers »: Pictured, from the left: Laila Robbins as Katarina Rostova and Megan Boone as Elizabeth Kane. (NBC photo)
Of course, Katarina is not a saint herself – she is the reason that put Dom at death’s door. Katarina is looking to stay alive long enough to find out why her friends and her family betray her, and she has embarked on a campaign of torture and deception that is no different from something that would orchestrate her..
With Liz impatient due to the Reds’ inability to tell her the full truth, she learns that her mother has been on the run in part because of Reddington. I became even more adamant about ending the fun round and bringing the decision to all parties, at any cost.
Following the eighth season premiere (8 p. M. Friday, NBC), « The Blacklist » executive producer John Eisendrath and EP / Jon Bokenkamp creator for BTS gave BTS insight into the series’ main stars and where the characters are headed next..
Q: I want to go back to the beginning before we talk about what is happening now, and I want to talk about the transmission. Megan Boone is wonderful. James Spader is clearly a complete talent. But, Megan Boon, when this show debuted, she wasn’t well known to fans. Wonder what you’ve seen in it that has proven to you that it can be as good as what we’ve seen on screen. After that, no. 2, I understand you don’t have Spader on board until 11 o’clock. So, what would you guys be doing if you weren’t able to pick it up? How will that change things?
Regarding Megan, what I think I’ll say is that when I got on to the audition we never heard of her either.. And she was, in her auditions, able to convey a sense of the presence of something below – like darkness; Something was lurking beneath the surface. And at that time, the character had very little progress under the surface; As a very sweet and innocent person he fell into a story that she had no idea what parts he was going to play in. But we always knew that, on the road, she would have to show some darkness – or worry that there was some darkness in her, and that there must be darkness in her if she had some connection to this demonic character in « The Red ».
And I think for me, seeing that, I think, was what had a lot to do with winning me in terms of thinking that it could play the role as the world grew the way we knew it was.
John Buckinkamp: Regarding James, you’re right, he was cast, I want to say, was it three days, maybe, before we started filming, John? Because it came too late.
I don’t know what would have happened if we hadn’t dumped it; We probably didn’t shoot or push the pilot. I guess, if I remember correctly, there were talks about the mid-season show or something, because we just, we didn’t have the cast..
Well, we got to test Megan first, and we were lucky enough that James came on board. He had a lot of questions, and I remember John and I had a long, rather in-depth conversation about the character, who he was, and making it his own.. I mean, he found humor in things that I didn’t necessarily think were meant to be funny. He was kind of able to sabotage in an interesting way, breathe life into the character – much more than he was on the page.
Elizabeth Kane (Megan Boone) picked a team for the Season 7 finale. (Sony Pictures TV pictures)
Q: Well, something a little bit more modern, last season, hybrid end season kind. He was so smart – he was clearly absolutely essential with what was going on in the world at the time. What is the genesis of presenting that episode in this way?
John Eisendrat: Necessity is the mother of invention. We shot half an episode. We thought the episode that was the last fully completed episode wouldn’t be a good end of the season; Regarding the story she was in, she wasn’t designed to be the season finale. And the one accomplished midway was the best end of the season. So, we had to figure out what to do with the other half.
John Buckinkamp: We originally talked about . . . Picture books made about the show. We thought we could take some of those storyboards and make them – you know, take pictures? How can we move it? This genre turned into a comic. Perhaps it was a kind of graphic novel style approach to animation.
There are a lot of people who have worked around the clock, really, to make this work a success and to come up with another episode of something an hour away from watching COVID news on TV – some escape from reality. And hopefully, these new episodes, too: a little bit of entertainment – and much-needed entertainment.
Q: This is clearly not your usual cops and robbers show where you can only ax 10 rings and nobody cares. This is a very well-defined and interesting story and plot. And so, we had to finish last season where you did, will we get, this season, some of the ideas that were in your mind for that period of time – plus what you had for this next season; Or did you tie last season as you go? What measures will we carry out this season?
John Buckinkamp: Right, as I said, what was to be the final of last season was really big moves. Episode, What Was It, 20, 21 to 22, those last three episodes were reconfigured to release Season 8. And so, usually where we start out kinda a little flat, this season we have really cool what used to be the slopes; And the starting point for Season 8 are really big episodes with some big revelations and twists in them.
So yeah, which is why we’re starting in a fairly sequential place. We start where we left off, and dive straight into the kind of story between « Red » and Katarina and Liz, the dynamics between these characters – the kind of dynamic transformation between them, and what reveals or information to sort out Liz approaches her mother and side with her..
Q: What will we learn about Red this year – and what are the odds that we really discover it?
John Isendrat: I’ll answer that by starting with Liz, who committed, at the end of last season, not only to standing by her mother, but to knowing (the truth).. And her commitment to do so is stronger and more enduring than it has ever been. This will force Red to respond. He and Liz will definitely be at odds over Liz’s pursuit. And I think the fight with Liz will be a fight he may have been expecting for many years, but also likely (he was afraid) the day she arrived, because he doesn’t care about anyone more than he cares about her.. And being more square in opposing her would be more difficult for him than anyone else he faces.
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The Blacklist, NBC, Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, Elizabeth Keen, Megan Boone, Jon Bokenkamp, James Spader, Donald Ressler
World News – US – as the ‘blacklist’ returns Will Liz stay with Catarina or go back to ‘The Red’?
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