‘The Blacklist’: Fans Think They Know Who Takes the #1 Spot On Red’s List

Long before the season 8 premiere of The Blacklist, fans already have a few theories about that so-called list. More so, who likely takes the top spot. Throughout seven seasons, elusive criminal, Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader), has dangled a criminal “blacklist” in front of the FBI in exchange for immunity. So far, a few of those in Red’s circle have also made the list. It’s the empty spot that’s nagging viewers. Here’s who they think take it, and why.

A summary of Raymond Reddington’s ‘friends’ who made the list

The Blacklist
James Spader as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington | Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

If you betray Raymond Reddington (Spader), say a prayer. At least, that’s how writers have shown Red’s “eye-for-an-eye” ways. The NBC series revolves around Red turning himself in after decades of evading capture. Once he’s arrested, he offers his unique list of underground criminals in exchange for immunity from persecution.

The catch is that Red asks he only works directly with FBI profiler, Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) — whom he taunts as being her twisted father-figure of sorts.

Over the last seven years, Red’s list has grown to an unknown number. Each person or group on the list is assigned a number. It’s not yet known if the numbers hold any real meaning. Still, if a name is on it, that person is going head-to-head with Red one way or another.

Among those within Red’s circle who’ve taken a spot include his former cleaner, Mr. Kaplan (Susan Blommaert), and his bodyguard and trusted confidante, Dembe Zuma (Hisham Tawfiq). Mr. Kaplan took her own life to avoid arrest or death by Red, while Red forgave Dembe and the two came back together.

Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold) made the list as a skilled assassin Red initially hired to watch over Elizabeth. The two broke ties when Tom and Liz married. He died by another man on Red’s list trying to get the truth about Red’s true identity to Elizabeth.

That said, Katarina Rostova (Laila Robins) is No. 3 and so far, she proves to be the biggest threat to Red — and Elizabeth. Season 8 will dive deeper into this, and her threat-level may dissipate. For now, she’s no more dangerous than whoever takes the No. 1 slot.

Many others appear at random on the world’s “most dangerous” list of masterminds. So, who will appear in the top spot? Fans have a few ideas.

This theory has several key points on both sides

According to multiple Reddit threads, there’s only one person who can possibly be the worst person (in Red’s mind): Elizabeth. One in-depth Reddit conversation pulled out all of the stops.

“Is it possible, even remotely, that Masha/Liz is number 1 on The Blacklist? I know this sounds insane, but my husband and I were talking this week (mostly about how season seven is becoming a real disappointment) and he said, at the end of the day, number one on the blacklist better be f*cking crazy,” one fan wrote.

The argument is based on a few factors including that Red is American, he is the real Reddington (and not the imposter Liz believes him to be), that he is, in fact, Liz’s biological father, and that he came into her life in order to stop the Cabal and bring Katarina into the open.

The theory has enough legs but some say it’s not possible.

“Other than killing two or three goon on a random day in a forest, and lying to her parental figures on daily basis, I haven’t seen her doing anything dark or super bad or exciting or awe-inspiring,” a fan replied.

“Nothing on par with the blacklisters we have already seen on this show. She basically has no talent, if we compare her to the other blacklister.”

The argument goes on to point out that Elizabeth doesn’t have “the intelligence of Dr. Lewis Powell, or manipulative skills of Alistair Pratt or illusion making power of Lewis Stein hill, or the cleaning or information skills of Mr. Kaplan (the comparisons go on further).”

That same fan added that Liz couldn’t even protect Tom or their daughter, Agnes. To that point, another commented that, by design, the blacklist “is defined by the threat level of each person or group, to Red and Liz.”

The viewer noted that “the person who can destroy both Red and Liz most easily is Liz herself, so #1 is supposed to be Liz. Confused yet? There’s another theory many more argue.

This theory flips ‘The Blacklist’ on its head


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Where there are many fans of The Blacklist arguing Elizabeth’s Russian alter ego, Masha Rostova, poses the most danger to Red, others have an entirely different theory suggesting Red fills the top spot, by his own choice.

This theory has a few different arguments to support it — namely that his true identity hasn’t yet been defined. He’s in control of the list.

“I do think season 8 will be about Liz vs Red. And my theory to the end is that red is going to die and Liz will take his place and become a fugitive,” one Redditor commented.

Another argument made on Red’s behalf is that his “transformation” into Reddington could be because he’s the real Katarina trying to take down the real Reddington. Does your head hurt yet?

Thread after thread, many are dedicated to solving the case, long before answers will come. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) forcing production to shut down early, it’s unknown when season 8 will premiere. Blacklist fans will likely have answers (and more questions) in early 2021.