This article contains Blacklist spoilers through season 9.
All nine seasons of NBC’s The Blacklist are now streaming on Netflix. This genre-busting series premiered on Sept. 23, 2013 and is slated to release its tenth season in early 2023 (official NBC premiere date TBA). The Blacklist is a crime drama and action thriller that often dips into science fiction. The stamina of the show’s mysteries lends to the series’ staying power and high place in the hearts of fans and new streaming viewers alike.
At the helm of the series, the indomitable James Spader plays the part of the Concierge of Crime, Raymond “Red” Reddington. The ultimate steward of revenge, double-dealing and death, Red navigates a course that winds through the FBI as well as criminal empires, and he is as loveable as he is lethal.
Agent Meera Malik (Parminder Nagra), an original season one member of the team tasked with oversight of Red’s FBI collaboration to bring down criminals, name by name, on his blacklist, is a critical piece of the puzzle as fans prepare for season ten’s newest member of the FBI Task Force: Siya Malik (Anya Banerjee), Meera’s own daughter. Like many employees with a disgruntling future, Agent Siya Malik is charged with the work of two people. She is one person filling a two-person-sized hole on the Task Force. Agents Aram Mojtabai (Amir Arison) and Alina Park (Laura Sohn) both left the FBI for other life-giving pursuits at the end of season nine. Not only will the newest Agent Malik have big shoes to fill, but she will also have to traverse the treacherous waters that beat against the hull of all those in the boat with the self-proclaimed Ahab: Raymond Reddington.
Siya’s mom certainly didn’t have an easy time on the Task Force. Agent Malik worked alongside Dembe Zuma (Hisham Tawfiq) and Luli Zeng (Deborah S. Craig) as Red’s security, and she was the personal draft pick of the uber-powerful Diane Fowler (Jane Alexander), Red’s most enigmatic season one foe who, like him, dangles her feet in multiple criminal and government-sanctioned pools.
Meera killed seven people in the line of duty during season one. If she had lived, continued to serve the Task Force and maintained her average career kill trajectory, then the only other character on The Blacklist slightly more lethal than Meera is Raymond Reddington himself. No one else is anywhere near the ballpark of Meera’s and Red’s nose-to-nose stats on the killing side of the job.
For such impressive on-the-job-performance, it’s easy to overlook the reasons Meera returns to CIA work after a two-year hiatus to spend more time on the home front with her young daughter and son. First, Diane Fowler tapped her for the job, which must’ve been an offer too flattering to refuse. Second, Meera’s youngest child was five years old and ready for kindergarten. Finally, and likely the sharpest thorn in Siya’s side, Meera was a disenfranchised field agent on sabbatical placed in a parallel role within a loosely connected agency isolated from other CIA operatives, which made her expendable in the eyes of power.
Meera experienced some difficult days working with the Task Force. After the FBI finally corners The Alchemist, a gene-swapping plastic surgeon who murders innocent people in order to fake the deaths of criminals, the blacklister engages in an exchange of bullets that leads to the accidental shooting of his daughter. He is then shot by his wife when he hesitates to call a medic to help the child. After the hard day’s work, Meera arrives home to find Red there waiting. He points a gun at her, and she confesses to being the mole whose actions allowed Anslo Garrick to kidnap Red from the Post Office, murder Luli Zeng and nearly kill Dembe, Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), and Donald Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff).
After she is “prepped” by torturous Teddy Brimley (Ted Colaluca) for Red’s interrogation, Meera reveals that it was she who delivered the classified order for the release of the Post Office schematics, which makes her more of a messenger than a mole. Red sets Meera free to get back to work so that she can find out who the real mole is on the FBI team. Upon her return to the Post Office, just after her time spent with Brimley and Red, she tells Director Cooper that she was detained because her child is unwell, and he reprimands her with a stark reminder: “the job” comes first, second, and third. While Cooper is busy doing his job, Meera steals his security badge and uses it to access a restricted server in order to reveal the true mole to Reddington–and by simply glancing at the signature on page six of the classified documents–he is finally satisfied.
Meera’s murder by an unknown assassin during season one’s final episode and her daughter’s new job with the FBI point to a revival of Meera’s story arc in season ten. Perhaps that’s why fans and filming location track sites have spotted The Blacklist cast and crew at the Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.
Many fans are fearful that the cast’s visit to hallowed burial grounds is yet another return to Elizabeth Keen’s graveside. We went there a lot in season nine. On a handful of occasions, the audience mourns at Liz’s gravesite along with her friends and colleagues: FBI Director Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix) and Agents Donald Ressler, Aram Mojtabai, and Alina Park. Red’s former right hand-man-turned-FBI agent, Dembe Zuma, also stood vigil and spoke eloquently and at length in the season nine finale about the unique way of laughing Red, Liz, and Agnes Keen all share. Dembe supplies the best affirmation to date that Red and the female Keens share familial traits. And who should know better than Dembe? He is, after all, Red’s closest confidant and third most beloved human, next to Liz, his maybe-daughter (albeit deceased), and Agnes, his granddaughter in practice if nothing else.
The Blacklist’s showrunner, John Eisendrath, assured fans back in May, however, that the season nine finale was the last chapter of the Liz Keen story. It makes sense then that the new team member, Agent Siya Malik, and her colleagues might visit the graveside of her mother and their former sister-in-arms: Meera Malik. If that’s the case, then season ten is slated to kick-off with a revival of a long-dead character through the percolating trauma, interoffice difficulties, and memories carried by a daughter devoted enough to work her way into the perilous blacklist enterprise of Raymond Reddington’s FBI Task Force. Siya Malik is going to want to know who killed her mother, who ordered the hit and why. Perhaps she will bond with Red over a shared thirst for revenge
If Siya is as lethal as her mother and as laser-focussed as Red, then her arrival on the Task Force will be a good match for dealing with Wujing (Chin Han), a season one blacklister who threatens to destroy the Concierge of Crime. The last time fans saw Wujing was when he received a secret note from Red’s attorney, thirty-year first mate and attempted usurper, Marvin Gerard (Fisher Stevens). This note is Marvin’s final act of revenge against Red at the end of season nine and contains every name on the blacklist—the roster of all the criminals that Red and the FBI have brought down, imprisoned or killed. It’s a long list, just a few dozen short of two hundred names: a veritable calvary of criminals whose branches spread out into legions of others affected by Red’s worst-of-the-worst wish list. It’s likely that Meera’s death was caused by one of the names on that list.
If anyone can help Red face the forthcoming barrage of enemies he is sure to combat in season ten, it’s the daughter of a former lethal agent like Meera Malik.
All nine seasons of The Blacklist are available to stream on Netflix now.