‘The Blacklist’ Boss on Katarina Going for Red’s Jugular: ‘What on Earth Is This Woman Doing?’

“The answers Katarina seeks go to the very heart of the ‘Blacklist’ and everything we’ve been building toward over the life of the series,” creator Jon Bokenkamp tells TheWrap

The Blacklist - Season 7

(Warning: This post contains spoilers for Friday’s Season 7 premiere of “The Blacklist.”)

So good news and bad news for “Blacklist” fans following tonight’s Season 7 premiere. The good: Raymond Reddington (James Spader) is not really paralyzed and not really in a hospital in Paris — that was all an illusion. The bad: He’s currently having his blood drawn by the sinister Katarina Rostova (played by Laila Robins) in some dark place as she attempts to extract answers to God only knows what questions.

Meanwhile, Liz (Megan Boone) and Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) have revealed Red’s true identity to Cooper (Harry Lennix) and Aram (Amir Arison) to give the task force their best chance at finding their abducted friend.

To get some answers to what we’re sure are your many questions, TheWrap broke down Friday’s premiere, titled “Louis T. Steinhil,” with series creator Jon Bokenkamp.

TheWrap: What the heck does Katarina need Red’s blood for?
Jon Bokenkamp: Exactly (laughs). What on earth is this woman doing? She’s literally tapped his jugular and bleeding him out. Think of it as the “Blacklist” version of a “ticking-clock.” Hopefully, the bloodletting will inspire Reddington to talk. That said, I can confirm, he’s not in a mood to talk.

TheWrap: Why is she going to such great lengths and orchestrating this whole illusion to get Red to give her answers when it seemed he was trying to warn her in the first place and would have probably helped her? What kinds of questions require this level of deception?
Bokenkamp: That’s a great question! The answers Katarina seeks go to the very heart of the “Blacklist” and everything we’ve been building toward over the life of the series. As we look ahead, her questions might even seem a bit enigmatic — but I promise that if you read between the lines, if you pay careful attention, you’ll find we’re unpacking significant truths about Raymond Reddington.

TheWrap: Is the rest of the team willing to keep Red’s identity secret now that they know the truth?
Bokenkamp: I think Cooper is the wild card here. He’s a man of integrity. He knows what the right thing to do is and it’s his responsibility to do it. However, we have a big story about Harold Cooper in the coming weeks that will tell us more than we’ve ever known about him — how he became the man he is today — and that story will influence his decision about what to do with Reddington in a big way.

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