Love him or hate him, fans of "The Blacklist" are set to get their long-awaited fix of criminal mastermind Raymond "Red" Reddington when 2013's most highly-rated debut series returns Monday night to NBC.
The show stars James Spader as Reddington, the FBI’s fourth most-wanted criminal who turns himself in at the beginning of season one, insisting he will only speak with rookie criminal profiler Elizabeth Keen, played by Megan Boone.
Keen has no idea why Reddington has an interest in her but together, with the aid of a special FBI taskforce, the duo set out to take down Red's "blacklist" of international criminals.
While little is being revealed about the direction of the eagerly-awaited new season, the show's star teased fans with a few bits of vital information. During a recent press conference, Spader promised lots of cliffhangers throughout the new season. "It's going to be very hard to predict how this season unfolds," Spader said.
"The protocol for how Red operates changes dramatically," he added. "He just has to conduct his relations with the FBI in a very different manner, considering the events of last year. He's the same person, but the circumstances that he's putting himself into are certainly different than what has preceded them."
For those who need a refresher, here's a breakdown of what happened last season. (And for those who are late to the "Blacklist" intrigue, the series was recently picked up by Netflix, so there's just enough time to binge ahead of the season premiere on September 22.)
WHAT WE KNOW
After his surrender, Reddington establishes his bona fides by helping the FBI locate and capture an international terrorist thought to be long dead. In order to supply such information, Reddington stipulates that he must remain free so that his contacts will continue to pass on information. Information that he will only communicate to profiler Keen.
Reddington has an adversary from his past, Berlin, who is trying to dismantle Reddington's criminal enterprise owing to enmity from their past. Berlin made the FBI taskforce a target also, using his hitman to put one member in a coma and slit the throat of another.
It was Berlin who drove Reddington to surrender to the FBI.
Keen nearly died at the hands of her impostor husband Tom who was working for Berlin. Tom revealed to her that her thought-to-be deceased father is in fact still alive. Keen shoots Tom but his body is never found.
Reddington says Keen's father did in fact die in a fire that occurred during her childhood, and that whoever left her in the care of her adopted father may have had to live a life on the run because his life was threatened.
Reddington is revealed to have burn scars all over his back
And in the season finale, taskforce member Ressler's fiance was killed by a blacklister, with Ressler only discovering after her death that she was pregnant with his baby.
WHAT WE DON'T KNOW (AND CAN'T WAIT TO FIND OUT)
What will be Berlin's next move?
Can Ressler continue working on the taskforce after suffering his recent loss?
Is Tom still alive?
Will the FBI continue to trust Reddington after the attack by an unknown organization on the Post Office, the command center for the "Blacklist" task force?
Plus the biggest question vexing every "Blacklist" fan: Is Reddington really Keen's father?
Watch the season premiere of "The Blacklist" beginning September 22 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.