Get your daddy theories ready because The Blacklist is back to toy with every one of them.
The NBC crime drama returns for its second season Monday at 10/9c and picks up a few months after the self-styled "concierge of crime" Red Reddington (James Spader) and FBI Special Agent Liz Keen (Megan Boone) agree to continue their odd, ambiguously familial work relationship. Their main goal is take down the villainous Berlin (Peter Stormare), who is targeting Red and isn't afraid to kill off any FBI agents who are protecting him.
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Berlin's beef goes back years to when Red supposedly killed Berlin's daughter and then mailed her back to him piece by piece."There is a war that has been waged on Red and it is one that has been brewing for years," executive producer Jon Bokenkamp
tells TVGuide.com. "This is a story that has a deep mythology to it, and there are several stories that we're telling at the same time between Berlin and Red, and why Berlin is after Red and why it's deeply personal. We're going to be able to bring those two characters together and let them chew a little scenery talking about it between the two of them."Berlin's vengeful motivation is a continuation of The Blacklist'
s resonating theme about family ties and how that informs your identity. After all, the show's central mystery is the relationship between Red and Liz. Is he her father? Let's see how The Blacklist
will dance around the question and present even more intriguing ties to Red that deepen the mystery this season:1. Red "parents" a despairing Liz
"Whether or not he is her father, we look at it as a father-daughter story," Bokenkamp says. "[This season we] have Liz in a darker space, which I think she will have earned given all that she's had happen to her in her life. And to have Red as sort of a surrogate parent trying to counsel her out of a dark space. It's such a weird thing to imagine, Red Reddington trying to counsel someone on how not to act in a dark, angry way."2. Mary-Louise Parker's character looks familiar
The former Weeds
star swings by this season for the recurring role as Naomi Hyland, a woman who knows Red rather well. "[Naomi] is somebody who has deep emotional ties to Red and is going to be sort of a window for the audience into Red's past and into what he cares about and who he was before he was the concierge of crime," Bokenkamp says, adding, "Any connection she has to Liz is still in question." Hmm, could it have anything to do with the fact that she looks related to Liz? Cousin or Aunt Naomi sounds good to us...
TVGuide.com's handy fall TV premieres calendar 3. Berlin treats somebody as if she were Red's daughter
In theSeason 2 trailer
, Berlin threatens Red with the an-eye-for-an-eye treatment: "I'm going to do to her what you did to my daughter. I'm going to send her back to you piece by piece ... by piece." Is it Liz that he's talking about? Or perhaps Naomi, whom, as previously reported
, will be targeted by Berlin for her association with Red? 4. Like mother, like daughter?
Liz has had to practically raise herself. After all, her father was a career criminal who abandoned the family, and her mother died before Liz reached adulthood. "Liz will express some curiosity about her mom," executive producer John Eisendrath
tells TVGuide.com. "We've identified a number of opportunities this year where that question will come up. The emotional issue of, 'If my father is the devil, what does that say about me and my natural inclination to think like a criminal and have darker impulses?' — that will still be sort of the paramount presenting psychodrama of her life. So, the question of whether or not the story of her mother that she's been told all of these years is true or not, we will begin to explore." 5. Red gets a passionate fan Mozhan Marno
enters The Blacklist
as former Mossad agent Samar Navabi, who will join the FBI taskforce after impressing the team in a unique way. (See the trailer
for a hint of her tactics.) "She is somebody who has been, like many law enforcement agencies, hunting for Red and comes at it with a different approach. She's a Mossad agent and is fairly thorough in her work and dangerous. We thought that ... it would be interesting to have a character who is fascinated by Red, who — I don't want to say admires him, but is in awe of him and brings a reverence for what he's able to do." Eisendrath adds that Liz and Samar's work relationship will be "more sisterly than adversarial."6. Tom's presence will still be felt
Liz will attempt to leave behind her dark feelings about Tom (Ryan Eggold
), the man who pretended to be her loving husband but was really a spy assigned to watch her, but that won't be so easy. After all, his body mysteriously disappeared from where she shot him and left him for dead. "There will continue to be questions surrounding not only his fate but what exactly happened at the end of the season, what we saw happened or think we saw happen," Bokenkamp says. "That story is going to have to simmer for just a bit." And let's not forget that while Tom was playing a role for his job, Liz's feelings in the marriage were entirely genuine.
VIDEO: War is coming to The Blacklist in new trailer 7. Pee-Wee joins Red's team... for now Paul Reubens
will guest-star as the yellow-turtleneck-wearing
Mr. Vargas, who handles delicate situations in the criminal underworld for Red but at the same time may not be entirely trustworthy. Like the mysterious Mr. Kaplan (Susan Blommaert
), Vargas could recur when his particular skills are needed. "He's woven into the worlds of Berlin and Red," Bokenkamp explains. "I know we see him in more than one episode. Mr. Kaplan is one of those characters where people responded to that character and so we like bringing her back now. He is one of those that fits into that world that we're trying to build out." 8. Krysten Ritter brings digital danger
The former Don't Trust the B----
actress guest-stars as Rowan Mills, an analyst who works at a data security firm. Bokenkamp explains, "She's a data analyst at a firm that comes under suspicion in the first episode. One of the things in this episode that we touched on that is frightening to me is that world of data analytics and being able to access all of our stuff — the cellular, digital paper trails that are left when you go on place like Facebook or Twitter or check an app. The profile of someone that can be built by looking at that is tremendous. It's not just NSA territory — it's a very real data mining world that fits right in with the show."9. The post-Super Bowl episode will get noisy
Although The Blacklist'
s post-Super Bowl episode is still being planned out, Bokenkamp has a few things in mind, namely how it will sound. "It will be big and it will be loud and it will be a hell of a lot of fun," he promised. "I've got a song for you, I've got certain images, and it will be fun to write ourselves into a corner to try to get there. And as much of a spectacle that we want it to be and as grand as we want it to be, I still want it to be our show — that will be a lot of Red, that will be a really dynamic and strange and dangerous bad guy and a story with a lot of turns."What's Red's connection to Liz? What's the story behind Tom? Does Naomi Hyland know Liz? Share your best Blacklist t
heories below!The Blacklist
returns Monday at 10/9c on NBC.Fall TV Editors' Picks! Find out why Fox's Gotham
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