6:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'The Blacklist' Parts Ways With an Original Series Star
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the midseason finale of NBC's The Blacklist.]
The Blacklist has parted ways with one of its original stars.
During Wednesday's midseason finale, star Ryan Eggold's Tom Keen was shockingly killed off the NBC procedural. And unlike other "deaths" during the drama from creator/showrunner Jon Bokenkamp and executive producer John Eisendrath, this one will stick.
"Of all the words I've written on the show, two of the hardest were when Red [James Spader] told Liz [Megan Boone]: 'Tom’s dead.' Nooooo! We’ll miss the intensity, range and just plain bad ass-ness Ryan brought to the part. Won’t come as any surprise — but he went down swinging!" Eisendrath, who wrote Wednesday's episode with Bokenkamp, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
Eggold's Tom Keen was the husband of Boone's Elizabeth Keen. The character, later revealed to be a covert operative, was spun off last season to topline The Blacklist: Redemption. The Sony Pictures Television Studios-produced spinoff was canceled after one low-rated season, with Eggold returning to the flagship as a series regular in its current fifth season.
"I feel incredibly lucky to have played a role with such a uniquely dynamic evolution," Eggold said in a statement to THR. "I'm grateful for the time spent working with Megan, James and the entire cast. I'm thankful to the incredibly hard-working crew for consistently making the show better. Sony and NBC have both been deeply supportive, conscientious and adept in managing the show. Mostly I'm indebted to Jon Bokenkamp, John Eisendrath and the writers for continuing to elevate the show creatively and always impassioning me to further explore the true nature of this character. I will miss this TV family immensely and diligently look forward to the opportunity to embody new characters and tell new stories."
Wednesday's midseason finale picked up with Tom being held captive by a blacklister. After escaping, Tom was briefly reunited with Liz at their apartment — only she arrived to discover him tied up and held hostage. The episode then picked up with the flash-forward featured in the season five premiere as Liz and Tom put up a valiant effort during a violent struggle but are both outnumbered. Red puts the badly injured Liz and Tom in a car to the hospital for treatment. As medical professionals work on Liz and Tom, The Blacklist cuts to black, with Liz later waking up — after being in a coma for 10 months — to find Red by her side. Red then is tasked with telling Liz that Tom has died. The episode ends with Cooper (Harry Lennix) standing over Tom's dead body in the morgue, closing the book on Eggold's character.
"I have such tremendous respect for Ryan and everything he brought to The Blacklist. The character of Tom Keen was a blast to write, and that’s only because we knew Ryan could pull off whatever we threw at him," said Bokenkamp. "That said, we always knew Tom’s exploits would one day get him killed — The Blacklist won’t be the same without him. Looking ahead, Tom’s death upends the show in a way we’re very excited about, and our next episode is unlike anything we’ve done before. But it won't be the same around here without Mr. Keen. As for Mr. Eggold, I think he’s gonna be just fine — he’s gonna have a long and rewarding career."
The Blacklist returns Jan. 3 on NBC. The series will also celebrate its landmark 100th episode in January.