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Note: contains major spoilers for The Blacklist.
While some TV shows barely hit their stride, cut down after one season, The Blacklist is still going strong since it first debuted back in 2013.
The crime thriller has been renewed for season seven, continuing to pull in solid ratings (4.45 million people tuned in to watch the season-six finale, which is more than the premiere) – and it's really no surprise given the multitude of twists and turns around every corner.
So, what can we expect from the next chapter? Here's everything you need to know about The Blacklist season seven.
The Blacklist season 7: How can I watch it in the UK?
The Blacklist airs on NBC in the US, but if you live in the UK, Sky One is your go-to. You can also catch all six seasons on Now TV if you have an Entertainment Pass.
The Blacklist season 7 theories: What will happen?
The Blacklist creator Jon Bokenkamp and showrunner John Eisendrath both sat down with Variety, and one of the topics they touched upon was fan speculation.
"Jon loves reading it and I try to avoid it," said Eisendrath. "It does come in to Jon but I think we both agree that no matter how aware we are of what people are saying the story is the story. We've never changed the story based on what people are guessing is the endgame, the answers, the truth.
"The fun of the guessing game that the audience has is hopefully made more fun if we just tell the story the best possible way that we can. We don't try to alter it and throw them off or to try and lead them on."
The pair also spoke about what viewers can expect in the upcoming episodes.
"He's [Red] not dead... He's alive, but despite that, the end opens up an incredible number of possibilities," said Eisendrath. "What is going through Katarina's mind? How was Red so easily deceived? What did he think was going to happen when he showed up unguarded and met this woman on a dark street in Paris? How does a man who does nothing without taking incredible precautions leave himself open and vulnerable to being captured or attacked by a woman who he allegedly has known his own life – was her lover, had a child?"
Since then, Bokenkamp has discussed the upcoming season in a bit more detail with EW:
"We start season seven in a place where the audience is sort of in Reddington’s shoes, with a whole bag of questions."
Even if Team Red succeed in their mission, it seems certain that Katarina will continue to play an important role in season seven. According to executive producer John Eisendrath, she's actually "the most significant Blacklister" and will "have a deep impact on Liz and everything she believes in season seven."
"The sort of triangle of Katarina, Liz, and Red will shine new light on the mythology of the show," says Eisendrath.
According to Cinema Blend, some fans even believe that Katarina will try to replace Samar by assuming a new identity. Samar left in season six because of a degenerative brain condition, providing Katarina with the opportunity to pose as her replacement and infiltrate the team.
Whether that's true or not, there's also going to be some focus on Liz's daughter Agnes in upcoming episodes: "This season, there was a legitimate reason for Liz to feel like she is safe in bringing her child home. What we like about the way the season ends is that it is based in part on Raymond Reddington telling her that she doesn't have anything to worry about from Katarina Rostova. But Katarina Rostova is on camera for one minute and she takes down Raymond Reddington.
"So while the audience is going to be thinking mostly about Red's well-being, next season the question is also going to be about Liz's well-being and her child's well-being as well."
And as for the story of President Diaz, that's "closed", according to Eisendrath.
"He was exposed for doing the terrible thing that he plotted, and that story has ended," he continued.
"We have had success over the years in ending stories like that but allowing them to have a ripple effect on the Task Force. Whether it was Jane Alexander, whose character was the first person to oversee the Task Force or the people who came in her place, each character who has come to oversee the group has brought a different colour and a different threat level and that is going to be probably something that we consider going forward."
The Blacklist season 7 renewal: What did NBC have to say?
Speaking about NBC's decision to bring the show back for round seven, NBC's scripted programming co-presidents Lisa Katz and Tracey Pakosta said in a statement: "Congratulations to our amazing producers, cast and crew, all of whom continue to work at the top of their game and make The Blacklist one of NBC's signature series."
The Blacklist season 7 episodes: How many will there be?
Every single season of The Blacklist to date has had 22 episodes, so unless some drastic changes are made, we'd expect the next chapter to follow the same pattern.
The Blacklist season 7 air date: When will it premiere?
The first five seasons of The Blacklist premiered in late September or early October, but season six didn't land until January.
It's now been revealed that season seven will return to the usual schedule established by earlier seasons. In this case, the upcoming premiere will air first on Friday, October 4 on NBC with new episodes dropping weekly.
The Blacklist season 7 cast: Who's returning?
NBC have confirmed that the core cast will all be back for the brand new episodes.
Deadline reported that James Spader is returning as serial killer-turned-criminal profiler Raymond 'Red' Reddington, agreeing to extend his original contract for season seven.
Megan Boone will also be back as Liz Keen, alongside Diego Klattenhoff and Harry Lennix as Donald Ressler and Harold Cooper.
But Tom Keen, played by Ryan Eggold, won't feature.
"It's a great show. It's a cool show," he told Digital Spy. "James [Spader] and Megan [Boone] both do an amazing job.
"The arc I got to play as Tom Keen was very rare, especially in network television. He got to be a lot of different people, and he changed so much from season one to season five. And I attribute that certainly to [creator] Jon Bokenkamp and the writers, and they just wrote a very long-ranging arc that you don't always get.
"[Tom] got to be the doorman, and he got to be the sweet, nice guy. He got to be teacher, and then he got to be the spy. He got to be the assassin, and he got to be a neo-Nazi. It was always different, so it was a really rare experience. It was fun."
Speaking to Variety, Bokenkamp also teased bringing in some new faces: "We've killed off people on the show and sometimes we regret it. We blew up Alan Alda, who is a TV legend. We lost Mr. Kaplan, who was a great character... it can be painful but ultimately if it weren't for some of these characters going it really does open up windows for us to have new people within the Task Force and within Red's world.
"It's such a strange and eclectic group of people that it's always fun to bring in new characters."
The Blacklist season 7 trailer: When can I watch it
Trailers usually drop in the month leading up to the premiere, so expect one any time now. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for our update, because you'll see it here first.
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