‘The Blacklist’ Creator Exits NBC Drama After Season 8 Finale

The Blacklist Season 8 Episode 20 Red Liz
Sony Pictures Television

There’s another major change coming for The Blacklist for Season 9.

Following Megan Boone‘s exit in the Season 8 finale, creator Jon Bokenkamp announced on Twitter that he, too, is leaving the NBC drama, what he called a “difficult decision.” (He was also a writer and executive producer since the premiere in 2013.)

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The Season 8 finale served as star Megan Boone's final episode as FBI agent-turned-criminal Elizabeth Keen.

“I love this show with all of my heart, and it’s been an incredible journey, but after eight years I feel it’s time for me to step out of my comfort zone, try something new, and explore a few of the other characters and stories that have been crawling around in my head,” Bokenkamp shared. “While I’m excited about this next chapter, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I have mixed emotions about my departure. The Blacklist is a family, and saying goodbye is difficult.”

He went on to explain why he considers his time with the series “a blessing.” “Having the ability to tell a new story every week — to an audience excited to watch — is a dream come true,” he wrote. “I am likely biased, but the Blacklist fanbase is not only the most dedicated and ravenous in television, but whip smart and hard as hell to fool. You are the lifeblood of our show, and it’s your enthusiasm that leaves me feeling — more than anything — grateful.”

Read his full statement below.

Bokenkamp’s exit comes as The Blacklist wrote out Boone’s Liz Keen in the Season 8 finale. She sustained what looked like a fatal gunshot wound to the chest (though she wasn’t pronounced dead onscreen, so anything is possible). That came as Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) had promised she’d learn the truth about who he is (via a letter from her mother) after she killed him to take over the blacklist. (Liz couldn’t pull the trigger.) The finale seemed to be leaning towards confirming the theory that Red is actually Liz’s mother, but nothing definitive has been stated on-screen.

And so in a way, Bokenkamp telling TV Insider that the finale “may not be the ending of the series, but it’s very much the ending of a story we’ve been telling for eight years” fits for more than Liz. It’s true for his story with The Blacklist, too.

The Blacklist, Season 9, Fall 2021, NBC