Will The Real Raymond Reddington Please Stand Up?


Dissecting The True Identity Of The “Concierge Of Crime’


Disclaimer! The following article repetitiously refers to a “Real Reddington” and an “Impostor Reddington”. Impostor Reddington is the Reddington fans have grown to love for the past 2 1/2 seasons of The Blacklist. The Real Reddington is missing in action. The article refers to them as Real Reddington and Impostor Reddington.


Season 3 of “The Blacklist” has reached it’s fall finale. It’s been a jam-packed rocket ride thus far but fans will have to wait till 2016 to begin the second half of the season. Rather than sitting back and eagerly awaiting the next chapter for Red and Liz, take some time to consider what could be a very plausible theory.


THE GIST OF THE THEORY: The Raymond Reddington fans have grown to love is not the real Red Reddington. He is an impostor. There were two men in the house on the night of the fire, perhaps more. Liz actually shot the Real Reddington and the impostor took his place. It’s possible the Impostor Reddington is Liz’s biological father and was an F.B.I agent himself. He has been deep undercover for 20 years with orders to track and fracture the cabal.


Now, before you hurriedly label this theory as far-fetched, let’s consider the evidence.


The F.B.I. is home?

“It must be good to be home, sir.” – Mr. Grey


This is the very first line of dialog spoken to impostor Reddington by Mr. Grey in the pilot episode. On the surface, this statement masks itself as the starting point of an amazing television series. On the other hand, it may be the viewer’s first look and probable clue into the myth that is Raymond Reddington. Impostor Reddington feels the F.B.I is home?


Don’t discount the original pilot script!


In many cases, pilot scripts are unreliable. Usually they are full of story lines that don’t hold up past the first episode and end up on the cutting room floor. The same can be said for certain sections in the pilot script for The Blacklist. However, Bokenkamp has stated that the general mythology and final outcome of the series has not changed. Therefore the pilot script remains relevant and it is loaded with clues that appear to support the idea of an impostor in our midst.


The following excerpt is from the original pilot script written by the series creator and executive producer, Jon Bokenkamp.


“Red steps from the car. He finds himself standing in the shadow of a daunting concrete structure. He looks up, delighted to see the words etched in the facade: J. Edgar Hoover Building. Red strides through the lobby with purpose. He’s been here before. He belongs here.”

“He belongs here?” Fans have been informed on multiple occasions that the Real Raymond Reddington was a Navy man, more specifically he was in Navy Intelligence. The Navy is not located inside the F.B.I. building. The F.B.I. building should be a stranger to him, yet the Impostor Reddington felt he belonged there.


There are reasons to conclude Red was never at sea or in the Navy. He confirms this fact while having a heart to heart with Lizzie in season 3 and describing the ship he never sailed.


And again in season 1.

“I was a lifeguard in my junior year in high school. Had to give mouth-to-mouth to Mrs. Beerman. She belched up a lung full of corned beef and chlorine. I haven’t been in a pool since.” (Red, S1 E 20)


And to quote Niko Demakis, “I’m sorry, weren’t you in the Navy?”

It’s highly unlikely that the Real Reddington was enlisted in the Navy but was able to avoid to never get his feet wet.


Red hints at having plastic surgery.

Impostor Reddington and Liz visit Dr. Andrew Dice Clay. Impostor Reddington mentions he had work done with this doctor. To what extent …only the Impostor Reddington knows at this point.


The Impostor Raymond Reddington does not match Ressler’s description of him in the pilot episode.

“Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington attended the Naval Academy Top of his class. He graduated by the time he was 24. He was being groomed for Admiral. Then in 1990, Reddington’s coming home to see his wife and his daughter for Christmas. He never arrives. This highly respected officer up and disappears from the face of the earth until four years later when classified NOFORN documents start showing up in Maghreb, Islamabad, Beijing. These leaks were traced to Reddington. This guy’s an equal opportunity offender, a facilitator of sorts, who’s built an enterprise brokering deals for fellow criminals. He has no country. He has no political agenda. Reddington’s only allegiance is to the highest bidder. The Concierge of Crime.”


Ressler describes Raymond Reddington as ruthless, only loyal to the highest bidder and a monster of a criminal who ran out on his wife and daughter on Christmas Eve 20 years prior.


It doesn’t add up!


The Impostor Reddington stresses the importance of loyalty. In fact, Impostor Reddington is loyal to several people including, Lizzie, Mr. Kaplin, Dembe and even odd balls like DMV Glen.


“Loyalty above all else.” – Impostor Reddington

Is it possible Ressler was actually describing the Real Reddington and not the Reddington who turned him in to the F.B.I? Ressler’s description is of the Real Reddington.


The Real Raymond Reddington did not have scars.

There is a section on the real Reddington’s F.B.I most wanted poster for documentation of scars or tattoos. This poster lists “no known” scars. Impostor Reddington has a back full of burn scars.

