Who is Raymond Reddington to Elizabeth Keen in The Blacklist? Theories

Image Credit: Will Hart/NBC

NBC’s crime series ‘The Blacklist’ centers around the infamous criminal mastermind Raymond “Red” Reddington, who agrees to associate with the FBI to capture high-profile criminals in return for immunity from prosecution. When the FBI started to consider his proposal, Reddington made it clear that he will only work with Elizabeth Keen, a rookie profiler who worked in the Bureau. Reddington’s strange demand not only astounded the FBI but also Elizabeth AKA Liz, who started to investigate his connection with her. Liz’s investigation continued until her unfortunate death in the eighth season finale. Since the mystery still remains unsolved, here are our thoughts about it! SPOILERS AHEAD.

Who is Raymond Reddington to Elizabeth Keen?

Ever since Raymond Reddington’s meeting with Elizabeth Keen, “the concierge of crime” had moved heaven and earth to protect Liz from threats and challenges of varying degrees. Reddington’s resolution to safeguard her amazed Liz to find out his relationship through a DNA test. However, the possibility of realizing that she is related to such a ruthless criminal prevented her from reading the test result. Still, Liz encountered the ambiguity behind Reddington’s identity several times throughout her association with the criminal.

Image Credit: Peter Kramer/NBC

In season 4, Liz’s superior Harold Cooper conducted a DNA test to match Reddington’s DNA sample from 30 years ago with Liz’s to reveal to her that the former is her father. However, Liz later came to know that her father isn’t the criminal Reddington she works with but an American officer also named Raymond Reddington who worked in Moscow. She realized that the Reddington she met is nothing but an imposter who uses her father’s identity. From her grandfather Dominic, she learned that she killed her father Reddington on the day her house got burned to stop him from hurting her mother.

Even though Dominic informed Liz that the imposter is her mother Katarina’s childhood friend Ilya Koslov, “Red” later revealed to her that it is false. Days before Liz’s death, Red invited her to his base of operations in Latvia to disclose that the criminal in front of her is a creation of Katarina to protect and safeguard her. Red offered her a letter from her mother disclosing Red’s identity if she kills him. However, Liz read that letter hours before her death, only to inform Red that she can’t kill him. Liz got killed by VanDyke before she could reveal whether she know Red’s identity to him.

Even though the identity of Red and his connection with Elizabeth are yet to be revealed, there is a possibility that he is Liz’s mother Katarina. In the penultimate episode of season 8, Liz came to know that her mother created Red, accompanied by the visuals of a surgery. Katarina might have done a series of plastic surgeries to transform herself into Red. Such a transformation might have helped her to escape from KGB and the Cabal to secretly protect her daughter from a distance.

When Liz asked whether Red was the photographer of a picture of herself and her mother, Red limited himself to reply that he was there, further indicating the possibility that he is none other than Liz’s mother. More than anything, Red’s letter can be considered as the foundation of the possibility that he is Katarina. When Liz asked why she can’t open the letter before she kills him, Red replied to her that she will not kill him if she reads it before doing so. Since the only person she would have never hurt was her mother, there is a strong chance that Red will be revealed as Katarina.

Apart from Koslov and Stepanov, there wasn’t anyone in Katarina’s life to protect her daughter for a lengthy period of over thirty years by risking one’s own life, especially not anyone Liz knew to not pull the trigger. The emotions which defeated Liz when she aimed her gun at Red display that the master criminal is none other than her mother. As Red said to Liz, there isn’t anyone who knew Katarina better than Red since it is impossible to know someone better than the same person. Considering these possibilities, we believe that Raymond Reddington is Liz’s mother Katarina.

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