The Blacklist season 9: Dembe leaves the FBI as fans blast ‘outlandish’ premiere twist?

The Blacklist: NBC announce return with gripping teaser

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Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington (played by James Spader) is still mourning the loss of his daughter Liz Keen (Megan Boone) after the gripping season eight finale of The Blacklist. With the NBC drama back for a riveting new instalment this month, fans were stunned by some major changes to the show’s format. 

Red’s former bodyguard Dembe Zuma (Hisham Tawfiq) has started a new life as an FBI agent in The Blacklist’s latest season.

The popular NBC crime drama has leapt forward by two years following Liz’s brutal death just as she was starting to uncover some answers about Red’s true identity. 

After the team disbanded, Red’s whereabouts are unknown and his most trusted friend has found a new lease of life on the side of the law.

Unfortunately, his first case fans saw in the premiere screeched to a halt when his undercover mission quite literally blew up in his face.

Six months down the line in his investigation into a dangerous crime syndicate, Dembe meets with members of the group.

The confrontation spins out of control, his partner is killed and a truck containing stolen microchips goes up in flames. 

Dembe is subsequently hospitalised with third-degree burns, and his new career may have to be put on ice for now while he recovers. 

If Dembe remains in bad shape throughout the rest of the season, his time with the FBI could come to an end.

Moreover, a number of viewers were shocked to see Dembe take on such a lawful new pursuit considering his history with Red. 

As the series continues, the FBI may uncover his secretive past with more background checks during his time in the hospital. 

However, fans were critical of the series when it was revealed Dembe made a sudden change of career after less than two years. 

Several viewers slammed the new direction on Reddit when the outlandish twist was revealed in last week’s premiere.

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One user claimed: “The background checks the FBI does on potential agents is intense and thorough. There is no way Dembe would be allowed into the FBI.”

And BKNas said: “Such poor writing to make Dembe become an agent with his sketchy background working for Red. 

“They could’ve easily had him become a bigger part of the taskforce without him actually becoming an agent.”

Fans of The Blacklist were also confused by Dembe’s apparent decision to abandon Red in his hour of need despite their long history together.

Not only is he still mourning the death of Liz, but Red is also apparently suffering from a mystery terminal illness. 

With the original task force gone and Red in hiding, the series could be building up towards a stirring reunion later on in the season. 

For now, though, Dembe’s fate is still up in the air heading into the second half of the two-part premiere, The Skinner: Conclusion.  

The Blacklist season 9 continues Thursdays on NBC.

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