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The Alchemist
Season 1, Episode 12
Alchemist Red
Air date January 20, 2014
Written by Anthony Sparks
Directed by Vince Misiano
Guest Stars Ryan O'Nan as
Eric Trettel
Hisham Tawfiq as Dembe
Amir Arison as
Aram Mojtabai
Emily Tremaine as Audrey Bidwell
Rachel Brosnahan as Jolene
Season 1
previous
The Good Samaritan
next
The Cyprus Agency

"The Alchemist" is the twelfth episode of Season 1 of The Blacklist and the twelfth episode overall. It first aired on January 20, 2014 on NBC.

SynopsisEdit

Raymond Reddington is at Elizabeth Keen's house and tells her that he thinks they should next find a person on The Blacklist known as the Alchemist. According to Red he has killed men, women, children, and infants to protect the guilty by killing the innocent. Red says that he has learned he has been hired to protect Pytor Madrczyk, a mob informant, and his wife. Red also says that he is called the Alchemist because he relies on science to transform one person into another.

Eric Trettel is a motel room with a blonde woman and they are starting to make out when she falls unconscious. When she wakes up, she has dark brown hair and is on a jet aircraft sitting opposite a man whose passport identifies him as Pytor Madrczyk. On the floor is a dead woman. When she question the man he complains about his teeth, looks at his tattooed arms, and says he does not have tattoos, is not called Peter, and does not have a passport. Just then Eric, in skydiving gear, exits the cockpit, opens the door and jumps out. In the cockpit, there are 2 bodies in the pilot's seats. The aircraft then crashes.

Meera Malik tells the team that the people on the plane have been identified as Pytor and Catherine Madrcyzk. When Harold Cooper says that Red said they would disappear and now they are burned beyond recognition, and asks Liz for his explanation and tells her to bring him to The Post Office, she replies that he will only meet off site as he thinks there is another mole. Cooper says that the Department of Justice is satisfied, but tells her to meet Red.

Red is meeting with a "Wikileaks" style hacktivist who is hunting the mole. They have a large amount of shredded government documents procured from a company with the contract for shredding government documents. Red tells them to re-assemble the documents. When the activist refuses due to the sheer amount of paper, Red reminds him that he is bankrolling Julian's operation while he is trapped in the embassy.

Liz meets Red in a synagogue, where he tells her that the medical examiner is wrong, as the Alchemist can change DNA and dental records. He also tells her that because Pytor Madrczyk nearly hired him to aid in the disappearance, he knows where they can find Pytor Madrczyk.

Liz, Donald Ressler, and Meera Malik arrest Pytor Madrczyk in a bar in Budapest, Hungary. Whilst waiting for Pytor Madrczyk, Ressler tells Liz that he has heard from his ex-fiancée Audrey Bidwell and that she wants to have a meeting.

When Liz returns home Tom tells her that he went to Nebraska, but did not attend the interview. He also reminds her that they are hosting a "baby shower" that evening.

Back at the Post Office improved medical checks show that the male crash victim's teeth had been altered so that they matched those of Pytor Madrczyk. Liz meets Red again and he tells her that he has heard rumors about the Alchemist using synthetic DNA and blood substitutes as part of his procedure.

Liz brings back a list of people that Red claims were helped by the Alchemist, while she is briefing the others, Aram Mojtabai tells them that he knows the identity of the woman on the plane, Sarah Jenkins, and that the last time she was online she accessed a dating site. Aram is in the process of getting a warrant for the site's records.

Trettel meets with Catherine Madrcyzk, and after learning the name of her husband's lawyer, shoots her and wraps her body in plastic.

Ressler is interrogating Pytor Madrczyk, reminding him that he broke an FBI immunity deal. Ressler offers a new deal in exchange for information on The Alchemist. Pretending to be his lawyer, Trettel interrupts Ressler's questioning of Pytor Madrczyk, and once Ressler has left the room poisons him with nicotine gum.

Liz shows Ressler a photograph of Sarah Jenkins' contact on the dating site and Ressler recognizes him as the person claiming to be Pytor Madrczyk's lawyer and rushes back to the conference room where Pytor Madrczyk was meeting his lawyer. He is too late, Pytor Madrczyk is dead and the lawyer has disappeared.

Meera manages to discover that the person that they are looking for is Eric Trettel, a failed medical student who used to work on the Human Genome Project, and then as an expert DNA witness. Six years ago he tried to present false exculpatory evidence in a Mafia trial, but was exposed as a fraud and disappeared. He left behind a wife and young daughter. He was traced to a car rental office.

While Ressler looks for the car, Liz interviews his wife, Molly, and learns that Trettel has not lived with her since the trial, but regularly visits much to her chagrin. Liz also learns that Trettel's daughter, Amy, has recently been diagnosed with diabetes. Ressler and Meera find the car, burnt out with the body of Catherine Madryczk in the trunk/boot.

