The Blacklist: He’s Still Her Sin-Eater

Photo Courtesy Of TV Guide


Denial Ain’t Just A River In Egypt.”

Mark Twain

The fifth season finale for the longtime NBC series “The Blacklist,” left the show’s faithful fans in one of three subsets. Elation, Anger/Sorrow/Denial, or just outright Confused. Despite series creator Jon Bokenkamp’s statements that James Spader’s portrayed an imposter since entering our lives, there’s many diehard fans still refuses to believe it. There’s yet another group that’s stated that they’re disgusted by the news revealed in the season ending episode, and vow they won’t ever watch the series again. They feel tricked, and deluded, some even fell they’ve wasted five years, falling for the “ULTIMATE CON MAN.” Isn’t that exactly what this show’s always been about? “Criminals Are Notorious Liars.

Some incredibly intuitive viewers, realized early on that “OUR RAYMOND,” wasn’t the Naval Intelligence Officer that fathered Masha Rostova. I failed to catch on until it became apparent when Mr. Kaplan left her going away present, a valise she dug up from Tansi Farms, in the season four finale. That gift that kept on giving, along with Dembe Zuma’s reaction to the news that Raymond didn’t deny being Elizabeth Keen’s father, felt like waking up from “The Matrix,” for this viewer. It felt like shields being lifted from my eyes, this season’s purpose was always about how they’d reveal that news.

Let’s get the formalities out-of-the-way early on, lest we forget. congratulation to Samar Navabi and Aram Mojtabai, on their engagement! May they have a long and happy life together, and remain the example that functional relationships do exist; even in The Blacklist Universe.

We’re not going to delve too deeply into this episode or the latest Blacklist member, Sutton Ross. It seems that Ian Garvey’s legacy was a softness for young girls in the Witness Protection Program, and sympathetic thieves. Garvey granted Ross his freedom years before, rather than arrest him, so Ian knew exactly where to turn to ensure the bones would be revealed to Lillian Roth. The supposed kidnapping of Lizzie from the witness interrogation room, was handled ham-handedly. How on earth did Sutton get his kidnap victim to voluntarily crawl through an air-duct system?

However this episode’s intention wasn’t meant to be put under a microscope, and combed for clues to solve the mystery, this was the payoff we’ve waited for, or at least part of it. The whole kidnapping ploy didn’t need to exist, save for the chance for Liz and Jennifer to hear the imposter almost say “I am not Raymond Reddington.”

Next season should get broken down into three sections; revealing the identity, acceptance by Keen and willing to continue working with “OUR RAYMOND,” and finally gratitude. Although John Waters expressed admiration of the name, the man we’ve watched for five seasons remains Lizzie’s “SIN EATER.”

We’ve made some rather bold predictions on these pages, especially since late December, and admittedly the sense of validation’s welcome. However it’s only being mentioned in the hopes that our theories have proved credible, and that there’s a method to our madness. With that in mind let’s delve into speculation as to the true identity of “OUR RAYMOND.”

Why did he assume the identity of “THE AMERICAN,” in Katarina Rostova’s journal, a once well-respected Naval Intelligence Officer, who at the very least betrayed his marital vows and had an affair with Rostova, producing a child we know as Elizabeth Keen? We see the love and protective quality that in the end guides his every move. If not for the SWAT-Team breaking into Ross’ compound, he’d have said the words he vowed would never leave his lips. We soon would have heard his entire back-story, in order to keep Lizzie safe.

Who Is The Man In The Hat?

He is not Elizabeth Keen/Masha Rostova’s father. Raymond Reddington’s Lizzie’s father, he died when she shot him as a four-year-old the night of the fire. The scenario she remembers actually took place, we saw the aftermath in “Requiem,” as Katarina consoles her daughter, telling Masha he was a very bad man. Raymond Reddington took Masha from her home and away from her family. The night of the fire, a confrontation took place between Rostova and Reddington, possibly and likely physical. Masha somehow got a hold of a gun and shot the bad man to protect her mommy. Unfortunately that shot doomed them both, KGB, CIA, The Cabal, and possibly all three would soon be looking for Raymond Reddington. What could Rostova do?

The Third Family.

