The Blacklist – S08E21 – Nachalo [Transcript]

When Reddington takes Liz to the mysterious epicenter of his empire, their shared past reveals itself and long buried secrets are divulged.
The Blacklist - S08E21 - Nachalo

Original air date: June 16, 2021

* * *


This? This is where they come up with The Blacklist?

It’s not that literal. But this is where intelligence from 17 outposts around the world is gathered, sorted, and analyzed.


Leaked documents. Intercepted communiques. Secrets from governments, corporations, people in positions of power.

You’re sourcing intelligence.

I’m printing currency.

And the Sikorsky Archive… That’s how this all began. Thirteen packets of intel.

Thirteen packets that were traded, leveraged, sometimes sold in an effort to acquire more. More information. More protection. More authority. The system is a living, breathing apparatus that powers many of the decisions I make.

And it’s all analogue.

[CHUCKLES] Oh, no. We have gigantic computers elsewhere, but around here, they allow me to believe it’s completely analogue. Digital footprints make me jittery.

And what happens to this information?

It’s sent to me. Wrapped, packed, and smuggled into New York Harbor.


Okay. Thank you for the tour, but why am I here?

I brought you here because, despite what you and Harold have come to believe, I am not a Russian asset. I’m a criminal. And Ivan Stepanov is not my Russian handler, he’s just an old friend. In fact, I definitely handle him more than he would ever be able to handle me. I’m Raymond Reddington. This is Raymond Reddington. And you need to see what one day will be yours. To learn how it works.

I’m not interested.

You’ll need to understand the infrastructure, how we cull data, meet the analysts who make this all possible.

The only thing I’m interested in is my mother. You said you didn’t kill her, but I saw you…

You don’t know what you saw.

I saw you shoot her. You murdered her.

Elizabeth. [ECHOING] stop.



Forget about everything you think you know. Right now, there is only you and me and the truth.

KATARINA: [ECHOING] and the truth.

What did you say?

REDDINGTON: The story you need to hear, it’s all connected. N-13. The Fulcrum. You. Me.

KATARINA: Your mother.

What about my mother?

To understand why… To understand why I came into your life…

I came into your life you need to hear my story… you need to hear my story. The truth about who I was, who you are.


The truth is, Masha is that you were conceived as part of a lie. But it shouldn’t surprise you. I was born into a world of spies. Becoming one was my destiny. I grew up in a system that monitored subversion, snuffed out dissidence. My father was not only part of that system, he helped to build it.


And because I was the son my father never had, he decided early on…


…that I’d follow in those footsteps, which my mother disapproved of.


My mother understood me. She knew I wanted to follow a different path, but my father was unyielding. He scripted my life. He observed and scrutinized it. Even before I could understand, I was helping the Fifth Directorate carry out operations. I helped move intelligence, monitor dissidents, identify those the state thought to be subversives. The work was literally in my DNA.


My handler, the one chosen by my father, he understood me in ways others did not. In fact, he would eventually become one of the most important men in my life.

Ivan Stepanov.

Yes. But truth be told, the assignments Ivan Stepanov gave me were all based on what my father wanted. Needed. Friends. Relationships. Men. Women. My father even hand-picked my husband, Constantine Rostov, in order to benefit from the advantages he provided. My father could care less that I was in a loveless marriage. He even chose the man with whom I was unfaithful to my husband.

My father.

STEPANOV: He’s an American. Stationed at the embassy in Moscow. The Directorate believes he could be… useful.

RAYMOND: Hello, sweetheart.


You don’t remember me.


You’re my father. I remember your face.




Hey, wait.

Sorry. Too late.

You knew I was going to take that.

You have cheese. Be happy.

What if I traded you the cheese for the bread.

[IN ENGLISH] You’re American.

RAYMOND: I should’ve known better, but your mother, she was good. She told me about herself, that she was a production manager with the Bolshoi Ballet. That she was in a bad marriage. That her mother had moved to America after her parents divorced. She was trying to get by in a Russia that was falling apart. They were all lies.

KATARINA: Not all of them. Most of them.

