The Blacklist has found a unique way to finish its Season 7 finale episode. The episode was in the middle of production when the coronavirus pandemic forced all New York-based television and movie productions to go on hold. So, the version audiences will see will incorporate part of the live-action scenes already shot with graphic novel-style animation to finish the story.
On Tuesday, NBC announced episode 19, titled "The Kananjian Brothers" will feature a mix of the scenes animated using the "motion comic" style with already-shot live action sequences. The actors were called in to record their voices from home to help with "ensure" a seamless transition between the two filming styles. James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff, Amir Arison, Hisham Tawfiq and Harry Lennix all took part in the new episode. The episode log-line reads: "The Task Force investigates an accountant who works for lucrative criminals in order to find the violent and thuggish brothers hired for his protection. Liz must make a momentous decision."
This will be a first-of-its-kind test, as most shows just ended their seasons early due to the coronavirus pandemic, both in Hollywood and New York. Most of the shows that have produced new episodes during the pandemic have been singing competition reality shows like The Voice and American Idol, or special one-time reunions like the Parks and Recreation episode that aired on April 30. The one exception was CBS' freshman legal drama All Rise, which chose to film its May 4 finale remotely, and worked the pandemic into the script.
"We started asking ourselves, 'What would our characters be saying and doing?' as we're virtually having to work together," All Rise executive producer Len Goldstein told Variety last week. "We were thinking they would probably be figuring out how to handle the justice system and they would probably be checking in with each other like we’re doing. From those initial conversations we started to think, 'What if there was a way to be able to achieve a season finale and tell a satisfying story using the technology of the times?'"
The Blacklist was renewed for an eighth season back in February. The show stars Spader as Raymond "Red" Reddington, Boone as Elizabeth Keen, Klattenhoff as Donald Ressler, Arison as Aram Mojtabi Tawfiq as Dembe Zuma, Lennix as Harold Cooper and Laura Sohn as Alina Park. It was created by Jon Bokenkamp and is producedby Sony Pictures Television and Universal Television. The Season 7 finale airs on May 15 at 8 p.m. ET.