Remember the end of the Season 2 finale, when Liz Keen (Megan Boone) — having been set up to look like a politician-murdering Russian spy — took off in that van with Raymond Reddington (James Spader)? Flash forward just a few minutes, and that’s where Season 3 of The Blacklist begins Oct. 1, with the duo whose relationship would most definitely be classified as “complicated,” on the run for their lives and their freedom. Here are 10 more things you need to know about Season 3:
1. If you’re thinking there’s any chance that these last few years spent in Liz’s company have made Red more of a law-abiding citizen, stop right there. She’s actually become more like him, which is going to be crucial to her survival now that she’s joined Red on the FBI’s Most Wanted list after killing U.S. Attorney General Tom Connolly. Season 3, which picks up almost immediately where Season 2 ended, is about “Liz discovering and battling with the criminal inside,” The Blacklist creator Jon Bokenkamp tells Yahoo TV. “She’s murdered somebody. She’s had Reddington in her life for a couple of years now, so the idealistic young FBI agent that she was in the pilot has been completely flipped upside down.”
2. Though being on the lam from the FBI — including her former colleagues in the task force — certainly won’t be fun and games, Liz will be aided in her escape by Red, which means she’ll get caught up in some of his more colorful pursuits. “The way those things manifest now are his ingenuity in escaping, and his unique surroundings,” Boone says. “He finds the person who has the money laundering operation in the basement of their other business… He has all these connections, and you know, this person also happens to make the best pecan pie in the world. So there’s still a lightness and a levity, because if you think about it, Reddington is always on the run. He doesn’t change his level of stress or anxiety under these circumstances. He always takes things with a grain of salt. Whereas this is Liz’s first time feeling like she’s in such defense of herself, like she just has to hide. You see a very distinct difference between the two of them and how they’re handling the situation. He definitely takes time to eat that pecan pie.”
3. As part of her efforts to remain undetected, Liz is going blonde. And though she may don some un-Liz-like clothes as part of her undercover looks, she will not be sharing Red’s signature fedoras. “Red gets the hats, Liz gets the hoodies,” Boone says.
4. Red is the only person Liz can trust while she’s on the run at first— again, her old task force partner Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) is now hot on her trail — but don’t count out her ex-hubby Tom (Ryan Eggold). He hopped a sail boat to a less chaotic life last season, but when he hears about how much trouble Liz is truly in, “he has a very strong opinion about what to do” about it, Bokenkamp says.
5. Liz and Red are also being hunted by The Cabal, the group of high-powered baddies that doesn’t want to throw them in the hoosegow… The Cabal wants to kill them. Which is why they’ll turn to Red’s Blacklist friends and foes for the help they need to prove Liz isn’t a Russian spy.
6. One of those helpful Blacklist names: Mr. Vargas, the fixer played by guest star Paul Reubens, who returns in Season 3.
7. The season premiere is titled “The Troll Farmer,” which refers to the Blacklist entry Red asks for help in getting himself and Liz safely out of town. Oct. 8’s episode is titled “Marvin Gerard,” after the attorney Red enlists to get him and Liz out of another jam.
8. Season 3 sounds like a bit of a reboot of the entire series, and Boone confirms Liz, Red, Ressler, Tom, and the rest of the crew will never be the same again. “I don’t know if anyone will ever be in a good place again, necessarily,” she says. “I think the train is off the rails, and it’s just careening towards its destination.”
9. Boone says Liz’s on-the-run status means more action heroine scenes for her, including a wicked car chase with Ressler and “sprinting to jump a 15-foot fence,” all in the first few episodes of Season 3. “They’re really trying at first to escape from the city, and so it requires a lot of ingenuity… and relying on Red’s criminal underground connections, because they’ve got the city on lockdown,” she says. “And there is a lot of action. What I really like, and I’ve continued to like about playing [Liz], is that she’s sort of an unlikely action hero. She wasn’t meant to be an Arnold Schwarzenegger or a Sylvester Stallone or even a Charlize Theron. She is more of a relatable woman, an everywoman, who is forced into this position of being in these highly dangerous circumstances in which she has to defend herself.”
10. But, is she a relatable everywoman who’s on the lam with her father? As viewers have been waiting to find out for two whole seasons now, is Raymond Reddington the father of Elizabeth Keen? Well, executive producer John Eisendrath has the answer to that… and he doesn’t plan on sharing it anytime soon. “Every year, I feel like we’ve given the audience concrete answers about ‘Is he or isn’t he?’ and the story about her past that leads her to either know or not know the truth about who her parents are. This year, we have every intention of doing the same.”
The Blacklist Season 3 premieres Oct. 1 at 9 p.m. on NBC.