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The Blacklist Season 9 Will Have Flashbacks Explaining Red & Dembe Conflict

The Blacklist EP John Eisendrath says season 9 will look into the relationship between Red and Dembe via flashback, and explore what went wrong.

The Blacklist looks to explain what drove a wedge between Red and Dembe in an upcoming season 9 episode. After premiering in 2013, the hit NBC series has seen consistently high ratings and earned critical praise, in particular for James Spader’s central performance as Red. The show follows former U.S. Navy officer turned criminal, Raymond Reddington, who voluntarily surrenders to the FBI after years of dodging arrest and offers to inform them about some of the most dangerous criminals in the world in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Fans of the show know that much of The Blacklist focused on Red’s relationship with rookie FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) after insisting he work exclusively with her. However, Boone’s departure from the show following her character’s death in The Blacklist season 8 finale resulted in a big pivot in the story. The new Blacklist season 9 premiered in October and introduced fans with a two-year time jump, where the task force involving Red has been disbanded. New episodes also explore how the characters’ lives have changed since Keen’s murder. In particular, one big change noted by fans in The Blacklist season 9 was that Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) becoming an FBI agent threatens Red’s operations, and has led to multiple altercations between the two.

According to TVLine, the new season of The Blacklist will treat fans to a flashback episode revealing why Dembe is not with Red anymore. Executive producer John Eisendrath explains that what happened to Dembe in the two years prior to season 9 will be explored. Fans will find out what exactly happened to his relationship with Red and how he ended up working for the FBI. Read Eisendrath’s full comments about the episode below:

“There will be an episode this season in which we look back at Dembe’s journey during the two years between the end of season 8 and the beginning of season 9. It will not only reveal what drove a wedge between Dembe and Red, but also tell the story of how Dembe became an FBI agent.”

Not only does the new The Blacklist season 9 involve a slight change in direction, it also finds Eisendrath assuming full responsibility as showrunner, following the exit of series creator Jon Bokenkamp. Considering the two shared the role before, The Blacklist fans can still expect a certain level of continuity in terms of style and writing as the series progresses. After eight complete seasons, the show has amassed a fanbase willing to keep up with it weekly, maintaining its solid ratings five episodes into the latest season 9.

A series as long-lasting as The Blacklist will almost always be met with debate surrounding its future and how much further it can stretch its own story. The absence of both Boone and Bokenkamp supplies the show with a natural ending of sorts, but fan reliance and an opportunity to experiment with a changing narrative could perhaps give it the fresh legs it needs. Whether it continues past this point or not, it is clear The Blacklist has plans to keep viewers engaged, allowing NBC to stick with the series as long as fans still eager.

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