The Blacklist – S09E01 – The Skinner | Transcript

In the two years following Elizabeth Keen's death, Reddington and the task force have disbanded, with Red's whereabouts unknown; but when one of their own is injured in the line of duty, they are drawn back together to bring down a global conspiracy.
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The Blacklist - S09E01 - The Skinner

Original air date: October 21, 2021

In the two years following Elizabeth Keen’s death, Reddington and the task force have disbanded, with Red’s whereabouts unknown; but when one of their own is injured in the line of duty, they are drawn back together to bring down a global conspiracy.

* * *

2 YEARS LATER

(SHIP HORN BLARES)

Her name is Elizabeth?

Do you believe in love at first sight? I didn’t. Not until she walked into that restaurant.

I knew an Elizabeth.

You know, I’ve only known her for two weeks, but when you know, you know, am I right?

I never did, but I’m glad you do.

So, tell me about her. Your Elizabeth.

She wasn’t my Elizabeth. She was my friend. She died two years ago.

I’m sorry. Hey.

The truck’s loaded up. Wire the payment, and you’re good to go.

Yeah, listen. Uh, about that…

The agreement was you come alone.

Agreements change. (CHUCKLES) My associate’s a trusting fellow. He sees nothing but possibility in stealing a truckload of precious microchips, especially when one of the eagerly corrupt port employees asks a lot of questions. So I asked some of my own. He’s a cop.

(GUNS COCK)

What should I do about that?

Make sure he’s never found.

(GUN COCKS)

Kill him. Go on. Your partner’s a cop. Show me you’re not one, too.

(GUNSHOT)

See? I told you. Nothing to worry about.

PONYTAIL: Hmm. There’s no blood.

(GUNSHOT) (SCREAMS)

Like I said, he’s very trusting.

(LAVER GROANING)

Up.

(LAVER SCREAMING)

Ah. Looky here. Special Agent Dembe Zuma. FBI.

No, no!

PONYTAIL: See what the FBI knows first, then kill him and get rid of the bodies.  You, get the truck. Go.

There’s a diamond ring in his pocket.

Oh, I’m through trusting you.

It’s two carats at least.

BEEFY MERC: Well, well. What do you know?

No! No, no, no!

(GUNSHOTS)

A shootout at a Los Angeles port left one FBI agent dead and another wounded, raising fears about disruption in the supply of vital microchips. With us to discuss the incident is former FBI deputy director Harold Cooper. So, what happened and why?

The “why” is simple. The world runs on microchips. Our phones, our cars, the planes we fly in. The concern is that America manufactures only 12% of the world’s semiconductors. The most advanced chips are manufactured in Taiwan. If our ability to import them is threatened, then so is our economy.

You say the attempted theft poses a national-security threat.

Absolutely.

What are you watching?

My ex-boss.

The target was a shipment transported from Asia. The Bureau assigned an undercover team to infiltrate and identify the perpetrators, which I’m told they were unable to do.

In the past two years, this country has seen…

Come on. Why are we listening to this?

You aren’t taking the meeting with Conroy seriously.

It’s okay. I’m prepared for it.

COOPER: …rise in crime…

No one’s prepared for Conroy. You endure Conroy. You suffer him. You supplicate yourself in the microscopically vain hope that he will agree to be an angel investor in our idea, which, to date, is notable only for costing us our life savings. So, you know…

So when they…

(TV SHUTS OFF)

I need you to focus on that, only that.

Okay. I got you, Nick.

Criminal empires are like authoritarian regimes. Most often ruled by a single, all-powerful leader. When that power becomes decentralized or fractured, it leads to a period of chaos and instability. So when the leader of a criminal organization steps down or dies, there’s inevitably a rise in crime as others fight for control over what he left behind.

Reddington.

Are you saying powerful crime bosses can actually make the world safer?

There are a lot of criminals that we don’t know exist. The best of the crime bosses know them all and have the power to keep many of them in check. So, when they stop doing that, then, yes, the world is less safe as a result.

(DEMBE GROANING)

I can boost your meds.

(GROANS) It’s fine now.

My friend. I came as soon as I could. How is he?

