Mentalist Mystery: Who is Red John’s accomplice? (Updated April 1st)


Okay, so most of  the contestants refrained from giving a firm opinion one way or another; naughty, naughty 🙂

However, a number of excellent theories were presented placing the likely suspects (and some new ones) in even more suspicion. So I’m just going to list them so readers can vote. I allowed for multiple voting so you can choose more than one culprit should you wish to do so. I also left an option blank so those who didn’t get a chance to share before can do so now.

Original Post 

Since there are still a few days left before the next episode, I decided it was a good time to play a little game to tide us over:

Mentalist fans and blog readers, write down your answers and theories (as comments to this post)  regarding who you think killed Todd Johnson (and is therefore Red John’s accomplice). You can give as much detail as you like to support your answer or none at all. After the next episode airs (March 31st), I will set up a poll (on this post) so that other readers can vote on which they think is the most plausible answer. The poll will remain open until the show officially clears the mystery (probably in the season finale). It will be very interesting to see which theory was the closest to the actual answer.

The prize? Gloating rights, of course! I will also twitter the results to The Mentalist official twitter account. Speaking of which, I have it on the authority of Karl Sonnenberg (Police and Medical Technical Advisor for the show) that the next episodes will be very exciting (i.e. thrillers). You have been warned 🙂

Now you have until the 31st.  Start writing and don’t be shy 😉

And here’s the promo for the next episode The Red Mile if you’re interested.


About reviewbrain

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

20 responses to “Mentalist Mystery: Who is Red John’s accomplice? (Updated April 1st)

  • All-I-need

    Oh, this is great! ♥

    I`m going to stick to my initial theory:
    Tedd Johnsson`s death was the result of a colaboration of JJ LaRoche and Craig O`Laughlin, meaning they´re both acomplices of Red John.

    My reasoning for why I suspect LaRoche can be seen in another comment of mine in detail, I`ll just repeat here that Jane seemed very surprised when he saw LaRoches house, which doesn`t look like a place LaRoche would actually live in. A person`s house can tell you a lot about said person´s character, but if you know that person already and then see their house and it doesn`t fit their character at all, there´s something wrong. My guess: the real LaRoche is long dead and the guy we know as LaRoche is an imposer. Also, he is the single leading investigator of the Johnsson murder, meaning he has the perfect opportunity to manipulate evidence or make it disappear so Hightower will be the prime suspect.

    Now, why do I suspect Craig?
    He wanted Grace to help LaRoche spy on the team, meaning he was actually trying to help LaRoche. Why whould he do such a thing? Furthermore, he tries to enstrange her from the team and is a little too eager to help them with investigating Hightower`s case. And where the hell did he come from anyways? He just popped up out of the blue with some obscure reason that hasn´t been proven so far, and in an episode where they are investigating not only Kristina Frye`s disappearance but also Visualize.
    But of course he`s just trying to help. Sure. The only question remaining is: Whom exactly is he trying to help?

    That`s enough from my side 😀 Can´t wait to see all the other suggestions and the final outcome of it all.

  • Lea

    Mhm okay. My theory is pretty bad and I admit usually I don’t think that far as some of you do haha XD.

    So I don’t think it’s LaRouche, there might be enough evidence that he is connected to Red John but imho it would be pretty lame if the one who investigates Todd’s death is the one who was responsible for it. It would just be a bit odd to me if they go that way. Also LaRouche was originally only meant to have 5 episodes so if they planned something “big” for him they’d probably wouldn’t have given him the 5 story arc anyway (tho it seems he now will be in more episodes but imho that could be a late decision which doesn’t interfere with the main storyline)

    My first suspect is Craig. Surely they made him an unsympathetic character because he was meant to be an obstacle for Rigsby and Van Pelt but somehow that doesn’t seem to be all of the story.
    The way he suggested to spy on her collegues, the way said that they weren’t her real friends and then the fact that he suddenly wants to marry her (I still think it’s a bit too early and rushed). Last but not least the way he crashed into Rigsby’s and Van pelt’s car. That doesn’t seem totally by “accident”.
    My theory is that he is one of the undercover cops of Visualize (note that they brought up this subject in the episode where Craig was introduced) and that maybe Red John blackmailed Stiles into helping him infiltrate the CBI. Of course this theory can only work if we believe Stiles is indeed blackmailed by Red John.
    Then again, Craig doesn’t seem the type to be one of Red John’s minion BUT imho if he’s really just a character that had to be there to create an obstacle between R/VP that would be equally lame as the LaRouche thing.
    There was also once a theory about what Renfrew wrote on the wall in 1.11 “He Is Man”- someone translated this as “Heisman” which is a trophy for best collegue football players. Add into the mix that Van Pelts father was a football coach and Craig brought up the topic seemingly connecting her to him as he was playing for himself (of course I’m sure he knew everything about her before).
    Yes this is all vaguely thrown together and the writers probably didn’t even think that far it’s just my messed up theory as to why Craig could be SOMEHOW involved with Todd’s death.