And you had a family.

Yes. My wife, Carla, was at home.


We had a baby girl.


It was a mistake. I… I should have seen it. I started to see it. And that’s when it happened.

What happened?

You did. You did.

I suppose, in some ways, it’s an opportunity.

It’s not an opportunity, Ivan, it’s a baby. This is a problem. [BREATHES DEEPLY]

Let me speak with your father again.

There’s no point. He’s made up his mind. He says a child will keep Reddington invested.


Oh, my God. What am I gonna tell Constantine?

Tell him it’s his.


He’ll be happy.

KATARINA: And so, I did what I do. I lied. I told my husband I was pregnant with his child. And I told my mark I was pregnant with his child.

RAYMOND: I was home on leave. Katarina was in the U.S. while supposedly traveling with the Bolshoi.

This is what I want.

Raymond, you’re married.

Then I’ll leave her.

You have a child!

And now I’ll have another.

What are you talking about? This baby will destroy your family. And your career. I don’t want to be responsible for that.

Katarina… She’s my daughter.

RAYMOND: And so, she took you from me. She let another man believe you were his daughter. What’s worse… I couldn’t even be there.

Be where?

KATARINA: That day, seeing you… I had never felt anything like it. I had spent my entire life lying and pretending and… But you… You were the first real thing in my life,…


…so I vowed that I would do whatever it would take to protect that…


To protect you.


The next two years were a blur of lies. I was married to a man I didn’t love. I had a child with the man I was targeting as a spy. My husband believed the baby was his, and my lover had no idea he was a mark.

We’d see each other when we could. Paris.



St. Petersburg.


By then, I had lost any sense of myself. I was living a lie. Everything about me was pretend.

And your wife, she never knew?

There were some close calls.

I even helped watch Jennifer one weekend while she was away. It was extremely uncomfortable, playing house. Ooh! Oh! It was becoming unbearable. But there was a relentless demand for more intel.

RAYMOND: It was a strange double life, which is probably why it took me so long to figure out that it wasn’t real.

But you did figure it out.

RAYMOND: I know the rest of the company is leaving tomorrow, but can’t you just tell them you’re gonna stay behind to see your mother?

I would, but your wife gets home tomorrow.

[CHUCKLES] Well, we can make that work. We’ve done it before. If you leave now, I won’t see you until I’m back in the embassy on the 15th.



I have to wake Masha. If I don’t, she’ll be up all night.



REDDINGTON: Elizabeth… Stay with the story.


Stay with the story.


He knew she was lying to him.

RAYMOND: I knew, in that moment, that she was a plant, that our relationship was a lie. I knew I needed to report the incident to my superior, but I also wanted to protect myself. I wanted to go to them with evidence. So I kept seeing her. I assumed I would confirm she was a KGB spy, so you can imagine my surprise when I realized it was far worse than that.

Everything about you is a lie.

RAYMOND: It went on for nearly two years. At first, I didn’t understand what I was seeing. She was spying for the KGB, but she was spying on the KGB. And the Americans. And others. I realized that Katarina was connected to something much larger, some kind of global network.

The Cabal.

So I watched her. I let her steal from me so I could steal from her, and eventually, I was able to prove that she was connected to… I was able to prove the very existence of a secret global conspiracy. I knew I was in over my head, that I had to get you to America, the only place where I could both expose the truth about your mother and keep you safe.

And I knew I couldn’t let him do that, because he had proof.

LIZ: The Fulcrum.


♪♪ Hey, jingle bells Jingle bells Jingle all the way…

We were looking for a Christmas tree.

♪♪ Oh, what fun it is to ride ♪♪

♪♪ In a one-horse open sleigh Hey… ♪♪

You came and took me to the beach house.


But your mother, her people came…

He knew we would come for you.

Not just you. The Fulcrum.


And that’s why she came with a team.

Oh, you love Christmas…


How do you like it, Hops? Good or not?



Honey, I need you to come with me.

What’s wrong?

Here. Come with me.


