Crime-thriller ‘The Blacklist’ uses animation to finish the half-filmed season finale

The makers of NBC crime thriller The Blacklist, produced by Sony Pictures TV and Universal Television decided to go back to animation in the midst of live-action filming halt due to coronavirus. The season 7’s 19th episode, titled The Kazanjian Brothers, was midway into filming in New York when TV production across the industry was halted due to Covid-19. The idea for the 15 May episode emerged from a brainstorming session with executive producers Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath in mid-March, after their New York-based series halted filming along with other movie and TV projects as part of widespread efforts to contain the virus. Recently renewed for season eight, the show will launch into the next chapter for intelligence officer turned criminal turned FBI asset Raymond Red Reddington (James Spader) with a partially animated episode featuring a graphic novel aesthetic. For the animated sequences, equipment had to be shipped to the actors’ houses. The animation was created by Proof (Aladdin [2019], Spider-Man: Far From Home), primarily in Atlanta and London. The Blacklist is shot in New York and then edited and put through post-production in Los Angeles, overseen by Eisendrath (L.A.) and Bokenkamp (back home in Nebraska). While an ideal hybrid episode would have been done from scratch and animated scenes determined before taping, the producers hope the audience is understanding.