There are a lot of reasons that people keep tuning in to The Blacklist season after season, and one of the biggest has got to be Raymond "Red" Reddington. The star character from The Blacklist, Red has all the slithery appeal of Hannibal Lector with the wit of a classic Shakespearean villain, while managing to be just decent enough to be the hero of the series. The character, masterfully portrayed by James Spader, has defined the series and along the way become the face of the show. Now that there's a Blacklist spinoff on the horizon, fans are justifiably wondering if Red will appear in The Blacklist: Redemption.
It's hard to imagine The Blacklist without Red monologuing, conspiring, and being his uniquely demented brand of charming. On top of that, you literally cannot spell Redemption without Red. It's right at the beginning of the word! Despite all the evidence that Red should absolutely be appearing in The Blacklist: Redemption, it seems that the spinoff has no explicit plans to include him in the proceedings.
At the Television Critics' Association previews in January, producer John Eisendrath said that it's "to be determined" whether or not Red will have a role in Redemption, and suggested that it's more likely if the spinoff receives a second season. If it hinges on a renewal, then we probably won't be seeing Red in the first season of Redemption, unless there's a surprise cameo in store.
After all, the criminal mastermind has plenty of reasons to stop by. It's been established in The Blacklist that he's familiar with all of the main characters of Redemption, particularly the star, Tom Keen. Tom is the romantic partner of Red's crime-fighting partner Liz (and maybe, according to some fan theories, she's also Red's daughter). Tom and Red have crossed paths many times, and it was Red who told Tom that his mother was actually alive.
In The Blacklist: Redemption, Tom is going to work for the mother he thought was dead with a mercenary organization that was first introduced in The Blacklist. Tom's mother, Scottie Hargrave, and fellow mercenary Matias Solomon both appeared in The Blacklist prior to getting their own roles in Redemption, meaning they've all interacted with Red at one point or another. While the producers of the show don't seem to be in any rush to feature Red in Redemption, it wouldn't be hard for them to find a believable way for him to catch up with old colleagues.
While Red is the defining character of The Blacklist, fans shouldn't see his absence as a reason to skip out on the spinoff. Redemption is perfectly timed to take up the space of The Blacklist's spring hiatus as the parent series takes a break until April 20, so that fans won't have to spend a single week without some of their favorite characters. Whether we'll actually see Red in one of those weeks remains to be seen, but his presence will surely be felt.