"The Blacklist" isn’t going for a slow-build entering its seventh season.
The NBC FBI drama, which films in New York City, returns Friday with mastermind Raymond Reddington (James Spader) missing in action. And while Liz (Megan Boone), Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) and the team don’t know his whereabouts, he wakes up in some sort of torture chamber while in the custody of Katarina Rostova, "the most significant Blacklister" to date.
"His life is in real danger. This situation is as bad as it has ever been for him," executive producer John Eisendrath teases. "Katarina is as worthy an adversary as we’ve ever seen him go up against. Or, perhaps, a more worthy adversary. She is someone we built up over this entire series and here she is, this notorious former spy."
Like Reddington, Katarina’s full and true identity isn’t known to all of "The Blacklist’s" key players, and Eisendrath says that’ll be a theme present throughout the season.
"Our hope is that season 7 will make good on the promise that we would at some point dive headlong into the family drama and triangle between Liz, Katarina and Red," he says. "That is essentially the core emotional story through the season.
"Season 7 on ‘The Blacklist’ is our version of ‘This Is Us.’ "
"The Blacklist" returns with its seventh season on NBC Friday at 8 p.m.