Stay in here, sweetheart. No matter what happens, I need you to stay in here and not come out until I come and get you. Understand? Okay.




Where is she?

Don’t do this.

Is she here?


Listen, you’re in trouble.

Because of you. Yes.

They’ll kill you if you don’t give it back.

Where’s my daughter?



RAYMOND: Get away from her.


[IN ENGLISH] It’s okay, Masha. Just tell me where it is.

Masha, come here. It’s okay.

Are you out of your mind?

Do you know what will happen if they find out what you’ve done?

Give me my daughter.

Are you hearing me?

You’re signing my death warrant.


If you won’t protect me, protect yourself.

What does that mean?

You don’t think we have assurances?

What have you done?

We’ve been gaining leverage against you since the beginning, Raymond. Hiding money in accounts under your name. Paper trails, passports. Evidence that I didn’t steal from you, but that you gave to me.

I didn’t give you anything!

Stop! You’re hurting her! You’re hurting her!

If you move forward with what you think you know about me…

YOUNG ILYA: Katarina!

No one will believe you. You’ll be branded a traitor.


Get off her!

I said get off.

[KATARINA SPEAKING RUSSIAN] Masha. Masha, be careful.

RAYMOND: Stop it, Katarina.


Let go! Let go! Masha!


[IN ENGLISH] No, Raymond.





[IN ENGLISH] Raymond, look at me. Raymond, talk to me.


The information you took, I know it’s here.


Please. I’m begging you. Raymond, where is it? Where is it?

RAYMOND: They got me to the car. Your mother thought she could save me.



[SPEAKING RUSSIAN] Masha, turn around. It’s okay.

We can’t find it.

It’s in there. Go back in.

There’s too much fire.

Go. Now. Go!

Shh, shh.

KATARINA: [IN ENGLISH] The men who worked for me looked for the Fulcrum, but the fire had spread too fast.


We’d given up. We were at the car, about to leave, and that’s when…

I went back inside.



To look for my stuffed animal. The bunny.



I came in after you, but we got turned around. The flames spread fast, the smoke…


You were burned.

We both were.

The fighting, the gunshot, the death of your father… Those flames… I was desperate to erase that night from your memory.

Wait. Y-You had my memory erased?

I only wanted to protect you.




[WHISPERING] Where are you?

I don’t know. Pay phone.

I couldn’t save your father. I couldn’t lose you, too.

You have to leave Masha with someone unconnected, who I can trust.

And I knew the only way to keep you safe was to give you up.



You abandoned me. Forget the rest. Forget the lies you told my father, your husband, your country. You abandoned me.

I was trying to protect you, Masha. I had followed Raymond to America. The KGB… Started asking questions I couldn’t answer. I knew it was only a matter of time until they learned the truth… That I was a traitor, a double-agent working for a secret organization.

You hid from them.

KATARINA: Not just them, the Cabal. They knew Reddington stole evidence of their existence. The Fulcrum. They expected me to steal it back before the intel could be exposed, but… I couldn’t find the Fulcrum. The Cabal was afraid the KGB would find me. Two of the world’s most ruthless organizations wanted me dead.






The irony is that… Part of me didn’t want to survive. Living meant facing what I had done. Knowing that you were with someone who was a stranger to you… And the trauma of killing your father would always be part of who you were…


And that the people hunting me wouldn’t hesitate to hunt you.

You wanted to take your own life.


But you didn’t. Why? What changed your mind?

You. I made a promise the day you were born… To protect you. I realized I couldn’t be part of your life, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t watch over you. I had to come up with a plan, to disappear, so I reached out to one of the only people I knew I could trust. Ilya Koslov.

We grew up together. We were both chosen by the KGB. And when the Cabal came calling, the two of us chose to betray our country together.

You can stop. I bought this story before. Dom made it sound very convincing, but it’s not the truth.

Dom lied to you about who became Reddington, but most of what he told you about Ilya was true.

Including the part about framing Reddington as a traitor.

No one knew he was dead. To the rest of the world, it seemed as if he had simply disappeared.

A fact that we decided to use to our advantage.

