'The Blacklist' Season 8: Will Liz Ever Return To The Task Force?

The Blacklist Elizabeth Liz Keen Megan Boone NBC
Will Hart / NBC

Is Liz ever coming back to the Task Force? “The Blacklist” is continuing to hurtle towards a point of no return, one that threatens to end its core operating mythos irreparably. When it all started eight seasons ago, a world-renowned criminal agreed to work with a Task Force, all in an effort to bring down prized targets. There was only one not-so-small catch.

Raymond “Red” Reddington would only collaborate with FBI profiler Elizabeth “Liz” Keen. As of Season 8, Episode 8, that middleman has left the building replete with a sleazy lawyer to do her bidding. Is that the way it is going to stay? With every episode, “The Blacklist” digs itself deeper, and as a result, this viewer grows more skeptical things will return to normal.

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Of course, I thought that after Liz shot and killed a rogue U.S. Attorney General and went on the run. Oh, and when Liz faked her death, only to return to her old life and resume her day job. Liz eventually returned all of these times, and “The Blacklist” resumed its usual operations. So, what is different circa Season 8?

At the top of the list is “The Blacklist,” insisting Red is about to die. They are even positioning Liz to take over her father figure’s old spot, which makes me nervous about Red’s future with the show. That said, the drama has gotten renewed for another season, and Red has not been the one MIA from the series’ juicy plots. That has been Liz.

Teasing what lies ahead on “The Blacklist” in Season 8, the series’ creator Jon Bokenkamp hinted at a change for the crime drama and its characters. Talking to ET, executive producer John Eisendrath hinted at Liz repairing her relationships with her former Task Force colleagues. As for Liz’s arc overall, Bokenkamp also told ET:

The actions of the coming episode are going [to] define everything going forward. There are choices that are made that are hard to come back from. And I think audiences are going to understand why in this next episode, things are going to shift in such a dramatic way and in an interesting way. Its a great evolution of the series and one that’s been a long time coming.

Does this “evolution” include Liz? She has not gotten shown, and with so much of Liz’s story happening off-screen, it makes me wonder if it will continue to unfold that way. “The Blacklist” has done an incredible job focusing on its other exciting characters, with Cooper’s arc getting incredibly compelling highlights.

Meanwhile, Liz has been off-screen for four entire episodes following the latest episode, albeit a hot-topic of conversation. This is the most this original fan of “The Blacklist” remembers Liz being gone since the show began, and Liz faked her death for Megan Boone’s maternity leave. No such situation seems to be in play circa Season 8.

Is “The Blacklist” plotting a way forward without Liz? One that has her replace Katarina Rostova as the unseen, mystery figure driving the story off-screen? While the series has done a tremendous job showing off its ability to move forward without Liz, it is tough to imagine it without her long-term.

After all, there is hopefully a lot more story to tell with Liz and Red. Do not get me wrong. “The Blacklist” has done an incredible job of telling compelling stories sans-Liz. It just makes me curious about what is going on with Megan Boone and Liz’s part on the show. That said, the teaser for next week’s episode teased her return. Check it out:

As you can see, fans never actually see Liz. That makes me think this is a decoy that Liz has sent on her behalf, replete with Liz’s fashion sense. So, is Liz ever coming back to “The Blacklist,” the Task Force, or Ressler? My guess is that she is not going to show up next week. Of course, I could be wrong. Red does act like he is talking to Liz in the preview.

Maybe, Liz has found someone to play her decoy replete with a new face à la Red. It would be wild, but this is “The Blacklist” we are talking about, and “wild” is practically the show’s middle name. Another new episode airs this Friday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, so stay tuned.