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The Blacklist's Diego Klattenhoff Previews the Ressler Episode That's Been Years in The Making

Anthony Michael Hall guest-stars as Ressler's brother

Liam Mathews

Friday's episode of The Blacklist, "Brothers," will be a unique episode of the NBC crime drama seven seasons in the making. It will show us more of Special Agent Donald Ressler's (Diego Klattenhoff) backstory than we've ever seen before, as he travels to his hometown of Detroit to dig up -- literally and figuratively --a painful secret that he and his wayward brother Robby (guest star Anthony Michael Hall) can no longer keep buried. The episode will tell a story of loyalty and brotherhood that will show us how Ressler became the man he is today. It's a little bit reminiscent of the classic Bruce Springsteen song "Highway Patrolman." You can watch a clip from the episode where Ressler confronts Robby about being dishonest with their mother above.

Klattenhoff is excited for the #Resslerettes to finally get an episode totally focused on their favorite agent (the only other Blacklist regular to appear in the episode is Megan Boone as Liz Keen, and it's the first and only episode of the show so far in which James Spader does not appear at all). It's been a long time in the making, he told TV Guide.

"I heard the rumor about this backstory for years," Klattenhoff said. "The Johns (executive producers Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath) had teased me, I want to say between Seasons 1 and 2, with this whole story of why Donald Ressler was the way he was." And then the show went in a different direction, and the story went away, and he thought it was never going to happen. "So it was a bit of a bummer on that front," he said. "But it was always in the back of my mind." Then, six years later, he started hearing on set that people had read this great Ressler-centric episode, and the rest is history. The episode was directed by Mahesh Pailoor, who is part of NBC's Emerging Director Program, the network's annual initiative for ethnically diverse male and gender non-binary directors.

Klattenhoff had a great time working with Anthony Michael Hall, a versatile actor who's been in everything from The Breakfast Club to Edward Scissorhands to The Dead Zone. Klattenhoff said it was "kind of weird" to work with Hall, in the sense that it's a bit surreal to have someone whose work you've been a fan of since you were a kid play your older brother, and you have to beat him up a little bit.

"Nobody's gonna get a punch in for free on me, so we just threw down, and he was game," Klattenhoff said. "He's a great guy, fun guy, funny guy, and hopefully we'll see Robby Ressler in the future."

The Blacklist airs Fridays at 8/7c on NBC.

Diego Klattenhoff and Anthony Michael Hall, The Blacklist

Diego Klattenhoff and Anthony Michael Hall, The Blacklist

NBC, Virginia Sherwood/NBC