May The Infamous “Red is not the real Red” Theory Live Long and Prosper

ZMay The Infamous “Red is not the real Red” Theory Live Long and Prosper


A comprehensive list of clues that support the theory of an impostor in our midst.


  • “He’s not who you think he is.” – Tom
  • “He’s not who you think he is.” Naomi Highland / Karla Reddington
  • Impostor Red hints he’s had plastic surgery while paying a visit to Dr. Andrew Dice Clay.
  • Impostor Red tells a story about being a lifeguard when he was younger. He was doing CPR and the person threw up in his mouth. He states he has “never been in a pool since“. He was in the Navy but doesn’t like to swim?
  • “It must be good to be home, sir.” – Mr. Grey The FBI is home to Raymond Reddington?
  • “It’s a manipulation.” –Naomi Highland
  • In the pilot, Ressler gives a detailed description of the real Red’s criminal history. Ressler claims the real Red is only loyal to the highest bidder, among other things. This does not match the Red we’ve seen in the first 2 seasons. Remember this? “Loyalty above all else.” Red has expressed excessive amounts of loyalty throughout the series.
  • “Your father is alive.” –Tom Keen
  • Impostor Red has dodged questions about his time in the Navy.
  • Impostor Red has stated many times that it would put Liz in great danger if she were to know the identity of her biological father. If Liz discovers the identity of her real father, it could compromise the impostor Red’s mission and every bit of leverage he has gained against the cabal. It is possible impostor Reddington has been so immersed in his mission that he lost his sense of true identity long ago.
  • Naomi Highland never directly refers to impostor Red as her husband. She speaks about Raymond Reddington as if he is not in the room.
  • Naomi Highland implies she made a deal with impostor Red. A deal to never expose him as an impostor and keep Liz a secret.
  • “Everything about me is a lie.” – Impostor Red
  • Naomi Highland is in the Witness Protection Program. If impostor Red was a former FBI agent, he could have secured her place in the program.
  • Let’s just assume this theory is what the writers have in mind. Is it possible that some of the things we see Red do, certain people he interacts with, or certain memories ( Ex. Ballet, Jennifer Reddington) have absolutely nothing to do with the Lizzie storyline? Have we been collecting all the clues and wasting time trying to connect these things to Liz? If this is the case, have the writers been throwing out reveals that will end up not relating to the main story arc.
  • Karla Reddington “feels more like an estranged sister” to Red over the years, as he told Lizzie. She’s not his wife. She went along with the impostor plan to keep her daughter safe.
  • Red says to Karla that she’s changed but she says: “not as much as you” and touches his face, sort of implying that something about him visually is off.
  • Lord Baltimore: A twin sister takes on the personality of her dead twin sister. They call her “Lord Baltimore”. Lizzie lived in Baltimore at some point, which is something that Red remarks about in the pilot.
  • Red knew about the music box. In order to know how Lizzie was put to bed as a child, Red had to be very close to her parents. Either a very close friend or a very close relative.
  • An associate of Red’s says, “Didn’t you go to the Naval Academy?” It proves that Red’s stories aren’t exactly “true”. Except they are true because they’re the stories of the impostor Red and not the real Red.
  • Red has experience assisting others in their request to be altered into someone else. He makes a lot of money by providing resources for people to change their identities and the life of another person. He’s good at it because Red is something of an expert where that’s concerned.
  • People with dual identities is a continuing theme for The Blacklist. Examples: Campbell Scott’s character in The Cyprus Agency, Isabella Rosselini’s villainess hiding behind apparently philanthropy, the suburban housewife who prints Red fake money out of her garage, Diane Fowler and her ties to the cabal and to some extent, Lizzie, who hides elements of her history from the FBI.
  • Dembe’s backstory. Dembe is a survivor. His family was slaughtered right before his eyes. Dembe has managed to be his own man and retain his own identity. His right-hand man is the kind of man Red wishes he could be.
  • In episode 11 of season 3, Gregory Devry, we are introduced to a man claiming to be the “real” Raymond Reddington. The plot was very predictable and it was all a plan devised by Red for a friend who was terminally ill with cancer and wanted to end his pain. There was no real impostor but rather a fraud, setting up a fraud, to be a fraud.
  • Most would assume the impostor theory is dead in the water after episode 11. NOT SO FAST! The impostor theory is still in play. Nothing occurred in this episode that could accurately explain or debunk a single piece of evidence that supports the theory. However, it did present very compelling evidence that does support the theory. In fact, the episode contained more evidence that supports the theory and almost none that could debunk it.
  • In the same episode, the task force has a discussion that includes some very interesting dialogue.

LIZ: “He doesn’t even look like him.”
RESSLER: “Well, in the five years I hunted Reddington, we had one photo of him. It only had a passing
resemblance to the man we’ve been working with.”
COOPER: “He disappeared 25 years ago. Could’ve had surgery. Truth is nobody really knows what he might look like today.”

What do you think? Is the Red we know and love the “real Raymond Reddington”?

Feel free to comment below.


  1. How is that Dom, Kirk, Scottie Hargrave identify him as Raymond Reddington. For that matter almost everybody from his past recognize him as Raymond. Dom and Kirk have seen him after 20 plus years and address him as Raymond. Kirk says that he even thought Liz was Raymond’s daughter. Dom says now that Masha is gone, you feel you understand my pain of losing Katharina.

  2. For that matter, Cooper too says it is Raymond Reddington as soon as he sees him.

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