Make no mistake about it - Tom Keen is dead. For once “The Blacklist” boasts no trickery, no heart-wrenching deception. And yet, despite gravestones and death certificates, Ryan Eggold may still have a role to play.

How, you might ask? Well, the answer lies in the way executive producers Jon Bokenkamp and John Eisendrath opted to tell his swan song.

Tom Keen’s Mysterious 'Blacklist' Past

Over the years, “The Blacklist” has managed to piece together bits and pieces of Christopher Hargrave’s past, from his induction into the world of espionage to his time as a mild-mannered teacher.

Even after the “Blacklist: Redemption” spinoff, however, viewers continued to unravel Tom’s (Eggold) tangled history - right up until the moment he shuffled off that mortal coil during “Ian Garvey.”

Now, Tom may continue to inform Liz’s (Megan Boone) journey via flashbacks similar to those seen in the season 5 midseason finale.

“[The writers] can do plenty of amazing storytelling without Tom, but doing some of the flashback scenes in eight was really fun, and it’s interesting how truth from the past affects the present,” Eggold told Variety. “It affects your perspective of the current story. Some of that here and there could be interesting.”

Tom, after all, crossed the River Styx while holding tight to some pretty important secrets, not least of which involves a dusty and battered old suitcase.

“Tom is basically holding Red’s secret in his hands, and holding — as Red feels — Red’s destiny in his hands,” Bokenkamp informed Entertainment Weekly ahead of the winter finale. “He gets as close as anyone has gotten to unlocking the deeper mythology of the show.”

If “The Blacklist” doesn’t flash back to the moment Tom learned the truth about Red’s (James Spader) game-changing skeleton, we’ll certainly be surprised.

Next Time on ‘The Blacklist’

“Ian Garvey” ended with a 10-month time jump, and episode 9 will fast forward even further. Titled “Ruin,” the midseason premiere will flip between Liz’s post-coma rehab and her current life. It will take weeks of grueling physical therapy to get the agent back on her feet (literally). Consumed by the twin beasts of rage and grief, Boone’s character will have revenge on the brain.

Life back home, meanwhile, will tick on as normal. The Post Office gang will continue to use Red’s self-serving tips to bring down the series’ titular villains. Little baby Agnes will continue to grow under the watchful eye of her grandmother, Scottie Hargrave (Famke Janssen). And “The Blacklist” will continue to chip away at the series’ big questions, appeasing viewers with the occasional answer.

"The question of who killed [Tom] and what is in that suitcase, who is in that suitcase, are going to frame the rest of the season," Eisendrath promised TV Guide. "We are going to answer both questions."

Find out more when “The Blacklist” returns Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.