The Blacklist's Makeshift Finale to Mix Animation With Live-Action Scenes

The Blacklist Animated Finale

Raymond Reddington has always been an animated guy — but The Blacklist is about to take that literally.

The drama’s makeshift Season 7 finale (airing Friday, May 15 at 8/7c) will include scenes with graphic novel-style animation, NBC announced Tuesday, as a workaround to the pandemic-induced production shutdown.

The show was halfway through filming Episode 19 — out of a 22-episode order — when production was suspended. As series creator Jon Bokenkamp told the Associated Press, he and executive producer John Eisendrath began to joke about turning the episode into “an old-school radio broadcast where we put the image of a crackling fire or a radio up on TV and the actors could voice it.”

Then, inspired by the digital comics that already exist for The Blacklist, Bokenkamp and Eisendrath decided to make the remaining material animated, resulting in a finale that will feature both live-action and animated scenes.

Cast members recorded dialogue from their homes for the animated sequences, while editors and animators also completed their work remotely.

“I hadn’t yet played Raymond Reddington with my son tiptoeing into the kitchen to get snacks,” star James Spader said to the Associated Press. “But you do what you do. You turn the heat off so it wouldn’t cycle, you try to remember not to run the dishwasher.”

Titled “The Kazanjian Brothers,” Episode 19 will find the FBI task force investigating an accountant who works for lucrative criminals in order to find the violent and thuggish brothers hired for his protection. Elsewhere in the finale, Liz must make a momentous decision.

And no need to worry that this ersatz conclusion will be The Blacklist‘s last episode ever: The show has already been renewed for Season 8.

What do you think about this creative choice, Blacklist fans? Give us your thoughts in a comment below!