‘The Blacklist’ Season 9: Jon Bokenkamp’s Exit Prompted Changes Fans Hate

The Blacklist Season 9 returns after the exit of several major players. Creator Jon Bokenkamp, as well as star Megan Boone, did not return for the new season, and things definitely feel different in the new season. Fans have noticed changes in The Blacklist Season 9, and there are a few things they aren’t too happy about.

Jon Bokenkamp speaks during a panel for The Blacklist wearing a suit and tie. Bokenkamp won't be returning for The Blacklist Season 9.
Jon Bokenkamp | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Why did Jon Bokenkamp leave ‘The Blacklist’?

Actor Megan Boone played Liz Keen on The Blacklist since the beginning. In June 2021 she announced her exit from the show prior to season 9. Boone left The Blacklist to work on other projects. In the same month, creator Jon Bokenkamp also announced that he would not return.

Bokenkamp left a lengthy note to fans of The Blacklist on Twitter. “I love this show with all of my heart, and it been an incredible journey, but after eight years I feel its time for me to step out of my comfort zone, try something new, and explore a few of the other characters and stories that have been crawling around in my head,” he wrote.

Bokenkamp described the “mixed emotions” he was feeling about leaving the show. Things are definitely different without Boone and Bokenkamp in The Blacklist Season 9, and fans have their own opinions about the changes that have come about.

Fans aren’t happy about these changes in ‘The Blacklist’ Season 9

The Blacklist Season 9 has changed in quite a few ways. “No matter how I feel about the writing, characters, or the dragging out of the central mystery for way too long, I believe Jon brought a feel to TBL that left with him,” a fan wrote on Reddit.

“There was a darkness to both the blacklisters and the humor that I believe came from him and is noticeably absent. And although the perfection of the music (one of my favorite things about the show) has been lacking in recent seasons, it is completely gone now,” they continued.

Diany Rodriguez as Weecha Xiu and James Spader as Red in The Blacklist Season 9. Weecha stands behind Red, who is wearing a dark coat and hat.
Diany Rodriguez as Weecha Xiu and James Spader as Red | Will Hart/NBC

It’s worthwhile to point out that Bokenkamp is not the only person involved in the writing of The Blacklist. Changes in The Blacklist Season 9 could stem from other factors besides his exit. Boone’s exit has certainly had a role in the different feel of this season. Though many viewers didn’t love Liz, it’s hard to deny she was an important part of the show.

“Maybe it’s not the lack of JB so much as the lack of Liz and the overall mythology?” a fan proposed on the same Reddit thread. “I know people claim to be over that, but if they’ve really dumped 8 seasons of mythology and started over with something new, that isn’t going to be an easy transition. That could be the difference you’re seeing too.”

Will Jon Bokenkamp ever return to ‘The Blacklist’?

It seems unlikely that Bokenkamp will ever return to The Blacklist. Both he and Boone have expressed desires to work on other projects that will likely keep them busy for years to come. Furthermore, it’s not clear how many seasons The Blacklist has left. Season 10 has not yet been confirmed, though there’s a good chance that it will happen as long as James Spader sticks around. For now, it seems like Bokenkamp won’t be coming back.

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