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'The Blacklist' returns...now what, for Red, Berlin, Lizzy...?

James Spader is the star of NBC's hit

James Spader is the star of NBC's hit "The Blacklist," returning for its second season on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014. Credit: AP / NBC

"The Blacklist," the most successful new drama across all four major broadcast networks last season, returns Monday to a second season and lots of questions. Can the momentum continue? (Yes.) Will the show even add more viewers/fans this season? (Yes, and yes, especially after the Super Bowl next year, which it will follow.) Will the brief hiatus -- "The Blacklist" will go off the schedule this November to make way for newcomer "State of Affairs" --  hurt the show? (Seriously? No.)

OK, now that we've cleared up all the questions, shall we talk about the show. Series showrunner John Eisendrath did in fact juggle a few thoughts during the summer press tour, following the first season finale that saw the peremptory conclusion (read: violent) of characters Tom (Ryan Eggold) and Agent Meera Malik (Parminder Nagra) proving that anyone who stars on this show best not plan on sticking around until retirement. (Except, of course, James Spader and Megan Boone; and yes, Eggold will be back too - Tom's not done here yet.) 

As fans know, a Blacklister named Berlin -- Peter Stormare, as frighteningly treacherous as ever -- wants Red. Why? No answer to that yet. Monday night, someone named "Lord Baltimore" is causing a problem.

Meanwhile, is Red Lizzy's father?

That's been the cat and mouse question here all along, and at the end of last season, Red turned around to the camera to reveal burn marks on his back (her father died in a fire, or so we were told, but Tom, before he expired, told Liz otherwise.) 

"It tells us that there’s a story yet to come about what the truth is about whether or not he is her father," said Eisendrath, continuing the cat and mouse. " And this season we’re going to take the opportunity to ask and answer that question in ways that I think will get us closer to the ultimate truth."

What will this new season bring?

Eisendrath said, "I think this year, we will explore more his life with his family, what that was like, and bring that into the present and sort of explore relationships with people who he was incredibly close with in the past who he hasn’t been with in a long time. And where Liz is concerned, while their relationship remains central to the show, she is now single and trying to sort of start her life again after the disaster of her marriage. And I wish that someone as talented as Jason could write some of the stories in the personal life of her as she tries to start her life again. But that, I think, will be central to the show as well."

Meanwhile, here's Spader -- excellent in this very violent series as the very violent protagonist -- speaking about the challenges of the role.

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