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Red's Relationship with Agnes Keen on The Blacklist, Explained

Agnes Keen means the world to Reddington, so we're looking back at their sweet relationship on The Blacklist.

By Jessica White
Red Bakes a Cake with Agnes | The Blacklist | NBC

There's a select group of people who the illusive criminal mastermind Raymond Reddington (James Spader) would go through hell and high water to protect on The Blacklist. Agnes Keen is one of them. 

As the daughter of the person Reddington cared about more than anyone, Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), it's no wonder Agnes is kept so close to his heart. Not many preteens have the honor of having the concierge of crime in the palm of their hand, but where Agnes is concerned, Reddington quickly transforms from a calculated criminal to a paternal teddy bear. 

Reddington and Agnes' relationship has taken more spotlight in recent episodes, and it's been sweet watching him melt in Agnes' presence. Let's look back at their symbolic father-daughter bond, below: 

Reddington meets Agnes Keen just before a tragedy occurs

Agnes Keen (currently played by Sami Bray) enters Reddington's life through her late mother and former Reddington Task Force member, Liz Keen. Before her tragic death, Reddington's relationship with Elizabeth was paramount, so as soon as she had Agnes, that love carried over. Upon meeting Reddington for the first time, Agnes immediately grows fond of his elaborate stories, referring to him as "Pinky." 

Agnes' father, Tom Keen, was sadly killed in Season 5 of The Blacklist, and Agnes loses her mother after her assassination in the Season 8 finale. Agnes has a lot of support and loving people in her life to help her through these traumas.Task Force leader Harold Cooper (Harry Lennix) immediately becomes her guardian once she loses both parents. Because of Reddington's proximity to the crime world, Cooper keeps Agnes away from him, which creates a rift between the two friends. 

Harold Cooper and Agnes on The Blacklist

Why does Agnes call Reddington "Pinky"?

Reddington's more lighthearted pseudonym, "Pinky," is a nickname crafted by Agnes as a young child. After meeting Reddington for the first time, Agnes began calling him "Pinky" simply because she likes the color pink more than red. But the name stuck and is now the only way Agnes or Cooper refers to the concierge of crime when speaking of him. 

Red goes out of his way to see Agnes in Season 10 of The Blacklist

Season 9 of The Blacklist picks up two years later and zeroes in on Reddington's struggle to not check in on the 11-year-old Agnes, whom he still cares for deeply. Cooper reassures Reddington that Agnes is a fulfilled and happy young girl but reiterates his presence in her life would only serve as a threat. Reddington begrudgingly accepts this truth but goes out of his way to still observe Agnes from afar whenever possible. No one tells Red what to do! 

Despite being a literal criminal mastermind, Reddington isn't very good at concealing his love for Agnes, nor his attempts to see her. By Season 10 of The Blacklist, Reddington has been on the run from a pissed-off lineup of former Blacklisters, so the threat is higher than ever. With his criminal empire uprooted, Reddington has become a rolling stone, and he's landed on Cooper and Agnes' doorstep quite a few times. 

Red Bakes a Cake with Agnes | The Blacklist | NBC

Now more than ever, Reddington seems to be going out of his way to show Agnes how much he cares. Always a fan of "Pinky's" stories, Agnes and Reddington have caught up over FaceTime on numerous occasions. Reddington helped Agnes bake a cake while catching her home alone and later drove all the way to Pennsylvania just to fetch her one of his favorite childhood snacks. 

Agnes and Reddington have only grown closer throughout Season 10 of The Blacklist, and while it's nice to see Red finally spend quality time with the young girl, the devil is in the little details. Could one of these Blacklisters try to leverage Agnes against Red later on? No one ever wants to see Agnes in trouble, but if Reddington isn't careful, he may have a massive problem on his hands.

Agnes highlights Reddington's growing closeness with the Task Force

The love Reddington shows for Agnes has become one of the soft spots of the The Blacklist. But in Season 10,  Episode 12 ("Dr. Michael Abani"), Agnes proved Red loves his Task Force, as well. 

Here's what happened: Agnes stayed home from school for a sick day, and Cooper gave her a list of instructions to take care. Just as Cooper leaves for work, Reddington enters through the back door with some ice cream and tips for a sore throat. He's been dodging Cooper's calls lately, due to killing Wujing without any heads-up, but he'd never miss a house call to help Agnes when she's feeling under the weather. 

While enjoying some ice cream, Red reveals to Agnes that the reason she never visits him is that he doesn't have a house anymore (selling one, gifting four, sinking six and seven, and losing eight and nine).  

"I found myself letting go more and more so I can better hold on to what I really want and still be light on my feet," Red explains. 

Red (James Spader) and Agnes (Sami Bray) together in The Blacklist.

Later, Cooper comes home to check in on Agnes, quickly deducing she was visited by Pinky by the many ice cream cartons in the freezer. But Red is back on the road, and Cooper is still unaware of his whereabouts. While picking Agnes' brain for any clue of where Red is posting up, he finds none. Wanting her two father figures to be close, Agnes explains that she can sense Red is looking for something that might already be in front of him. 

"You love him, don't you, Pops?" Agnes asks Cooper. 

"Sometimes he makes me so angry. So worried, I hardly ever understand him," Cooper reflects before admitting the truth. "I suppose, in a way, maybe I do."

"Oh, you definitely love him, Pops," Agnes teases. "I mean, how could you not? He's so soft and cuddly, like you."

Is Agnes' summation of the concierge of crime the most genuine? Not entirely, but she's getting a refreshed version of Reddington that we've never seen before. Cooper and Red's relationship has always been complicated, but as we can see from the episode, both men are making massive sacrifices for each other even if they're not talking at the moment. If there's anyone who can get to the bottom of someone's emotions, it's the quick-witted Agnes Keen.