The Mentalist ends: Why the finale worked (2023)


The Mentalist ends: Why the finale worked (1)

Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

(Video) The Mentalist 7x13(Finale)-Jane,Lisbon:"I want you to be my wife"
(Video) The Mentalist 6x08- JANE KILLS RED JOHN!!(ending scene)

Procedural, part-time serial and flawed character study of a flawed hero, The Mentalist resided at an intersection where many early-century trends in pop culture have met, crossed, and even dead-ended. Patrick Jane, an unrepentant con man who became born again crime-fighter following the murder of his wife and daughter, was a dangerously detached Sherlock, trauma-warped Dark Knight, Lost-ish redemption seeker, and tamed American Hustler. He was a rake, a gamer, a brilliant bulls–t artist who lived to bust lesser, lousier bulls–t artists of all types—religious hucksters, self-help gurus, corporate scammers, chaos-bringing serial killers—by using their bulls--t against them. He bowed out on Wednesday night after seven seasons and a series-long arc that represents a few things at once: A transition away from "antihero" chic; a cautionary tale about master-plan showrunning; a litmus test for happy endings.

(Video) The Mentalist Series Finale - Jane and Lisbon get married, Lisbon pregnant, final scene ever

Arriving in the fall of 2008, Patrick Jane was a gleeful "Gotcha!" guy for the groaning "Gotcha!" moment, when the culture was exasperated by so much "truthy" spin and outright swindle be it by political candidates, big business, or certain television shows steeped in mystery that had us sweating issues of master plan vision and ultimate pay-off. (That was a Lost joke, obviously, though the 2008-09 season was a peak year for Pulp Serial Anxiety. See: Heroes, Fringe, Dollhouse, Life on Mars, Harper's Island.) The Mentalist wasn't the only new show that season with a protagonist skilled in detecting and exposing prevarication: There was also Lie to Me, the Fox drama starring Tim Roth as another zealous crusader serving the cause of truth, justice, and transparency. Lie to Me was fine and did well, but The Mentalist was better and more popular for a variety of reasons, the most significant of which was Simon Baker.

Where Roth was all grumpy pitbull, the star of The Mentalist was a golden retriever, adorable and playful, so of course, we liked him better. But he made Jane more complex by letting the aloofness, coldness, and hardness of his character burn through his pleasant facade; he was the embodiment of the ironic smiley face calling card of the show's phantom menace and Jane's mirror twin, Red John, the seemingly omniscient and omnipresent (via a vast network of brainwashed acolytes) serial killer who butchered Jane's wife and daughter. He was pitiless in his cynicalunbelief in the notion of innocence, he took smug pleasure in his mean deconstructions of people (perps and victims), and he came to enjoy stalking Red John, even as he relished the prospect of one day murdering the monster with his bare hands.

In addition to Baker's compelling performance (which earned him an Emmy nomination in the first season), The Mentalist entertained by telling solid mysteries-of-the-week with some truly memorable villains-of-the-week (Morena Baccarin's Erica Flynn and Malcolm McDowell's Brett Stiles were among many standouts) while nurturing an ongoing mystery and some increasing mythology—the Red John stuff—without letting those elements overtake and burden the storytelling. Oftentimes, the writers found clever ways to let the procedural nourish the serial, turning an average episode into an essential "mythisode." Still, by season 3, the Red John saga was running too hot. The more interesting the mystery became—and the writers did a commendable, faultless job of making it interesting, of imbuing its phantom menace with real, palpable menace—the more the show wanted to be about the mystery. It was changing Jane, too; those dark shadings of his character were growing darker, threatening the tonal balance.

(Video) The Mentalist 7x13(Finale)-Lisbon´s pregnancy

As we've explored in an earlier examination of The Mentalist, the show's greatest moment was its greatest miscalculation: the season 3 finale, in which Jane murdered a man he believed to be Red John, played with megawatt creepiness by Bradley Whitford.It would have made for a killer series finale, except, of course, it wasn't. The fake-out was a ploy to slow down the Red John runaway train. What it did instead was killed the momentum and frustrate the rest of the series. Season 4 was a tedious wait for season 5, which was tasked with re-energizing Red John. But the story the writers chose to tell exposed their lack of vision for how to pay it off, and more so, couldn't solve the problem that threatens the integrity of most mysteries that ultimately hinge on a grand conspiracy: What starts as so very intriguing becomes so very impossible to believe by the end.