Stubborn. His flak jacket acted like a furnace. He’s got third-degree burns on his upper arms and torso and not enough pain meds in his system.

Not until we talk.

So you’re the reason. I’ll give you a few minutes. Please talk. So he can have some peace.

(WHEELS ROLLING)

I need to find him. The man who killed Laver.

(GROANING)

The passcode… I-S-H-Q. The first photo. Six months undercover, I don’t know the buyer. All I have is that. Both mercs had it.

Do you know what it means?

No. Neither does anyone at the Bureau. But we both know who might.

When was the last time you spoke?

A year and a half. I can’t reach him. But you have Agnes, so I assume you can. What’s the protocol? How do we make contact?

(CELLPHONE CHIMES)

I’m getting too old for this.

What were you thinking? Killing an FBI agent. You’re putting us at risk. Jeopardizing the brand.

(THUNDER RUMBLING)

You gave me this opportunity, so I come to you when you call and I listen to you blah-blah-blah about playing it so safe that if I didn’t know better, I’d say you were once the CEO of an insurance company. But I do know better. Certainly better than some old fool the world’s passed by. What you see as a problem I see as an opportunity.

I doubt the buyer thinks his microchips getting incinerated is much of an opportunity.

Plan “A” was to get the product. Plan “B” is to get to the secret to how the product is made. That way, the buyer can make the product themselves.

There’s gonna be an investigation. Things could get exposed. If I were you, I’d let it go.

You were me. And you gave it all up to play golf.

May I borrow this?

You gonna hit some balls?

Yeah. I might give ’em a whack.

MAN: It’s not my fault. I told you everything I knew about where the chips would be. How could I know the FBI was watching the port in Los Angeles?

That’s all in the past. Now the plans have changed. I need to know how to make them, the knowledge and the processing software. Luckily, the person who can give me both is your boss. Where does he live?

I don’t know.

You golf? Are the fingers supposed to be interlocked? Forget it. Heh. If I get it wrong, I’ll take a, uh… What do you call it?

A mulligan?

Yes. A mulligan. Thank you.

(WHACK)

(MAN GROANS)

(UPBEAT LATIN MUSIC PLAYS)

(BELL JINGLES)

Perfect timing.

I’m not here to drink.

I know why you’re here. I’ve sent for the doctor.

I came to see Reddington.

Which is why I called the doctor.

Like you, I follow protocol. Put a mark on a mailbox, I call the doctor. If Reddington wants you to find him, you will. If he doesn’t, you won’t. Sit. Drink. The doctor will be here soon. A list of sights to see in Havana. I highly recommend La Cabana.

I’m leaving. As soon as I speak with Reddington.

I’m sure you will. But that won’t be for a few days. (ECHOING) There was a flood in the Amazon.

(WEARILY) The Amazon? I thought he was in Cu… Cuba.

(ECHOING) He might be. Eventually.

I can’t wait. This…

(DOOR OPENS, BELL JINGLES)

Why I came, it’s…urgent.

Once you finish your scan and his identify is verified, I’ll call the sisters.

(BEEPING)

(WOMAN CHANTING IN KAQCHIKEL)

Look at me. Come closer.

I’m here to see Reddington.

(WOMAN CHANTING IN KAQCHIKEL)

(WOMAN CHANTING IN KAQCHIKEL)

Crack it into the water.

What do you see? The shape. Tell me.

A cloudy orb.

The sun breaking through the clouds.

Is that good or bad?

You may pass. Very few do. Go. I will watch over you.

(LIQUID POURING)

(PITCHER THUDS ON TABLE)

How is Agnes?

She’s good. Thriving.

I see you’ve met Weecha.

And a bartender who drugged me, and a shaman who rubbed me with an egg.

Hm. Weecha protects my body, Mierce my soul. I wouldn’t have survived the past two years if I hadn’t found them. What do you want, Harold?

It’s about Dembe.

How is Special Agent Zuma?

In the hospital with third-degree burns. His partner was shot and killed. We don’t know anything about the assailants except for this tattoo.

You don’t want to show me that.

I do if it will help Dembe.

