The Blacklist (2013–…): Season 8, Episode 15 - The Russian Knot - full transcript

The Task Force hatches a plan to steal a Soviet-era cipher machine needed to decrypt coded messages. Townsend puts Liz's loyalty to the test. Red and Dembe are called to an unexpected meeting.

Please hurry, Ms. Keen. He
doesn't like to be kept waiting.

Is that how it works around here? He
snaps his fingers, everyone trembles?

If they have any sense.

Aren't you coming?

Oh, thank God you're here.

The boys and I were chatting
about failed expectations.

I'll catch you up.

First I said, Kansas
was an awful bloodbath.

And, sure, that was fun, but
you let Reddington get away.

Then they said, "So sorry, we
promise to do better next time!

Please, Neville, what
about my wife and kids?"

To which I said,
"Wife and kids?"

What about my wife?
What about my kids?

You're insane!

Why, because I stabbed a
man who was suffocating?

I suppose that was crazy of me.

Almost as crazy as
partnering with an FBI agent.

No. No!

You find him at
his girlfriend's,

have him at gunpoint, but
somehow he gets away?

Why is that?

Why don't I have
everything you promised me?

I have a lead. On Reddington.

I can prove he's N-13,

and in communication
with the Russians.

Do you, now?

I suppose there's only
one way to find out. Go.

Pursue. Live the dream.

But, Elizabeth...

don't disappoint me again.

Anne, stay with me.

Belsky reached out.
He said it's urgent.

Anne had a daughter...
Has a daughter.

You must put that behind you.

Belsky has information that
concerns Townsend and Elizabeth.

- Then I suppose we'll act on it.
- Raymond, there's something else.

Paula called.

Glen's mother Paula?

Yes. She wanted you to
call or come by the house.

Then she said something
about new irons in the fire.

Hot ones, she said.

- Oh, my God. Sounds like she's dating.
- That's what I said.

And she laughed and
said, "No, nothing like that.

This is business.
Serious business."

And then she said,

"All right, then, Dembe. I'll see
you and Raymond at the house.

What happened
to Bill and Steven?

She knows, Raymond.

Oh, my.

Histiaeus. What's to be learned from
him other than tyranny and duplicity?

There you have it.
A history of mankind.

Tyranny and duplicity.

You've come a long way

from the 8th Directorate,
Comrade... Uh, Professor Belsky.

Although I see your affinity for
authoritarians hasn't changed.

Histiaeus wanted to organize a revolt
but feared discovery by the Persians.

So he shaved the
hair of his favorite slave

and had the treasonous
message tattooed on his head.

When the hair grew back, he
sent him off to spread the word,

which became the first recorded
act of steganography in warfare.

Of course, my KGB ciphers
are no more relevant today

than tattooing a head.

So you can imagine my surprise
when I stumbled across this.

I don't understand. Are you
getting leads from a psychic?

To predict the
future? I don't know.

At 5.99 a minute, Madame Zorba
might be a bargain at twice the price.

If there was a Madame
Zorba, but there isn't.

You're showing me a fake ad.

It's not an ad. It's a message.

A code that I believe Townsend
and Elizabeth may be using

to communicate
with an associate.

"Love is a knot that
even death cannot untie."

Sounds like a Hallmark card.

Having failed to kill me, I
suspect Elizabeth and Townsend

may be planning to move
against those around me.

- In my world and possibly in yours.
- Her fight is with you, not us.

Yes. But you're with me.

And she's with Townsend,

who takes great pride in displaying
his utter disregard for human life.

"Love is a knot" isn't an aphorism,
it's a clue to decrypting the code.

As you well know,
during the Cold War,

nobody mastered the art of
clandestine communication

better than the Soviets,

their pièce de résistance
being a cipher machine

capable of encrypting or decrypting
text into ten different languages.

The Russkiy Uzel,
the Russian Knot.

The Kremlin destroyed most of them
prior to the fall of the Soviet Union,

so Lord knows how
Townsend got his hands on one.

Clearly he did.

If we want to decrypt that
message, we need to get one too.

I don't think this is something
we can order on Amazon.

The only other machine I know of
is on display in a museum in Minsk.

Beautiful city.

Amazing opera house.

