The task force is back in our first look at The Blacklist season 9

·3 min read
The task force is back in our first look at The Blacklist season 9

The Blacklist is entering a new era, and we finally have a look at its ninth season.

The NBC show is jumping forward two years, revealing that the lives of Elizabeth Keen's (Megan Boone) unconventional chosen family are very different after her season 8 exit. Raymond "Red" Reddington's (James Spader) whereabouts are unknown, and the FBI task force has disbanded, its members scattering.

"That Liz's death has had a profound effect on our characters is inevitable," executive producer John Eisendrath tells EW, "but where they've landed in her absence is surprising and wide-ranging."

The Blacklist
The Blacklist

Will Hart/NBC Amir Arison, Laura Sohn, and Harry Lennix on 'The Blacklist'

When a common purpose reunites them in their mission to take down the Blacklisters, the old comrades must find their rhythm with Liz no longer acting as the glue of the operation. With each member reentering the fray while at a crossroads, "they begin to uncover lethal adversaries, unimaginable conspiracies, and surprising betrayals that will threaten alliances and spur vengeance for the past," according to the network's description.

"Even as they've scattered to the four winds, the criminal world has just kept ticking along, which at a certain point becomes impossible for our heroes to ignore," Eisendrath says. "Red and the task force might find themselves in new surroundings, but rest assured: The Blacklisters are just as nasty as ever."

In these exclusive season 9 photos of the task force's reunion, Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) looks like he's in trouble, while Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) is sporting a fresh look.

The Blacklist
The Blacklist

Will Hart/NBC Hisham Tawfiq on 'The Blacklist'

The Blacklist
The Blacklist

Will Hart/NBC Harry Lennix and Diego Klattenhoff on 'The Blacklist'

The Blacklist
The Blacklist

Will Hart/NBC Amir Arison on 'The Blacklist'

The Blacklist
The Blacklist

Will Hart/NBC James Spader on 'The Blacklist'

Agent Keen had a major final season — one that culminated in her murder. She landed the top spot on the Blacklist and waged war against Reddington for the killing of the woman she believed was her mother, and her death came shortly after she learned the truth about many of the show's significant events, which were explained in a special episode. By the end, Liz had many of the puzzle pieces except for one big one: Who is Reddington?

The Blacklist
The Blacklist

Will Hart/NBC Laura Sohn on 'The Blacklist'

The Blacklist
The Blacklist

Will Hart/NBC Harry Lennix on 'The Blacklist'

Boone's departure wasn't the show's only one. The day after the season 8 finale, The Blacklist creator Jon Bokenkamp announced he was also leaving the series. "After eight years I feel it's time for me to step out of my comfort zone, try something new, and explore a few of the other characters and stories that have been crawling around in my head," he wrote in the statement he posted on Twitter.

The Blacklist season 9 premieres Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

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