If the fugitive Raymond Reddington can disappear without a trace, then why wouldn’t it stand to reason that the money you framed him with could disappear, as well?

Ilya, it’s not that simple.

I think it is.

I had an idea, one that would allow us to access the money that was used to frame Reddington, and it was a lot.

$40 million.

$40 million.


That is more than we would ever need to stay two steps ahead of the… The KGB, the Cabal, the Americans.

But Raymond would have to show up in person to access that money. And since he died in my arms, he won’t be able to.

I don’t think you’re entirely grasping what I’m suggesting.


What are you suggesting?

Becoming Reddington.


Mr. Reddington, welcome back.

What sort of withdrawal will we be assisting you with today?

[SPEAKING GERMAN] How many accounts will you be transferring?

[SPEAKING SWEDISH] The full amount for withdrawal?

[SPEAKING FRENCH] We’re sorry to lose your business.



Yes. It worked.

LIZ: No, it didn’t. Ilya wasn’t the one who walked into those banks. He’s not the one who became Reddington.

I did go into those banks. I impersonated your father for a few days, long enough to withdraw the $40 million.

Long enough for me to realize how valuable a new Reddington could be.

You’re lying.

ILYA: No, Dom was lying. He misled you into believing I became Reddington. He did that because he couldn’t accept the truth.

The truth is my mother hated Reddington. She feared him. She didn’t create him. If she had, she would have known Reddington’s true identity, but she didn’t. Or else she would have told me.

But she didn’t tell you, did she?

WOMAN: Because I didn’t know.


And I didn’t know… Because I’m not your mother.


LIZ: Who are you?

WOMAN: I was an operative.

What kind of operative would chose to impersonate someone who’s being hunted by the most lethal organizations and criminals in the world?

I never chose to be her. That choice was made for me. I was just an asset. It was my job… Until it became a death sentence handed down to me by your grandfather.

Your judgment means nothing to me. I know what I did and why I did it.

You destroyed her life and family.

To save my child and grandchild. I made a calculated and brutal choice to value their lives over hers. And it worked.

What worked?

Nobody believed your mother was dead. The KGB were still looking, the Cabal, the Americans, Neville Townsend.

By then, I had vanished. You were safe. I was hidden.

They were looking, and they would have found you, and I wasn’t willing to take that chance.

So he called me to Belgrade.

Her enemies have pooled their resources and put a bounty on her head. They’re calling it the Townsend Directive.

[SIGHS] Dom, I… I can’t help you.

You made a promise.


To Katarina. You told her you would look after Masha if anything happened to her.

Yes, but I cannot call off Townsend, and he will not stop looking.

Sure he will. He’ll stop looking, and so will the rest of them… If Katarina’s dead.


You want me to kill your daughter?

I want you to hear my plan.

You were the plan.

Yes. Ilya called me. By then, we’d worked together on a number of assignments. We were friends. I trusted him.

Her real name is Tatiana Petrova. To the outside world, Katarina was a phantom. Hardly anyone knew what she really looked like. So I did what Dom ordered.

Ilya called me to Belgrade. It was a simple assignment. Drive into the city, deliver a package to Dominic at Vukov station.


YOUNG DOM: She has to die. It’s the only way to protect Masha.

ILYA: Dom had leaked that his daughter was staying at a local inn. Released a photo. We knew the KGB and others were watching, and if they saw the explosion, if they saw her die…

Then the world would stop looking, and my daughter would be safe.



But I didn’t die.


My husband did.


ILYA: We didn’t know he’d be there.

The world believed I was Katarina Rostova… My identity, my real name, became one of my aliases.

And the real Katarina Rostova… Stayed hidden.

ILYA: Years later, when Reddington finally found out what Dom had done to this innocent woman, he was horrified. He was guilt-ridden.

DOM: He was right to feel guilty. It was his fault that a plan was needed in the first place.

Reddington was my knight in shining armor. He tracked me down. Financed my life in hiding for years. He protected me, and I was grateful, until I found out that he was also hiding your mother, or knew where she was. So I came for him.




