‘The Blacklist’ Season 9 May Have to Face the Biggest Plot Hole of the Series

The premise of NBC’s The Blacklist rests on the notion that supercriminal Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) can keep eight years’ worth of secrets that would ultimately destroy him. Those secrets in eight years’ worth of episodes amount to one glaring plot hole in the series. Will season 9 address it?

The ‘Concierge of Crime’ began as an FBI ‘Most-Wanted’ criminal on ‘The Blacklist’

James Spader as Raymond 'Red' Reddington stands with a look of confusion on his face.
James Spader as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington | Will Hart/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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Way back in 2013, Spader’s electric debut as “The Concierge of Crime” graced TV screens everywhere. The Jon Bokenkamp creation came alive as Spader’s Reddington entered the FBI building, asked to speak with Harold Cooper, then — in the most iconic scene — took off his hat and fell to his knees as he awaited his arrest.

The mystery surrounding why Reddington turned himself in after 20 years on the run has been a central storyline for eight seasons. The pilot episode also introduced a fresh-faced profiler, Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), as her first day on the job included babysitting a very fickle Red.

Though the biggest question of the series relates to Reddington’s real identity, season 8 put one plot hole in the spotlight, making it nearly impossible to endure much longer.

‘The Blacklist’ Season 9 should address this glaring plot hole

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Fans have suspended disbelief in regards to many things that The Blacklist has introduced. The fake deaths. The wild goose chases. The fact that Liz seemed to outsmart everyone around her in season 8. However, if the show is to survive, many hope writers address the fact that Reddington’s identity is known.

However enigmatic Spader’s monologues, it’s becoming unsettlingly clear that he’s still “on the run” after all this time while also putting himself in very public situations many times over. Between he and Liz’s talks in the park, shootouts in the middle of New York City streets, and all the criminals he’s killed, turned, or spoken to, it’s a wonder why any criminal “friend” he has still associated with him.

He and Liz became public figures again and again. At times, they were the focus of manhunts, and there was a time when Red was nearly busted after getting recognized early on. That hasn’t really happened much since, even though his exploits have gotten bigger and badder, involving more people than before.

Red and Liz have spoken with so many people outside of the task force, and it’s insulting to viewers for the show not to address how often Reddington moves about in public. Will the show make Reddington public enemy number one in season 9?

How Reddington’s exposure could drive the season 9 storyline

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With so many theories circulating about the future of the series, it’s clear the writers and showrunners have a lot to sort through. The absence of Bokenkamp and Boone will likely affect the story they choose for Reddington.

That said, if there’s no retcon of previous mythology and they want to take the series in a new direction, there’s the possibility they put the spotlight back onto Red and expose him. Just as we first met him in the pilot, he could be on the run if the task force believes he’s to blame for Liz’s death. Resourceful, squirrely Red is the Red fans love with less intrapersonal red tape and more Red and Dembe adventures. Plus, the task force team might be disbanded.

By making Red a wanted fugitive again — with nothing to lose — a new story begins. Previous storylines no longer suit the show without Boone. At least, we’re hoping.

The Blacklist returns Thursday, Oct. 21, to NBC.