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'The Mentalist' Recap - 'Red Sky At Night'

Dee Doyle Dee Doyle
September 24th, 2010 4:18pm EDT

The MentalistWelcome to the newest season of CBS' hit crime procedural The Mentalist. For those of you who are just tuning in for the first time, the show is about a man named Patrick Jane (played by the delicious Simon Baker) who used to be a famous fake psychic. He has exceptional detective skills and was overly arrogant when tracking a serial killer named Red John, so Red John decided to murder Jane's wife and daughter. After a stop in an insane asylum for a time, Jane joined the CBI as a police consultant. He likes to taunt his police team by always figuring out things early and never telling them, and he likes to trick the bad guys into revealing themselves. He's observant and brilliant and playful, and also still a little crazy about finding Red John and killing him. At the end of last season, Red John saved Jane's life but kidnapped his new girlfriend, a 'real' psychic. As this is a recap, it will give a spoiler about the killer of the week.

So as expected Jane's something of a mess in this premiere, obsessively sitting up in the attic of the CBI and reading the poetry that Red John quoted to him. He refuses to work on a big name case, and Lisbon decides to trick him. The case involves a chauffer being shot to death and the fancy lawyer he was driving being taken by an unknown assailant. The new CBI Director Bertram wants Jane on the case, so Lisbon brings him to the family of the dead chauffer Peter Russo. Russo's daughter is the same age that Jane's daughter would be if she hadn't been murdered. He agrees to help find the murderer, promising the girl, her mother, and her step-father.

Jane gets intrigued by the case because Director Bertram is involved with a criminal case with the missing lawyer. The lawyer's wife is told to get one million dollars ready, and although she doesn't care much about her husband, she's willing to do that for him. Jane is positive that the lawyer is already dead, and that the kidnapping is just a ruse made by the murderer so they wouldn't see who he was really after. The bridge where the crime went under is a famous spot for hookers meeting clients, and they manage to track down a pink haired woman named Sugar who tries to run. She admits that she saw both men shot dead, and that the chauffer knew whoever it was.

At this point it is obvious that Jane (and the audience) should know who the killer is, but he decides to play with Bertram a little more. He tells the director that there was a diamond that the lawyer had on him at all times, and that  he suspected the director himself. Then when he gets a journalist to ask publically about the crime case, Bertram blames it on the diamond. This is one of Jane's elaborate tricks he's setting up for the killer, and Lisbon is tired of it so she says they'll figure it out with good detective work. They do manage to do that and meet Jane at the house of the chauffer's ex-wife and daughter. Jane mentions that the diamond was hidden in the lawyer's tooth, and then leaves.

Yes, it's the step-father. They follow him to where he buried the lawyer and is trying to look for the diamond. He has rage problems and slapped the daughter when she was mouthing off to him, so her father came in and beat him up. He decided to murder him and make it seem like the lawyer was the target. Nice. So Jane has saved the day and didn't get chased around for once, or kidnapped like he was last year. The daughter and wife don't seem all that upset that the killer was right in their house, but maybe they're in shock ... or not great at acting. Jane admits to Lisbon he's pulling away from them because everone he's close to ends up killed by Red John. Which ... fair point.

I'm surprised Jane hasn't purposely put himself in danger again so Red John will come to the rescue, as he is apparently prone to do with his favorite ex-psychic. All in all not a bad premiere. Jane's looking weathered and guilty over causing the death of another woman just by dating her. I'm still suspicious that she might be in on it, to be honest. Red John doesn't usually kidnap, he's a murderer. This doesn't exactly fit his MO, and he's been known to 'turn' people to his will. Just saying. It's good to have the show back, and here's hoping there's some resolution to that storyline this season!

The Mentalist is on CBS Thursday nights at 10 PM EST.

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Photo Credits: CBS