Things Are Not Always As They Seem…Or Are They?

One of the curses of being an author (yes, there’s more than one) is that very few books, movies or TV shows hold any real surprises for us. We can usually unravel a plot quickly and know what’s coming before it happens.

Then there are plots like the one of TV’s new series, The Blacklist, a show so well-written and plotted that it challenges the most experienced plotters.

In the series, Raymond “Red” Reddington is a wanted man who’s been on the run for the past twenty years–but suddenly turns up at the FBI’s offices to surrender himself. He has, he says, a blacklist comprised of the names of the world’s most dangerous criminals. He knows how to find them. He will share his knowledge, but only to one person–rookie agent Elizabeth Keen, who has no idea why he’s chosen her. She doesn’t know Reddington and has no connection to him that she’s aware of. Yet he seems to know everything about her. 
How?

At the beginning of the series, it’s revealed that Reddington was a genius, an intelligence officer with a promising future, married with a young daughter. When last heard from, he was on his was home on Christmas Eve….twenty years ago. That night, he dropped off the radar. In a recent episode, he talked about that night. He said he had been so anxious to get home, he ran out of gas.  He left his car, full of gifts, and started walking. When he got home, he recalled only that there was blood everywhere.

In another episode, another piece of the puzzle: Red visits Lizzie’s adopted father, Sam. Sam is in the hospital. He’s dying. The two men obviously know each other. Red tells Sam he’s seen Lizzie and praises Sam for the way he’s raised her. Sam says he has to tell Lizzie the truth, but Red won’t allow it.

This week’s episode included another revelation: Lizzie’s husband, Tom, married her two years earlier because that was his “assignment.” One has to wonder why there would be interest in a rookie agent who had not yet joined the group known as the Post Office…unless she has a connection someone wants.

I have my own theory about Red Reddington, about who he is, his connection to Lizzie and what the Blacklist is really all about. I’ll tell you what I suspect, and we’ll see, as the show continues, how much I get right….

I believe Lizzie is Red’s daughter, in spite of the fact that it’s so obvious and the show’s promos have repeatedly told us that on The Blacklist, nothing is as it seems.  When Lizzie asked, he didn’t deny it. He told her only that it was complicated. If I’m correct in my theory, he can’t tell her he’s her father, because to do so would put her at even more risk than she is now.

I think that his wife was murdered and his daughter critically injured by someone who was out to get Red himself. Lizzie was so traumatized that she can’t remember what happened. Red left her in Sam’s care and went rogue to find the killer. His search let him from one criminal connection to the other–the criminals who now occupy the Blacklist. He wants to bring them down, one by one, until he gets all of them. He’s returned to the US–and surrendered himself–because he wants to stay close to Lizzie, to protect her. He’s told her he’ll always protect her.

Red Reddington does not act like a hardened criminal. In more than one episode, he’s acted with compassion for others. He even put himself on the line to save the lives of two colleagues. He allowed himself to be taken prisoner to protect Lizzie. How far will he go in the future to protect her…and bring down all of those on his Blacklist?

Time will tell….

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15 responses

  1. Not many intelligent shows around anymore Norma, that's what makes Blacklist stand out I guess. I'm not a writer but I too have this very annoying ability to work out a storyline almost down to the last word :)I quite like 'The Good Wife' also, the intricacies of the American law system fascinate AND confuse me :)I

  2. @ William: One of the best ever created! I wish he'd been one of mine!

    @ Carole: They should all get Emmys!

    @ Cheryl: I don't miss very often, but the writers on this show are really good!

    @ Grace: Our legal system confuses us, too!

    @ Maria: I think you'd enjoy it!

  3. I have wante dto watch this show but don't seem to have the energy… been drifting off as soon as I sit down. Maybe I will catch up this summer.

    cheers, parsnip

  4. Liz did ask Red directly if he was her father, and he did say “no”. But he hesitated for a moment first. I too think he is her father. My theory is Tom is a double agent, (as the police report said that the man killed in the hotel -where Tom was seen leaving- was there to meet a double agent)
    Gina Tom's (lover as Red put it) is from Berlin. I think she may be Berlin, or work for Berlin as well.
    I predict that Tom will take off until he finds out that “that last celebration after they renewed their vows” Liz is pregnant with his child. And he admits he did really love her.
    Red took a picture from stewmaker's book. I think Liz's was saved from the house fire, but someone's child (probably someone in the Post Office Fitch perhaps)was killed by the stewmaker. Red took evidence to prove that. Red is gathering the two sides of a war to kill each other, He will expose both sides to each other. post Office to Berlin. Berlin could be Liz's Mother!!

  5. I agree it's been awhile since I've watched a show i'm so glued to every minute. Spader plays this role Perfectly! and Tom OMG he really had me there for awhile… my mouth dropped when he said to the woman he worked with ..It's My Job! and then eventually he killed her. I wanted so badly for him to have actually loved her, I'm still not totally sure he doesn't. Time will tell.

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