'The Blacklist' Producers Tease Arrival of 'Ultimate Bad Guy' in Season 7

The Blacklist Season 7 premiere is upon us, and Raymond Reddington is in danger. Friday's premiere episode will find Liz (Megan Boone) and the team rush to rescue Red (James Spader) after being captured by the long presumed dead Katarina Rostova (Laila Robbins), who just happens to be Liz's mother.

The Season 6 finale ended in a major cliffhanger when Red reunited with Katarina in Paris, only for her to drug him and drag him into an unmarked van before he could warn her about someone trying t kill her. Given that the mysterious woman was believed to be dead until that point, her plans for Red are already veiled in mystery.

"Is Katarina going to get what she wants or is she not going to get what she wants and go into the wind? We decided that she's the ultimate bad guy on our show," executive producer John Eisendrath said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. "She's the personification of this great spy we've talked about for seven years. She's the Big Bad for the season."

Fans have gotten to know bits and pieces of Katarina's story through flashback, however, show producers tease the team's formidable new opponent will use everything in her arsenal to get what she wants, including use her influence on both Red and Liz.

"We've seen Lotte Verbeek play young Katarina and Laila Robins brings to it not only a very formidable, dangerous spy element but she also brings to the character a real vulnerability, which speaks to everything she's going through. How personal this is to her," executive producer Jon Bokenkamp said. "It's not just a Big Bad who wants something from Reddington and is going to put the screws to his thumbs, this is somebody where it pains her to do this to Reddington, despite the rift that has happened between them."

"Whatever it is that has gone wrong - and it went terribly wrong," he added, "is something she lives with day after day and she's finally hit this point where she's not going to live in the shadows. She's not going to stand back and watch and take instructions. She is going to flip back into operator mode and take destiny into her own hands. I think you can see an incredibly formidable, incredibly dangerous, incredibly wounded woman who is going to stop at nothing to get what she wants."

The secrets behind Katarina's plan will be revealed slowly throughout the season. However, the team's main goal at the start of the season will be to rescue Red. Eisendrath also teased Katarina will be getting close to Liz, leading to some serious drama.


"Liz will ultimately realize that Katarina is here," he said. "Once she does, I think she will... we spend a lot of time trying to put ourselves in her shoes and experience it with her. What would she say? How would she react? It feels like initially she would react by giving Reddington the benefit of the doubt. He's been in her life for a long time. He has proven himself to be someone who cares about Liz. By contrast, Katarina has been built up in Liz's eyes as an antagonist who has not been in Liz's life. And now she sort of parachutes in. She's going to react like the audience would react, which is, 'Well, Red's been good to you.' But there will be revelations that make her - and possibly the audience - doubt whether that trust is well placed."

The Blacklist Season 7 premiere Friday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.