With all my respect and love to Red the main reason why i’m watching The Blacklist is Ressler and his relationship with Liz (yes yes, you can call me naive, but i still believe in Keenler). Without him i wouldn’t have watched this show, because what happens now is really painful.
I never called Ressler “by-the-book agent” (to be honest i really hate this phrase) because for me he’s much more than that. Yes, he was perfect agent with all this obsession about the rules at the beginning. But now he’s so not that person anymore. His precious miss Keen and work with Red really changed him (we could see this from the first season). And he became absolutelly amazing character. If someone would’ve asked me to describe Ressler in few words i would’ve used Red’s “Man of honor”, because that’s exactly who he is. And that’s the man who should be with Liz.
I have no doubt that Ressler has feelings for her. And i think it’s really difficult for him. Everyone knows that he has principles, but his feelings for Liz force him to break it, to get over himself. And this is making inner conflict - from one side he’s powerless against Liz, from other side - he’s angry at himself that he’s breaking his own principles because of her, that she’s his weakness. I think in some way he’s afraid of his own love for her. I also think that not only Red and Tom know about his feelings for Liz. Samar knows too. Her facial expression when Ressler sent her to Liz’s wedding (found a reason not to go there himself - love him for this) and asked to hug her. And scene with Ressler in Liz’s office after her death when Samar saw him. The way she looked at him and then went away - I think in that moment she realized that she hadn’t any chance with him from the beginning, because he obviously has feelings for Liz. He just will never admit it.
Ressler is really amazing FBI agent and work for him is very important. He can do something really good and meaningful in this life, he can save people and it means a lot for him. But I believe sometimes work also saves him from himself. For example, when he saw Liz’s death. I think in that moment when he saw her dead body he was shocked (like the first stage of grief) but he continued to be FBI agent. He used work as protection for himself, because his conscious refused to accept reality - Liz’s death. When he saw Samar’s breakdown he didn’t want to hug her, he was walking away from her. But inside he knew that she needed some comfort and he knew what he had to do. That’s Ressler - man who always tries to do the right things. But even when he hugged her, he was steping back from her, while she was trying so hard to pull him closer. That’s the difference between his attitude to Samar and to Liz. Because when he saw Liz in The Summer Palace he was the one who initiated the hug (no matter what she did and how much she hurt him) and they both were pulling each other closer.
I’m still waiting for real personal Liz_Ressler conversation. And for me it’s just a crime that they are not together. Too strong chemistry. And Ressler is the best man for Liz, it’s obvious. Yes, he’s perfect FBI agent. We can see it almost in every episode. But inside he’s just a white knight for his princess. She just doesn’t notice him.