On the TV show The Blacklist (2013), what does Raymond Reddington gain/what is his motivation for helping the FBI capture so many people on his “Blacklist”? and is this linked to why he chose Elizabeth Keene to converse with?

1 Answer 1


His motivation for helping the FBI can be considered threefold:

  • Getting rid of competitors/rivals/enemies
  • Access to FBI files, resources and intel, to fill the blanks in his own vast "empire"
  • His interest in Elizabeth Keen

Getting rid of competitors/rivals/enemies As we start out in the series, it is very unclear why Red has chosen to surrender himself to the authorities. Hints are provided that he truly wants to get rid of the people on the Blacklist, it being the honest and good thing to do, but it's clearly not the whole, if any of, the truth.

As the season wears on, it becomes evident that Red's Empires is under attack, from an unknown enemy, and a lot of the people on the Blacklist are involved. Red uses FBI resources, that is Director Cooper and his team, to put these enemies out of play, without really getting his own hands dirty.

Access to FBI files, resources and intel, to fill the blanks in his own vast "empire"

While Red's intel is vast and there is little he can learn from the FBI, there are still a few things they can get, that he can't (without using substantial resources). Furthermore, using FBI resources to get rid of competitors and enemies saves on his own and puts his enemies out of play in a very official capacity. By letting FBI catch the Blacklister instead of using his own resources, he not only eliminates his opponents, but puts them officially on the radar, so to speak.

His interest in Elizabeth Keen

Wile it has yet to become clear exactly what Red's interest in Elizabeth Keen is, it has been revealed that Red and Elizabeth's adoptive father knew each other, and that Red has somehow been involved in her past.

Helping Keen advance her career may be Red's only truly personal motive for surrendering himself: he cares for Lizzie and wants to make sure that her career advances fast.

A lot of what I've provided are my own conclusions and reasonings, based on two run-throughs of the series (one with my partner and one with a friend) and from reading on the Blacklist Wiki. I could elaborate further, but to avoid any unnecessary spoilers for the unlucky few who have yet to finish the series, I'll hold off with that until requested, if you don't mind. If you want more, let me know.

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