What Happens Next: Is The Blacklist's Red Really Liz's Father?

The Blacklist Season 2 Preview

TVLine hits rewind on the TV season’s biggest “What Happens Next” finales, then invites you to predict the cliffhanger outcomes

The freshman finale of NBC’s The Blacklist left viewers with some serious daddy issues.

After much speculation that Ray Reddington may, in fact, be Liz Keen’s father, the season’s final minutes showed Red’s back covered in burns — strongly suggesting that it was he who saved a young Liz from a devastating house fire.

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But despite Red’s metaphor-laced warning to Liz in the season finale — that her father “died” when he saved her from the flames — Red’s scars don’t necessarily indicate he’s related to her. If the answer were that easy, Big Bad Berlin likely wouldn’t have played such a key role in the season’s final arc.

Could it be that Berlin (as many suspect) is Liz’s grandfather, and that her mother was romantically involved with Red years ago? (Which then begets the question: Who is the mystery woman whose photo Red and Berlin both possess?) And if Red isn’t related to Liz, is he truly the father to a young ballerina who appeared briefly in Season 1?

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Review our poll options below, then make your predictions for The Blacklist’s sophomore season.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. bonesfan says:

    The scars only prove that he was there during the fire. I fail to see how people think that proves anything. Red is not her father. Period.

  2. Damn says:

    Isnt Berlin is too young to be her grandfather.

  3. Leslee says:

    Remember, though…Tom told Liz before he died that her father was still alive. It could very well be that Red IS Liz’s father.

  4. JC1 says:

    I don’t think he’s her father. I do however think that he’s the one who saved her from the fire. She thinks it was her father but I’ll bet it really was Red – that’s why he got that look on his face when she said that.

  5. Brian says:

    Let me offer up this scenerio.

    Berlin is the father. Red burned the house down. Realized a child was inside he saved her. Thinking that he killed her dad, he took her to her future “dad”. Berlin was jailed during the time and Red didn’t know. So Berlin wants revenge on Red for killing his family.

    • Liz says:

      This is my theory as well. And Red kept an eye on her out of a combination of guilt and protecting himself (could always use her against Berlin at a later date). And then he just sorta learned to love her like a daughter along the way – affected by Sam’s love for her.

    • herman1959 says:

      I strongly agree with most of this theory. I never thought Red was Liz’s father, and the Berlin thread sold me. The one exception I would have is that I’m not so sure that Red started the fire, although I agree that Red saved her and took her to Sam. Good one Brian!

    • LRaff says:

      I think that is close, but not quite right. My guess is that Red is who Berlin paid to protect his daughter/get her out of Russia and that Liz is Berlin’s granddaughter. The fire was started by the people that killed Berlin’s daughter and Red was unable to stop them (though he was able to save Liz). The death of Liz’s mother who Red was supposed to protect could explain 4 things: why Red feels he owes it to Liz to protect her with his life, why Berlin wants to kill Red (for not saving his daughter), why Red and Berlin are both carrying around photos of the same woman (Liz’s mother), and why Tom said that Berlin does not want Liz dead.


  6. Tran says:

    Can’t wait for Season Two of The Blacklist. One of my favorite shows to put it on my “watch list”. Wonder if the move to Thursdays at 9 p.m. come February 2015 could be NBC’s best hope on a Thursday night even when it’s going up against its toughest competition yet in Scandal (ABC). Still disappointed on the news that James Spader got snubbed at this year’s Prime Time Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

  7. TG says:

    I want him to be Liz’s father and will be so disappointed if he isn’t.

  8. Simon Jester says:

    The rather even poll responses (32%-30%-29% for three of them as of my posting) suggest that whatever the real answer is, the writers are doing a good job keeping those waters muddy!

  9. Rick Katze says:

    All of Red’s actions toward Lizzie scream that he is her father. He was willing to give up close friends(business associates, not to mention his life. Just don’t see him doing anything for less than blood.

    Having said that, I will not be surprised to see another twist which explains all of the above. The excellent writing for the show raises this possibility.

  10. BrianR says:

    If he were the FBI would surely have run Red’s DNA through the hopper and agents should have theirs on file as exclusionary data.

  11. Maryann says:

    Ok it is entirely possible that more than one of your choices are true, making it impossible to vote. For example, I think both 2 and 3 are true. Not really a fair poll.

