Raymond Reddington staked his claim on Liz’s first day on the job; he didn’t even let her get her feet wet. Their relational dynamic, teased by the writers, always begged the same question: do they share DNA, or do they want to mix their DNA together? It’s a long-game, bait-and-switch that has led to deep fan theories like Lizzington (Red and Liz shippers) and Agnesgate (Liz and Red are Agnes’ real parents). These theories may provide fodder for tantalizing dreams, but they do little to advance the storyline as we prepare for a tenth season – the second season of the series without Megan Boone. Unless the writers plan to resurrect her DNA di lei, then we should expect Liz to keep fading into the background like a beautiful memory.
In Constantin Rostov’s (Ulrich Thomsen) season four story arc, he also claimed Elizabeth (and baby Agnes) for his own special needs. Constantin was convinced they shared DNA partly because, according to Red, that’s what his wife di lui, Katarina Rostova (Lotte Verbeek), wanted him to believe. The fact that Constantin was dying and only his daughter’s (or granddaughter’s) stem cells could save him brought him out of the shadows and into their lives. He was fierce in his need of him, pulling on the coils of a DNA connection to get his way of him. His love di lei for his di lei Masha di lei was so great that he nearly tortured to death the man who he later thought was her real dad (sarcasm intended).
Until it happened… the moment we’ve all been waiting a decade for… when Red finally grabs us by the neck, pulls us close and whispers the truth in our ears, just like he did for Constantin. The truth hit Constantin and seeped into him. Constantin crumpled back into his chair in shock. His desire di lui to kill the creature before him melted away, all in an instant. What could Red have told him that changed his murderous intent about him so swiftly? It’s as if Constantin found out that Red was someone else entirely, someone he obviously didn’t want to kill.
Where in the World is Katarina Rostova?
The only person that could have paused Constantin’s will to kill so abruptly is Katarina, his long-lost wife. Red’s admission, though unheard by the TV audience, must have been that he is Katarina, Elizabeth Keen’s mother… not Raymond Reddington, Liz’s maybe-father. The Redarina or “mother theory” was first proposed at the beginning of season three. In September 2015, Daniel Knauf, then co-executive producer and writer on The Blacklistwas presented with the Redarina theory on The Blacklist Exposed Podcast and sounded honestly surprised, amused even, at the idea before saying, “If that’s the way it pans out, that would be fantastic.”
Over the past decade of The Blacklist, Raymond Reddington started out as “the” Raymond Reddington, and then was thought to be Ilya Koslov (Gabriel Mann), Katarina’s old friend and part-time lover. Ilya, in fact, underwent plastic surgery in order to impersonate Raymond Reddington (no one else knew he was actually dead) in order to help Katarina retrieve $ 40 million in Raymond’s bank account. It wasn’t long after the Ilya revelation that we learned that Ilya Koslov is actually a whole separate human being to the person we know as Raymond Reddington, and once again the doors were flung open to the possibilities of Red’s true identity.
The Redarina theory hinges on the idea that Katarina saw the possibilities of Ilya’s transformation and then decided to become Raymond Reddington herself. During the 2021 Season 8 Episode 21, “Nachalo,” the Redarina theory was so heavily teased that many felt the theory was all but confirmed. But did Red tell Constantin the truth, whatever it was that he whispered into his ear di lui? Afterall, it was Red’s last-ditch effort at living. Red could’ve told Constantin much sooner, saved himself the near-death-experience, and still had the same results. This card was only played when no other options remained. And it worked.