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The Blacklist Season 9 - What We Know So Far

For almost a decade now, "The Blacklist" has done a remarkable job of stringing along the mystery of who criminal mastermind Raymond "Red" Reddington (James Spader) really is. And that story is going to be teased out for at least one more season, as NBC renewed the crime thriller series for Season 9 in January. It's one of the longest-running drama series currently on TV.

Season 8 has finally concluded, so it's definitely not too early to start asking some questions about Season 9, like when will it come out? And who will be in the cast? We'll do our best to answer those questions. Significantly, there appear to be some major changes afoot as the popular procedural moves into its next act — specifically in the casting department. Who will stay, and who's heading for the door? Here's what we know about "The Blacklist" Season 9 so far.

When will The Blacklist Season 9 be released?

It's hard to predict exactly when the next season of "The Blacklist" will premiere. The pandemic is still making TV scheduling uncertain. Additionally, in the past few seasons "The Blacklist" has tended to premiere whenever NBC has a hole in the schedule that needs plugging. Season 6 premiered in January 2019, Season 7 in October 2019, and Season 8 in November 2020. So, Season 9 will probably premiere sometime in the fall, but it might end up debuting at midseason. We'll find out for sure when NBC releases its fall 2021-22 schedule during the network's upfronts presentation to advertisers on May 17.

In recent seasons, "The Blacklist" has aired on Fridays, which will probably continue to be the case. According to What's on Netflix, seasons of the "The Blacklist" typically arrive on Netflix in September, a few months after they end their broadcast run. Season 8 will probably arrive in September 2021, and Season 9 in September 2022.

Who's in the Season 9 cast?

Without James Spader, there's no "The Blacklist," so he'll definitely be back. Since the start of the show, we've followed the cat-and-mouse game between Red and Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone). That's all set for a shake up in Season 9, since Boone has officially ended her run on the popular network drama. The actress posted this farewell message to her Instagram after the Season 8 finale aired: "These eight years playing Liz Keen have helped me better define the world and myself, as she set out to do the same. Liz sought incorruptible familial bonds, and collided with powerful forces to reveal the boundaries where a cruel, indifferent world ended and she began. As her story ends I am grateful, most of all for the people I shared this time with: my fellow cast members present and past, our incredible crew who carried every single day for all involved, and those of you we entertained."

The rest of the series regular cast includes Diego Klattenhoff as upstanding FBI agent Donald Ressler, Amir Arison as awkward-but-charming FBI computer whiz Aram Mojtabai, Hisham Tawfiq as Red's right-hand man Dembe Zuma, Laura Sohn as Alina Park, the most junior member of the task force, and Harry Lennix as Harold Cooper, the director of the Blacklist program. They're all likely to return, and many will have to make extra contributions to fill the Megan Boone-sized hole in the story.

"The Blacklist" also has great guest stars, usually playing Blacklisters — most-wanted criminals that Reddington is helping the FBI capture for his own ends — or other criminal associates of Reddington's. New ones are always being introduced and ones from the past are always popping up, so Season 9 will presumably have the usual mix of new and returning guest stars.

What will happen in The Blacklist Season 9?

Season 8 ended on a shocking note with the departure of Megan Boone, so filling that hole will be the principal task of Season 9 right from the outset. New dynamics and conflicts will have to be established to replace the cat-and-mouse tension between Liz and Red.

An even bigger question on the minds of fans is whether Season 9 will be the show's last. We don't know the answer to that. The show's ratings have declined, as they have for all broadcast shows year over year for the past decade, but they've remained pretty strong comparatively. The show is averaging about 3.5 million viewers per episode in Season 8, according to ShowBuzzDaily. It also performs very well on Netflix, ranking ninth among all acquired streaming series in 2020, with almost 14.5 billion minutes of viewing time, according to Nielsen (via The Hollywood Reporter). So, the show will likely continue until James Spader and the show's producers decide it's time to wrap it up. That could be Season 9, or it could be later. We'll see what gets announced as we get closer to the start of Season 9.