During the past two years, I’ve learned what to hold onto and what to let go of. If I look at that, if I come back, even once… I fear all that work will be for nothing. There would be names to be taken, people would be held accountable. Down the line, things would get very dark.

Then don’t come back. But tell me what I need to know. The symbol. Do you know it?

Yes.

You know who we’re looking for?

I do. A 700-year-old pirate.

(CONVERSING IN MANDARIN)

(SPEAKS MANDARIN)

(CELLPHONE UNLOCKS, SPEED-DIALING)

I’m sending you his itinerary. Chen is staying at the Fountain Grand with his wife and daughter.

The more the merrier.

FBI! Open the door!

Put your hands where we can see them! Put your hands where we can see them!

PARK: You’re all dead! Well! That sucked! Perkins?

We didn’t sweep every room.

And the first rule after a breach?

Sweep every room.

Let’s run it again.

(CHUCKLES)

Hello, Alina.

I heard about Dembe. How is he?

Not good. Which is why I came. We have a case.

I’m not a field agent anymore.

And I’m not with the Bureau. But Dembe asked me to do this. Now I’m asking you. Just this once.

I trained Ken, and I want to help Dembe.

Congratulations, by the way, on the wedding. I’m happy for you.

It’s been great. And if I want to keep it that way, I can’t go back to the field. I promised Peter I wouldn’t go back.

I didn’t know you trained Ken.

He was in my first class. He was a good agent and a better man.

I know the stress that field work can put on you. I do. And, still, I’m asking. That’s how important I think this is.


So, Flagify is a company that warns clients about security issues or red flags. It has multiple platforms, each designed to fulfill a different security need. Now, ShadowSee is piracy detection. It scans up to a million websites an hour to determine if a specific production is being used in violation to copyright restrictions. Now, Greylock uses key words to, um…

(CELLPHONE BUZZING)

I’m sorry. It’s, uh…

Nothing. It’s nothing.

(CELLPHONE BUZZING) (CLICK)

CONROY: You were talking about Greylock.

Yes. Greylock uses key words to determine sentiment analysis. This function has a forensic…

(CELLPHONE BUZZING)

Oh, dear. Uh, I think I should take this. I’m… I’m so sorry.

I don’t invest in sorry. I invest in focus and concentration. In the people who have it. Not in the people who don’t.

Just… Um… Just… Um… Sir?

NICK: My parents took out a second mortgage for us. So tell whoever that is he just cost them their house.

One second. Nick, Nick. Mr. Cooper.

(SIREN WAILS)

(MONITOR BEEPING)

I hope it wasn’t a bad time to bother you.

It wasn’t bad. It was a horribly bad time.

There’s the Scotch.

(KNOCK ON DOOR)

What did Peter say?

What makes you think I told him?

(DOOR CLOSES)

Thanks for coming. Let’s get started.

Uh, what about Ressler?

Nice ride.

The answer’s no.

You don’t even know what I’m gonna ask.

Well, I know you came all the way to Detroit to ask it. I saw you on the news talking about Reddington. At least it sounded like Reddington.

I was just answering the question.

Then, please, answer mine… Is Reddington involved?

Not really.

“Not really” isn’t “no.” Which is my answer.

He still blames Reddington for what happened.

We all do. Well, uh, I guess the difference for me and… and maybe you guys, as well, is that I believe Mr. Reddington blames himself. Um, and I forgive him for it.

The Silicon Shield. Tell me what you know about it.

Right. Um, it’s a term used to describe the protection Taiwan gets for being the sole manufacturer of next-gen microchips… protection from America, which might go to war to prevent the supply from being disrupted.

Which means we’re talking about a tripwire, one the Skinner apparently wants to trip.

“The Skinner”?

Right. How to explain this. According to Reddington, highway robbery and plunder may not be the world’s second-oldest profession…

…second-oldest profession, but it runs a close third. The Skinner practices a well-documented version of brigandage. The dacoits in India. Gentlemen Reivers in Scotland. In Devonshire, the Gubbings. In America, Highwaymen. Different countries, different centuries. All outlaws.

And in France.