Impostor Reddington will not reveal the identity of Liz’s biological father.

Impostor Reddington has stated many times that it would put Liz in great danger if she were to ever know the identity of her biological father. Why?

If Liz discovers the identity of her real father, it could compromise the Impostor Reddington’s mission and every bit of leverage he 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.


“I’m telling you, with no uncertainty, your father is dead. He died in that fire.” – Impostor Reddington


Tom appears to know there is an Impostor Reddington in season 1.



“I’m not here to hurt you. My job was to never hurt you. I’m one of the good guys…”
“He’s not who you think he is!” – Tom Keen

Naomi Highland was married to the Real Reddington.


It’s a possibility that Naomi Hyland was married to the Real Reddington. Her daughter is Jennifer Reddington. Remember, Naomi and Jennifer are in the FBI’s Witness Protection Program. If Impostor Reddington is or was a FBI agent, he could have been tasked to keep the Real Reddington’s family safe. This would explain why the impostor Reddington was so concerned when Berlin went after Naomi. It could also explain why impostor Reddington was so concerned about the whereabouts of Jennifer Reddington. If Berlin could get to Naomi, it’s safe to assume Berlin or anyone else could find Jennifer.


Consider the conversation between Lizzie and Naomi.



LIZ- “I just I have a ton of questions in this notebook about the case, but the truth is, I didn’t come here just to ask you about Berlin.”
NAOMI- “You have questions you think I can answer about the past.”
LIZ- “Yes.”
LIZ- The day Raymond Reddington walked into my life, everything changed everything I believed about.
LIZ- “You were married to the man.”You had a life, a child.”
LIZ- “Yeah.”
LIZ-“Why doesn’t he want me to see you? ”
NAOMI-“You tell me.”
LIZ- “I think it might be because you know something about how the two of us might be connected.”
NAOMI- “He wants something from you. It’s a game. It’s a manipulation. He’s made you feel a connection that makes you feel like you matter somehow. And there’s no one on earth who can make a woman feel like the center of his universe more than Raymond Reddington.”


This conversation is intriguing. It is extremely difficult to fit the conversation into the impostor theory but maybe we should look at this a bit differently. Naomi answered her questions “specifically” about the Real Reddington. Naomi has deal with Impostor Reddington and that deal meant she could never tell Lizzie the truth.


How did she keep the truth hidden in this conversation with Liz? Simply by keeping the deal and answering Liz’s questions based on the Real Reddington. What actions would the Real Raymond Reddington take to get closer to Liz? What would the Real Raymond Reddington want from Liz?
Naomi concludes the questioning by telling Liz, “But I’ll tell you this. He’s not who you think he is.”

This statement was most likely the only answer Naomi provided that was based on the Impostor Reddington.


“Are you my father?” – LIz Keen, Season 1

Pay close attention to Impostor Reddington’s facial expression when he answers “No”. There is a level of confliction there. It is as if he wanted to say yes but he knew could not compromise his identity.

Did he lie to Liz by denying he is her father? Not really, the world knows him as the Real Raymond Reddington and the Real Raymond Reddington is not Liz’s biological father. The Impostor Reddington could be.

Bottom line?

It’s all in the interpretation. Is your mind open to a hell of a twisted end game? It should be easy to envision, The Blacklist is one hell of a twisted show. That’s why we love it.


Follow Susanne in The Blacklist: Clearing the Red Tape Facebook group to keep the conversations going! The Blacklist 3×09 airs on Thursday, January 7th at 9 p.m. on NBC.


  1. WOW ! love this show – so many twists ! and the songs are so right on with what is happening at that moment

  2. When I first saw this, I scoffed, but read it anyway……so glad I did. It makes a whole lot of sense. The love he feels for his daughter is so obvious…..and this actually explains why he is being so coy about it.

  3. ” I floated with Yuri in the Dead Sea.”

  4. This is fascinating to me. I can’t believe I didn’t realize this until now. One of the biggest arguments brought against my “Red is not really Red” theory is the fact certain people from Red’s past recognize him and therefore he must be the real deal. Well, I’m about to debunk that argument.
    In Season 1, The Judge, impostor Red seeks out his roommate from the Navel Academy. This man recognized impostor Red as his roommate…what he didn’t do is CALL him by name! Never says Raymond, Red, Reddington…not one name. He might recognize the person he is talking to but his name is not Raymond Reddington.
    Now, let’s talk Naomi. She clearly recognized impostor Red when she saw him in season 1. She recognized him because she is in on the deal. The person she was talking to was not Raymond Reddington and she knew he was an impostor. Liz questions Naomi and she says this, “He’s not who you think he is.” She had to know he was an impostor, otherwise why would she say that to Liz?

  5. The movie Smokin Aces had the same plot

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