Once in a while, television shows leap forward with great characters and storylines to keep viewers entertained, thinking and waiting to see what happens next. In recent years we’ve had CSI, Medium, Lie To Me, 24 and Damages, but there’s one other we can add to that list; The Mentalist.
Created by Bruno Heller as starring Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, a former con man who worked as a psychic but after the brutal murder of his wife and child now consults with California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on cases led by Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney). Jane hopes that working closely with law enforcement will eventually lead him to the serial killer known as Red John, bringing the murderer of his wife and daughter to justice.
Jane possesses a remarkable insight into human nature which is sometimes mistakenly identified as a psychic ability; he is able to charm, aggravate and manipulate his way around people and helps to close a large number of cases for CBI.
Consisting of 23 episodes, Season 2 fleshes his character out a lot more. Whereas in Season 1 he came across as a wiseass with narcissistic tendencies similar to Lightman (Tim Roth) in Lie To Me, we now get to see more of his flaws and more importantly, his colleagues see them too. Jane is a man haunted by a tragedy, driven by it; he has nothing else to live for but finding Red John. With his trademark brown shoes, waistcoats, quirky mannerisms and gift for spotting the Devil in the details, he is somewhat of a modern Columbo (Peter Falk) when it comes to solving cases.
Lisbon also develops more as a character although continues to be antagonised by Jane’s unpredictable behaviour. She becomes more willing to follow his leads even when she has no idea what he up to, but we also learn more about her past and some secrets she has kept hidden from everyone. In one episode her organised demeanour completely breaks and she sends a chair crashing through the glass window of her office.
There is a tender romance which blossoms at work as well. Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) and Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) finally give in to their feelings for each other and given the bleak nature of their work, it adds some cheer to their lives. Its wonderful watching them trying to keep their relationship under wraps; they can’t help stealing glances and sneaking a kiss here and there. Of course Jane has already sussed them out and he enjoys the fact they can’t tell if he really knows or not.
Although the hunt for Red John continues, I do hope Jane doesn’t find him too soon. I’m really enjoying this show, but am not sure what they will do after he finds him or how he will change as a character. I’ve grown very fond of him, along with the rest of the CBI team with Season 2 and definitely will be keeping an eye out for the third.
By Patrick Samuel • Published Nov 9, 2010