Ryan Eggold’s Tom Keen is back on The Blacklist full-time.
The actor, who had been an original cast member on the hit NBC drama since its first season aired in 2013, is happy to be reunited with the cast he now calls a “family unit” after leaving the show last year to headline it’s since-cancelled spin-off Redemption.
“It’s great to be back!” Eggold, 33, tells PEOPLE. “We did Redemption for a bit, which was really fun, but I missed the cast. I’m now trying to get back in shape, of course.”
Last season’s finale ended with Keen’s return from hiatus as he made his way to his wife Elizabeth (Megan Boone) to deliver a suitcase full of bones (possibly her mother’s) that could prove damning to former government agent Red Reddington (James Spader) — who was also revealed to be Elizabeth’s father in a twist.
Eggold says the new season picks up right where the show left off.
“[Tom] becomes obsessed with figuring out who this is and why he was tasked with figuring that out,” Eggold explains. “He’s chasing down different leads with the understanding that it affects Liz in a very big way. Now that we know Red is Liz’s father, he’s trying to deal with that, but I don’t think he trusts Red and never has.”
As to what it’s like to work on set with costars Boone and Spader again after multiple seasons together, Eggold says “everybody knows their job and is good at it by this point.”
“I think you can loosen up a little bit the more the show goes on,” Eggold says. “In the beginning, you’re really focused on trying to get it right and figuring out what kind of show you’re doing. By season 5, you know your role, you know the show and you’ve been working with these people for five years. You get to know them very well.”
After stepping behind the camera recently to write, direct, produce, compose and edit his film Literally Right Before Aaron, Eggold says his next career move may involve music.
“I think rain or shine when I get a chunk of time, hopefully soon, I’m going to do a record,” Eggold says. “I have way too many songs sitting at home, and I need to just get some of them out.”
“Marriage, for whatever reason, has always both interested and terrified me,” Eggold says with a laugh. “I just thought about the finality of it and the tragedy and comedy of this situation.”
“The story was very sort of personal to me,” he continues. “I don’t think I slept at all for several months [during production]. The beard grew out, the hair got long, I think I looked strange and psychotic, but I was working my butt off and can’t wait to do it again.”
The Blacklist season five premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. on NBC.