With prompting from Red, Liz and Ressler start to trace a sequence of numbers, on a torn/burnt piece of paper, found in the car to see if the numbers relate to DNA sequencing laboratory equipment.

Trettel arranges to meet an actress called Mandy, who he takes to his lab for alteration.

A woman finishes reading a file on Tom Keen, then looks in a mirror and says "I'm Jolene, nice to meet you".

At the baby shower Liz and Tom argue about the fact that Liz is not taking any time off work. They are interrupted by Jolene who tells them that she is a substitute teacher. Liz receives a call from works and leaves. Jolene starts to talk to Tom, and invites him to a photography exhibition the following night.

Meera is able to trace the numbers to a centrifuge, only when they raid the lab it is empty. Ressler realizes that Trettel is killing everybody who could lead the FBI to him. They rush to Molly Trettel's house but only find the dead bodies of Molly and Amy.

Next day Liz arranges a date that evening with Tom. Aram puts some of the pictures of Trettel's victims on screen and Liz realizes that one of the women looks like Molly. She puts out an AMBER Alert on Amy Trettel after realizing that he has taken his wife and child. Red is with his document reconstruction team and is shown a memo signed by Meera Malik just as Liz calls for advice. Red recommends tracing Molly and Amy, not Eric. There is not enough time for Red to trace the new identity that Eric will create. Liz traces Amy's insulin pump to a location 70 miles away.

Trettel is in a filling station/convenience store when the AMBER Alert appears on the TV. A random citizen pulls out a gun and a firefight ensues. The daughter is hit with a bullet and severely wounded. The store is surrounded by a police SWAT team, who are going to kill Trettel to rescue the hostages. Keen and Ressler arrive and inform the SWAT commander of the FBI's need to take Trettel alive. Keen ignores the SWAT commander's order and negotiates with Trettel. Eric requests a medic, and demands immunity and witness protection for himself. He offers the names of all his clients in return. His wife shoots him when he stalls on the medic, and a police SWAT sniper finishes the job.

Liz calls Tom to tell him she will be late, Tom throws the meal he has prepared in the garbage, then goes to the exhibition with Jolene.

Ressler goes to meet Audrey, having decided to advise her not to marry her fiance, but when he arrives he tells her that they make a great couple only for Audrey to say that the relationship is on hold because she can't stop thinking about him. They leave the restaurant arm-in-arm.

Aram manages to print a full list of Trettel's clients, which Liz gives to Red. Red puts the list in his pocket and Liz accuses him of looking for someone on Trettel's list. Red says that he has business to attend to, and leaves.

Liz arrives home to an empty house with Chinese take-out, and Tom's phone goes straight to voicemail.

Red is waiting in Meera's apartment when she arrives home. When she arrives he says that he trusts she knows why he is there, she replies that he is there to kill her because she is the mole.

Press ReleaseEdit

THE NEXT TARGET ON THE BLACKLIST IS A MAN WHO PROTECTS THE GUILTY BY PREYING ON THE INNOCENT – Red informs the team that "The Alchemist"  - a man who relies upon science to transform a person’s DNA - has been contracted to protect a well-known mob informant and his wife. As the team goes undercover to catch him, Liz finds herself on the hunt for an unlikely couple. Meanwhile Liz and Tom find themselves at another bump in their relationship and Ressler debates whether or not he should give his ex-girlfriend his blessing.

