The Blacklist interview: Jon Bokenkamp sets up ‘The Informant,’ time jumps for Reddington, Aram, others

The Blacklist logo any seasonThe Blacklist is set to air a new episode on Wednesday, January 10 entitled “The Informant,” and this is going to be an important hour for many reasons. You have Elizabeth Keen returning to her old life in some aspects, but you don’t quite know what that old life really is anymore. A significant amount of time has passed since the events in “Ian Garvey” where Tom Keen died and Liz slipped into a coma. You’re going to see people in different positions.

So what can you expect in this episode, which also has the extra added pressure of following up the excellent last episode (“Ruin”)? Executive producer Jon Bokenkamp offered up some details to CarterMatt recently about what fans can expect. This is part one of a two-part piece featuring Bokenkamp, so check back next Tuesday for the second part, which is a preview for the milestone 100th episode.

CarterMatt – There were a lot of comparisons between ‘Ruin’ and ‘Cape May,’ and I remember back after “Cape May” one of the real challenges was finding a worthy way to follow that up. Did you feel a similar sort of pressure here?

Jon Bokenkamp – Let’s speak first to the ‘Cape May’ of it all. I think there was never an intention for ‘Ruin’ to rival that or be better than that. It was similar in that there was no Blacklister of the week and it was a quieter, more intimate episode that focused on one of our main characters.

In terms of where we’re going, everything’s been thrown up in the air in a really good way. Liz is confronting a real darkness that has been lurking inside her for some time. She has a real strong engine and strong reasons for acting the way that she does, and we’re going to see some of that play out starting on the next episode. I think this episode is a really fun episode for Liz, and it’s back to a little bit of the case-of-the-week feel in that we have this Blacklister named The Informant. It’s a case-of-the-week episode that really evolves into something more, and it’s going to become incredibly personal to Ressler. It’s a really nice episode for him.

It’s a little bit of everything — we’ve got Liz struggling with the death of Tom, we’ve got Red giving us Blacklsiters, and we’ve got some of those Blacklisters becoming incredibly personal for our whole Task Force Team. It’s going to be a really great next run of episodes.

You have a little bit of creative flexibility now because of this time jump. Are we going to see a lot of the characters in different positions, in different places of their lives than they were in previously? Is Reddington’s reconstruction of his empire in a different spot?

Yeah. I think we saw hints of that last week with Agnes clearly older and sitting on the floor drawing crayon pictures. She’s not in a high chair eating Cheerios. Not only have things changed for Liz but certainly for Reddington. The state of his empire is probably going to be familiar to what people are used to. He’s had time to rebuild and we come back with him in a much stronger place.

Other relationships have developed. Samar and Aram have changed, Ressler is in deeper trouble than we might expect with Prescott. Everyone’s lives have gone on, but just as Liz had requested, the team is continuing to do Blacklist cases. For them, in a certain way, it’s business as usual.

I have to bring up the suitcase and the bones. With Tom dying, a lot of that does seem to be in the ether. I’m assuming that’s something you guys will find a way to get back to at some point…

100%. That suitcase is still out there and its contents remain incredibly damaging and dangerous for Reddington. The fly in the ointment at the moment is that nobody knows where that suitcase is. Reddington and Elizabeth don’t know where it is, and Ian Garvey is going to represent an increasingly large threat to Reddington.

You’re correct in pointing out that [the suitcase] has not been forgotten.

What’s next with Jon Bokenkamp?

In part two of our The Blacklist interview we talk all about the 100th episode, including the casting of Nathan Lane as Abraham Stern and also how this episode will feel tonally as a celebration of the series to date. We’ll also look ahead towards the finale and the long-term future of the series. As noted earlier, look for that next Tuesday.

Be sure to share your thoughts on this The Blacklist interview now in the comments.

(Photo: NBC.)

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