COOPER: And in France. The ecorcheurs.

The flayers.

Armed bands who rose up in opposition to Charles VII. They took what they wanted, and when people resisted, they burned their feet in fire. The mercs Dembe shot all had this. Fire, surrounding the letter “S,” for the “Skinners,” who burn people alive.

So we know who they were. Who are they know?

The original Skinner died quite suddenly in 1452. He had a fearsome reputation, and his followers worried that, without him, their days were numbered. So, as no one knew he had died, they elevated one of their own to take his place, beginning a line of succession that continues to this day. The Skinner is more myth than man, so the identity of the man personifying the myth has always been a carefully guarded secret.

ARAM: And does Mr. Reddington know the secret?

If he does, he’s not saying.

What? He’s not coming back? E… Come on. Even for Dembe? How… How is that possible?

I don’t know. And he wouldn’t say. All I do know is it’s our job to find the current Skinner, whose goal it was to steal 800,000 of the world’s most advanced microchips. Dembe stopped him once. Unless we find him, I’m sure he’ll try again.

ARAM: Before we do that… I know none of us expected to be here, and it’s… It’s hard. And it’s a little weird. But, um, if it’s okay with you, I’d, uh, like us to take a moment to, uh, to remember Liz. You know, uh, together. Think we can do that?

I’m embarrassed I didn’t suggest it myself.


(DOG BARKING)

(MIERCE CHANTING IN KAQCHIKEL)

(CHANTING CONTINUES)

I bet she’s happy here.

She’s also asleep.

(CHANTING STOPS)

Mierce has powers, Harold. All for the good.

Agnes is fine.

What if I wanted to see her?

I don’t think that’d be a good idea.

Right. I don’t know who the current Skinner is, but I do know his predecessor, and that’s where we’re gonna start.


PARK: He just showed up? In the middle of the night? With a witch?

The more you think about it, the less sense it makes.

It makes as much sense as a Skinner living in a retirement community.

Don’t let the salmon shirt fool you. Remember what Reddington told me about the old Skinner.

His name is Vincent Duke. He ran the organization for almost 30 years. Built on its history of hijacking whatever commodity was most in demand. His predecessors commandeered guns from the Spanish Armada, gold from Russian tsars. Duke’s plunder was a little more contemporary, everything from intellectual property to uranium.

If you know him, why do you need our help to make contact?

We had a falling-out. Over a word.

One word?

(CHUCKLES) Yes.

“Ex.” As in ex-wife. Apparently, she wasn’t.

Here we go.

(ENGINE STARTS)

ARAM: Sir, are you ready for this?

I’m not looking forward to it, if that’s what you mean.

He’s leaving the country club, turning onto Saw Mill Road. He’s heading your way.

COOPER: I have a twenty.

(TIRES SQUEALING)

(CRASH)

You all right, sir?

I’m fine. Go. Deal with it and get us out of here quickly.

(STEAM HISSING)

What the hell happened?

That’s my question. You slammed on the brakes!

I don’t believe this! I just bought this car!

(SIREN WAILS)

It’s brand-new!

You stopped short!

I stop… Oh, so this is my fault? You hit me from behind!

Everybody! Step to the side of the road now! Who was driving?

I was. And this man.

(RADIO CHATTER)

Hands in the air!

Whoa! Take it easy. I’m licensed to carry.

Up against the car, now!

We’re both armed security!

If that’s true, then there’s nothing to worry about, but we are gonna have to check it out.

What’s going on? Officer, this was an accident.

Sir, I’m gonna have to ask you to stay right there, please.

COOPER: Let’s wrap this up before anyone else can crash the party.

(HORN HONKS)

Vincent. Need a lift?

That’s why you’ve kidnapped me. To ask me to betray my own organization.

No. To urge you to save it.

What makes you think it needs saving?

Well, I know about the microchips and the dead FBI agent and the one in intensive care. I know port security has increased as a result, which certainly hurts my organization.

Oh, so you’re not here to help me. You’re here to save yourself. Self-serving as always.

How is Bianca?

No idea. You’d have to ask the golf pro.

The last thing you and I want is the American government on alert, adding billions to Homeland Security.