  12. sally says:

    I’m 38 years old and a girl I graduated high school with is a grandmother. It’s young, but not impossible. That being said, I don’t know where Berlin being her grandfather came from, but isn’t it possible he (Berlin) is Liz’s dad?

  13. Well, first of all. No, he is not the father. All the clues point in the different direction (blonde daughter in the flashbacks, photos of young Liz with brown hair etc). Like bonesfan already wrote, the scars prove only that he was there during the fire.

    But as this side already had their review after the finale already wrong, falsely claiming that the finale proved that Red was the father while TPTB came out to say exactly differently, i really dont see the point in this poll – especially not as the headline of the article is worded so suggestively that any form of representative outcome is not even possible in the first place….

    Sorry to sound so snippy here, but I love this site very, very much for its insights into the different shows I watch and adore. Therefore, the ignorance and false spin towards the plot of The Blacklist always disappoints me anew.

  14. Stainage Junior. says:

    Red is Liz’s father it’s just as simple as that

  15. Derek117 says:

    Based on the facts (the burn scars, his protection of Liz from Tom/Berlin) that we have–at this time–it’s very likely that Red pulled Liz out of the fire and took her to Sam.

    What we also know is that there is a connection between Berlin and Red–with a common denominator being the girl in the photo. We don’t have enough additional information to make a good guess at their connection–though I’m leaning towards the girl being Berlin’s daughter, and Red paramour, though NOT Red’s wife…who I would speculate was murdered by Berlin as revenge for Red being the catalyst that set off Berlin’s downfall.

    Oh, and if anyone thinks Tom is dead, you need to go back to Mystery Books 101.

  16. patioprincess says:

    I want to know how Ressler plays into all of this as well. He does have the same blood type as Red, so not sure what that implies. I wondered if Ressler was actually Red’s son and Red was using LIzzie to get close to Ressler without Ressler or anyone realizing it, but now, that doesn’t seem to be the case. I also hope Ressler and Liz get together and that Tom stays gone.

  17. name_required says:

    Or maybe the creators simply haven’t decided yet, so they’re keeping their options open? And then in season 3 they will run out of ideas and it will turn out David Clarke is alive, no matter how little sense that makes :P

  18. Beverly Wappler says:

    I think Redd is her father, but as curious as I am, I don’t want all the secrets to be revealed, because then It will be over…….and I don’t want this series to end!!

  19. mena says:

    Red is her father and Berlin is her Grandfather. Berlin blames Red for his daughter’s death even though Red didn’t actually commit the murder one of his enemies did. Berlin feels his daughter would be alive if not for Red.

  20. brown eye girl says:

    I think Red is her father… I am thinking in red mind he did die that day…. know how he turn to the bad side… and all he could not be the dad to liz as she needed him to be…..

    • Hope Deimling says:

      I totally agree. Red lost the man that he was. (Probably a good man) Then became the man that he is now. (Not such a good man.) The fire changed him. So in his mind her father died that day.

  21. Obsidian says:

    Red is Liz’s father. Berlin is Liz’s grandfather (mother’s side). Berlin is taking his grief out on Red as he feels that it is Red’s fault his daughter was killed. (Red was married to her) Red was driving home on a Christmas night when car broke down and he walked home, to find the home on fire. He went in and saved her, and took her to Sam. Red doesn’t consider himself the same person he was before, so he denies being her father as he has changed. I suspect that Berlin works for the US government.

  22. Blacklist Fan says:

    As the Executive Producer/Creator, Jon Bokenkamp, has said, Red does not lie to Liz, and Red believes Liz’s father is dead (he also told Liz her father died in that fire). Red also told Liz that no, he was not her father. This question was answered on the show and during interviews with the producers and cast. Red may have very well pulled her from the fire but that in no way makes him biologically related to her. It is possible to have very strong feelings for someone with being biologically related – especially if a man has spent 20 years searching for the truth of what happened to his family and one woman (Liz) may very well be his ticket to the answer.

  23. I’m sorry but it seems a bit ridiculous for Berlin to be Lizzie’s grandfather, for MANY reasons. (that entire theory)

  24. BlacklistFan907 says:

    Red is not her father. Only reason, the houses don’t match up. Liz was burned in a house fire. There were no signs of fire damage at the house Red blew up. He saved her, yes. But I do think he set the fire because Liz’s real father put the hit on Red’s family. My theory.

