As loyalties shift and motivations change among the characters on The Blacklist, who has evolved and who is still on the same course?
From the premiere of the hit NBC show, The Blacklist, everything has been about deception. Who do you believe and why? The writing has been superb with all the twists and turns, but the true essence of The Blacklist and its top-notch storylines is still the characters.
Over the course of seven seasons, the main core has still remained intact with a few new but deadly faces added to the bunch. For viewers, the likability effect is strong but so is the ability to see who has grown and who has not during the show’s run.
Is Liz a hero or a villain? For much of the show’s existence, that question was an easy one to answer. It was Liz against anyone standing in her way of the truth. She fought her husband, went against Reddington, and tussled with the possibility of killing her mother. All she wanted was to know who she was.
But lost in the truth, Liz changed everything about her. It wasn’t until the Season 7 finale where it all came full circle. She turned her back on the people who stood by her and choose the side of a stranger. And she did that all in a five-minute span.
Aram (The Same)
Many will argue that Aram has changed. In the beginning, Aram was all nerd stuff and computer tech. But lately, Aram has morphed into a valuable member of the team. He’s still not in the field as much as the others but Aram has put himself in a better position to defend himself if need be.
His character has gone through some changes, but that’s mostly just on the personal side of things. His love for Samar has made Aram more visible to the cruel intentions of the outside world. He’s still the guy who tells jokes no one but he understands.
Dembe and Reddington have a history that goes back decades. For that, Dembe is without question Red’s best and most trusted friend. But lately, something in Dembe has forced his hand to begin to either question Red, or make Red question himself. Dembe is normally the voice of reason for Red but he has never given Red a reason to think his loyalty has wavered.
In Season 7, that all changed. Dembe was set to tell Katarina everything, and for that, Red now has to worry about the consequences. The last person to betray Red that was close to him was Mr. Kaplan and that resulted in Red putting a bullet in her head.
Ressler (The Same)
It was first believed that Donald Ressler was always an uptight guy. However, his flashback episode proved that as a youth, Ressler had a bit of a wild streak. While at the FBI, Ressler has been straight, but seeing his younger days, viewers now understand why he did stray from that persona when he did.
In all fairness, Ressler has stayed the same from the first moment fans laid eyes on him. He’s had his chances to become more like Reddington but stayed his own course.
Once loyal to Reddington, Samar built a path of her own with the Task Force. Sent in to be a spy for Red, Samar fell in line and oftentimes went against Red. Built with a hard personality, Samar went through a major change once she began to admit her feelings for Aram. Samar is relentless and driven but leading a life full of secrets took its toll.
The moment when viewers believed she changed for the better, Samar sent her fans into a frenzy when she abandoned Aram. Although it was done out of love, this was her moment of truth. She changed twice: once for the better, then again for the worse.
Cooper (The Same)
A hard-nosed director, Harold plays by the rules. The difference between Cooper and Ressler is that Ressler hides his indiscretions while Cooper leaves his in the open in order to help and to teach the team. He does have his demons, but throughout the show, Cooper has remained solid and as cool as the other side of the pillow.
His job is catching the bad guys but not if it comes at the expense of compromising his agents. He makes sure everything is okay and has this sixth-sense when he can feel one of them is off their game.
Tom was never supposed to fall in love with Elizabeth Keen. His first job was just to look after her. But fall in love with her he did. Viewers were led to believe that Tom was just an elementary school teacher, when in fact, he’s a trained spy and killer. A master of deception. He wanted more, but it was just a matter of breaking free.
Tom became soft, but he didn’t really have a choice. He was married to Liz, twice. They had a child and in a strange way, found some sort of redemption regarding his past when he came face-to-face with his parents in The Blacklist: Redemption spinoff.
Raymond Reddington (The Same)
As the central figure on The Blacklist, Raymond Reddington’s character has gone through the most changes. Once regarded as a top 10 on the FBI’s Most wanted list, Reddington completely changed the game from his first appearance on the show. Using his intelligence, Red conned his way into not only freedom but working with the FBI in taking down his competition.
A maser of deception, Reddington has a heart. He’s still labeled a cold-hearted killer but could not find it in himself to bring harm to Mr. Kaplan, Dembe, or even Liz when they deceived him.
Despite what viewers have learned so far regarding Katarina Rostova, her character has done a complete 180 turn. A devoted mother and spy early on, Katarina risked it all for a man she fell in love with named Raymond Reddington. She betrayed her country, faked her death, then went on the run.
In her return, viewers saw a different woman. She’s now hardened. And for all the love she says she has for her daughter and grandchild, she has put them at risk countless times. As for her and Reddington, those feelings are no longer there. Revenge is her motif.
Mr. Kaplan (The Same)
Mr. Kaplan is loyal. At first, viewers believed that it was to Raymond Redington where her loyalty belonged. However, it was revealed that her heart was tied to Marsha Rostova, aka Elizabeth Keen. From the offset of their strange friendship, Kate informed Reddington that she would always have Liz’s best interest at heart and would not place their friendship before Liz.
Mr. Kaplan kept that promise all the way to her death. While Red did not want to kill her, Mr. Kaplan put things in motion to expose Reddington for the fraud that he is. Loyalty is her best trait. Kaplan had stayed the same.