Does Elizabeth Keen Die in Blacklist and Who Killed Her?

Elizabeth Keen was shot and killed by one of Neville Townsend’s henchmen in the season finale of Blacklist, which is the eighth season of the hit TV series by Elias VanDyke. Keen was one of the show’s major characters, and her demise led to a change in the dynamic of the show and some of its other main characters, like Raymond “Red” Reddington.

The shocking turn of events which eventually led to the murder of Liz Keen, one of Blacklist’s beloved characters, left a lot of fans and observers in shock, with many wondering if she was really dead or if it was just a ploy by the showrunners to provide additional drama to the show. This article explores the full story of what really happened to Elizabeth Keen and the sequence of events that led to it.

Is Elizabeth Keen Really Dead?

Despite the conspiracy theories suggesting otherwise, Elizabeth Keen is really dead. Given the show’s penchant for manipulative plot and twists, as well as the fact that the character once faked her death during childbirth in the season three finale to escape Red, fans and viewers could be forgiven for hoping that Elizabeth’s more recent demise could be another one of those twists.

When Does Elizabeth Keen Die?

Elizabeth Keen dies in the eighth season of the thrilling series. Fans of the show would probably still enjoy the presence of one of the show’s iconic characters but for her demise.

However, the decision by the writers to come up with a scene involving her death had more to do with the fact that the actress portraying the character had indicated her intention to leave the show (more on that later).

What Episode Does Elizabeth Keen Die?

Elizabeth Keen’s relatively untimely death occurred in the final episode of the show’s eighth season. The premise of the episode in question centered around Red’s promise to hand Liz a letter her mother had left her, which he claims contains all the answers Liz had wanted access to, including Red’s real identity and why he had come into her life. His only condition for handing over the letter was for Liz to kill him.

Red’s decision was influenced by a variety of factors, including Neville Townsend’s recent elimination, a criminal mastermind who learned of Red’s real identity, and the certainty that any of the numerous criminals who eventually took over the running of the criminal empire would be armed with that information, a fact which would ultimately put Red and Liz in danger again.

Red was not worried about himself because he saw it as an opportunity to finally surrender to the terminal illness that had plagued him for a while now. However, his only concern was to protect Liz, and to do that he came up with a plan that would kill two birds with one stone.

His plan was for Liz to murder him, in public no less, an action that would elevate her status to a criminal one would think twice about trifling with. She would also inherit The Blacklist from him and potentially ward off any threat from approaching enemies.

Liz struggled with the decision for a while, primarily because of her history with Red which included him saving her life in the pilot episode. In the end, she gave in to his proposal and they set out to formulate a plan that would convince anyone of the ruse.

How Does Elizabeth Keen Die?

After Elizabeth Keen was shot in the back by one of Townsend’s henchmen,  she fell into Red’s arms and bled out to death. Red’s plan was for Elizabeth to shoot him in the street that night shortly after he left a private party at Pascual’s restaurant.

When the defining moment came, however, Liz found herself unable to pull the trigger and told Red with tears in her eyes tears that she did not want to, a statement to which Red acknowledged his understanding. Before they could take any other action, one of Townsend’s henchmen walked up and shot Liz from behind. Red reacted by shooting him multiple times in retaliation.

As earlier stated, Liz Keen bled out and died in Red’s arms. As she collapsed to the floor, she saw her life flash before her eyes which included bittersweet memories of her life with Tom, Agnes Dembe, Aram, Cooper, and Ressler. She also looked at Red in a manner that portends that she finally understood who he truly is and the flashback of her mother Katarina Rostova kissing her forehead as a child juxtaposed with Red kissing her forehead.

Who Killed Elizabeth Keen?

The man who shot and killed Elizabeth Keen was none other than Townsend’s right-hand man, Elias VanDyke. He was shot dead almost immediately after by Red. However, in Season 9 of the show, we got to see that there was more to Elizabeth’s murder than meets the eye, hidden facts that have so much to do with a member of Red’s inner circle.

Red spent most of season 9 investigating Elizabeth Keen’s death, and much of his effort was thwarted by several factors, including the framing of Cooper, all of which had to do with Red’s longtime friend and lawyer Marvin Gerard. The season ended with Reddington finally unraveling the fact that Marvin had put out the hit on Liz and that he was also the one who orchestrated Cooper’s blackmail.

Seeing that his game was up, Marvin revealed that he had ordered Elizabeth’s death. After all, he did not agree with Red’s decision to hand the Blacklist over to Liz because he felt he (Marvin) was more qualified. Marvin managed to escape from the plane where he made his confession but before he did, Red promised him that he would pay for betraying him.

Marvin knew, better than anyone, that he was not safe and that knowledge coupled with Red’s promise of vengeance plagued him to the point where he decided that suicide was the best way out. He left Red with a parting gift which involved visiting season 1 Blacklister Wujing in prison to reveal that the former was an informant, a revelation that would ultimately make Red’s life difficult.

Following Marvin’s death, Red left the city and the Task Force gathered around Keen’s grave to pay their last respects. The final scenes showed Wujing’s escape from prison and a promise to find and kill Raymond Reddington. He also revealed that he had a lot of people who would help him get the job done.

Will Elizabeth Keen Return to Blacklist in Season 10?

There is no chance that Elizabeth Keen would return to Blacklist in Season 10. Fans and viewers of Blacklist are well aware of the fakeouts and manipulative plots that have been a part of the series since it began airing, and that knowledge might have ignited a few hopes that Elizabeth Keen may not be truly dead and would likely return to the series finale.

Any hopes of that happening were dashed by the demise of the character, who did not make a single appearance in season 9, during the season 8 finale. The storyline that led up to Elizabeth Keen’s death was also influenced by the departure of the actress who portrayed the character.

Who Played Elizabeth Keen?

Elizabeth Keen was portrayed by American actress Megan Boone. The 40 year-old, who began her acting career in 2001 with her portrayal of Abigail in the short film Elijah, saw her acting career take an exciting turn when she began portraying FBI agent and profiler Elizabeth Keen in the series, The Blacklist.

Her stellar performance in one of the main roles throughout the first eight seasons of the series caught the eye of the media, the general public, and fans of the show, and her stock rose significantly in the process.

In June 2021, however, the actress revealed that she would be leaving the series to pursue other opportunities, and after the demise of her character during the season 8 finale, she made good on her announcement.


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