Is that really gonna happen? Over a shipment of microchips?

SCG microchips that, apparently, none of the brilliant minds in America know how to make. Any hint of a weak link in that supply chain will be viewed as a huge national-security threat.

I don’t like what he did, but I have no influence on my successor. Believe me. I’ve tried to exert it.

You picked an unworthy successor. That’s not a judgment. I failed spectacularly when I tried. But it’s true, and something needs to be done about it. I’m sorry about the golf pro, by the way.

Don’t be. Before they ran off, he fixed my slice. All in all, a pretty fair exchange.


(CHILDREN SHOUTING PLAYFULLY)

REDDINGTON: Vincent, you’re certain? Beck? Thank you, Vincent. I’ll call you when it’s resolved.

(BEEP)

(SPEED-DIALING, LINE RINGING)

Cooper.

Harold. I have news. The Skinner is in New York at the Fountain Grand, under the name Clayton Beck.

You trust Duke’s intel? That he’s willing to betray his successor?

REDDINGTON: He understands that the legacy is more important than any one Skinner.

Why New York? It can’t be the microchips. They’re not shipped to the East Coast.

Perhaps he’s found another way to skin this cat. Listen. I have Edward standing by. If you want it, you can be wheels up as soon as you’re ready.

That’s a generous offer, and I’ll take you up on it, but before I do, I wanted to circle back to Agnes, our conversation earlier.

You were clear about boundaries.

Yes, and I want to thank you for respecting them.

Elizabeth made you Agnes’ guardian. She was confident that you’d do right by her. I have no doubt that you have and you will.

(BEEP, PHONE CLOSES)

When will you tell me? What she means to you?

I can tell you now. She means everything to me.


(ENGINES RUMBLING)

PARK: I’m sorry, but something’s come up. I don’t know how late, but… Yes, as soon as possible. Mm-hmm. Love you, too.

(BEEP)

Take it from me… keeping secrets is not the secret to a happy marriage.

I’m not keeping secrets. I’m… keeping the peace.

Is it possible Peter will understand?

How could he? I don’t. What am I doing in the field? I left for my mental health.

Yeah, well, you and me both.

Well… Here’s a pleasant surprise.

Aram called me about Dembe.

I’m sure he’ll appreciate your concern.

Well, I came out of concern and curiosity about his health and, uh, how the hell he became an agent.

You look a mess.

Where’s Aram, anyway?

Well, that’s another reason I’m here… to take his place. He called, said he had to bail. Something about everything he’s been working on for the past two years blowing up in his face and him needing to try to fix it.

You were right, by the way. Reddington is involved. Sort of.

Then for his sake, I hope we’re never in the same room together. But Aram tells me we’re going after some 700-year-old pirate?

We don’t know his real name, but Dembe’s given us a description, and Reddington’s told us he’s on his way to a hotel in New York, and so are we.


You’re sure this is right? The concierge said that Beck came here?

Said he asked for directions about an hour ago. Why? He didn’t know.

Well, I’d say it’s a safe bet it’s not to smell the flowers.

Well, whatever the reason, we’re not gonna leave here until we find out what it was.

(ARAM CLEARS THROAT)

Okay. Deep breath.

(DOORBELL RINGS)

Oh. You’re not Eric and Barbara.

No. Not Eric and Barbara. Or… Or Eric. Or Barbara.

Honey, is that Eric and Barbara?

Hello. (CHUCKLES)

You’ve got to be kidding me!

I know. I am way out of line, uh, coming to your home like this, but I was hoping, uh, you’d give me just, uh, two minutes to explain.

You had your two minutes.

Well, actually, uh, you walked out after about a minute or so, so, technically, I have unused time on the clock. At least, um… At least about, uh, say, 40 seconds?

You should leave.

Come on, Henry. He’s here. And he’s flop sweating. The party can spare your sparkling conversation for 40 seconds.

You’ll get your 40 seconds once my guests all have drinks in their hands.

Okay, I used to be an FBI agent. The call, during the pitch, it was from my old boss.

You’re wasting your 40 seconds telling me about what you used to do for a living?

