‘The Blacklist’ – A challenging season for Aram and Amir

'Blacklist's' Arison thankful for meaty storylines

Amir Arison stars in the season finale of “The Blacklist,” airing Friday on NBC.

Season 9 of NBC’s “The Blacklist” has been an eventful one for FBI cyber expert turned interim task force chief Aram Mojtabai as well as for the actor who portrays him, Amir Arison.

So far this season, the character has dealt with a colleague’s death, went after her killer, saw his software company come undone, faced off against intimidating cohort Red Reddington (James Spader), gotten promoted to a job he didn’t want and had a mental breakdown.

It’s a lot for anyone to endure, real or fictional. But for the actor in the role, it’s a gift and the highlight of Arison’s career.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for the journey,” he says. “When Aram started off in Season 1, I really just thought ‘computer whiz with a little comic relief and algorithmic problem solving.’ Never would I have guessed that in nine years he would end up being the head of the task force, having gone through multiple romances, trained in the field and facing off against Reddington on more than one occasion. And throughout that process, he’s grown. Look, I personally have grown in nine years, getting to work on this show … . It’s been a perfect marriage of growth of both me personally and as a character on television.”

Amir Arison stars in the season finale of “The Blacklist,” airing Friday on NBC.

At this writing, few details were available about the espionage thriller’s Season 9 finale, which airs Friday, May 27, save for Arison’s cryptic warning that “things happen that you would never expect — to everyone.” That sounds pretty ominous, given that the eighth season ended with the shocking death of special agent and fan favorite Liz Keen (Megan Boone).

Meanwhile, NBC has renewed the series for a 10th season and Arison expects to be back at work in the fall. He has a few things going on in the meantime, most notably directing the short film “Tati’s Fashion Show,” about 8-year-old cancer survivor and artist Tatianna Bernard. And he’ll be getting his equilibrium back on track after some of the more difficult storylines for his character late in Season 9.

“It’s bigger than I ever could have imagined but it’s also even better than I had imagined,”Arison says of the role. “It’s harder than I imagined and better than I imagined, and so I just never would have guessed I would have had an opportunity like this when I started out as an actor.”

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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