I'd forgotten how
beautiful until yesterday.

- You were just in Minsk?
- Yes.

In order to make a generous
donation to said museum

from a private collection.

Nana was born in Minsk.

I can think of no better way to
honor her passing than with this gift.

- You gave the museum a Cézanne?
- A stolen one.

Which, like all good
and greedy bureaucrats,

they're trying to decide
whether to report.

Imagine their embarrassment when
the FBI finds it in their possession.

You donated the painting. Now
you want us to go get it back.

Yes. Along with
the Russian Knot.

Why would they give us that?

Last I checked, your
country had sanctions in place

against both the president
of Belarus and his son.

They're not giving you anything.

You want us to steal it.

Of course. What do you
think we've been talking about?

This cipher machine
is pretty fascinating.

You use the little keyboard
to type up your message,

which it then jumbles into
a random series of letters.

Then on the receiving end,
you need another machine

to turn the gobbledygook
back into regular text.

But this thing's 50 years old.

Can't you crack
the code without it?

It's not exactly Orphan
Annie's decoder ring.

The complexity of
the Knot's algorithm

compounds every
letter after it is entered,

netting us a trillion, trillion,
trillion different possibilities.

We want to know what
Keen and Townsend are up to,

but are we really talking about
robbing the Belarusian War Museum?

We've done worse.

Reddington made it clear
there's no diplomatic angle.

Townsend has illicit relationships
with the Council of Ministers.

If we reach out for
help, he'll be tipped.

To what? We don't know
what Keen's planning.

Ruddiger, what do you got?

This bores through rock
using ultrasonic vibrations.

- A lot quieter too.
- It's not very deep.

Don't we need to get
through two feet of concrete?

Only needs to be deep enough
for the SCDA to do its thing

and to keep me out of
the boss's heavy bag.

What you gain
in noise reduction,

you lose in predictability.

It takes time to
heat up and expand,

for the pressure to
build, until finally...

Talk to me about access.

Once we're in,

we need to smuggle
the cipher device out.

The lab's mocking up a fake to
leave in its place as we speak.

We need to loop security
feeds to make the swap.

Okay, but how do we gain
entry into their security passage?

Silva Terzian.

Immigrated from Armenia.

Gets a tea at the same cafe
every morning before work.

She's our in.

Pack it up. It's time to go.

Now? Why so soon?

The breach happens Friday night.

When the museum is
hosting its fundraiser.

Staff won't like
the FBI presence,

won't wanna cause a
scene in front of donors,

which means they're more
likely to fall for our diversion.


- I'm so sorry! Let me help you.
- No, it's okay.

Don't worry about it.


Forgot your wallet.

Thank you.

Anyone unclear? Any questions?

The big question is
what's Liz really up to?

If we're successful in
bringing this device home,

we have a good
shot at finding out.

What's going on?
Something wrong?

Let me know if
we have a problem.

At the terminus, go left.
Then straight ahead, 200 feet.

Once you're on site,

you need to be 12 feet, two
inches off the center of the north wall.

Your credentials
appear to be in order,

but you're in the wrong country.

I go wherever he takes me.

Notorious fugitive
Raymond Reddington.

I'm told you accepted a
stolen painting from him.

He called himself Lloyd Wilke.

I could alert Interpol.

They'd love to swarm your museum
and arrest you as an accomplice

after the fact,

but that might kill the
mood of this evening.

Yes. That would be terrible.

Or you have your people show
my team your security feeds

while I look at that Cézanne.

Four minutes.

All right. You get
started, I got the sensors.

Beautiful city, by the way.

It's true what they say,
Minsk isn't just concrete.

But there is some
beautiful concrete.

Hey, Aram, it's Cooper.
Something about a legal attaché.

We'll catch up in a second.

We need to pull up the
logs from Tuesday afternoon.

What for?

Who's this?

American cowboy. Real big gun.

Not trying to cowboy anyone.

Just wanna take a
peek at the footage.

Excuse me. Where
is the restroom?

Small bladder.

Friends call me...


On the left.

On the left.

Thank you.

Sensors are down.

They're here.

- Who's here?
- The task force.

- What are they doing here?
- What do you think?