He needed help on a case with national security implications. He’s actually working the case now without me because I am here, with you, flop sweating.

I’ll be back. Don’t sit. Don’t touch.

Gotcha.

So, Dembe’s an FBI agent now, huh?

I think it’s cool.

Special agent for the FBI.

It sounds like you have a problem with that.

Well. Problems, questions. We started with a background check. Did the Bureau abolish them?

Hang on. That’s him. Right side of the statue.

COOPER: Maintain your position. What’s he doing?

Watching the concession stand. Looks like he’s on comms.

Which means he’s got company. All right. I’ve got a second suspect. Near the Madison Avenue exit.

Careful. We have to assume they’re armed.

He’s surveilling somebody by the vendor. The family buying hot dogs.

I see them.

Who in the hell is that?

(LAUGHING)

(CAMERA SHUTTER CLICKING)

(LINE RINGING) I’m sending you a photo.

Sir, I, I told Ressler…

I know what you told him, but the Skinner’s tracking someone, and I need you to tell me who.

Uh, I’m not at my desk.

Then sit at someone else’s. Aram, this is important.

Hang on.

Okay. Um, an Asian man. That’s… That’s it?

The chips come from Taiwan.

ARAM: Okay. Great. That helps.

SCG microchips.

All right. That’s better. That helps narrow it down.

All you need to do us to hack into the employee database.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. That’s not great or… or better. I can’t do that. I mean, sir, I can do that. I know how to, but I can’t. Not… Not from here.

Call me back with a name.

(BEEP)

Sir. Sir, I don’t… Sir? Sir. Oh. Okay.

(MUTTERING)

Yes! Boom. There you are.

What are you doing?

Nothing. Uh, not nothing. Uh, I needed to hack into a company’s website for just a second.

On my computer? In my house?

I know. It looks really bad, doesn’t it? But my boss really needs this information.

Beck’s on the move.

I thought you weren’t working with the FBI.

I’m not. Technically. Bu… It’s complicated.

No, it’s not. It’s simple, really. Get away from the computer, or I’ll have you arrested.

(BEEP, SPEED-DIALING)

(CELLPHONE RINGS) Do not answer that phone!

(PHONE UNLOCKS, BEEPS)

Sir, I have a name. Chen Yu-lan. He’s SCG’s chief technology officer. Certainly someone who would have details to the company in question’s manufacturing process.

COOPER: He couldn’t steal the microchips, so he’s going after the man that made them. Great work, Aram.

All it takes is a little focus and concentration.

All right. Beck’s following him out.

Stop him! Move in, now!

(TIRES SCREECH) Get in the van. Get in the van! Let’s go!

(GIRL SCREAMING) Get in the van!

Stop! FBI!

Tell J. Edgar Whoever-It-Is, the more you try to stop me, the more innocent people get hurt.

WIFE: No!

(TIRES SQUEAL)


(MONITOR BEEPING)

COOPER: Leave? You can’t leave. Not now.

I did what I came to do, identified the Skinner.

Who we now know has abducted a man capable of mass-producing the world’s most advanced microchips, as well as his wife and daughter.

What’s happening? What are you doing?!

(GRUNTS)

Why are you doing this?!

(GRUNTS)

I’m doing this because I’m following orders. I was told to. If you’re smart, you’ll do the same.

REDDINGTON: I don’t know who his client is, but if I were the Skinner, I’d think big. The superpowers want to be self-sufficient. Who knows… it’s possible some government bankrolled this from the start.

And you’re just gonna walk away?

I recently spent time in a monastery above Boudhanath with sweeping views of Kathmandu, meditating alongside 36 Tibetan monks. I achieved an inner harmony there that was more mind-blowing than any psychedelic, and yet more fragile than, than an origami swan. That has to be cared for. If I stay here, it will be torn and crushed.

Be honest… is this about inner peace or is this about my reluctance to reintroduce you into Agnes’ life, a reluctance I know you blatantly ignored?

Yes. You have her watched. That was a pleasant surprise.

Nothing will happen to that girl. Not while she’s in my care.

She didn’t see me.

