The Mentalist – Red Letter Day

by Alan Rapp on April 15, 2013

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: The Mentalist – Behind the Red Curtain
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The Mentalist - Red Letter Day

The CBI are called in to investigate when the owner (Stephen Macht) of a run-down Wild West tourist down is found murdered in his office. Jane (Simon Baker) and Lisbon (Robin Tunney) talk to the victim’s widow (Wendy Phillips) and son (Eyal Podell) as well as the rather odd Chief of Police (Antonio Jaramillo) to get a feel for the victim and the town. Cho (Harry Groener) talks with the head of the town’s Wild West show who had motive given the almost bankrupt victim’s plans to sell the land the that the Old West town stands on. Looking for other suspects, Jane and Lisbon head into the town’s saloon to talk with a local bar maid (Tamara Mello), but all they learn is the victim was generous to a fault and everyone, except perhaps their unknown killer, loved the man.

Cho and Risby (Owain Yeoman) look into the latest burned down meth lab just outside the town which piques Risby’s curiosity when he discovers someone went to an awful lot of trouble to make sure the fire didn’t spread outside the cabin and into the woods. They discover the Chief of Police was burning down the fake meth labs to push people away from the town and lower the price of the land. They also learn that the one person the victim didn’t treat all that well was his wife, especially after he’d been drinking which he’d been doing far more of the last month since and old enemy was released from prison.

Having some fun at the expense of the town’s magician (Kevin Cahoon), who he infuriates to the point of quitting, Jane takes over the act in order to give him the time and space necessary to perform one of his trademark stunts and reveal the identity of the murderer. The episode also includes a subplot of Homeland Security Agent Kirkland (Kevin Corrigan) sending men into the CBI to copy Jane’s work on the Red John case. After discovering the intrusion, which he was waiting for, Jane appears amused rather than upset as he continues narrowing down the Red John suspect pool.

The Old West town gives the episode a unique setting for the murder investigation and Jane’s discovery of the killer, and the unseemly secret which led to the brutal act, also means only more unhappiness and distress for the other members of the tourist town. I applaud the casting of Mello who works well here even after a long layoff from Hollywood. As to Jane’s amusement over Kirkland’s actions, it is possible that Jane has created an elaborate wild goose chase for the Homeland Security agent to busy himself with or it might be nothing more than a test by the mentalist to see what Kirkland can discern on his own about the identity of the serial killer who killed Jane’s wife and child.

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