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Who is leaving The Blacklist?

The Blacklist is an American crime drama television series that premiered on NBC in September 2013. The show follows former U.S. Navy officer turned high-profile criminal Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader), who voluntarily surrenders to the FBI after eluding capture for decades. He offers to provide intelligence on the most dangerous criminals in the world, but insists on working exclusively with rookie FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone). The series also stars Diego Klattenhoff, Ryan Eggold, and Harry Lennix.

The Blacklist has received positive reviews from critics and viewers over its nine season run, with much praise for Spader’s performance in particular. However, there have been some major cast changes over the years. As the show heads into its tenth season in 2022, fans are wondering – who is leaving The Blacklist next? Let’s take a look at which cast members have left or are rumored to be departing the hit show.

Major Cast Departures

The Blacklist has said goodbye to several prominent cast members over its nine seasons on air:

Megan Boone as Elizabeth Keen

One of the biggest departures was female lead Megan Boone, who played FBI agent Elizabeth “Liz” Keen opposite James Spader’s Reddington since the pilot. Boone exited the show at the end of Season 8, when her character was shockingly killed off. The actress had been with the show since the beginning but declined to renew her contract for Season 9. Her exit was a major blow for longtime fans.

Diego Klattenhoff as Donald Ressler

Klattenhoff portrayed FBI agent Donald Ressler, Liz’s partner and sometimes adversary. He was a main cast member for the first 7 seasons. Klattenhoff’s contract was also up after Season 8, and he chose not to return for Season 9. Ressler got an open-ended exit mentioning a new job opportunity.

Mozhan Marnò as Samar Navabi

Marnò joined in Season 2 as Mossad agent-turned-FBI agent Samar Navabi, rounding out the FBI task force assisting Reddington. She was a principal cast member from Seasons 2-6. Her character exited in Season 6 after her actress asked to leave for personal reasons. Samar left after getting injured on a mission.

Ryan Eggold as Tom Keen

Eggold played Liz’s husband Tom Keen, originally a covert operative keeping tabs on Liz for Reddington. He evolved into an ally over time. Eggold was a main cast member for Seasons 1-5, until his character met his demise. Tom was shockingly murdered in the Season 5 finale, eliminating a major player.

Parminder Nagra as Meera Malik

Nagra had a starring role as CIA agent Meera Malik in Season 1. She provided a link between the CIA and FBI on Red’s task force. Her character was killed off towards the end of the season in a surprise plot twist.

Current Cast Members

While The Blacklist has lost some key players, its core cast still remains going into Season 10:

James Spader as Raymond “Red” Reddington

Obviously, James Spader as criminal mastermind Red Reddington is still the anchor of the show. Spader has received universal acclaim for his enigmatic performance, winning a Golden Globe Award and earning multiple Emmy nominations. The show likely wouldn’t continue without him.

Harry Lennix as Harold Cooper

Lennix has portrayed FBI Assistant Director Harold Cooper since the pilot, serving as the head of the FBI task force working with Red. He is expected to continue in this role.

Aram Mojtabai

Played by Amir Arison, Aram is the quirky, brilliant FBI technical analyst who assists the team with his hacking and computer skills. He’s been a main cast member since Season 1.

Alina Park

Laura Sohn joined as Alina Park in Season 8, an FBI agent who previously worked with Ressler. She seems positioned to take on a bigger role going forward.

New Cast Members

Filling in the gaps left by departed cast members, The Blacklist added some new faces for Season 9:

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Cynthia Panabaker

Mastrantonio plays Cynthia, a high-ranking White House official who previously had a recurring role. She was upped to a series regular for Season 9 and takes a special interest in the team’s newest member…

Laura Sohn as Agent Weecha Xiu

New FBI agent Weecha Xiu, played by Laura Sohn, joined the task force in Season 9. She is smart and disciplined but harbors some unknown secrets.

Rumored/Possible Departures

Though unconfirmed, there is some speculation that more cast turnover could happen after the current Season 10:

Amir Arison as Aram Mojtabai

Aram has been with The Blacklist since the first season, providing comic relief and tech expertise. But there is chatter that actor Amir Arison could depart after his contract expires along with other Season 1 cast members. Losing Aram would remove an essential character.

Diego Klattenhoff as Donald Ressler

While Donald Ressler left full-time status after Season 8, some fans theorize he could return as a guest star or recurring player in Season 10 to wrap up his storylines. But this is just speculation.

Harry Lennix as Harold Cooper

Cooper has been with the FBI task force since the start. While not heavily rumored yet, there is always a possibility that Lennix may not renew his contract for additional seasons. Cooper’s loss could throw the unit into disarray.

Why Do Cast Members Leave?

There are a variety of reasons why key cast members have left The Blacklist over the years:

  • Contracts ending – Megan Boone and Diego Klattenhoff were not able to agree on new deals.
  • Wanting to pursue other projects – Boone and Klattenhoff may have wanted to do new roles.
  • Storyline purposes – Exit stories were written for chars like Tom Keen and Samar Navabi.
  • Off-screen issues – Unconfirmed reports of behind-the-scenes tension, disputes.
  • Health reasons – Demanding shooting schedules could lead to exhaustion.

Overall though, the reason comes down to actors simply moving on after so many years on the same show.

Impact on the Show

Losing original cast members can be challenging for any long-running series. For The Blacklist, the exits have forced the show to evolve:

  • New character dynamics – Ressler and Cooper took on more central roles after Megan Boone left.
  • New FBI agents brought in – Weecha Xiu and Alina Park filled gaps in the task force.
  • More focus on Red – Storylines revolve more around James Spader with Boone gone.
  • Refreshing the cast – New faces like Cynthia Panabaker re-energize the show.
  • Allowing growth – Remaining characters get expanded roles, like Aram as a field agent.

While jarring, the cast changes may end up increasing the show’s longevity. And most importantly, as long as James Spader is still around, The Blacklist should sail on.

The Future of the Show

Currently renewed through Season 10, The Blacklist’s future is somewhat in question given the continual cast turnover. Much may depend on whether James Spader wants to continue. But NBC seems pleased with the ratings and may try to keep the show going as long as possible.

Some options for future seasons may include:

  • Wrapping up in Season 10 – Providing a conclusion after major exits.
  • Continuing with only James Spader – Unlikely given ensemble format.
  • Passing the torch – Building a new cast around a different lead.
  • Trying a spinoff – Following a popular character in a new show.
  • Ending on a cliffhanger – If abrupt cancellation.

Barring an unexpected cancellation, The Blacklist probably has at least one to two more seasons in its future. The Season 10 finale will likely set up whether there are plans to continue forward. Red’s infamous blacklist of criminals also provides an endless supply of new storylines.


The Blacklist has managed to sustain a compelling, unpredictable plot through 9 seasons of high cast turnover. While saying farewell to fan favorites is never easy, the show has proven it can smoothly introduce new characters and dynamics. As long as James Spader elects to stay on, hisaward-worthy performance will ensure the criminal drama remains appointment viewing for NBC audiences. And a veteran show like The Blacklist always has a few tricks up its sleeve. So even if more cast members exit in the future seasons, Red and his FBI task force will likely keep outsmarting the audience.