The conversations surrounding The Blacklist Season 8 finale prove that fans are obsessed with the show — for better or worse. The hit NBC crime series was renewed for season 9 earlier this year but with the exit of a key player (as well as the series creator), the upcoming content seems to be a free-for-all. Can the show continue or is season 9 the last?
[Spoilers for The Blacklist Season 8 finale “Konets” below]
Two ‘Blacklist’ exits have been confirmed ahead of season 9
Just as writers failed to reveal Raymond “Red” Reddington‘s (James Spader) true identity for the last eight years, they did it again with the season finale. Despite the multiple hints that Red is likely former FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen’s (Megan Boone) mother, Liz died in the final moments of the episode — before answers were explicitly stated.
The ending came on the heels of Boone’s exit news. With Boone missing out on eight episodes of season 8, fans speculated throughout the season this is where things were headed. But even knowing that much didn’t prepare some for watching the character die without the only answers she sought after for so long.
According to Deadline, Boone’s exit was in the plans since January and is said to be mutual. In the weeks leading up to her final episode, the star posted multiple photos of her time on the set, cementing more fan theories she’d soon depart.
Jon Bokenkamp’s departure shocked Blacklisters
Likewise, Bokenkamp’s exit came as a shock and the Blacklist world is still reeling. He took to Twitter to share the news.
“Dear Blacklisters: I wanted to write you directly to let you know that I’ve made the difficult decision to leave ‘The Blacklist.’ I love this show with all of my heart, and it’s been an incredible journey, but after eight years I feel it’s 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.
It’s unclear what Bokenkamp’s next move is, but Boone launched a production company Weird Sister, signing a first-look deal with Sony Pictures Television.
Is season 9 the last of ‘The Blacklist’?
When The Blacklist first premiered, it was among the top-rated for NBC. Over time, ratings have steeply declined, with the finale receiving only 2.1 million viewers in the 18-49 demographic for same-day viewing. Many have moved to streaming platforms, which might have saved some viewers from moving on altogether.
With another season on the way, there are a few things we know for sure. Spader will return along with Diego Klattenhoff, Amir Arison, Hisham Tawfiq, Laura Sohn and Harry Lennix. The show will likely keep the same time slot, but we don’t have an exact premiere date yet. As with other seasons, it’ll more the likely return in the fall.
Considering where the season 8 finale left things with Red and Liz, it’s possible that season 9 is the last — for a few reasons. The story of Red has been drawn out for eight years and without Liz, the need-to-know has no more urgency. Similarly, if Red entered Liz’s life to protect her from the blacklist, it stands to reason there’s no more danger without Liz in the picture.
We’ve also learned that, for a few seasons now, Red is sick and knows he will die. Those breadcrumbs might be the first hints at a series finale for season 9. Also, is there even the need for a task team without any of the above? There’s a lot of “what-ifs” revolving around whether the show can survive much longer and even more doubt that it will.
Fans think there’s still a thread writers can pull from, but only for a season
With the finale behind us, fans are deep-diving into all the ways the show could begin for season 9 — and all the reasons why it definitely should be the last.
“I think the most important part will be to give Red a believable motivation to keep doing his thing. Both for his organization and the work with the Task Force. He was prepared die, the entire empire and The Blacklist were just for Liz…who is dead. So now the same thing all over again but for Agnes?” a fan posted on Reddit.
Others might not tune in to another season of the show
While that could be the path writers take, many others are so frustrated with the turn of events, they may not continue watching.
“Within the first few minutes of the first episode of season 9, there better be Liz’s funeral and Red reads the letter out loud.. I don’t think the writers can put Red’s secret off any more even though they have and were getting close to revealing it tonight,” a fan wrote.
“They killed mystery. Who is Red will be no matter anymore. When he will die in the end of series it will: he was Reddington, it doesn’t matter who he was before, he take his mystery with him. And this is cruel to audience,” this fan said.
“If the writers think they can make us watch another 22 episodes for the secret to be revealed, then they’re smoking some Heisenberg-level crack. The reveal better be within the first 2 episodes or they will lose me as a viewer. That doesn’t mean anything, I’m not important. But I’m guessing others want the reveal within that time, or else most will bail,” another added.
There’s no concrete answer as to whether season will be the last but many signs point to yes. Until then, we’re still processing.