‘The Blacklist’ Season 9: Fans Believe a Clue in Episode 3 Discredits the ‘Redarina’ Theory

The mystery over Raymond “Red” Reddington’s identity has plagued the fandom of The Blacklist for nine seasons. At one point, people thought that he was Liz Keen’s father. But once that theory was proven false, a new one arose in the fandom. Many fans of The Blacklist believe in the “Redarina” theory, but there have been arguments over its validity. And a Reddit user thinks that a clue from season 9 episode 3 may discredit the concept.

'The Blacklist' star James Spader, in character as Red, subject of the Redarina fan theory, wears a black winter jacket over a suit and tie, and a pair of tinted glasses and a black hat. He holds his flip phone to his ear.
James Spader | Photo by: Will Hart/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

What is the ‘Redarina’ fan theory from ‘The Blacklist’?

To be nine seasons into a series and not know the true identity of its main character is an impressive feat. And that’s exactly what The Blacklist has accomplished. But after a few seasons, a popular fan theory regarding Red’s identity emerged. Many fans believe that “Redarina” is the answer to the truth behind Red in The Blacklist.

To summarize the concept, fans think that Red is actually Liz’s mother, Katarina Rostova. They theorize that Katarina underwent facial reconstruction surgery and other operations years ago, which explains why Red looks the way he does.

The season 8 finale of The Blacklist gave fans even more evidence that supports the “Redarina” theory. Red gave Liz a letter from her mother that contained the truth about Red’s identity. He told her to open it after she killed him, but, unfortunately, Liz died before she could get the chance to.

An emotional montage of Liz’s moments throughout her life played while Red held a dying Liz in his arms. It’s worth noting that the montage included scenes between Liz and her mother and Liz and Red. And to further support the “Redarina” theory, Red told Liz that he knew her mother better than anyone in The Blacklist Season 8 finale.

Reddit fans argue over a clue in ‘The Blacklist’ Season 9 Episode 3

In a Reddit thread, one fan pointed out a line of dialogue in The Blacklist Season 9 Episode 3 that they believe discredited the “Redarina” theory. The line they are referring to is when Red claims, “I’m not an abusive husband or father.”

The Reddit user said, “I don’t know about anyone else, but this felt like another line that was written specifically to hold meaning. There were many other ways Red could have conveyed what he intended. He could have said that he would never harm Agnes, or he only wanted what was best for her, or that he cared for her like he did Liz. But what he said was that he was not an abusive husband or father, implying that he had been at one time, a husband and a father.”

They continued, “This is just one more little clue to add to the growing pile showing that ‘Redarina’ may not be the final answer.”

However, a lot of fans disagreed with this statement. One Reddit user said, “Trans men are men, so of course a trans man would use a masculine metaphor.” Another fan commented, “… the fact that Red is viewed as, presents himself as, and refers to himself as a man, and that trans men are men, then it seems perfectly in-character that he would use masculine examples in a sentence.”

Some The Blacklist fans didn’t think much of the dialogue in proving or disproving the “Redarina” theory. A Reddit user said, “Personally, I don’t find the dialogue all that deep. I didn’t read anything into it other than Red disliking being treated on the level of an abusive spouse or parent because of the visits requiring supervision.”

What ‘The Blacklist’ creator Jon Bokenkamp had to say about the ‘Redarina’ theory

During a post-season 4 finale interview in 2017 with Entertainment Weekly, The Blacklist creator Jon Bokenkamp acknowledged the “Redarina” fan theory.

Bokenkamp said, “Look, it is one of the theories that I’ve obviously heard. There is a big camp that [believes the] Raymond Reddington imposter theory, that Red is not who he says he is. I mean, I can’t deny that that all still adds up and is one of the theories that makes sense. It’s out there, it’s cool, I’d love to have you walk me through the whole thing. But this imposter theory is one that’s alive among our fan base.”

“Each season, we’ve given real concrete pieces of this puzzle, and this season is no exception. Some episodes were heavy in that mythology than others,” Bokenkamp said. “Again, they’re all pieces of this puzzle that is slowly coming together to paint one large picture. But it’s a blast seeing it come together, and it’s also a lot of fun to read comments and threads and tweets and see the theories because there’s a lot of them, and they’re really a blast to read.”

The Blacklist Season 9 airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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