Number on The BlacklistEdit

  • 101

Unanswered QuestionsEdit

  1. Trettel, the evidence, the escape.
    1. Where did Keen get the list of Trettel's clients? Did Trettel leave his computers intact in the hope that the FBI would concentrate on the clients instead of him?
    2. Why did Trettel leave so much evidence behind? That defeated the purpose of burning Catherine Madryczk's body.
    3. Why did Trettel burn Catherine Madryczk's body?
    4. Why was there a record of Trettel's equipment buying in the car he used to burn Catherine Madryczk's body?
  2. How did Eric Trettel, a medical school student who flunked out and had to forge a Harvard degree to gain employment on the Human Genome Project, develop the DNA altering ("Die Another Day") techiniques that allowed people to disappear ("Eraser")? Red told Keen that he had only heard rumours of the science involved. In contrast, Frederick Barnes earned his degree and Red emphasized his expertise in biological weapons. Someone working with fringe science / fringe theory should attract more attention from the science community.
    1. A: While working on the Human Genome Project, he obviously developed a method of falsifying DNA, since that was why he was appearing as a rebuttal witness. During the time after the court case he presumably improved his method.
    2. A: There are many fringe projects that do not attract funding, and law enforcement certainly would not want anything that casts doubt on the validity of DNA evidence to be widely circulated.
    3. Q: Flunking school and requiring a forged degree do not indicate medical ability.
    4. A: Medics have to take and pass courses in several different subjects. Trettel could have been excellent at lab work, while being useless at physiology.
    5. A: Trettel could have willingly failed after he found the school too boring.
    6. Q: Law enforcement should at least be concerned that DNA evidence can forged.
    7. A: They are, that is how they discovered his evidence was false. The problem is that if the general public perceives DNA evidence as unreliable, juries are less likely to accept the evidence and prosecutors will be less likely to pursue cases based solely on DNA evidence.
  3. Why is Red introducing Elizabeth Keen to so many of his criminal contacts?
    1. A: Maybe he is training her to be his successor.
  4. Why did Red's contact say that it was impossible to reconstruct the shredded records? After the Iranian Revolution, carpet weavers were used to reconstruct documents by hand.
    1. A: Because he did not want to do the task.
    2. Q: Refusing a request from Red seems a dangerous and/or money losing business decision.
    3. A: He re-evaluated his options once Red had explained the situation.
  5. Who is Julian? Why is Red bankrolling his operations?
    1. A: Julian Assange, currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy, London England.
    2. A: For the activist networks he can then utilize.
    3. Q: Julian Assange is not the type of person to accept Red's black market money. Assange would research his supporters.
    4. A: Why would he not accept Red's money, he is obviously not part of the US Military/Industrial Complex, or the representative of an ally of the USA.
    5. A: Most of Red's money is untraceable, or the various national and international finance authorities would have frozen his accounts.
    6. Q: Considering what we have seen so far, it is doubtful that the finance authorities have located Red's accounts. With the exception of some decoy accounts that were supposed to be located to create a false record.
    7. A: This also applies to anyone trying to trace donations from Red.
  6. Why was Pytor Madrczyk not interrogated at The Post Office? Other criminals, such as Laurence Dechambou and Tommy Phelps, were taken there for interrogation after capture.
    1. A: The arrest was done with personnel not on The Post Office team.
    2. Q: The people involved in the arrest were Ressler, Meera, and Liz.
    3. A: With the personnel who arranged their flights (in and out) the people that ensured that their actions in the restaurant remained secret and the restaurant insurance company. This was a sanctioned operation at the ambassadorial level, and so all actions after the arrest would have to be totally transparent.
    4. Q: They could have invoked extraordinary rendition; despite legal restrictions, The Post Office is already a black site.
    5. A: If Pytor Madrczyk had survived he could have been turned into an example of what happens to people who break immunity deals with the United States Federal Witness Protection Program. The new deal offered by Ressler would have been less generous.
  7. Why did Pytor Madrczyk break the first immunity deal? Was he concerned that the FBI could not protect him?
    1. A: The Witness protection program in part relies on people keeping a low profile, not the lifestyle that the Madrczyks previously enjoyed. By apparently dying they could once again become international jet-setters.
  8. Why was the FBI involved in an overseas operation to kidnap Pytor Madrczyk? Even for a blacksite task force, they are violating their jurisdiction.
    1. A: Only if they are caught.
    2. A: There could be a reciprocal government level arrangement.
    3. A: An international arrest warrant authorizing an FBI operation could have been issued.
  9. How many of Eric Trettel's other clients will be arrested?
  10. Since Meera Malik is the mole, does that mean that Diane Fowler is working with Alan Fitch? Or was Meera spying on Fowler before she was added to the task force?
    1. A: Good question since Fowler brought Meera out of retirement to work as the CIA link.
    2. A: Now we know that Fowler was the mole Meera was probably being used as a patsy, something that Red will probably use to his advantage as a blackmail weapon.
  11. Why did Raymond Reddington state there was no time for a bank records trace on Trettel's accounts?
    1. A: Because they were already on the run, any trace would tell them where he had been, not where they were.
    2. Q: Keen was asking Red to trace the new identity that Trettel would create. She wanted Red to locate the bank accounts he would be creating.
    3. A: As an expert in helping people to disappear Red knew that the trace would take days to unravel the many false leads.
  12. Why has Red not told Harold Cooper about Fitch? Does Red believe Cooper will tell the wrong person about Fitch?
    1. A: Since Red met Fitch, he has not spoken to Cooper.
    2. A: Red does not want to return to the Post Office and will only talk to Elizabeth off site.
  13. Will Red have another DARPA tracker implanted?
    1. A: Unlikely, Red's trying to keep a low profile since his meeting with Fitch and will only speak to Liz off site.
  14. Was Trettel involved in the faked death of Ranko Zamani?
  15. Who was reading the file on Tom Keen? Was it the substitute teacher introduced in the episode?
    1. A: Yes, as she looks into the mirror and says "Hello my name is Jolene" after reading the file.
    2. Q: Is "Jolene" working for Alan Fitch?
    3. A: Either Fitch or Red's unknown adversary.
  16. Who is Red looking for on the list of Trettel's clients?
    1. A: Red is looking for his adversary.
    2. A: He may also be looking for Lucy Brooks.
  17. Who is Lucy Brooks? Why is she so important?
    1. A: The person on ViCAP (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program) referred to by the numbers provided by Wujing and was revealed in "General Ludd".
    2. Q: Is Lucy Brooks the substitute teacher "Jolene"?
    3. A: Only if she was disappeared by The Alchemist, since Red was reading her obituary.
    4. A: Jolene is possibly Lucy Brooks. She is and this is revealed in "The Judge".
    5. Q: Something strange though. Lucy's age was listed as 30 on VICAP and 28 in her obituary. Any ideas about this discrepancy?
    6. A: The obituary was obviously not from a current newspaper.
    7. Q: The dates of birth in VICAP and her obituary doesn't match, why is that?
    8. A: The newspaper could have made a printing error.
    9. A: It's possible that Lucy came across Trettel and took advantage of him in faking her death with a body of an innocent victim. The article on her obituary was to throw Red off her tracks, meaning that Lucy may know he's looking for her.
  18. Who was the gun wielding civilian at the filling station/convenience store?
    1. A: A public spirited citizen.
  19. Why did Trettel not know that his daughter had diabetes?
    1. A: Childhood diabetes can develop very quickly, in as short a time as a few weeks.
    2. A: Trettel was not in his daughter's life as much as he wanted, because he was busy helping criminals disappear with new aliases from innocent victims. He only returned out of desperation as he himself had to disappear and there was also the possibility of an attempt at a hostage situation, since the FBI was closing on him.
    3. Q: Trettel had returned a few times over the years, he should have heard something with his obsession.
    4. A: In the initial interview Molly tells Liz that her daughter had just been diagnosed.

