On the mid-season finale of The Blacklist, Liz finally asked the ultimate question of Red. Whether or not Red answered truthfully is another question itself.
The Blacklist is clearly the breakout hit of the season. It’s a smashing success for NBC. With a steadily increasing viewership after nine airings, there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon. Its formula for success not only rides on the incredible talent of lead James Spader and his portrayal of U.S. traitor Raymond “Red” Reddington, but on the series’ myriad secrets.
One of the biggest mysteries is the paternity of Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone). Liz has always known she was adopted. She also knows she was suddenly promoted within the FBI to a special task force to work with one of the most notorious wanted criminals in the U.S., who asked for her by name, because of her father. When she asked Red if he knew her father, his answer was, “It’s complicated.”
At the end of “Anslo Garrick, Part 2,” Liz finally asked the question, “Are you my father?” Red hesitated, then answered, “No.” But did he tell the truth? Let’s take a look at some of the clues to the puzzle of their relationship that have been dropped so far this season.
Liz’s personal life
Red takes a sharp interest in Liz’s personal life. He’s gravely concerned about her marriage and arranges for her to find a box hidden under her floor containing information that should paint her husband, Tom (Ryan Eggold), in a very unfavorable light. Liz doesn’t believe what she sees, and accuses Red of setting Tom up. Red persists.
In “The Stewmaker,” when Liz is kidnapped and Red rescues her, he finds a photo log of all of the victims of the kidnapper and removes a photo for his own use before giving the book to Liz as evidence. Who is the woman? A possible romantic interest of Red’s? Liz’s mother? Both? The woman in that photo will resurface at some point.
Liz’s adoptive father
When Liz’s father fell ill in “The Freelancer,” she couldn’t get away to see him. Red made the trip. Her father wanted to tell Liz the truth before he died — whatever that is. Red reminded him that he raised her and would always be her father. Then he killed him. Whether Red was doing it to save her father pain or to save himself was unclear.
Actions speak louder than words
Red has made it very clear that no matter where he is, should she ever need him, he will be there. The actions of a father are in every move he makes; most certainly the actions of someone very close. Could he be her uncle? Sure. Will we learn their relationship anytime soon? No way.
It’s absolutely fascinating to watch what lengths Red will go to to protect and help Liz. Keeping the audience wondering about their relationship is as important as keeping them paired up and hunting down fugitives on the blacklist. We’ll likely find out what Tom is up to before we discover the true nature of the relationship between Red and Liz.
Theorizing on who Red and Liz are to each other is one of the core questions of The Blacklist. Why would we want to take the fun out of trying to solve it so early in the run of the series?