Reddington must have sent them
to get the device before we can.

We have to hurry.

Aram, we're in place.

Give me a minute to record
enough footage to loop the feeds.

That him? In the hat?

Yeah, that's him.

Where's Peanut?

Cameras are bypassed.

You're good to go.

- Hurry. Hurry.
- Okay. Any minute now.

Don't answer.
It's about to blow.



I just had a dream about you.

I'm sorry, now is
not a good time.

Don't interrupt or I'll forget.

I was at a wedding, about
to greet the bride and groom.

But everyone was crying

and I realized this isn't
a wedding, it's a funeral.

Aram, we're ready to open
the case. Are the sensors down?

Uh, guys? This is weird, but
the sensors are already off.

I hate funerals.

I'm absolutely squeamish
about open caskets.

I was terrified.

That's when I felt
someone squeeze my hand.

It was you.

You were holding my hand
and I wasn't afraid anymore.

- Guess who was in the casket.
- I don't know.


And he looked hideous.
All sunken and yellow.

I'm sorry, I really have to...

I know I was harsh before,
but this dream is a good sign.

I am rooting for you, Elizabeth.

I gotta go.

- He said he had a dream about me.
- He is creepy.

What the hell is going on?


- The badge. I left it in...
- What are you doing?

- Forget the badge.
- We can't get through without it.

We'll go on foot.

I'll be back. Meet
you in the van.

It's her. She's in the
building. Keen's got the cipher.

Aram, tell me you have eyes.

Got her. Basement,
near the east stairwell.

Agent Park is around the corner.

Oh, no.

It really is a lovely piece.

I always wanted a hero moment.

I got the badge.

Let's go. Grab the Knot.

Yeah, I got it. I'm
right behind you.

Where's Park?

- You're gonna shoot me? For this?
- You don't understand.

I'm dead without the device.

Shoot me. Show me there's
nothing left of the old Elizabeth Keen.

The cipher. I have to have it.

Why? For Townsend? So
we can't read his messages?

Townsend? He doesn't know I'm...

Why would you say that?

Liz, where are you?

Liz, we need to go now.


Is she okay?

- Yeah, I'm okay.
- Where's Liz? Where'd she go?

- You're not taking the painting?
- My concern is finding Reddington.

Agents from our Art Theft Unit
will be in touch to discuss the details.

Excuse me.

We got a problem.

- What kind of problem?
- A Liz Keen problem.

My pumpkin cheesecake
thumbprints are sort of legendary.

- They were Glen's favorite.
- Thank you, Paula.

Yes. Thank you, Paula.

You're welcome, Steve, Bill.

Paula, is there anything
you'd like to tell us?

I used canned pumpkin.


- You know who I am.
- I do.

I'm so sorry. I know
it's a big secret.

How did you find out, Paula?

I found this under Jelly's bed.

I say manuscript, but it's
really more of a memoir.

Glen was writing a book.

About your time together.

The hijinks and shenanigans.

Oh, don't worry, I don't think
he sent it to any publishers yet.

I can't believe this.

I can.

Me too.

It makes a whole lot more sense
than Jelly being Huey Lewis' muse.

Paula, why are you
telling me all of this now?

That's the thing.

I've been retired from
Ma Bell for some time now.

I've been keeping to my budget.

But after Jelly died,

without his income, um,

things have
gotten sort of tight.

Now, I'm not
asking for a handout,

I went back to work at the
phone company part-time,

but if you could
maybe lend me...

How much do you need?

One hundred and
seventy-two dollars.

And I'll pay it
back with interest.

Or I could work it
off, pressing that suit

or maybe cooking you two
a nice cream can dinner.

Well, that does sound
nice, but, Paula, this is a gift.

One I offer you in exchange
for your continued discretion.

No gifts.

I have to insist on
paying you back.

Then let's just say I'm
purchasing Glen's manuscript.

That would mean a lot to him.

You say you've gone back to
work at the phone company?

Yeah. The cellular
one. The big one.

Eighteen hours a week
now. Why do you ask?

What on earth?

Reddington must've donated the
painting so he could case the museum.

- What do you think he was after?
- The Russian Knot.

That machine's one of a kind.

Lucky we stopped him.