Slanders on the FBIEdit

  1. Why are government agencies using the old method of cutting paper into strips? Modern methods involve chemicals and turning the documents into literal shreds of confetti. Even civilians can buy a "confetti" shredder model. There should be some oversight to ensure complete destruction. There is a difference between government shredding and the incompetence seen during the Enron scandal. The Stasi had not upgraded their equipment when they shredded their records.
    1. A: Outsourcing and contracts are being given to the lowest bidder. Red's contact said that they had a contact in the shredding company.
  2. Why did the FBI and other police agencies not conduct full autopsies of Trettel's previous victims? The Madrczyk's false death was discovered after the task force compared the bone marrow and dental records.
    1. A: The initial autopsy on the bodies from the aircraft crash returned the information that they were the Madrczyks. It was only after the arrest of Pytor Madrczyk in Budapest that the expanded checks were undertaken to determine the identities of the crash victims. In addition the aircraft that crashed was the personal jet of the Madrczyks, meaning that the authorities were expecting to find the bodies of the Madrczyks.
  3. How did Eric Trettel escape after he killed Pytor Madrczyk? Why did no one escort him out of the building?
  4. Why did Ressler and Keen follow the SWAT team into the filling station/convenience store? They should have waited until the SWAT team had secured the building.
    1. A: The FBI wanted Trettel alive, as evidenced by LIz attempting to talk him down.
  5. How was Pytor Madrczyk able to escape the FBI in the first place? Donald Ressler stated that he had broken an immunity deal.
    1. A: The witness protection program is not a prison, nor do they maintain a 24/7 surveillance on their subjects.
  6. Why did Harold Cooper insist that the internal investigation was completed? Red found the mole after Cooper said there was no mole.
    1. A: Cooper was convinced that Red's deceased aide, Grey, was the mole and did not want to listen to Liz when she informed him that the aide was only a distraction.
    2. Q: That does not seem like a decision Cooper would make. In the past he has listened to both sides and considering the long-term view. Is the political situation/threat becoming more dangerous to his career?
    3. A: Meera's evidence showed only one mole (obviously!) and if (for his own reasons) Red's evidence also indicated only one mole, then Cooper would suspect that Red was attempting to deceive him again.

GalleryEdit

External LinksEdit


Season 1 Episodes
 · Pilot · The Freelancer · Wujing · The Stewmaker · The Courier · Gina Zanetakos · Frederick Barnes ·
 · General Ludd · Anslo Garrick · Anslo Garrick Conclusion · The Good Samaritan · The Alchemist ·
 · The Cyprus Agency · Madeline Pratt · The Judge · Mako Tanida · Ivan · Milton Bobbit · The Pavlovich Brothers ·
 · The Kingmaker · Berlin · Berlin Conclusion ·

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