We need your help. We can’t find the Skinner without it.

Keeping the girl from him is cruel. Is that what you want? To be cruel?

(DOOR CLOSES, ENGINE REVS)


(MONITOR BEEPING, KNOCK ON DOOR)

I’m told you’re feeling better.

Hm. I am. (CHUCKLING) Mostly because I’m wasted.

Yeah, I think you’re entitled.

You look good.

Sorry to hear about your partner.

Thank you. Are you all right? You look a mess.

Okay. Is it really that bad?

Yeah, it, uh… it’s not great.

Was I hallucinating, or was Raymond here?

He was, but he’s gone.

Gone as in, like… he’s gone gone?

It seems so.

PARK: Along with his resources. His contacts. His jet. And any hope of finding the Skinner and the family he took.

COOPER: I don’t know about that. We know his real name and have a list of known addresses. I brought you a dossier.

RESSLER: Wait. A dossier that you copied on Agnes’ printer?

(CHUCKLES) The, uh, unicorn stationary. It’s a nice touch.

Okay, yes. We are a bit ragtag. We’re up against a well-financed Blacklister with no budget.

Or access to any databases and no authorization.

And you thought we were here to cheer you up.

Every two hours, an ICU nurse debrides me.

(DEMBE GROANS)

She snips off dead skin with tweezers. It’s slow and painful. And it’s the only way to heal. We all have dead skin. All of us. And healing will be slow and painful. But seeing you here, I can’t think of a better way to start.

So, um, now what?

COOPER: We have a case to solve. And no time to solve it. Which means we start right away. I’ll stay and bring Dembe up to speed. If you have anything to rearrange in your own lives, rearrange it and meet back here in an hour.

(JOSE GONZALEZ’S “HEAD ON” PLAYS)

** Action, reaction

** Stay with it…

Okay, okay. Are you insane?

You talked to Conroy.

You went to his house?

I’m so… I’m so sorry. If there’s any way I can make it up to you, Nick…

Uh-huh. You could… drop your pants.

Except, uh, maybe that?

Mnh-mnh. I’m serious. I need to see ’em. “Stones”… and I quote… “the size of Montana.”

What… Uh, what are you talking about?

Conroy. I don’t know what you did, but the guy was impressed.

He said that? He said that about my stones?

That’s not all he said.

Did he say he’s in?

He said he’s intrigued. And he wants to hear more. Like, now.

As in now?

Yeah. As in, our dreams are about to come true. Well, unless you have somewhere else you’d rather be.

No. No. Uh… Yeah. Uh, uh, I wanted to also talk to you about that…

Hey. No. Not yet. Yeah. Long day. But… Not at the office. I had a case. In the field. I know, I know. I should’ve told you. I’m sorry I didn’t. I know how you feel. I do. But a family was abducted. No. It’s not over. Not even for tonight.

** Update

An agent is here. The bearded one.

** Head on **

(SCOFFS) This is the last place I ever wanted to be.

And yet here you are. Please, sit.

Liz… she knew all about being where she didn’t want to be, doing what she didn’t want to do. Like running your empire. And all she wanted was a life with Agnes. But the Blacklist changed her mind, knowing the world would be safer with it than without it. I mean, that’s why she agreed to be your successor, why she gave up everything, including her life, to protect it, keep it running. And then she died. We all just walked away and left the Blacklist to die with her.

A life with Agnes wasn’t all she wanted. She wanted a life with you.

I know you don’t need this. I don’t, either. As painful as it was to walk away, it’s just as painful to come back. Maybe more. But the Blacklist was her calling, and if we loved her, it has to be ours. That’s why I came back, because as much as I hate you, I loved her more.

His real name is Graeme Anderson. He was a foster kid, bounced around until he aged out. Two years unaccounted for, and then he does a year at Stanford, where he becomes obsessed with the French adventurer and smuggler Henry de Monfreid.

Of course. A former Skinner. Why are you telling me all this?

Graeme Anderson is the next name on the Blacklist. Your Blacklist, the one that Liz died for. And whether she died in vain is up to you.

I like him. He has a good soul.

I believe he does. I’m less certain about mine.

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