“Inside The Interrogation Room” with The Blacklist Creator, Jon Bokenkamp
Can you believe it? Season 3 of The Blacklist is officially in the can. Say it isn’t so!
Season 3 has been a love story, a revenge movie, a ghost story and so much in between. We boarded a plane full of brains, traveled through corn fields, stood in multiple graveyards, headed to the beach and watched life go full circle. We were there to welcome the birth of a new character, experience a crumbling grief, survive a certain death and witness a resurrection.
Not too shabby for just 23 episodes!
We’ve watched the scenes play out on our television screens for months but now it’s your turn to go behind scenes.
Follow me “Inside The Interrogation Room” for a little chat with The Blacklist series creator and executive producer, Jon Bokenkamp.
SP: Liz’s pregnancy became a predominant story line in the back half of season 3. What factors went into the decision to write Megan Boone’s pregnancy into the show?
JB: Everybody has seen the way pregnancies are hidden on TV, and we knew pretty quickly that we didn’t want to go in that direction. We didn’t want to have Megan hiding behind boxes or desks for months on end. Plus, we found out around episode four, which was fairly early. Once we knew the timeline, it all felt really organic and honest for her character.
SP: This seemed to work very well in regards to Liz’s backstory, right?
JB: Liz is constantly struggling to get a handle on her upbringing, and having a baby really forced her to look at her feelings about raising a child. She contemplates adoption, and that brings up her feelings about Sam and what that relationship means to her. From a writing perspective, embracing the pregnancy really created the impetus for Liz to try and get away from Red for good.
SP: The episode, “Cape May”, is Emmy worthy for Daniel Knauf and James Spader. The episode was simply epic. What did you think of this particular episode?
JB: We were psyched to have Knauf tackle “Cape May,” but the original idea for a Red only story was something that came about after a round of NBC notes. They wanted more Red. We all wanted to see him deal with what happened to Liz, but we had to figure out what that progression would be. Episodes, 318 and 320 fit together, but it was important to give Red and the fans a second to breathe.
SP: Did the episode achieve it’s goal?
JB: Spader nailed it, and then by 320 we were ready to see Red on fire.
SP: Were you concerned about the episode deviating from a “normal” Blacklist episode?
JB: We shot Cape May out of sequence, and while it didn’t include a typical Blacklister there’s nothing more exciting than subverting expectations.
SP: Speaking of great acting, Amir Arison’s character, Aram, has been a shining star this season. He has proven quite capable of holding his own even against the superb acting chops of James Spader. The fans just adore him.
JB: We love that we’ve been able to expand Amir’s role on the show. I think a lot of people forget that he’s been around since the third episode of the first season.
SP: Was there a conscience decision to emphasize Arison’s acting abilities and build upon his character this season?
JB: This season we really clarified that he’s part of the heart and soul of the show. He can talk tech, and then turn around and deliver a line about the wedding playlist.
SP: Will he be able to forgive Liz for faking her death?
JB: The news about Liz hits Aram really hard, and that’s something all the characters are going to be dealing with next season.
SP: How will the spin off coexist with The Blacklist? Do you have it all mapped out?
JB: We’re definitely already thinking about season four of The Blacklist, and what the spin-off will mean for all the characters.
SP: Should we hold on tight for a wild ride in season 4?
JB: It’s going to be a great ride, but we haven’t officially decided anything yet. Stay tuned!
“Stay tuned” is right! There is much more to come. Season 4 is just around the corner. Be sure to check out my first interview with Jon Bokenkamp and other cast members by tapping here… and be sure to go follow Jon Bokenkamp on Twitter!
The Blacklist will return for season 4 this fall on NBC.