The Blacklist spoilers follow.
The Blacklist bosses have explained their decision to recast the role of major character Dom Wilkinson as the eighth season of the crime thriller gets underway.
Actor Brian Dennehy, who has played Dominic Wilkinson on the NBC series since 2016, passed away in April this year, and the show later confirmed that it had recast the role, with actor Ron Raines taking over.
Raines made his debut in the season eight premiere of the NBC show, which saw Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) start to make some life-changing decisions in her mission to find the answers she's looking for.
Speaking about the decision to recast the role following Dennehy's death, The Blacklist bosses Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath told EW that Dom is now such a major part of the story that they needed to keep him in the show.
"Obviously, we're lucky to have Brian Dennehy on the show at all, let alone as much as he was in it," Eisendrath said.
"He always played a pivotal role in the mythology of the show. At the time of his passing, we were in the midst of a series of episodes, toward the end of season 7, where his central role was coming to a head, where his knowledge of Red's truths were going to be sort of the engine of the whole story.
"Because of that, we felt that we couldn't pivot away from his character, even after he passed, and do a different story, because we had not just told the story for the end of last year around him, but it had been the culmination of that year," he continued.
"So we decided to recast it. And we were lucky enough to find an actor who did a great job and allowed the story to play out the way it should have, in a way that is hopefully not going to be too jarring for the audience."
The season 8 premiere saw Liz make the drastic decision to double-cross Red (James Spader) and the task force and sabotage an FBI investigation by abducting Dom (Raine), in the hopes that he'll be able to give her answers about the Sikorsky Archive and N13 and tell her what Red's been hiding from her too.
During the interview, Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath also teased the direction that the new season will be taking, suggesting that things could get even more dangerous for Liz in upcoming episodes.
"In a weird way, things have gotten worse, and yet they haven't gotten as bad as they could get. There are moves on the chessboard that Liz has not anticipated," Bokenkamp said.
"Everyone is going to have clearly defined roles; even as conflicted as they all feel, the direction of the season is going to snap into place very quickly because decisions will be made that none of these characters can walk back from," he added.
"It's different than any other season. This is really uncharted waters for all of these characters. They are evolving and changing in ways that we haven't seen before."
The Blacklist airs on NBC in the US. Seasons 1-6 are available to watch on NOW TV in the UK.
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