Sorry to burst the bubble of the Katarina’s Actually Raymond contingency, but “Our Raymond’s,” a man. The Imposter’s daughter’s the little blonde-haired girl we’ve seen with the bubbles in the flashbacks. She’s the ballerina, and it’s her house that Raymond purchased in season one and subsequently blew up. The story he told Madeline Pratt of coming home to find his family executed took place. That’s the family Diane Fowler refers to just before Raymond says she talks too much and shoots her.

Dominic Wilkinson AKA Oleander.

Dominic Wilkinson appears for the fourth time in the series, since being introduced in the show’s third season. This time “Our Raymond,” and Dembe bring the Real Reddington’s bones to his place to finally burn them. (I’ve seen some fans question why the bones weren’t burned originally instead of buried? My guess would be that Rostova buried the bones at Tansi Farm, in a panic and didn’t consider that option.) We’ve been able to perceive a bond between the two men, since the first time we met Dom. One that never added up if it existed between the old man and the Real Reddington.

Raymond takes a sip of milk and his face shows his displeasure. Dom tells him it’s buttermilk, and Reddington’s about to spit it out, when the old man stops him with the words don’t you. Dom’s stopped playing his piano, because he’s got a broken key. While Wilkinson’s away doing chores, Raymond heads to the old man’s work bench and painstakingly crafts a replacement, before he departs. Reddington saying to him at one point that he realizes he’s not what Dom wanted him to be.

Combine that with the obvious love he’s got for Lizzie, and in this viewer’s eyes’ the answer’s obvious. Certainly there’s a chance that he’s just another former KGB operative that worked with Dom and Katarina, but it makes a lot more sense if our imposter’s Dom’s son and Katarina’s brother. Desolate after the loss of his own family, “Our Raymond,” agrees to become Raymond Reddington. With that move he effectively killed the man he once was, that’s why Kate and Dembe always referred to him as Raymond.

How He Fooled The World?

Obviously he didn’t fool everybody, we know that Mr. Kaplan and Dembe have always known, however it’s unclear because of “Requiem,” when Kate actually found out. Was she referring to the imposter, when she initially refused Sam Milhoan to talk with that awful man, or did she believe the Real Reddington was still living? I’d also venture a guess that Alan Fitch and Peter Kotsiopoulos, knew that he wasn’t the Real Reddington. I’m also in the camp that believes Naomi knew as well, and not on board with the idea that she’s dead.

As for everybody else, it seems pretty obvious that he became Raymond Reddington’s Doppelgänger, courtesy of the skills of renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Abraham Maltz. Longtime viewers remember his introduction in the first season, portrayed by Andrew “Dice” Clay. We may have sneaked a peek at one part of the rest of the process, when we watched Raleigh Sinclair III, coach Anthony to ape the characteristics of Ian Garvey a few weeks ago.

However the entire process would be far more entailed. Over the last few months we’ve learned that our intelligence officers, are well-trained in the art of taking meticulous notes. That certainly would have been a valuable resource that the imposter used to garner as much information as possible about the Real Reddington. Likely there was also a large trove of video and audio tape of Reddington, given his position, and the imposter probably spent weeks perfecting Reddington’s sound and cadence. Who was his trainer, was it his father and sister?

Obviously this new “Reddington,” couldn’t return to the original’s old life and family, for fear of being found out. Perhaps with the aid of The Cabal, the imposter used the name and reputation of the former Naval Intelligence Officer, to create a criminal empire worth millions. How much of that empire was actually used to keep Elizabeth safe, would be up for debate.

Known Unknowns.

Exactly why did “Our Raymond,” enter back into Keen’s life five years ago? Was it a combination of his disapproval of her marriage to Tom, his need to recover the Fulcrum, or to protect her from Alexander Kirk? Or is there another purpose that we’re unaware of? Is Naomi Hyland, truly dead and if so why wasn’t Raymond informed of her death? He’s the one who arranged for her and her husband Frank, to assume new identities in a new location. It would seem logical that he’d be made aware of her death by his people. Does Jennifer have her own agenda? When will Lizzie reunite with Agnes, and where is the dog?

We’ve got until next January to kick around these subjects. Thanks to you for joining us for this ride, and we look forward to getting more answers in season six.

