The Blacklist loves to use shocks and twists to build engaging and exciting characters on their show. And the elusive and mysterious Ilya Koslov is no exception. Though we’ve technically only seen a little bit of him in the series seven seasons, his name is one that has been on the lips of many characters. He’s an important character, despite his absence. And while there’s not too much that’s known about this old friend of Reddington, we at Nerds & Scoundrels have compiled a list of ten of the most important facts you should know about this character. Check out the top ten Ilya Koslov facts every fan of The Blacklist should know!
Spoilers forthcoming! You’ve been warned!
Our Top 10 Blacklist Ilya Koslov Facts
Below are ten facts about Ilya Koslov, in no particular order.
10. Ilya Koslov is portrayed by Gabriel Mann.
American actor Gabriel Mann’s stint as the young Ilya Koslov may have lasted only a few episodes, but the 47-year-old Vermont-born actor has had a pretty impressive career beyond The Blacklist. Though he’s most known for his starring role as Nolan Ross on Revenge, he actually began his career as a professional runway model. In 1995, he began acting in films, working under the name “Gabriel Mick” and eventually made the jump to television as well. He’s appeared in a number of popular projects, including hit TV shows like ER, Fantasy Island, Jeremiah, Carnivàle, Wasteland, Time of Your Life, and Legend of the Seeker. He also had a stint on AMC’s Mad Men and provided the voice for Bruce Banner the animated Wolverine and the X-Men series.
9. He’s a former KGB agent.
Like many of the characters in the cast of The Blacklist, Ilya Koslov has had some pretty interesting past job. Prior to the events of the show, he was a KGB agent.
8. He’s an old friend of Reddington.
It seems like Raymond Reddington shares past connections with nearly all the characters in The Blacklist, and Ilya is no exception. Ilya is one of Reddington’s oldest and dearest friends. It’s also heavily implied that the two have known each other since they were children, though that fact has not been confirmed. Still, it’s undeniable that Ilya has a long and rich past with Reddington.
7. He has a deep past with Katarina Rostova.
In addition to his long-standing friendship with Reddington, Ilya also has a complicated one with Katarina Rostova. They have known each other since they were kids and grew up as childhood friends. Eventually, when they both got older, that relationship deepened and they soon became lovers. But their relationship goes beyond just mere romantic attraction for each other…
6. He’s one of the main reasons Katarina was able to stay alive for so long.
After Katarina has attracted the attention of so many men who wanted her dead, for a while it seemed like there would be no escape. However, with Ilya’s help, she was able to find a way out. Katarina staged a fake suicide in Cape May that made it appear she was attempting to drown herself. After successfully convincing the men after her that she was dead, Ilya helped her escape.
5. He nearly ended up killing Katarina.
All is fair in love and war. A year after Katarina went into hiding, her father, Dom, met up with Ilya to enlist his help once again. The men who had been after Katarina had all joined forces with the Townsend Directive in a new attempt to kill her. Fearing for his granddaughter’s life, Dom roped Ilya into a new plan to kill Katarina just to keep her granddaughter safe. Ilya decided to follow Dom’s plan, and lured Katarina to an ambush where Dom and he tried to kill her with a car bomb. Unfortunately, the plan failed, and Katarina escaped once again; though without her new husband by her side, who had actually been killed by the car bomb. After the unsuccessful ambush, Ilya went into hiding.
4. It was his plan to impersonate Reddington.
After the death of the real Raymond Reddington and Katarina’s fake suicide, Ilya first came up with the plan to impersonate Reddington in order to gain access to money, since there was so much on the line for Reddington’s arrest. He made arrangements to receive plastic surgery to change his features so he looked just like Reddington and took on his entire identity.
3. His plan was to ultimately help Katarina.
Ilya’s plan was ultimately done to help Katarina. He intended to use the money he received while impersonating Reddington to fund Katarina’s new life.
2. Everything about him is a huge lie.
Fans of The Blacklist were met with a shocking bomb in Season 5, Episode 25 “Sutton Ross” when it was revealed that Raymond Reddington was not who he said he was. Season 6, Episode 19 Rassvet” confirmed that the “Reddington” who the characters and audiences had followed for six seasons was actually Ilya Koslov in disguise. However, just as “Reddington’s” story was starting to make sense, The Blacklist dropped yet another bomb in Season 7, Episode 10 “Katarina Rostova”. Though we know that the real Raymond Reddington is dead, this episode revealed that he is actually not Ilya Koslov. At this time, “Reddington’s” true identity is still unknown.
1. The real Ilya is in a coma.
In the aforementioned episode “Katarina Rostova,” suspicions that “Reddington” had been lying about his real identity as Ilya Koslov were finally put to rest. Literally. Liz Keen paid a visit to Katarina’s apartment, where she showed her the real Ilya Koslov lying in a hospital bed in a coma. So who is the real Ilya Koslov? And who is the real Reddington? Those are two questions we unfortunately still don’t have any definitive answers to. But knowing The Blacklist, one thing’s for certain – we’re definitely still in for more twists and turns and shocks in this series.
Nerds and Scoundrels
And that concludes our Ilya Koslov Top 10. Did we leave anything out? If so, don’t forget to let us know in the comments! Want something creative to fill your Blacklist needs between seasons? Check out our rundown of the best Blacklist Fan Fiction.