    My other suspect is Bertram. I admit when I first watched 3.16 I immediately thought “He’s a red herring” but again, I don’t know if this was just an easy clue for the people who don’t dig as deep as we do and just watch occasionally so they can make the connection.
    I don’t know if I would like if such a high positioned man is connected to Red John. I mean they already made the CBI look highly incompetent last season and now with this….I think at some point it’s getting really ridiculous especially if we have to play this game another 3 to 4 years.
    BUT the only way I could love it if it was him would be if Lisbon could make the connection when finding some of Jane’s notes. For once I’d like her to be the clever one putting the pieces together and then when Jane is maybe already on the run catching the suspect she’s not far behind him.
    It’s a secret fantasy of mine that will probably never happened who alas….I can dream right?

    So I don’t really mind if people disagree with me it’s just my way of seeing it and I’ll probably end up being wrong anyway. XD

  • reviewbrain

    Wow! I never heard that ‘Heisman’ theory before. Good theories so cheer up 🙂 I doubt anyone will completely get the right answer as the writers are pretty sly that way but it’s fun to see how close we can get to them. So between Craig and Bertram, whose your most likely pick?

  • All-I-need

    I agree, I haven`t heard about that Heisman thing either. But it sounds really interesting and sheds a completely new light on things. VERY interesting, indeed. Thanks for sharing =)

  • Lea

    Admittedly it’s hard to pick. While Craig seems the more subtle subject the writers made Bertram a very obvious subject with him quoting William Blake. It all depens on what I said earlier, if it was really a clue for everyone or just to mess with us. Maybe both are involed somehow? Maybe Bertram will be identified as connected to Red John but then by the end when we think we know the answer something reveals Craig as another pawn (?). Honestly I can’t choose.

  • violet

    What an exciting idea you had with this poll! I can’t help but add my little contribution to the game… 🙂

    First of all, the Heisman theory provided by Lea is intriguing… but, who had written it, was it Renfrew before he died or Red John himself? RJ was supposedly in a hurry, but he had never let someone survive his strike before…
    Moreover, if He Is Man was admittedly the last message from Renfrew, we can suppose it was something he heard about RJ in jail… so
    a) would the fact that he won the Heisman trophy be something an accomplice mention over him? I think RJ’s brainwashed minions would admire him for something more than his prowess on the field, they would more probably talk about his personality, his mission, his power, etc… Although sure, it’s always possible that an accomplice would let something like that slip during a conversation, if he is indeed in jail for years.

    b)Even though that detail could be precious coupled with more information, it’s very little to be all that Renfrew had gathered about RJ, what he promised to Jane…

    c)If the Heisman trophy is connected with Red John, would that mean that O’Laughlin is Red John himself and not an eventual accomplice???

    d)If “He Is Man” was something Renfrew heard without really understanding its meaning (he wrote it in three words if I’m not mistaken), it could also be a deformation of another word, for example Iceman, Cho’s nickname as a gang member, since the sonorities are quite close…

    Anyway, the theory is interesting and is worth been kept in mind!

    For me, I could be tempted to suspect someone on the team, Van Pelt or Cho, if the whole idea wasn’t so heartbreaking… Van Pelt, because of the sort of coldness she sometimes shows (when she simply broke it off with Rigsby – I found it quite cruel, and I wasn’t even a shipper- when she hesitates to spy on her friends). And, at the same time, she appears merry and genuine in front of the team: exactly the façade Rebecca was putting with Bosco’s… At the same time, I can’t forget that Cho was the only one who wasn’t really suspected. He always seems loyal to his team (lying for Rigsby). And in last episode he seemed even more eager to help Lisbon, to let her confide in him, to protect her status. He was really nice and we have now an even better image of him. So, wouldn’t it be a great shocker, just like the show provides, if he was the traitor? But I’m rambling, because I don’t really want to believe it is someone of the team…