According to an interview with Mentalist executive producer Tom Szentgyorgyi, the original plan was to finish the series with the resolution of the Red John storyline, but The Powers That Be ordered the writers to put the troubled plot down. Jane's murder of the real Red John early in season 6 was an anti-climax for the ages, mitigated by two factors: Baker's acting (the long shot on Baker's face as he strangled Red John was a sad, savage thing of beauty); and the twisted subversion of the specific kind of Great Man narrative that The Mentalist represented—the hero who plays by his own rules for his own reasons, enabled and coddled by culture on the condition that he do the right thing by everyone, for everyone when the defining moment of truth and justice for all arrived. Jane failed. His vigilante murder damned him, and the friends, colleagues, and the system of justice that aided him in his pursuit of the terrorist who destroyed his life. (Project your own interpretive reading upon all of that here.)

After some too-quick processing of everything that was provocative about Jane's actions, The Mentalist rebooted. It tried to get back to being a brisk, light procedural and tried to recover some of its appealing chemistries and relational dynamics albeit via some new characters and a new setting. Jane—who fled to Mexico after killing Red John—was caught and brought back yet given limited freedom, provided he worked for the FBI. This "new" Patrick Jane met a moment that emerged shortly after the end of Breaking Bad, in which pop culture has tried to move away from purely amoral and immoral anti-heroes toward… well, slightly diluted amoral and immortal bad guys, and more specifically, bad guys breaking good… for a while, at least. See The Blacklist, American Hustle, and Guardians of the Galaxy. We'll see where this trend takes us.

(Video) The Mentalist 6x08-SPOILER: Red John Revealed

Patrick Jane's story—fractured and frustrating as it was—came to a conclusion with a just-okay two-hour finale episode that allowed him to put to rest his painful past, say goodbye to the ghosts of his family, and move into a better future. He married his longtime beleaguered Watson and wrangler, Agent Lisbon, and played one last mind game to nail a bad guy, using his wedding to bait and capture another villain that represented another mirror twin for him, a demented serial killer named Lazarus, driven to commune withthe ghost of his father. (The storytelling successfully generated some genuine dread as we watched Lazarus, well played by Aubrey Deeker, hunt Jane and tease us with the possibility of a tragedy.) The final act was a pile-on of happy endings, an overflow of blessings to reward Jane for his degrading job period. Personal issues tamed! One last symbolically loaded dragon vanquished! Romantic wedding! Lisbon is pregnant! But the scenes were smartly underplayed, and the energy generated by the cast was infectiously joyous. That hard-working bunch earned their party. I think the show honored the fans who stuck with it and by it. On a personal note: My late wife—who loved The Mentalist, who turned me onto the show, who found the show easy to forgive and enjoy after the disappointment of the Red John denouement—would have been very pleased. I enjoyed it on her behalf and chose to take the story's conclusions, as easy and sentimental as they may have been, as a challenge to hope and optimism for a better tomorrow. Jane and Lisbon, thank you for that gift.


The Mentalist ends: Why the finale worked? ›

Apparently, the show finally wrapped up as the home network CBS had already announced in 2014 – so the seventh season being the last wasn't a surprise at all. The showrunners had enough time to give a proper send-off to the characters.

Why did The Mentalist end? ›

Apparently, the show finally wrapped up as the home network CBS had already announced in 2014 – so the seventh season being the last wasn't a surprise at all. The showrunners had enough time to give a proper send-off to the characters.

Did The Mentalist end well? ›

It was a long journey for The Mentalist, which tonight wrapped its run on CBS seven years and 1,800 miles from where it started. It was a happy ending for the brooding widower Patrick Jane, played by Simon Baker, who married long-time boss, Robin Tunney's Teresa Lisbon in the final scene.

How did The Mentalist series finale end? ›

Read at your own risk!] Well, it finally happened. Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) put a ring on it. The Mentalistended its seven-season run Wednesday night with a series finale that saw Jane and Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) tying the knot, giving fans a happy twist of an ending.

Why was Vega written out of The Mentalist? ›

His love for Lisbon meant risking losing Lisbon, just as he lost his wife and daughter, so for us the death of Vega was a way to really bring that home.

