The Blacklist
Red and Liz
Season 1 First Half Thoughts


Red and Liz in Anslo Garrick

I've been trying to finish this since the fall finale ended, but Christmas prep, a faulty router, a dead computer, and then the 30 Day Blacklist Challenge really sidetracked me. Alright, here goes... I am not a Red/Lizzy shipper. I'm not anti-Lizzington either. I'm just along for the ride and sitting atop this wobbly fence, entertaining all theories. I never thought there would be a simple answer to their relationship, especially after a clue to Red's motivation was shown in The Stewmaker's photo album, but he always felt more parentally protective than anything.

Shippers may think I've sustained a bump to the head and forgotten the last few moments of Anslo Garrick: Conclusion. But my gut reaction when Red told Liz he wasn't her father was that he lied.

A few subjectively inappropriate comments Red made to Liz were funny to me rather than creepy if he was her father, a person he hasn't had to be in two decades; I still think he could be that for all the love in his eyes that would be strange to me otherwise..

Having said that, the idea I've been most drawn to since their first meeting is that Red had something to do with Lizzy's father abandoning her, paralleling the abandonment of his own family after a still unclear tragedy that's been hinted at but not made clear. Maybe he promised her father to care for her. Maybe his enemy, known so far only as the adversary, is Lizzy's real father. Red has mentioned how quickly the needle in your arm becomes the one in your neck, referencing past events where a partnership can turn on one decision, how easy one can betray or be betrayed. Maybe they were friends and their relationship changed, Red trying to kill him and unintentionally putting Liz in danger, leaving an innocent child in his hands.

That scenario would leave room for the ship to continue to sail. Though, if Red really knew Liz as a child and felt a need to protect her or promised to do so, it feels a little awkward for him to fall in love with her. He had such a strong connection to Liz before she even knew him that it makes sense to me that he could be related. With a small change, what I said could also apply to Red and Liz being father and daughter, a possibility I've always held onto at the same time as the shipper-friendly one, hence the wobbly fence I mentioned. This idea has Red being on the receiving end of the soured partnership, or something more far-reaching and sinister, prompting Red to give little Lizzy up to keep her safe. Or even worse and quite twisted - independent of what Red, his adversary, and Liz mean to each other, or the identities of the daughter in his memory, the girl in the photo, or the woman in ViCAP - someone deliberately went after Red's family to make him suffer. That would be something he could never let go.

Shippers may think I've sustained a bump to the head and forgotten the last few moments of "Anslo Garrick Conclusion." But my gut reaction when Red told Liz he wasn't her father was that he lied. No way I am taking his word at face value until the show tells us every detail. It's not because of some fantasy that I hope they're related. He has said that he would never lie to her and, also, that "criminals are notorious liars." I can imagine him not lying about anything else, but it seems the secret of their relationship is too earth-shattering to reveal all at once, and that he's trying to lead Liz to the truth, slowly, so she'll eventually accept it rather than run from it.

Not only that, but just a few episodes earlier he had suffocated Sam, a good friend who raised Liz, both to keep the truth hidden and out of mercy. So if the answer to Liz's question was "yes," how could Red admit that? It was also in the way that he said it. As I've mentioned before, this is a show that lets the important moments breathe, resulting in that gulf of silence in which so much was left unsaid before Red worked up the courage to answer. I can't dismiss that hesitation, the obvious pain it caused him, that he seemed about to say something immediately after, and the slight waver in his voice when he told Lizzy to be careful of her husband. It was a very difficult conversation for him.

Aaahhh, this show is going to make me crazy, but in a good way. I need to know the truth of their connection, but the yearning makes it that much more beautiful. Whatever Red and Liz turn out to be, I'll be more than satisfied, because it was such fun trying to figure out, imagining all the possibilities, and experiencing all the perfect moments, especially on the part of James Spader. The truth I'm sure will be very poignant and surprising.


  1. One quibble, love. Sam was a mercy killing. Red was doing him a favor to save him the final painful weeks of cancer. He let him have his phone call. Sam kept the secret.

    Other than that, I think all your speculation is spot-on. This man made a life of lies. Why would that would "No" be his only truth?

  2. Quibble away. ;) Hmm, now I have to go back and read what I wrote. Sorry I didn't make it clear I knew Sam was a mercy killing. I have done so in other posts... Ahh, I see. I should edit that right now. Thank you, Resa, for taking the time to point that out. And may I say, yay, to finding someone else who thinks Red could have been lying? There seem to be so few of us. It was immediately pointed out to me why I was wrong when I posted this on Tumblr yesterday.


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