'The Blacklist' Season 9: Why Did Dembe Leave Red? It's Strange

The Blacklist Hisham Tawfiq Dembe Zuma NBC
Will Hart / NBC

“The Blacklist” Season 9 signed off ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics with a bit of a bang. Fans finally learned what led to the rift between Dembe and Red and why Dembe went from the most infamous criminal in the world’s protector to an FBI agent. So, why did Dembe leave Red?

What Happened

In a nutshell, “The Blacklist” Season 9 revealed that Red emotionally collapsed after Liz’s death, pulling a complete vanishing act on Dembe. His second disappearance in the show’s history. Faced with running the organization on his own, Dembe got forced to make some tough calls. One of them led to the accidental death of another crime boss’ son (the episode’s blacklister).

In response to the tragedy, Dembe ended up joining the FBI instead of continuing with his life on the other side of the law. In an uncharacteristically revealing mood, “The Blacklist” also absolved Dembe of any culpability in Liz’s death. (Hence, the tease about Red’s revenge?) Aram revealed that Liz was being tracked before her fateful meeting with Dembe to receive the letter containing Red’s true identity.

The End of Dembe/Red Feud?

Here is hoping this is the end of Red and Dembe’s hard-to-believe feud on “The Blacklist.” They have always had each other’s backs, and it is time for them to have them again. After enduring Liz’s insufferable campaign against Red in Season 8, fans deserve a break. They do not hate Red, and it is okay to have a central protagonist not hate him either.

It would make sense to have one character drink the Red “hater-ade” if there was a contingent of “The Blacklist” fan base that railed against him. In reading through social media, I have not found any such group. It is safe to argue that Red is one of the most universally loved characters on TV. That is a rare feat.

Final Thoughts

Speaking of loved characters, it was nice to see Dembe get the spotlight in Season 9, Episode 9. He deserves it, and his portrayer -- Hisham Tawfiq -- knocked it out of the park. Dembe’s reasons for leaving the organization make sense. I do not buy that Dembe would make as risky a move as he supposedly did. Collateral damage and Dembe do not make sense.

This fan would still love to see him return to Team Red. That said, his heart has always been too pure for it. I miss the Dembe/Red friendship and seeing them in action together, though. Maybe there is still a chance for it? What do you think? Did “The Blacklist” and its explanation for Dembe becoming an FBI agent make sense? Red left before and returned. 

Do you want Dembe to leave the FBI and reunite with Red in Season 9? Sound off in the comments section below and tell Eclectic Pop how you feel! “The Blacklist” Season 9 returns after the 2022 Winter Olympics on February 20, 2022, on NBC. You will not want to miss them! The ladies’ figure skating competition is going to be thrilling!