Yes. Thank God for the FBI.

Your local police are gonna
wanna secure the area.

We should clear everyone out.

Tell me that was the fake.

Well, thank God for the FBI.

We got the device. The Art
Theft Unit got the Cézanne.

Excellent. Please tell me
you made it to the opera.

We didn't. Keen
made sure of that.

Oh, of course. She was there.

That's what I can't
square. The "of course" of it.

You told me she and
Townsend were using the device

to encrypt their communiques.

That you'd intercepted
those communiques,

but couldn't decrypt them

unless we went to
Minsk and got the device.

Something Elizabeth would
never have wanted you to do.

What I can't square is how
she knew we were doing it.

Or why, when I mentioned
Townsend's name,

Keen acted like he had
no idea she was there.

I can't speak to any of that.

But all that matters is
that you have the device

and I have the ability
to show you how to use it

to read the text
on that billboard.

Which I'll do as soon as I finish
with a pressing appointment.

More than stopping Townsend
and finding Elizabeth?

For the moment.

Paula, tell me something good.

Well, you know Ernie in
Billing has had his eye on me...

since his missus passed.

So I took him up on an offer
to have dinner at Perkins.

I sort of sweet-talked him.

Anyway, I told him I did
one of those spit tests,

found out I had a half-sister
and was just desperate...

to get an address.

Emma Foster. Date of
birth, address, phone number.

He just went and got it for you?

I always told Jelly you
get more bees with honey.

You are the bee's knees, Paula.

- Oh, and what's this?
- Receipt from Perkins.

If it's not too much, I'd like to get
reimbursed for the chicken dinner.

Ernie wanted to go Dutch.


- Ressler.
- Reddington's lying to you.

You wanna tell me about it?
How about turning yourself in?

He told you I wanted the device

to keep him from reading messages
between me and Townsend.

A theory you proved by
trying to keep us from it.

I wasn't there to keep you
from reading my messages.

I was there to get it
so I could read his.

Wait. The billboard is his?

Billboard? I don't know
anything about that.

I know Reddington uses the Knot

to decrypt messages in classified
ads in the Washington Post.

If he's decrypting messages
using a Russian Knot,

why send us to
Minsk to get another?

So I couldn't read what he and
his handler are saying to each other.

That's who he's talking to.

If I could prove he's
talking to the Russians...

Prove he's N-13.

I'm not the enemy.

He is. Please. Let
me prove it to you.

Keen wants to meet?

What she wants is
to destroy the device

so we can't know what she
and Townsend are planning.

No. I think she wants
to use the device

to prove Reddington's communicating
with his Russian handler.

We should at least hear her out.

- You think we should give her a big hug?
- She probably needs one.

The Russian Knot's a
relic of the Cold War...

that creates an analog code.

Newspaper classifieds
barely exist anymore.

This sounds more
like Mr. Reddington

than it does Agent Keen
or Neville Townsend.

I appreciate your
reluctance, Agent Park.

But if there's a chance this could finally
prove that Reddington's a Russian agent,

I think we need to hear
what Agent Keen has to say.

She'll wanna know I
have your word on this.

That we won't double-cross her.

You have it. Call her back.

Cooper signed off.
How this is gonna work?

Grab a pen, and
listen carefully.

This is Assistant Director Harold
Cooper, authorization code 39587.

I need to requisition a team for
surveillance and apprehension.

Who is it?

Emma Foster?

Who's asking?

My name is Farwell Smith.

Your mother's attorney.

You work with my mom.

I helped her with some
of her estate planning.

She never mentioned you.

Most of my clients don't
mention me to their children.

Wills and trusts can be awkward.

It's all part of the job,

in order to deliver a
little bit of good news

at an otherwise mournful time.


I'm sorry. I thought you knew.

Anne passed away.

I am so sorry for your loss.

Hey, Keen. I'm here.

There's a man selling pretzels
at the 72nd Street crossover

above the fountain. Buy one.

He's headed into the park. Keen
knows our vehicles will pull back.

Beta Team, stand down.

Delta, can you go on foot?

Drop your cell in the trash.

Down the steps, by the fountain.

I don't have a visual.
Somebody get me eyes.

Beta, clear emergency access.

