The Mentalist


The Mentalist is the awesome television show by British writer Bruno Heller. It is a procedural which follows Detective Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) at his job as consultant for the Serious Crimes Unit at the fictional California Bureau of Investigation (CBI).    Jane’s ‘mind reading’ mentalistic approach to catching killers is unconventional, and often unethical.  This causes tension between him and his by-the-book Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney). The rest of the team includes Agents Kimball Cho (Tim Kang), Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti).

With his quick smile, easy charm, and ruthless wit, no suspect is safe from Jane’s telling observations. But this seemingly easy-going  man has a serious, entirely personal agenda for working at the CBI.


This show combines all my favorite elements together. It is a crime show with an interesting premise, unique characters, smart writing, and plenty of character development and interaction. It is also as funny as it is clever.

Then there is the acting. Simon Baker is charismatic beyond words, which coupled with his good looks and charm makes for an irresistible protagonist. His flamboyant presence is grounded by Tunney’s quiet projection of her character’s inner strength and cool exterior. The Yin to his Yang, these two are comrades despite whatever differences they may have.

This camaraderie extends to the rest of the team as well.  The sharp Agent Cho and dependable Agent Rigsby are obvious friend’s despite the former’s terse demeanor. And the team rookie Agent Van Pelt is obviously a welcome addition to the team, especially to Agent Rigsby.

Another good aspect in the show exists within the supporting actors/guest stars. In The Mentalist, the characters are usually memorable and the casting is obviously done carefully; not something all TV series bother with.

But perhaps the most unique aspect of the show is its subtlety. Despite Jane’s surprisingly unprofessional methods, the show itself never goes for cheap shock value in its storylines or script; a rare quality to find these days in television. It relies purely on solid good writing and acting. It is classy. It is a series I can enjoy, and often do, with my family. In fact, I am proud to say I’ve gotten several family members hooked on Patrick Jane’s antics.

But with all this praise, there is one problem I noticed. There are some inconsistencies in the editing; like an actor would be standing one place in one scene then disappears in the next. Also, some wardrobe malfunctions. A suit in one scene, an entirely different one in the next for no reason, etc. But I’m just nitpicking. Mr. Heller, thank you for proving that good television does exist. I salute you from Kuwait.

I’ll eventually have an individual category for The Mentalist where I will be reviewing episodes individually. Yes, it is that good.


About reviewbrain

Screenwriter, independent producer, compulsive critic, editor, artist, language lover, student of life, pacifist, parent. View all posts by reviewbrain

14 responses to “The Mentalist

  • Sid

    ah, so here is where it all began.

  • reviewbrain

    Lol! Yes. Welcome to the blog 🙂

  • Sid

    Thank you. I found it while searching for material on ‘Cheap Burgundy’.

    I’m a big fan of the show. In fact, I just started rewatching the episodes from the beginning (skipping episode 3, saw that too many times). In episode 4 (with the banker, the grieving widow, and the mistress), the mistress calls Jane “the handsome one”, followed by “gay, yes?” I was thinking of what you said about how they should refer to his appearance more often. I do agree, but at least we had it early on in season one.

  • reviewbrain

    I love that episode 🙂 and her assuming he was gay garnered one of my favorite reactions ever: a huge amused smile. So typical of Jane. He probably took it as a compliment to his sense of style XD

  • Sid

    Yeah, the amused smile is classic Jane and another example of how they distinguish/differentiate the character. Basically no man would have that reaction to being called gay.

    Funny coincidence that I wanted to mention. I was watching the episode yesterday and went to finish it, but didn’t know exactly where I was up to. So I clicked randomly in the middle and lo and behold, it went to that exact moment! I was well ahead in the episode when I stopped watching so it wasn’t like the site remembered where I was up to or anything. 😀

  • Sid

    the one thing that bothers me about that episode was the bet Jane made with Rigsby about seducing any woman there.

    Jane said at the end he lost the bet, but he obviously won it. He had the widow immediately, and it was proven when the director told Jane that the widow insisted on an apology in person.

  • Sid

    One more:

    Season one, episode 6 “red-handed”, the episode ends with a nurse bringing a suitcase (?) stuffed with cash to the crooked dealer with the sick mother. The nurse said “a really cute blond guy left this for you at the front desk.”

    Another example of Jane shying away from being thanked, although he did tell the daughter that her father was there for her in the end and got a hug. I suppose he felt that was unavoidable.

  • Sid

    I’m commenting here as I go along.

    season 1, episode 14 (guy who seduces women)

    Jane points to a supposedly circular bloon stain, indicating a ‘vertical drip’. Only problem is that I froze it on the image and closely examined the carpet. No stain evident.

  • Sid

    s2e11, high school reunion episode. Two bullies were making fun of the guy they called Frogman, and the jock/d-bag yelled after him “Hey, if the kid of yours ever needs any shaping up,
    you send him to a Cordova sports camp, okay? ”

    according to a transcript I was reading. What does that have to do with frogs?

  • Sid

    ok, I should’ve kept reading. Guy’s name was Cordova. I guess he runs a sports camp.

  • reviewbrain

    🙂 I loved that episode. You should order the dvds if you can as transcripts really don’t do the episodes justice.

  • reviewbrain

    I think Jane said that because the widow was only pretending to be seduced by him. She asked him to meet her at her home so that *she* could seduce *him* into helping her find her husband’s treasure.

  • Sid

    Season 2, episode 19

    Pretty good conversation when Jane and Lisbon were locked in the trailer (still not sure how they wound up in the middle of the desert).

    Lisbon says she knows Jane will get her fired. Jane asks why she signed up with him. She answers “In the first place.
    We catch a lot of bad guys. Most days, that’s enough. Also, I–”

    Then of course they’re interrupted by a donkey. First time we might’ve gotten some real insight.

  • Sid

    An apt description of Jane occurred to me today.

    He’s basically a bluffer at a table of tight players.

    In poker, a ‘tight’ player is someone unwilling to bet big, so they tend to fold their cards when someone else bets big on them. Jane bluffs his way through most of the cases.

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