The Blacklist Season 5 winter finale killed off one of the series regulars — Tom Keen (Ryan Eggold). The character was originally supposed to die in the pilot, but he survived and became one of the show’s major players. And Tom Keen and Liz’s (Megan Boone) love story, which started on a dark note, became of one of the series highlights, adding a range of soft and complicated emotions to the crime thriller. So, why kill an important character in The Blacklist Season 5 winter finale?
Tom Keen’s death is set to kick-start the next phase of Liz’s life, as well as drive the story forward. The Blacklist executive producer John Eisendrath tells Variety that Tom Keen’s death is going to change Liz as a person. He also underlines that the series is ultimately the story of a “parent and child,” adding that Tom Keen was an “important person” for the child and how his death affects and changes her will be explored in the next installment of The Blacklist Season 5.
“His passing is going to change the dynamic of who Liz is, how she behaves, and what her relationship is with Red in ways that are a huge new engine for her going forward in the show.”
In the upcoming episodes of The Blacklist Season 5, viewers will get to see how Liz deals with grief and how she battles her demons. Executive producer Jon Bokenkamp says that Tom Keen’s death changes the show in a way.
“How she deals with this, how she can overcome it, how Liz tries to resist any of the dark impulses that might be within her are all important things to look at as we move ahead. It’s going to be really seismic for her to grapple with. It does sort of change the show in a way. Not only because Tom is gone, but because of what it might do to Liz.”
Moreover, Tom Keen’s departure opens the door for other characters to come into focus. The upcoming episodes, however, will not give them much screen time, as the main focus will be on Liz and what she does moving forward.
Bokenkamp says that what Tom Keen’s death does to Liz is “probably the story that might in a way take up some of that oxygen in terms of what she does moving forward and how she chooses to handle this.”
And if fans are hoping to see Tom Keen walking down a street alive in The Blacklist Season 5 winter premiere, they better kill that hope of theirs. In the closing moments of the midseason finale, Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix) is seen standing over Tom Keen’s body in the morgue. The morgue scene was shot to make clear that Tom Keen is dead and he is not going to be resurrected.
“We just wanted to be super clear that there was no trickery here, there was no bigger agenda,” Bokenkamp says.
And Ryan Eggold tells Variety that his character’s death is “tragic but a fitting end.”
The Blacklist Season 5 returns with Episode 9 on Wednesday, January 3, 2018. According to Bokenkamp, the next episode after the winter break is unlike anything they have done before.
[Featured Image by Noam Galai/Getty Images]