So you have bodyguards now.

Is that it?

You have Reddington's ad?

Did Reddington tell you
how he knew I'd be in Minsk?

I think he thinks I told
you. It's the romantic in him.

- Okay. Enter the number first.
- That belong to your mother?

Tell me you at least
tried calling that?

It's not a phone number.

It's a key meant to orient
the machine's settings.

Yes, this book
belonged to my mother.

Along with a storage locker filled
with half-solved clues about Reddington

and a series of
encrypted messages.

There's more than one?

And if we can decrypt this
one, we can decrypt all of them.

Okay. Now what?

The circled letters in order.

I have eyes. Should we move in?

Keep your distance
until units are in place.

We don't know what protection
she has. Keep this clean.

C-M-A. That's it.

You okay? Keen, what is it?

I don't know how Reddington
knew I was coming.

I don't know how he knows
half the things he does.

But I do know that I
am right about this.

I wish you'd believe me.

I do believe you.

I wish you didn't need proof.

That's the message. Numbers?

I don't understand.

Maybe we did it wrong.
Maybe we need to try again.

Damn it. Keen, hey!

This isn't me!

Send them in, now!

- We're made. Go now. Move in.
- Keen, wait! They lied to me!

Hey, Keen. Hey, stop!
Stop. Keen, they lied to me.

I had no idea. I swear.

Oh, my God.

- She's somewhere under the terrace.
- All units, move in.

I repeat, move in now.

This can't be right.

Your mother had a
considerable estate.

We talked about it as
recently as a year ago.

I was gonna get like, 3000.

Not 3 million.

Perhaps she wanted it
to be a pleasant surprise.

Did you know she was in
love with a wanted fugitive?

- She told you that?
- She called last week.

About him and how these people
had come to where she lived to kill him.

I tried asking her
what was going on.

All she wanted was
for me to protect myself.

That the people who were after
him might come after her or me.

I thought it was crazy talk...

but she insisted I
drop everything...

and go into hiding.

So I came here and waited.

She told me she was hoping to
stay with a friend in a cabin on a lake...

and she'd call me when
everything settled down.

That was the last time
I ever spoke to her.

I don't know what to say.

Did you know her well?

I did.

Then you can understand why I want
to remember her love and kindness.

Not her connection
to a criminal.

I can't do that if any of
this money comes from him.

Can you promise
me that it doesn't?

I can't promise you that.

But I can promise you that your
mother wanted you to have everything

that she could
possibly give you.

That would include this.

Think about it.

You can always
donate it to a charity.

Set up a scholarship.

Put on a play.

At the very least pay all your
bills, buy something for yourself.

And then, if you want, you
can give the rest of it away.

Just think about it.

How did she die?

It was an accident.

Caused by the fugitive?


But he was responsible.

Tell me.

A man like that, do you think
he'll ever get what's coming to him?

I do.

You're crazy. You do know that.

- I think of it as determined.
- Yeah.

Determined to get
yourself killed. For what?

We couldn't crack the code.

You had the messages and the machine
to decrypt it, and what did you get?

- A whole lot of nothing.
- We must be missing a step.

- An input my mom didn't know about.
- Say there is, and we figured it out,

you think the FBI is letting
you near that machine again?

Ressler gave you a shot.
He's not giving you another one.

How did Reddington
know we'd be in Minsk?

We didn't tell anybody.

We found the folder
of classified ads.

We reviewed my mom's
notes on encryption.

We needed the Russian
Knot to decrypt it.

We went to Minsk
to try and get it.

Where's the opening
for Reddington in that?

- Belsky.
- Belsky.

- We trusted you.
- And I value that trust.

- I value my life more.
- Which is why you told Reddington.

I was told to report
any inquiry about a code

that requires the
Russian Knot to decrypt.

He was clear on how
important that was to him.

I know what that means.

So the minute we showed
you the ads, you showed him.

She heard I was an
expert on the Russian Knot.

She knew the ads were a code
and was hoping I could decrypt them.

Mid-30s, brown hair, blue eyes?

I didn't tell him it was you.
He seemed to know already.

You told me I needed a Russian
Knot to decrypt the message.

I got one and
still can't read it.

