This past May, I watched with bated breath to see if Patrick Jane would ever emerge from his descent into lunacy in the season finale of “The Mentalist.” Of course, however, this was simply another of Jane’s clever ruses to catch his longtime enemy, Red John, the serial killer who claimed his wife and daughter’s lives almost 10 years ago.
“The Mentalist,” like its protagonist, is shrewd and clever. Also, it’s a crime drama that is also a mystery show. Its characters, unlike many other cop shows, are painstakingly drawn out and full of personality and complexity. Showrunner Bruno Heller is a master of suspense, and creates characters that are so believable through a mix of light comedy and their individual personalities, that you almost think that they are real people.
Watching the relationships of the main characters unfold and progress is exciting, revealing and, many times, shocking. Of particular interest to fans is the relationship between Patrick and his boss at the California Bureau of Investigation, Teresa Lisbon.
After the murder of his family, Jane took a job with the CBI as a consultant, using his shrewd skills of observation to catch murderers, with the overall goal of catching California’s most notorious murderer, his sworn nemesis Red John. Jane’s interactions with Lisbon’s team often have them questioning whether or not they love him or hate him, and this love-hate relationship most clearly comes across between Lisbon and Jane. That said, their relationship is a very complex and entertaining one, and the constant sexual tension between them has fans glued to their TV sets to see if they ever get together.
The mythology of the show is unlike any other cop drama on TV, one that involves and grips the viewer. In a barren wasteland of mind-numbing shows, “The Mentalist” is a refreshing weekly dose of quality television. Season Five of this unique show premiered last September, and so far has continued to prove itself as one of the most innovative shows on broadcast television.
Last week’s episode “Red Dawn” took place eight years in the past, and showed a glimpse of how Patrick Jane’s first encounter with the CBI team played out and showed a much more vulnerable, even pathetic, version of the stalwart Jane we are used to seeing on a weekly basis. Last week’s episode really hit home of just how lost Jane has been emotionally since the death of his family, and opened up even more interesting directions that Bruno Heller and his team can take the storyline of Jane’s quest for vengeance.
Will Jane ever catch and kill Red John? If he does, will it help to fill the void he has in his heart? Will Jane and Lisbon ever get together? Have I asked enough questions to pique your interest in this series? “The Mentalist” airs Sundays at 10 pm on CBS. I would suggest you also check out seasons one to four on DVD— put it in your Netflix queue!
Patrick Jane talking to his late wife’s brother, from Season 3, episode three: Cackle-Bladder Blood.
Patrick Jane: She didn’t want the carny life. She hated it. She wanted to get out. We – we both did. And you know how hard that is. That was – that was our thing. That’s what we did together. We – we escaped.
Danny Ruskin: Nice escape plan, bro. You got her killed!
Patrick Jane: Thanks for reminding me.