Following on the heels of a phenomenal first season, both in ratings and creativity, The Mentalist continues to enthrall viewers with its sleight-of-hand mysteries and the razor-sharp insight of a former fraudulent psychic, Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), enlisted to aid the California Bureau of Investigation in tracking down criminals. Jane, through the use of his keen observational powers, frequently pinpoints the culprit of crimes quicker than through conventional crime-fighting techniques.
Additionally, Jane has a personal motivation, as in quid pro quo for his unique mental talents, he is given the aid of CBI in tracking down the serial killer, Red John, who killed his wife and daughter and who continues to mock Jane with a series of deadly clues. Last season, Red John deliberately manipulated Jane into getting a potential witness out of jail so that Red John could eliminate the threat, and then at the end of the season laid a trap that nearly cost Jane his life. Fortunately, it takes two to tango and Jane had anticipated the trap and laid one of his own. It was a deadly game of cat and mouse and the viewer was never quite sure who was playing the mouse.
Aiding in Jane’s search for the elusive and diabolical Red John are: team leader Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) who pretends to be annoyed with Jane’s antics, yet it is clear she values him as a member of the CBI team and backs him up whenever he proposes another outrageous theory or scheme on capturing a criminal; Kimball Cho (Tim Kang) who plays the straight-man to Jane’s funny-man antics and who frequently sees through and does not buy into Jane’s theatrics; Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) who, while good friends with both Jane and Cho, has a soft-spot for Grace Van Pelt, which tends to make him act a bit silly whenever she is around; and Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) who, as the newest CBI member, feels she has more to prove than the rest of the team and who will challenge Jane whenever she thinks he may have crossed the line of moral ambiguity.
Despite the inherent conflicts among the group, they work well together and seamlessly support one another in some rather harrowing situations. Because Jane never carries a gun, he is reliant on his CBI co-workers to have his back when it comes to confronting suspects that suddenly realize that they are cornered – and they unfailingly do. The underlying mutual affection is prevalent and it is the glue that binds this eclectic group of professionals together.
Patrick Jane is portrayed by the mesmerizing Simon Baker, who scored an Emmy nomination for his seemingly benign yet “seething with rage” performance. As portrayed by Baker, Jane is playful, cocky and yet endearing all at once. Watching Baker so fully embody such a rich, diverse and fun character is riveting and he has fully earned the Emmy nomination.
The Mentalist returns for its second season on Thursday, September 24th at 10:00 p.m. on CBS.