There are keys you
need to read the code.

- I have them, the phone number.
- Maybe there were more.

- Or the ones you had were wrong.
- Give me the right ones, then.

- I don't know them.
- Well, then find me a person who does!

The only person who has the keys is
the one who encrypted the message.



- Is there anything on Elizabeth?
- Not a word.

Dembe has the faith
that comes from belief.

All I have are questions.

Why? How? What
for? Was it worth it?

The answer's no.

Whatever the outcome,
it most certainly was not.

- Well, at least you have it.
- I do.

Along with the hope
that I'm not being played.

All right. First, type in
the telephone number.

I assume the Cézanne has
been returned to its rightful place

at the Ashmolean
Museum in Oxford.

It has.

Now the first letter
of each word, in order.

I gave up the commission on
the sale of a $20 million painting.

And enraged the consigliere
who entrusted me with the task.

Do you really think I'd do all
that just to play you, Harold?

A bunch of numbers?

Yes. Until you substitute each
number for the corresponding letter.

One becomes A, two
becomes B, and so forth.

Do you have a pen?

Ah, good.

All right. Let's hurry.

I'm morbidly curious to
find out what painful end

Elizabeth has in store for me.

The code was the address for
some abandoned warehouse.

- A date and time.
- Instructions for a hit.

The device spit out random
numbers. What were we missing?

One more step.

Each number represents a letter.

- So the billboard was a message.
- Reddington told us the truth.

And Keen didn't.

I understand why you're
upset. I wasn't honest with you.

For what it's worth, I wish I'd been
wrong to doubt your judgment about Keen.

- You were wrong.
- How can you say that?

She said this was about keeping
her from Mr. Reddington's intel.

We now know it was about
keeping him from reading hers.

I know that's
what it looks like.

It looks that way because it is
that way. You need to accept that.

Why? So you stop following me?

- Raymond!
- Hello, Paula.

Thank you for coming.

How was the drive? Did
Dembe talk your ear off?

It was just great.

Sometimes I like to lean my
head on the window next to me.

So I can feel all of the
little bumps on the road.

And my vision starts to flutter, and
I just space out like I'm in a dream.

That sounds nice.

You know what also sounds nice?


Did you get a new job?

I did not. I'm offering one.

Ah. What kind of job?

A service provider.

Are you asking me
to find people for you?

Like Jelly Bean did?

Why don't we sit,
have a cup of tea,

share some tawdry
tales, have a laugh or two,

and then we'll drive you home?

You can put your head
up against the glass...

and go to your happy place,

and I can tell you
what it is I have in mind.

- Ressler.
- Hey.

Thank God you're
all right, Keen.

I don't even know why
I'm returning this call.

Look, I'm sorry. They
used me to lure you out.

Yeah. A lot of good that did.

You're right. But at least now I
know what those numbers mean.

Because Cooper handed
the device to Reddington.

He did.

So they decoded
his fake message.

- They think I'm a liar.
- No. But I don't. I'll prove it.

I know the step you're missing.

Each number stands for a letter.
One is A, two is B, three is C.

- They're using alphanumeric substitution.
- Exactly.

Hang on. Okay. Seventeen is Q.

Sixteen is O. No.

Sixteen is P.

Eighteen is R. One is A.

- Fourteen?
- N.

- Sixteen?
- P.

Two is B.

- Wait. That doesn't make any sense.
- What does it say?

It's not a word.

Maybe it's backwards or the
letters of each word are jumbled.

Reddington told us this is how
it works. It has to say something.

Oh, my God. That's it.

The Cyrillic alphabet.

We translated the numbers into English
because that's what Reddington did,

but his message was a
fake meant to throw us off.

Oh, my God.

What does it say?

"It's time. Mobilize assets."

A message from a Russian
handler to a Russian spy.

- Reddington.
- But what does he mean?

It's time. Time for what?

Rise and shine, sleepy head.


You wanted proof?
I got you proof.

Proof that Reddington is N-13.

Proof that he's responsible for
what happened to your family.

And proof that my
mother was innocent.

I can walk you through the
details after you catch your breath.

After you get it through your thick
skull that you do not threaten me!

Because while we may be partners
in this hunt, I do not work for you.