"The Blacklist" is back — what a treat! In 2015, fans had to wait until February for NBC's big Super Bowl push to see Red back in action after the Season 2 winter finale. Thankfully, that is not the case this year. Season 3 resumes Thursday, Jan. 7, just a little over a month since Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff) slapped those handcuffs on Liz (Megan Boone) in the December winter finale. However, while the break has not been as long this year, viewers might still need a little bit of a refresher on how the fugitive ended up in FBI custody.
In episode 8, "Kings of the Highway," Red (James Spader) was in West Virginia to pick up a "special package" to help him topple the Cabal when he was kidnapped by a group of highway bandits calling themselves the Kings of the Highway. The group wanted to hold him for ransom. Liz needed help finding Red and called Samar (Mozhan Marno), who took the call from Ressler's bed after their hot and heavy rendezvous in the previous episode. She traced Red's cell phone to a junk yard on Ressler's computer while he was in the shower and promised Liz she would not tell him about it — she owes Red for finding her brother. Unfortunately, Ressler heard something from the shower and later, after putting Aram (Amir Arison) in the middle of the sticky situation by ordering him to search his computer's history, he confronts Samar with the proof of her lie. Feeling betrayed, he told her to "be gone by the end of the day." Aram was left feeling guilty, Samar walked away angry, and no one was happy.
Elsewhere, Tom (Ryan Eggold) and Cooper (Harry Lennix) were still dealing with the whole Karakurt (Andrew Divoff) situation. Red said they needed to keep him alive, but that got difficult when Mr. Solomon (Edi Gathegi) and a bunch of Cabal gunmen showed up at Cooper's house. They fled, along with Mrs. Cooper, and were pursued in an intense car chase that left the party of four running through the sewers, navigating homeless people and rats. Cooper's wife said she knew a place they could go, a cabin down south, but when Cooper asked about the cabin his wife confessed to having had an affair before he got sick. Cooper was devastated, but Tom cut off their lovers quarrel to pull a Cabal tracking device out of Karakurt's leg -- classic Tom.
Back in West Virginia, Liz followed up on the lead at the junk yard and ended up seducing one of the highway gang's henchman and finding her way to their hideout in the woods. Meanwhile, Red had complicated things with the Kings of the Highway. After getting out of his handcuffs, he shot one of the gang members and engaged in some psychological warfare with the surviving thugs, turning them on each other. Soon the leader of the group was dead and the new man in charge was willing to make a deal with Liz for the man she had taken hostage. However, just before the deal went down, Ressler and the FBI showed up just in time to ruin everything. Red got away, but Ressler was on Liz's tail and Red's "special package" and Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) were nabbed by the Feds.
Ressler chased Liz deep into the woods, finally tackling her. He threatened to shoot her if she kept resisting, eventually pulling out his handcuffs and sending "The Blacklist" into the midseason break with the following words:
"Elizabeth Keen, you are under arrest."
Now Red will have to work, not only to stop the Cabal, but to free Liz before she gets killed by the shadow organization. According to the synopsis for episode 9, Ressler is determined to get Liz to trial, but with her location now public knowledge, the Cabal has other plans. The corrupt FBI Director (David Strathairn) wants to kill Liz before she has the chance to explain herself.
The promo for the episode reveals that on directive from the White House, Liz is being ushered to a special, closed trial where the Cabal will not be able to manipulate her hearing. That does not sit well with the Director, but the teaser video reveals he is confident the Cabal can pull off Liz's assassination in the three hours it will take to transport her to the courtroom.
"Three hours to make one woman disappear? We have toppled entire governments in less time," says the Director.
Watch the promo for episode 9 below:
Will Red be able to free Liz in time to save her life? Or will Ressler be able to protect her? Fans will have to wait to find out. Season 3 of "The Blacklist" returns Thursday, Jan. 7, at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.