    About Laroche, I don’t know… I quite agree with you, Reviewbrain, about his attitude towards Lisbon: I would be tempted to think he was hurt by her harshness and acted on it. And he seems to like Lisbon and to work with Jane (meaning being manipulated by him)… so I rather like him too…

    In fact, my bets are on O’Lauglin and, even more, on Bertram. O’Laughlin is definitely a suspect, because of his whole demeanor but I’m not sure he could have killed Johnson. Todd was in an interrogation room protected by a guard. I can’t figure if it was one the team usually use for interrogating suspects, somehow I rather believe it was a room connected to the cells the CBI keeps people who were already arrested. So, someone from outside, like the FBI investigator couldn’t easily enter: the guard wouldn’t have let him in without authorization or would at least have mentioned seeing him in the immediacy of the crime scene…
    For Bertram, the case is different: he could always have told he was here to see someone else. He can have a key of the room, and had equally means and opportunity for forging evidence against Hightower. And, even though he’s quite obvious, the best argument against him is that Jane doesn’t know about his quote of Blake. Lisbon knows and cannot figure how important such detail could become, while Jane could but hasn’t heard Bertram’s words. The situation would be very interesting if Bertram is the culprit, because that means that either Lisbon has to let it slip without realizing the importance of her revelation (and would she give a second thought about his taste in literature, at least enough for commenting it in front of Jane???), either Jane has to trust her and tell her about the Tiger Tiger reference…

    By the way, if it’s true that Grace’s marriage would be the setting for the season finale and Craig won’t be part of the next season, it could mean that one of them is the culprit (err, O’Laughlin, please…) or one of them (him) will be abducted/ killed… Hence another explanation for that infamous change in the team dynamic…

    But, sadly, I’m pretty pessimistic here either way: I’m sure none of us would find the truth… 🙂

  • reviewbrain

    @violet: I would have been sad if you hadn’t joined 😉 now you’ve all had great ideas but I just thought of a few thongs I’d like to share that might help. When Laroche showed hightower his project board showing everyones locaation at the time of the murder, I thought I saw a door leading to the outside near the holding cell on the map. Which means someone could have stolen an employees key card and used it to access the cell Todd was hiding in. This happened once before to grace, if Craig is the culprit, he could have easily taken her card, killed Todd, then left without anyone being the wiser. Also, I just remembered the lighter laroche found and sent tithes FBI lab for testing, presumabely because he didn’t trust the CBI lab as he thought the perp was most likely an insider. As Craig works at the FBI, he could have tampered with the lighter erasin evidence of his guilt. Them there’s that biker in the garage when Jane made his getaway pretending that hightower took him hostage. That bikers build was similar to Craig’s. Finally, Craig was supposed to put a trace on the e-mail on the annonymous buyer who supposedly met the antiquities dealer and killed him. As lots of evidence was found against hightower, no one thought to ask about the trace.

    So there’s lots of evidence against Craig. But it’s not blatant enough for him to be a red herring or is it?

    Finally, renfrew’s message, I remembered at the time I thought the
    message was: he is mar

    That the last letter was an r not an n and that he was going to write: he is married. No idea how that fits into anything, just thought I’d throw it out there 🙂

  • violet

    Well, I checked, the last letter of the bloody inscription could be anything (-n, -r, -v, -m,…). If you’re right and if the message was “he is mar-”, Renfrew could have wanted to tell that RJ was married to someone important or well-know, at least by the team… Nobody fits that description here: Hightower is the only one we were told was getting a divorce. Couldn’t it be a name? Martin or something? In fact, I don’t know, it’s quite illogical, don’t you think? Imagine you were Renfrew, bleeding to death, using your last breath and time to write on the wall with your own blood, would you waste energy to write something like “he is this” or “he is that” and risking not to end the sentence? He would have had written directly the pertinent element, “married”, “married to…” or whatever else. For me, the whole thing is quite weird, Red John letting breathing and conscious just the only person who could give information about him (since I guess Johnson wasn’t murdered by RJ himself) but, fortunately for him, that man couldn’t achieve his goal! And Renfrew’s position was unnatural, his back was resting against the wall, it would have been almost impossible to write in that position. And he wouldn’t have bothered to turn around before agonizing. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a red herring set up by RJ to tease Jane, using his victim’s finger as a pen to write a fake final message, to make Jane feel even stronger that he had missed crucial information. Hence the laughter at the end.