What did Bosco whisper to Jane? ›

When he was dying in the hospital, he whispered "Tyger Tyger" to Patrick Jane in his last breath.

Did The Mentalist finally catch Red John? ›

It was a well-executed conclusion to the mystery that's driven the CBS series from the beginning: After shooting Red John in the stomach but not killing him, Jane strangles his nemesis to death after getting him to admit that he's sorry for killing his family and that he is afraid to die.

What happened to Jane after he killed Red John? ›

After he kills the real Red John, he escapes to South America, but he returns after two years to work as a consultant for the FBI.

Who does Cho marry in The Mentalist? ›

This costs Cho the confidence of the Gangs unit leader who was the arresting officer in Summer's case. As it turns out, Summer was in town with her fiancé, a man named Marshal who knows nothing of her past. At the end of the episode, she introduces Cho to her fiancé and they depart to get married.

Who is the serial killer at the end of The Mentalist? ›

Joseph "Joe" Keller Jr. is a serial killer introduced in the final three episodes of The Mentalist. Known by others as "Lazarus", he is a highly superstitious psychopath who murdered over ten people and stole their blood to perform blood magic.

What happens to Michelle Vega mentalist? ›

In "Nothing Gold Can Stay" Vega is shot by one of the suspects, Steve Sellers. This gun shot proves to be fatal. The end of the episode sees Vega's funeral.

Why was Bosco killed in The Mentalist? ›

Jane interrogates Rebecca, demanding why she killed Bosco and his team. Although it seems to have been due to the fact that they were close to finding Red John, Rebecca admits that the real reason Bosco's team was eliminated is because Red John wants Jane to continue working on the case and ultimately solve it.

What happens to Grace Van Pelt in The Mentalist? ›

Van Pelt is shot multiple times in the chest while questioning a young woman but survives because she had a bulletproof vest on. While she is being loaded onto an ambulance, Rigsby tells her he loves her.

Did Jane and Lisbon get along in real life? ›

The chemistry between Jane and Lisbon was real, but not how you'd think... Simon Baker and Robin Tunney were very close friends, and their off-screen relationship made filming scenes together super easy.

Why did Red John hate Patrick Jane? ›

The first was Patrick Jane's wife, Angela; Red John wanted to punish Jane for saying derogatory things about him during a TV interview.

Is Jane's daughter alive The Mentalist? ›

Charlotte Anne Jane was the daughter of Patrick Jane and Angela Ruskin. She was killed prior the series by Red John at the age of only 5 years old, causing her father to make it his life goal to make Red John suffer for killing his family.

What does Tyger Tyger mean in the mentalist? ›

Perhaps the most popular interpretation of the poem is that the tiger represents or symbolizes evil and fear, or an incarnation of either. The lamb (line 20) is thought to represent the opposite, goodness and innocence.

Why did Rebecca shoot Bosco? ›

Rebecca said in an interview that she liked all kinds of music (especially country), had a cat named Rex, and collected porcelain frogs. Under orders from Red John, Rebecca killed Sam Bosco and two other agents so that Lisbon's team, and thus Patrick Jane, would be given the case back.

Was Lisbon in love with Bosco? ›

Lisbon also had a close and platonic relationship with the late Samuel Bosco, who was eventually revealed to have unrequited feelings of love for her.

Did Jane know McAllister was Red John? ›

Here is a scene in the show's second episode, "Red Hair and Silver Tape," in which Jane unwittingly meets Red John for the first time. Jane didn't know he was meeting Red John, and sadly neither did anybody else involved in The Mentalist.

Who pretended to be Red John in The Mentalist? ›

Timothy "Tim" Carter (at first time called Ross / Red John, in the early draft of the screenplay), then also known as "the Fake Red John", was a Red John pretender.

When did Jane and Red John shake hands? ›

The story of this list came from Season 5 episode 8, Red Sails In The Sunset, when Lorelei Martins inadvertently revealed to Jane that he already knows Red John and even has shaken hands with him, causing Jane to make a list of people he's sure to have shaken hands with since the murder of his wife and daughter, and ...