    • yuditkantor says:

      Good point

    • FrankieD says:

      +++ TY – finally someone who shares my theory. Red set the fire, saves Liz, takes her to Sam & feels regret/shame for nearly killing her in the fire, thus responsible for always protecting her from her horrible father/family.

  25. moonsori says:

    It makes no sense for him to be her father. Not to mention that I don’t think the timeline matches up. I think she would be too old to be his daughter. Liz must be what, somewhere between 32-35? That means that when his family disappeared (1990) she was 10 or so, not 4 which we know is her age in the fire. I really don’t think he is hew father.

  26. chocolatfrog says:

    He says that her father “died” when he saved her from the flames… Metaphorically, indeed the father part of Red died that day.

  27. sarah says:

    Red is not Liz’s father. He did however, rescue her from the fire.

  28. annastaisy says:

    tom is not dead,,, and if james spader does not get an award, i am not, well i just don’t know.

  29. Scenario posit: First: the woman in the photo is important to both Red and Berlin. Possibly the mother to Liz. Red befriends and takes Liz under his wing in order to draw Berlin out. Sam, adopted father. was ready to spill the beans that Red was somehow involved in the fire that killed Liz’s father, thus the scars on his back. Tom was sent to keep an eye on Liz in order for Berlin to find a way to get to Liz, Backfires as Liz finds out the truth about Tom, fight ensues between them, now Tom may have to run for his life as he probably disobeyed Berlin. The Ballerina may or may not be involved with the whole affair, could possibly even be related to Lix in some way, yet to be told.

  30. leo chan says:

    we are upset for waiting for too long for season 2. pls prepare your season 3 sooner, it’s a great show n don’t keep us waiting for too long.

  31. Patti Strominger says:

    I don’t think Lizzy is a relative of Berlin, because she wouldn’t have been on the hit list Tom gave the guy of Task Team members to kill

  32. Bella-Trix07 says:

    I do not believe that either Red or Berlin are Lize’s Dad. I believe that Red might be her uncle, and that his brother might been the one that Berlin’s daughter had the affair with. Or at the least Red is a very close relative of Lizes. For all that we know she could be his sister…(If for example their father had Red at a younger age and Liz at an older age – 20+ years are easy enough to gap between siblings now-a-days. This would explain why he feels so close to Liz, and also why he pulled her out off the fire – it is clear that based upon the conversation that Red & Sam had,that both obviously knew Lize’s parents well.
    The girl in the picture that both Red and Berlin carry around, makes one wonder. Maybe it was Berlins grand-child, Obviously Red was involved or feels in some way responsible for this childs death.
    I do not think that the picture is Berlins kid, as the picture showed a young child and not an adult (which obviously Berlins daughter was) at the time of her death….
    Here is another theory, maybe Red & Berlin are somehow unbeknownst to one another related, –

    Obviously Reds Family was killed,in revenge, as well as Lize’s parents too, this might be why Red said that he can not answer his questions without her, as maybe one has to do with the other. I also do not think that Red killed Lize’s real parents or set the fire…

    It also could be that Sam, Red and Lize’s real Mother (parents) grew up together and were very close friends; being god-parents to eachothers children.. Red pulled her out off the fire, however due to what happened to his own family was unable or willing to take her in, thus the responsibility fell onto Sam to raise her.. (I don’t remember if this time frame would make sense or even line up – his family having been killed prior to Lize’s parents)
    All these are just some other ideas – to deviate from the norm of what most seem to believe, that Red is Lize’s Dad I mean.. as said there are so many other possibilities, why he may feel close to her; and its kinda sad that the other options are all being ignored.

    Regarding Berlin, its obviously a case of mistaken identity, meaning Berlin believes Red is to blame for his daughters death. During their initial meeting, Red had no idea who Berlin was; if there would be indeed some type relationship between Lize and Berlin, I believe that Red would have known about this, and not wondered WHO Berlin is, especially seeing how many resources he has readily available at his disposal & seeming to know all about Lize’s background.
    I also do not believe that finding out who Lize’s parents are will end the show – quite the opposite. Pending of course the reveal, and who is who in Lize’s life, there are many ways how the show & story line could continue…
    I also think that they are leaving the option open for Tom to return at a later point in time, pending upon which direction they will be going in….

  33. Yatich says:

    Red must have had an affair with liz’s mother during his covert missions, hence liz was concieved. The alleged father shot by liz when young must have been red. On the other side, it is either a KGB agent married to Liz mother as a decoy from the US operatives.