I had to hide because the world thought I was your mother. But if I could find her… If I could prove to the world that I wasn’t Katarina Rostova, I could have my life back. And he was the only one who could give me that. But it was you… Your questions, your belief that Katarina might be out there, that woke me up, brought me back to life. I wanted a second chance.


To stop running. If Reddington had the truth, if he knew where she was, I had to get close. And nobody was closer to him than you. So I used you… Used your love for your mother to help me discover where she was.

That’s why he killed you. Because Dom told you how to find my mother.



Where are you? Why won’t you find me? I know you have to hide, but not from me.


I’ve made so many mistakes.


But abandoning you wasn’t one of them. I would never do that.

But you’re not here.



Long before your grandfather tricked Tatiana… Almost from the moment I knew I couldn’t be with you, I… Created someone who could be.


You created someone.

Raymond Reddington.

You know his real identity.

I do. I always have.

Tell me.

I will. But before I tell you the who, you need to know the why.

No “before.” I’ve waited long enough.

KATARINA: I’d given you to Sam Milhoan thinking that would be enough, that you’d be safe. But I quickly realized that wasn’t true. The people hunting for me were also hunting for you as a way to get to me. I couldn’t look out for you, not while hiding. And Sam couldn’t do it alone.

So you re-animated your mark. Brought my father back from the dead.

If he wasn’t dead, you’d never know you’d killed him.

ILYA: No one knew your father was dead. The KGB, the FBI, CIA… The entire alphabet was looking for the man that they thought had betrayed his country and abandoned his family.

Which meant they were chasing a man who never existed.

But what if he did exist? What if Reddington was real?

If he was, I could use his story and all that it provided to protect my daughter while watching over her from a distance. So I constructed him. Someone powerful and feared. Someone who traded in the very secrets that could help him monitor the danger around you.

What does that mean, constructed?

KATARINA: It meant turning to criminals.

ILYA: It meant creating a persona.

It meant a complete transformation.


♪♪ This is a man’s world…


KATARINA: The KGB, the CIA, the Cabal, they all believed that Reddington had changed his appearance, so a perfect double was never needed. What was needed was intelligence. The kind of information that Reddington was accused of stealing. Which meant turning to a friend.

I used her security clearance. Backdated the breach. When the KGB did finally learn classified intelligence was missing, she would be blamed, which didn’t matter, because she was already gone.

♪♪ Man made the train


♪♪ To carry the heavy load

♪♪ Man made the electric light

♪♪ To take us out of the dark

♪♪ Man made the boat For the water

♪♪ Like Noah made the ark

♪♪ This is a man’s Man’s, man’s world

♪♪ But it wouldn’t be Nothing, nothing

♪♪ Without a woman or a girl…


Thirteen packets of intelligence that could be used to blackmail and leverage anyone from the Russian Vory, to captains of industry, to heads of state.

Greed and corruption trickle down and turn into crime on the way to the gutter.

Deals were brokered for politicians, criminals.

Intelligence was traded for intelligence.

Soon, classified NOFORN docs were showing up in Maghreb. Islamabad. Beijing. What emerged was an intelligence network that was built for one reason… To keep you safe.

My safety. Which came at the expense of people I loved.

♪♪ This is a man’s world…


♪♪ But it wouldn’t be Nothing, nothing

♪♪ Not one little thing Without a woman or a girl ♪♪


And people you didn’t even know. For nearly 30 years, he funded my life in hiding, and I was grateful, until you started asking questions that suggested your mother was alive.

DOM: She came for me. Tortured me. Got me to tell her where your mother had gone, where she was living, her new identity.

And Reddington killed her so she couldn’t tell Townsend the truth.


ILYA: Yes. ‘Cause he was afraid if they found out, they would become a threat to you, to your daughter.

STEPANOV: Which is exactly what Townsend became after I told him the truth.

This story is all about you, Masha. Protecting you. And then protecting your daughter.

Okay. Now we have the why. Now I want the who. Who is he? Who became Reddington?


And where have you gone?


