'The Blacklist' Makes Season 9 Story Decision That May Be Jarring to Fans

When The Blacklist returns for its ninth season on NBC in October, it will be with some major changes. The long-running crime thriller ended Season 8 on a tragic note when (spoiler alert!) Elizabeth "Liz" Keen was shot and last seen dying in the arms of Raymond "Red" Reddington amid actress Megan Boone's exit from the series, and rather than picking up in the direct aftermath of that, the show will return following a major time jump.

With just a month to go until the Season 9 premiere, TVLine reported Wednesday that The Blacklist Season 9 will begin with a multi-year time jump, transporting the characters, as well as the audience, to two years after the events of the Season 8 finale. According to the outlet, the FBI task force has since disbanded, and Reddington's whereabouts are unknown. The official Season 9 synopsis, per NBC, reads, "Finding themselves each at a crossroads, a common purpose compels them to renew their original mission: to take down dangerous, vicious and eccentric Blacklisters. In the process, they begin to uncover lethal adversaries, unimaginable conspiracies and surprising betrayals that will threaten alliances and spur vengeance for the past, led by the most devious criminal of them all — Raymond Reddington."

The decision to feature a time jump is likely at least partially to do with Boone's exit from the series. In June, and just ahead of the Season 8 finale, it was confirmed that the actress would be departing the show after eight seasons starring as its lead. In a later statement, Boone said her time on The Blacklist "has been an entire life inside of my own life" and portraying Liz helped her "better define the world and myself, as she set out to do the same." She also thanked all of those she "shared this time with," including her fellow cast members, the crew, and guest stars.

The absence of Boone and the time jump, however, are just two of the changes affecting Season 9. Just days after Boone's exit was announced, The Blacklist creator Jon Bokenkamp announced that he would be leaving the series after eight seasons. Bokencamp wrote in a message to fans that while he loves "this show with all of my heart, and it's been an incredible journey," after eight years, he felt it was "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."

The Blacklist Season 9 premieres on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. It will be followed by new episodes of Dateline at 9 p.m. ET. Stay tuned to PopCulture for the latest TV updates.