    And you seem to have built a good case against Craig. Your arguments are quite convincing. If you’re right, he could have indeed murdered Johnson… And that means Grace would very soon be in danger. I don’t know if he’s really the culprit, but he seems awfully untrustworthy anyway!

  • Lea

    Maybe Renfrew knew that RJ would probably clen the wall if he’d given a name so he presented a puzzle that he thought RJ wouldn’t solve in the short time.
    Red John was careless before as we know in 2.08 so maybe he was there too and just didn’t think about the writing on the wall.
    Imho it’s a hidden message and does neither mean “He is married” nor”He is many”.
    There’s a bigger picture as we know.

  • violet

    I like the idea of a hidden message in the inscription, explaining that it wouldn’t make really sense at first. As Jane would say: “interesting…” 🙂 But I still find his position unnatural… Any theory?

    By the way, I know the list for the poll is closed, but was it you, Reviewbrain, who pointed out that our culprit could be that woman in charge of supervising what’s told to the media? She makes a new brief appearance in yesterday’s episode (hum…that’s not really a spoiler, isn’t it? ;)). I know that I’m obsessed with Rebecca’s profile of a seemingly nice woman in the background, but here she totally fits the part…

  • reviewbrain

    No theories at the moment. You’re right; I did mention Rebecca before. If you want, you can still write her name in the poll as an option. I left it open this time so you can do so even if you choose someone else befor 😉

  • Dan

    I like the theory about the HEISMAN trophy for football, as it would strangly fit in with some thing that is bugging me, the “roll tide” quote!! the waiter at the begining of S02E23 said his uncle Ed was part of the Alambama college football team called Crimson tide, their rallying call was ‘roll tide’

    then RJ or one of his puppets made to look like him at the end of the episode said roll tide to Jane, So I think the real RJ is middle aged and was a member of the Alabama college football team!!! crazy huh, lol and he obviously won the heisman trophy too 😉

    Or it said “he is mar” and it was about to spell Bertram backwards, revealing his as RJ’s insider at the CBI! I dont know, I just enjoy it all too much!

  • reviewbrain

    Wow. Someone needs to go talk to that waiter from Jane and kristina’s date. Cool points. Welcome to the blog 🙂

  • Dan

    Thanks review brain, just watched the red queen ep again to see where the biker (cyclist) was that you mentioned, now it makes me think its important because they had him in two shots, it must be leading to something to have him there at all
    plus the door was locked with a bike lock…… where would Jane get an unlocked bike lock from to lock the door handle with?? strange

    but I spotted that if you look closely in the frame where Jane speeds away in the car lot the reflection in the alloy tyre rim shows what I think are two people there in the car lot too who would have seen everything! I reckon its leads to something otherwise the would of had a frame close up of the rear tyre with the reflection…. hmmm now I’m thinking!! lol

  • reviewbrain

    I’m going to have to check that asap 🙂 what if it’s just light reflecting off the camera crew lol

  • Pat

    My husband and I watched the re-run involving the “Nancy Grace” type character. In it, Craig O’Loughlin explains how Patrick made the candle spontaneously ignite. We believe this is likely what happened to Johnson and that the writers were toying with the audience by having the actual culprit explain how he did it; i.e., hiding in plain sight.

  • reviewbrain

    Oh my God that makes perfect sense! Thank you so much for sharing! And welcome to the blog 🙂

  • Dan

    Pat yes that would be a great way for the answer to the Johnson killing to be revealed! its very clever so I definitely think that’s it now! nice one, I also think O’Loughlin is one of RJ’s accomplises because of the way he “flaked” (as Rigsby described it to Cho) when someone was about to shoot van pelt, maybe as if he wanted/needed her to die for some reason, cant believe the writers just made him, an FBI agent, ‘freeze’ when needed to take someone out for no reason, gotta be more to it.

    plus spoilers for S3 finale are rumouring that there is a wedding, with drama, and funeral. I’m guessing its VP and O’L’s wedding where something goes horribly wrong and RJ kills O’L because he has become a liabilty/too close to VP and needs to be silenced.

    Only a few weeks to go til it airs now, cant wait!! I reckon any serious advances on RJ’s true identity wont come til a S4 finale earliest, they’ve signed up two more seasons already so they have to play it out a bit more yet 🙂

  • anonymous

    I honestly think it’s Teresa Lisbon.

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