Given that, as a writer, I like to tinker with violent and creepy plot lines and character motivations, I couldn’t help resist doing my own backstory for The Blacklist. Here we go, and hold on tight.
During Red’s days as a naval officer, he discovered a highly criminal operation taking place under the auspices of the federal government. In trying to decide how to whistleblow, he reveals this information to a sole, trusted friend from the Naval Academy who is now working inside the concerned agency. Even their families are friends (which would be how Red knows about Lizzie’s music box). Could he be her godfather, even?
When Red returns home late on Christmas, he finds his whole family stabbed to death. His trusted friend has either committed the act or informed to someone that ordered the massacre (hence why Red has no friends now and counts only loyalty as worthy). In retribution, Red sets fire to his former friend’s home, but hears the little girl screaming. Having lost his own little girl (swan lake program), he can’t bear to have the blood of an innocent on his hands, so he goes in to rescue her. The fire flashes on the way out, burning his back.
He entrusts Lizzie to Sam, a man Red has known from before his time at the Academy. Red keeps close tabs on her for her entire life to make sure the powers that killed his family do not track her down.
After his family dies, Red tries to recreate it by marrying Carol (Naomi) who already has a daughter, Jennifer, who is about his own dead daughter’s age. Perhaps Jennifer resents how Red keeps trying, even subconsciously, to mold her into his dead daughter. When the marriage fails to mend Red’s heart, he begins to look deeper and deeper into who killed his family…and that journey leads him into the depths of the criminal world. Here, he operates without error because that one error, of coming home late for Christmas and not having the presents, cost him his family. A mistake can cost you everything. Carol/Naomi and Jennifer drift from the center of his life’ and they grow tired that his new goals put them in the same jeopardy as his first family.
When Red finds that Elizabeth is in the FBI, he decides that perhaps the betrayal that fractured his life so long ago can be healed. Lizzy will learn the value of loyalty, and make amends for her father. Together, they will fight that original evil and expose it for what it is. With Lizzie, he is giving true friendship one last chance.
Now, who is #1 on the Blacklist?