You’re my mother, but you let someone else watch over me, let me believe you were dead, but you’re living. Where?

DEMBE: Raymond!

Where are you?

REDDINGTON: Elizabeth, we need to leave.

Wait! No! Answer me. Who became Reddington?

Elizabeth, we have to go.

Who is he?

DEMBE: Townsend’s here!


REDDINGTON: We have to go.

No, I need more. Who took his identity? Who? There’s more!

There’s no more if you’re dead.

[ECHOING] If you’re dead. If you’re dead.




Dembe, we need to get to the Nest.


We’re almost there.


She needs a doctor.

TOWNSEND: You know what she needs even more? A mortician. It’s ironic. You devoted your life to protecting her, and in the end, she betrays you.


That’s it.

Keep breathing. Keep breathing.

You wanted to use the… The tracking chip to find me? She made it possible for me to use it to find you.

Elizabeth. Stay with me, okay? Keep breathing.

By the way, where are we? A nest in Latvia. Even for you, this is a tad dramatic.

Elizabeth, stay with me.

She and I made a deal. She would lead me to you, and in exchange, I would let her live. Unfortunately for her…


…deals are made to be broken.


Talk to me.

Radley says you’re on-site. Am I clear to send the extraction team?

Clear as ice.

On its way, sir. And, sir… Congratulations.



Killing her won’t bring your family back.

I always wondered how you gathered such an enormous amount of intelligence all these years. This is quite the operation you’ve built.

It’s yours if you help her.

Ah, no, no, no. It’s… It’s all right. Of course, it’s nothing compared to your commitment. The decision to live as Raymond Reddington, to give up your life to live as someone else. I-I can’t imagine loving anyone enough to do that.

I have other facilities. You can have all of it.

I haven’t slept through the night in 25 years. Tonight, I’ll sleep like a baby.

I’ll give you whatever you want.

Whatever I want?

If you help her, yes. Anything you want.

All I want is for you to watch her die.





DEMBE: Hurry, Raymond!


Help her get down the hatch.







There’s a first aid kit on the cabinet and a bottle of vodka in the freezer. We’ll get you properly sloshed before we go poking around in that wound.


Is there another way out?

No. The hatch is the only way.


Here. Take a sip.










As a rule, I don’t live with regret. But what happened to your family was a horror. That should never have happened. When I first got the Sikorsky Archive, I was young and careless with some of the materials that would eventually put you and your family in harm’s way. I didn’t kill them, but even inadvertently, you’re right to believe that… I was ultimately responsible for their deaths.

I appreciate that. A deathbed confession is always very moving, but it won’t commute your sentence.

Oh, you had a bite at that apple. You won’t get another one. I have Elizabeth to thank for that. I guess my years of dedication had some impact after all. So much for irony.

I’ve waited years for this. I can wait a few minutes to… To break through some flimsy hatch in the floor.

I should tell you that, uh, the intelligence packets weren’t the only things I acquired from my Eastern friend. As I mentioned, I was young, and whatever the hell vim is, I was full of it. My appetite was voracious. And as the Soviet Union fell, I gorged myself. On information. Money. Weapons. Women. Men. Everyone wanted something, and I wanted everything. Including a nest in Latvia. I mean, why not? Riga’s a beautiful city, the Rundale Palace puts Versailles to shame. The country is home to more than 7,000 breeding pairs of storks. And, well, it’s a nest. Built at the height of the Cold War. This facility is capable of withstanding a 20-megaton blast. Well, not the entire facility. Just the… What did you call it? The flimsy hatch in the floor.


Where the Ruskies would take cover in order to repel the ugly Americans. And here we are. You’re American. You’re ugly. And I’m about to repel you.


How much longer?

MAN: A minute. Maybe less.

Make it less.

You see, the thing about buying a Soviet Nest is that it comes fully loaded with herring, vodka, and chlorine trifluoride, which of all the chemical gasses is, of course, the most flammable.



What are you gonna do? Destroy all your intel?  The source of your power?

The source of my power is right here. She won’t be destroyed.

Certainly not by the likes of you.





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