Season 9, Episode 9 of NBC's long-running thriller series The Blacklist is called "Boukman Baptiste," and it's a pretty special episode, focusing on a character who doesn't get a ton of episodes devoted to him: Dembe Zuma (Hisham Tawfiq), Red Reddington's (James Spader) former right-hand man who left the crime boss' employ during the time jump between Seasons 8 and 9 and started working for the FBI. The episode tells the story of why Dembe joined the FBI, and gets deep into the rift between the longtime best friends. And in this exclusive clip, Dembe is the one going on the offensive.
In Season 8, an ailing Reddington wrote a letter to Liz Keen (Megan Boone) explaining who he really was — seemingly her mother, Katarina Rostova — and gave it to Dembe with instructions to give Liz the letter after his death. But Season 9, Episode 8 confirmed that Dembe gave Liz the letter before her death —which means she died knowing the truth about Red, who is still very much alive. Red is angry with Dembe for disobeying him, and holds him largely responsible for Liz's death, accusing him of failing to protect her from the man who shot her. Red having that information deepens the split between him and Dembe, and things are getting worse in Episode 9.
In "Boukman Baptiste," the title character — played by The Wire veteran Gbenga Akinnagbe — is attacking Red's top lieutenants in an attempt to eventually get to Red himself. That puts Dembe and his loved ones in danger. In the clip, Baptiste has kidnapped someone close to Dembe, and Dembe tells him not to hurt her, and he can get him some people so close to Red that if they go down, Red will follow soon after.
"You think he believes that you're really going to help him take down Reddington?" Agent Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) asks Dembe after he ends the phone call.
"He should," Dembe says. "Because it's true."
Damn, Dembe! What a turn! We have a suspicion Dembe might be giving himself up to Baptiste, though. That seems like something Dembe would do. We'll see if our suspicion is true when The Blacklist airs Thursday, Jan. 20 at 8/7c on NBC. This will be the last episode before The Blacklist takes a hiatus while the Winter Olympics air on NBC. It will return in late February.