Should ‘The Blacklist’ season 4 return more to the show’s roots?

The Blacklist logo any seasonThe fourth season of “The Blacklist” was at times very entertaining, given that a good percentage of it was spent tracing out the history of Elizabeth Keen, and also exploring the complicated relationship between Red and Alexander Kirk, the man who believed himself to be her father. However, in the midseason finale it was Red who told him that he was the father, a twist that could have easily devolved into “Maury” territory by the end. (For the record, we still do believe firmly that Red is not actually the dad, but neither is Kirk and that the real father is still out there.)

We could take further about this whole paternity mystery for another few paragraphs, but this is a subject that we’re looking more to continue on the show next week.

For the sake of this article, the question that we want to pose is rather simple: Should the show in turn become simpler again? We’ve seen Liz on the run, Liz on trial, and the task force at times relatively limited in terms of their story impact. The base premise of the show for a long time was watching Reddington and Liz partner up to take down notorious criminals, and while it was very procedural at times, it was also very entertaining and allowed James Spader to really chew the scenery, something that we know he is rather excellent at doing.

The appeal to go back into this sort of storytelling starts with the simple notion that it helps to bring in more viewers, and doesn’t make them worry about drowning under the weight of years’ worth of mythology. Also, this is the version of the show that many people fell in love with, and with Kirk gone and with Tom likely leaving soon for the spin-off, it opens up the opportunity for everyone to refocus around fulfilling the original mission until the show morphs down the road.

If there is a case for not going back to this in favor of something more serialized, it’s that you can argue that the show is beyond that at this point. Red’s not in FBI custody, there’s less trust all around, and given Liz’s own history at this point, can the bureau really afford to be that close tied to her? It’s at at least something that you have to start thinking about at this point. You may have to find different ways to have the task force bring in Red and Liz covertly, or have them almost competing to solve cases and take down Blacklisters.

No matter what we end up seeing, this is a show that continues to evolve and change — just because they decide on something now doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to settle on that forever.

(Photo: NBC.)

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