Public-service announcement for longtime fans of Raymond Reddington & Co.: The Blacklist‘s upcoming third season won’t be the same series to which you’ve grown accustomed.
Although EP John Eisendrath tells TVLine that Season 3 (premiering Oct. 1 at 9/8c) will “still be delivering blacklisters” and will stay true to its procedural roots, he also previews that the James Spader-fronted series “will have a different feel” in its upcoming year, given the events of last May’s finale.
To refresh your memory, Liz Keen gunned down Attorney General Tom Connolly in the Season 2 ender, making her a fugitive alongside Red. With her photo now on the FBI’s Most Wanted bulletin board, Liz’s former colleagues — led by Agent Ressler — will be tasked with apprehending her.
“That’s going to cause a lot of tension between those on the task force, each of whom has a very specific point of view about the value of [arresting Liz],” Eisendrath continues. “Ressler is a dogged, by-the-book guy who is going to bring [Liz and Red] in. At the same time, we have found opportunities for Red and Liz to convince the FBI that one of the best ways to keep track of them is to assist them in going after certain blacklisters, who Red and Liz are going after in order to exonerate Liz.”
According to series creator Jon Bokenkamp, Season 3 isn’t a complete reinvention of the show, but “it is a great shot of adrenaline. There’s a real energy and urgency, and it came from an organic place.”
That said, the producers are still in no rush to address the overarching mystery of the show — that is, Red’s cryptic relationship to Liz, parts of which the audience has been clued in on throughout the past two years.
“We will give hints. There will be echoes of questions that we will bring up about [Liz’s] mother,” Eisendrath promises. “We will infuse the episodes with some of that, but a lot of the beginning is, ‘What’s happening now? How are they going to escape Ressler? Are they going to avoid capture?'”
Adds Bokenkamp: “I understand that there’s an appetite to want the whole truth. But the whole truth won’t come until the end, and along the way, many breadcrumbs have been laid out. We’re definitely working toward an endgame.”
Blacklist fans, what are your biggest hopes for Season 3? Drop ’em in the comments below — after you watch the latest trailer above, featuring a newly blonde (!) Liz.