What episode does Jane find the real Red John? ›

"Red John" originally aired on November 24, 2013. Episode no. In the episode, Patrick Jane, now considered a fugitive, finally comes face-to-face with Red John, the serial killer he has hunted for ten years following the man's murder of Jane's wife and daughter.

What episode does Red John get caught? ›

Red John is the eighth episode of the sixth season of The Mentalist.

What did Red John do to Jane's wife and daughter? ›

On the night of the murder, Jane is on television, he taunts Red John and the serial killer comes to Jane's residence Malibu to exact his revenge. Red John kills Angela and her daughter, and paints their toenails with their blood.

Who is the mole in CBI The Mentalist? ›

The investigation into who killed Johnson was the main plot line throughout season 3. In the season finale, Strawberries and Cream, it was revealed that his killer was Craig O'Laughlin, Red John's mole in the CBI and FBI.

Who is Red John's accomplice in the FBI? ›

In the Season 3 finale, it's revealed O'Laughlin is among Agent LaRoche's five suspects in the Todd Johnson murder. In a showdown at Hightower's hideout, O'Laughlin shoots Lisbon and reveals himself to be the true Red John plant/accomplice.

Who killed JJ LaRoche? ›

At the end of the episode, LaRoche and Rigsby were investigating a darkened room when LaRoche set off a trip-wire with a shotgun. LaRoche was shot and died moments later. In season 6 episode 15, it was revealed that his murderers were Richard Haibach (ringleader) and Hazel Haibach (accomplice).

Who killed Rosemary in The Mentalist? ›

Rosemary Tennant is the murder victim in Seeing Red. Rosemary had two children, Clara and Travis, and a long-term "house guest," Jeremy Hale. It was later revealed that Clara was her killer.

What happened to Madeleine Hightower in The Mentalist? ›

In the fourth season, she was replaced as the boss of Lisbon's team by Luther Wainwright. She returns in the sixth season, she faked her own and her children's death to prevent Red John from "cleaning house" after he killed Lorelei Martins .

Do Jane and Lisbon have babies? ›

Baby Jane-Lisbon is an unseen character in The Mentalist. He/she is the child of Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon.

Why did Van Pelt and Rigsby leave The Mentalist? ›

Ultimately the justification that they give in the episode for leaving is that they no longer want to be in law enforcement, which is very understandable. ... [After] literally looking death in the face, they find that they just want a quieter life.

Was Amanda pregnant during Mentalist? ›

In most of season five, Amanda Righetti (Grace Van Pelt) was pregnant. Since it didn't fit in with the story line, she can only be seen sitting behind a computer or in dark shadows in almost every scene, and doesn't go into the field.

Does Jane shoot Rigsby? ›

They make Haibach call out to his sister but she does not respond. Rigsby and Jane with Haibach at gunpoint enter the cabin. In the cabin when Rigsby releases Grace, Haibach's sister gets the drop on them with her shotgun and shoots Rigsby. Haibach then shoots Rigsby with his own gun, apparently killing him.

Does Kristina Frye come back? ›

Kristina Frye was a claimed psychic who first appears in Seeing Red and later reappeared in the last two episodes of Season 2 (Red Letter and Red Sky in the Morning), along with the third episode of Season 3 (The Blood On His Hands).

Who killed Loreleis sister in The Mentalist? ›

Jane asks Lorelei to figure out for herself whether Red John killed her sister and to contact him when she found out. Lorelei avenges Miranda's death by torturing and killing Julia and injuring Lennon, to understand that Red John is really the killer of her sister.

Why did Bosco hate Jane? ›

Bosco and Jane had an antagonistic relationship based on lack of trust and the jealousy Bosco felt of Patrick. Jane didn't trust Bosco to properly investigate the Red John case, and Bosco viewed Jane as generally untrustworthy and unreliable: as a loose cannon rather than as a professional.

What happened to Rigsby's baby mama on The Mentalist? ›

She also says Rigsby will be a great father, but they are not ready for marriage yet. In "Something's Rotten in Redmund," Sarah gives birth (off-camera) to their son, Benjamin. In season 5 ("Blood Feud"), Rigsby reveals he and Sarah have split.

When did Rigsby and Grace leave mentalist? ›

Episode 15, “White as the Driven Snow”, is the last appearance that Grace and Rigsby make as main characters. In this episode, Richard Haibach is revealed, along with his sister, as the criminal masterminds who have been bugging the team and who killed LaRoche and Ardiles.