6 thoughts on “The Blacklist: He’s Still Her Sin-Eater”

  1. Sorry but if Red is a fake, a female to boot then it is more than I can swallow. He became a better Red than Red!

  2. Your analysis is proven wonderful, really appreciate.

    Now I started wondering about something new, as who killed the third family(to be wife and daughter of some KGB asset), and if our Reddington already made retaliation for the killer?
    He must have done that first than anything else if only he knew who’s to blame like he was about to shoot Kirk to death for trying to take Liz away even no intent to kill her, consequently nailing her up to the apparent death.

    I am thinking about it, yet no clue.

    1. Nancy, thanks for the kind words! My immediate question if my theory that “OUR RAYMOND’S” Dom’s son and Katarina’s brother, would be what was his previous existence?

      There are tow schools of thought out there that I’ve encountered. First being Oleander (Dom) raised both his children to become KGB operatives. The other one being that the son went legit and was successfully climbing up some ladder with an All-American family, and that they were killed because of the Imposter’s relationship with his father and sister.

      A bunch of evidence points to “OUR RAYMOND,” being a KGB operative. Somebody with that background could more easily morph into another person, than a civilian could.

      However, and I’m paraphrasing here, He said something to Dom about him realizing that Dom wasn’t pleased with the way he turned out. Which evoked memories of Michael Corleone in Godfather I, and Brando’s speech, “You could’ve been Senator Corleone, Governor Corleone…” Could that have been Dom’s intention for his son?

      Katarina told Kathryn that the KGB, and CIA had found about the affair. I believe that either entity or both, perhaps with the assistance of the Cabal, would have been responsible for the execution of the third family. If that’s the case, we know that he’s thwarted the Agency’s missions through out the years, and he likely had his vengeance on the KGB as well. And of course he effectively ended the cabal with giving the contents of the Fulcrum, to the planet’s most renowned investigative reporters.

      1. That makes sense, that our Red is working for the revenge of his wife and daughter since 5 years ago.

        Speaking of “what was his previous existence”, I found something interesting when I checked the last of season4 again.
        Cooper told Liz of his young days memory when he was working with real Reddington.
        When Reddington was surveying some KGB spy, he was found out and kidnapped by Speznaz(just wonder why would Speznaz was so active in the US?) and tortured unless he was rescued by the raid of FBI and Naval special force.
        The bloody shirt the DNA came from was the one that he wore by then.
        Cooper said that they arrested some KGB spy on the raid and he/she was going to have a trial, that’s the reason that the bloody shirt was kept as evidence.
        But we don’t know who the arrested KGB was, don’t know what happened later to him/her either, as Cooper didn’t specify the name.
        That makes me feel something suspicious:)

  3. I used to wonder why those bones were not destroyed from the beginning. Why would our Red have kept them? Now I offer a speculative answer.

    Perhaps Katarina held some affection for the real Reddington, even though he was a “bad man”. There must have been something there between them for her to leave her husband for him. So perhaps Katarina wanted a private ceremony to bury his remains. Perhaps that tree at Tansi Farms held some significance in their history. Did she have happy memories of her time with the real Reddington under that tree? When Mr. Kaplan dug up the bones she apologized to Katarina. Is that because Katarina wanted them to remain there forever?
    Our Red may have preferred to have the remains destroyed completely from the beginning, but felt he must defer to his sister’s wishes on the matter.
    That would explain why he never dug them up and destroyed them during the ensuing decades. He was honoring his late sister’s wishes.

    What do you think?

    1. Top Cat, sorry for not responding yet to your other comment, I shall soon. There is definitely significance to that spot, hence the K encircled by the heart on the tree. I’ve thought she might have carved that as a teenager, but that doesn’t rule out that she had joyous moments with the Real Reddington there. I’ve also always thought that Katarina and Kathryn, disposed of the body after Kathryn carved it up, and buried it never expecting it to be found. However your theory is certainly viable.

      Constantin was not the great love of Katarina’s life, “The American,” was. They’ve always reminded me of Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky, a forbidden love that plunged both their lives in turmoil and ended unhappily. When she tells Masha he was a terrible man, she’s still angry that Raymond had taken Masha away from her, and had likely gotten physical with her, prompting Masha to pick up the gun and shoot the man who was hurting her mommy. She was also trying to console her daughter I believe. Of course Dr. Krilov would soon erase those memories, only to surface when she shot Tom Connelly.

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