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Despite a confusing season 8 finale, The Blacklist is gearing up for season 9. Filming has begun in New York with the first behind-the-scenes photos and a leaked script out in the world. With so many unknowns following the exit of series creator Jon Bokenkamp and lead Megan Boone, what’s up with former FBI agent Elizabeth Keen’s storyline? Here are the top theories that could come to fruition.

5. Liz Keen in alive in ‘The Blacklist’ Season 9 — but there’s a catch

Megan Boone as Liz Keen wears all black as she stands in the prison box.
Megan Boone as Liz Keen | Will Hart/NBC

Though announcements have been made about Boone’s official exit from the series, it doesn’t rule out seeing her appear as Liz Keen in season 9‚ but in flashbacks or a flash-forward to show what happened after she was shot. The catch is that it could’ve been pulled off by filming scenes before the star left.

It’s a stretch, sure, but the beauty of The Blacklist is that viewers are forced to suspend belief, or most of the premise and plot are completely unrealistic or believable.

4. The old hallucination trick

One of the oldest tricks in Hollywood history is adding the hallucination trope. If we take a big step back from the final three episodes of season 8 (“Godwin Page,” “Nachalo,” and “Konets”), an objective eye could reason that much of the last few seasons could’ve been one big hallucination on Liz’s part.

While this play is incredibly dissatisfying, it could explain many inconsistencies within the show’s eight-year framework — particularly places that Bokenkamp left open-ended.

3. Memory editing on Liz or Rayomond Reddington

Previous seasons revealed that specific editing manipulated Liz’s memories, and from there, how can we know what’s true and what isn’t? The practice served Raymond Reddington, but one fan wondered if it was actually the reverse.

“If Liz’s memories can be manipulated, then could Red’s have been manipulated into believing this was his daughter, or at the very least someone close to him to care about?” they asked on Reddit.

Some users don’t believe writers would trick fans for eight seasons, but we can’t put it past a show like this to toss another red herring in the mix.

2. She’s really dead

As much as some want the character of Liz to return, Bokenkamp said in multiple past interviews that she’s really dead. In fact, during a post-season 8 finale appearance on The Blacklist Exposed podcast, he reiterated that she’s definitely dead. Still, many have pointed out that he’s also stated other things in the past that turned out to be false. It’s no wonder Blacklist fans have trust issues.

1. Liz was an imposter the whole time


‘The Blacklist’ Season 9: Is This the Real Reason Liz Keen Had to Die?

Among the biggest theories that have begun to circulate is one where Liz is a fake. This isn’t totally off the rails because the series has introduced more than a few fakes (hello, Katerina Rostova). If the story really went to this level, it’d open season 9 with a whole new twist to expand on.

“What if Kaplan substituted her went they faked her pregnancy death? She was always unlikable, but she got worse. She pushed to find the truth even at the cost of everything around her. Either she is a double or was brainwashed,” a fan wrote.

However, some fans find that implausible to the point of nearly insulting.

“Were Liz a fake the entire time, that would waste every scene, every moment, of emotion shown on screen. Eight seasons — eight years — of story would dissolve into meaninglessness,” this fan said. “Red’s constant struggle to protect Liz would be for nothing. And then the audience would have another round of Red-and-his-daughter lasting God knows how long.”

Another added: “What if that last sequence of Liz’s flashbacks that looked like she figured out who he really is, was actually Red having flashbacks and realizing she’s not really Liz.”

Reddington’s ‘Blacklist’ journey in season 8

It’s hard telling what writers will do with Liz’s remaining storyline moving forward. There are many questions left unanswered if she’s simply gone without ever knowing the truth. We can’t wait to see how it all shakes out.

The Blacklist returns Oct. 21 to NBC.