What does Van Pelt mean? ›

Van Pelt is a Dutch toponymic surname meaning "from Pelt". Pelt was a region in Belgian Limburg including the modern municipality of Overpelt, It could also refer to the neighboring Peel, Netherlands.

Did Simon Baker and Robin Tunney get along? ›

Simon Baker and Robin Tunney were very close friends, and their off-screen relationship made filming scenes together super easy. "The teasing, the fondness, as the relationship's progressed—it's just us in real life and how comfortable we are with each other," said Tunney. "There's very little acting involved.

What did Jane say to Lisbon before he shot her? ›

In the season 4 finale, Jane's feelings for Lisbon are more obvious than ever. Before he shoots her, he hugs her and tells her that he loves her. Later it is revealed that they only faked her death.

Who is Patrick Jane based on? ›

In fact, legendary Las Vegas Mentalist Gary McCambridge learned how to read body language from his NYC Detective father. It's believed that this may have even been what inspired CBS to create The Mentalist—although the character of Patrick Jane is most likely modeled after a combination of different mentalists.

Why is he called Red John? ›

Concerning his nickname, it was never specified what the meaning of "Red John" is or how he got that name. Within the universe of the series, it was hinted that he named himself, since the alias was first mentioned and revealed to the public by his accomplice Orville Tanner during his trial.

How does the mentalist end? ›

Well, it finally happened. Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) put a ring on it. The Mentalistended its seven-season run Wednesday night with a series finale that saw Jane and Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) tying the knot, giving fans a happy twist of an ending.

Did The Mentalist catch Red John? ›

Put on your happy face: Red John is dead. Not only was the smiley face killer's identity a surprise until the very end -- it was Sheriff Thomas McCallister (Xander Berkeley) all along -- he died a magnificent death literally at the hands of Patrick Jane (Simon Baker).

What happens after Jane kills Red John? ›

After he kills the real Red John, he escapes to South America, but he returns after two years to work as a consultant for the FBI.

Who is the mole in season 3 of The Mentalist? ›

Red John's mole is not Bertram, but O'Laughlin. Having already shot and killed the two members of the Sherriff's office outside of the gate, Craig is officially a leg up on Grace and Lisbon.

What happened in Mentalist after Red John was killed? ›

After he kills the real Red John, he escapes to South America, but he returns after two years to work as a consultant for the FBI.

Who ended up being Red John in the show The Mentalist? ›

In the season 6 episode "Red John", the eponymous serial killer's identity is revealed to be Thomas McAllister, the sheriff of Napa County, portrayed by Xander Berkeley.

What does Tiger Tiger mean in The Mentalist? ›

Perhaps the most popular interpretation of the poem is that the tiger represents or symbolizes evil and fear, or an incarnation of either. The lamb (line 20) is thought to represent the opposite, goodness and innocence.

How did Jane know Mcallister was Red John? ›

As a result, he obviously kept tabs on Jane via his numerous followers and stooges. When Red John captures Lorelei, she tells him that she had let slip the fact to Jane that he had shaken hands with Red John.

How did Red John stay ahead of Jane? ›

"Red Jhon's had connections in CBI, so he was spying on Jane already in his Room where he was investigating his suspects after Lorelai told him about Hand shakes through hidden Camera.

Who was the main villain in Mentalist? ›

Xander Berkeley as Red John—the show's leading antagonist (real name Thomas McAllister), a serial killer known to have murdered at least 28 people, including Patrick Jane's wife and daughter.

What happens to Kimball Cho in mentalist? ›

We hardly see his personal life in the first 3 seasons. Yet in season 4, he gets a longer storyline. He dealt with drug addiction and his girlfriend and CI, Summer. Cho joined the FBI after the death of Red John in season 6, and continues to work with Jane and Lisbon when they come to join the team in Texas.

Is Lisbon pregnant on The Mentalist? ›

In the series finale, White Orchids, Jane surprises Lisbon by proposing to her. Lisbon accepts his proposal. In front of their family, friends, and co-workers, the two get married on the property Jane bought to build their home. Lisbon reveals that she is pregnant at the end of the episode.


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