‘The Blacklist’: Fans Think This Task Force Agent Is in Cahoots With Reddington

NBC’s The Blacklist knows how to twist viewer perception. That’s one reason the show is going into its ninth season, and possibly longer. With a stellar cast and new mysteries to unravel week after week, The Blacklist remains a top contender for fan theories. One suggests that Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) has been secretly working with one FBI task force member all along.

Reddington plays both sides to his advantage on ‘The Blacklist’

Amir Arison as Aram Mojtabai, Seth Numrich as Rakitin, Harry Lennix as Harold Cooper, Diego Klattenhoff as Donald Ressler, Deirdre Lovejoy as Cynthia Panabaker all stand together in the FBI office.
Amir Arison as Aram Mojtabai, Seth Numrich as Rakitin, Harry Lennix as Harold Cooper, Diego Klattenhoff as Donald Ressler, Deirdre Lovejoy as Cynthia Panabaker | Will Hart/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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The premise of The Blacklist banks on criminal-turned-FBI informant Red and his associations with those on the “blacklist.” He tells Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix) who’s next and Cooper sends his team to investigate.

Since season 1, Red’s game with the task force usually seems self-indulgent but we’ve always been told it’s for the greater good — even when it puts former agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) in danger’s way.

The series has maintained as ratings royalty for NBC, even though the numbers have dropped for season 8. Fans tune in every week because of Raymond Reddington and what may come of him.

Spader’s performance captured viewers from the jump and held it because the character doesn’t live within the parameters of good or bad, black or white. He is all grey, all the time and that’s why the beloved series was re-upped for season 9.

Still, for 8 years, some think Red’s intel is coming from the inside. Who could possibly risk being taken down with one of the FBI’s most-wanted?

Here’s who fans think is helping Red

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Of all the fan theories abound, one keeps popping up: the theory that Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix) is a double-agent and has been secretly helping Red all along. While a little on the wild side, fans think it holds weight.

“Cooper knows exactly who Red is. A lot of what you see is window dressing just to make things look a certain way when it’s really another. All you have to do is watch how and where they interact with each other and it will make sense,” a fan wrote on Reddit.

“Wouldn’t it be something is Harold knew more than he’s letting on? That question he asks Red when Red was kidnapped, and Liz just told Harold what she knew. He asks Red about Hutton and says something like ‘I know it’s you now.’ Maybe Cooper knows more than anyone about Reddington and his identity,” another said.

Another added: “I cannot say that for certain but I’ve had that feeling from the moment Red saved Cooper and Connelly from The Judge.”

And finally, “One thing I’ve learned about Cooper is there is what he says towards Reddington and then there is his actions towards Reddington. Let’s just say his actions speak louder than his words,” a fan said.

The comments talk in great detail, pointing all the way back to the beginning of the series, connecting how Red and Harold could be in all of this together. It’s worth re-watching with a new lens.

Lennix describes Cooper as a ‘black hole’

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We can’t yet know if that theory is true because writers still have more stories to tell. Even Lennix admitted that Cooper is somewhat of a mystery, which wouldn’t rule out any dubious actions.

“Cooper doesn’t have a whole lot of screen time relative to some of the other characters, but what’s there is of substance and dense in its own way,” Lennix told Collider in January.

He continued: “I kind of feel that Cooper is sort of a black hole in a way that he allows other people to be in orbit around him, but I’m holding a kind of center, which has been very interesting.”

As for whether the show will end after season 9, he doesn’t think so. If anything, the star reveals his hopes for another 20 seasons like his favorite show, Gunsmoke.

“Why not? You know that the criminals aren’t going to stop coming, right? These guys are infinitely inventive with, you know, the weirdos that they create for The Blacklist,” he said adding the show’s only getting better with time.

“I think that as the show has lived, and as they’ve created other characters in it, and other intrigues to follow…I think it has evolved and I and it’s gotten more stable and better,” he said.

The Blacklist airs Fridays at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC.