Who Is Kurt Perez? 'The Blacklist' Tribute, Explained

Viewers of The Blacklist were left puzzled when episode 19 of the show concluded with a touching title card dedicated to a person named Kurt Perez. On May 6, the crime thriller returned to NBC with an all-new season nine episode titled "The Bear Mask." The episode mainly focused on a new challenge heading Aram's (played by Amir Arison) way, but the most significant talking point came from the heartfelt tribute at the end.

Sources online indicated that Perez was driving the Taconic State Parkway in March 2022 when he lost control of his 2018 Ford Explorer and crashed into a tree. State police arrived at the scene around 12:30 a.m. and found the 50-year-old deceased. Troopers believe wet road conditions are believed to have caused the accident. 

The Blacklist premiered on September 23, 2013, on NBC. The show follows James Spader as Raymond "Red" Reddington, a former U.S. Navy officer who voluntarily surrenders to the FBI after evading capture for decades. Perez was a crew member who unexpectedly passed "at far too young an age," according to CarterMatt. He was "an unsung hero for a lot of what you see on-screen" and "was very much beloved to some others who work on the NBC series," the outlet continued.

Kurt had gotten a sweet nod from the show's crew in a behind-the-scenes clip just hours before the episode aired. Makeup artist Dena Olivieri shared the video on Instagram of the cast and crew celebrating the end of the ninth season. It is unknown what Perez's role was on the production crew, and little information about him is available.

The Blacklist has honored the late members of the cast and crew of the series on more than one occasion. The sixth episode of Season 8, aired in February 2021, paid tribute to actor Clark Middleton, who played eccentric DMV employee Glen Carter in 13 episodes. Middleton passed away in October 2020 at 63 after battling West Nile Virus, The Wrap reported.

"Clark somehow knew how to make Glen Carter — an incredibly annoying and frustrating guy — incredibly lovable and fun to watch. He approached the part with a real humanity, which is why I think the character resonates so much for our audience," series creator Jon Bokenkamp told the outlet.

Brian Dennehy was also honored during a special episode in 2020. On April 15, 2020, the actor died at the age of 81. He recurred as Dominic Wilkinson, the father of Russian spy Katarina Rostove and the grandfather of Elizabeth Keen, Deadline reported. He appeared in nine episodes of The Blacklist before joining the show in Season 3. Two of those episodes were in Season 7 – his final season on the show. Only two episodes remain for season nine of The Blacklist before it concludes on May 20.