Will ‘The Blacklist’ Season 9 Episode 9 Finally Explain How Dembe Joined the FBI?

When The Blacklist Season 9 began, many fans were surprised to learn that Dembe Zuma became an FBI agent after Liz’s death. Dembe previously worked for Raymond Reddington, the FBI’s most wanted criminal. Understandably, fans were confused as to how Dembe joined this organization. In fact, Dembe’s life in the two years following Liz’s death is pretty much a complete mystery. Episode 9 may provide some answers.

Hisham Tawfiq as Dembe Zuma in The Blacklist Season 9. Dembe wears a striped sweater and black jacket.
Hisham Tawfiq as Dembe Zuma in ‘The Blacklist’ Season 9 | Will Hart/NBC

Dembe joined the FBI in ‘The Blacklist’ Season 9

The first episode of season 9 revealed that Dembe joined the FBI in the years following Liz’s death. While working on a case, Dembe gets injured and his partner is killed. However, Dembe is soon back on his feet and he rejoins the task force after it is reinstated.

Fans were shocked to realize that Dembe left behind his days of bodyguarding Raymond Reddington. When Dembe was young, Red rescued him from human trafficking. He took care of Dembe and helped him get an education. Later Dembe became Red’s bodyguard and protected him with his life.

The Blacklist Season 9 revealed Dembe gave Liz the letter. Red and Dembe sit at a dinner table in season 8.
Hisham Tawfiq as Dembe Zuma, James Spader as Raymond “Red” Reddington in ‘The Blacklist’ | Will Hart/NBC

The pair were like family, which is why it’s so strange that Dembe and Red are separated in The Blacklist Season 9. It’s unclear what went down between the two in the years following Liz’s death, and why Dembe decided to join the FBI.

Episode 9 will dig into Dembe’s past through flashbacks

The Blacklist Season 9 will return with episode 9 on Thursday, Jan. 20. The new episode is titled “Boukman Baptiste.” NBC’s synopsis for the episode reads, “A spate of coordinated attacks on Red’s lieutenants puts Dembe in imminent danger, prompting him to relive the events that led him to join the FBI two years earlier,” according to cartermatt.com.

Episode 7 of The Blacklist Season 9 revealed what Ressler was up to in the two years following Liz’s death. It looks like episode 9 will do the same for Dembe. There may even be a similar flashback episode for Red in the future.

Dembe actor Hisham Tawfiq teased next week’s episode in a Tweet. “A lot of interesting theories on my timeline. Tune in next week for many many many many many many many many many many answers,” he wrote. The wait is almost over for fans to get some clarity.

‘The Blacklist’ Season 9 is going on break again

The Blacklist Season 9 returned in 2022 after a long break for the holidays. Unfortunately for fans, another break is on the way. The Winter Olympics will begin on February 4 and end on February 20. During that time, new episodes of The Blacklist will be put on hold. Luckily, fans can expect at least one (and possibly two) new episodes before this break begins.

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

RELATED: ‘The Blacklist’ Season 9: Are Fans Finally Ready for the Series to End?