There came a point in my TV viewing life that I felt good shows were no longer being produced. Instead we were being given a steady diet of ‘reality shows’, none of which have ever been worth the time of day. A few years ago however, the television landscape began to change a little bit and scripted series were becoming better and better. You still have to plow through the weeds to find the roses, but when you do…
“The Mentalist” is just such a series. I became a fan when I reviewed the first season set back in 2009 and now that I’m four seasons in, I have yet to find a lag in the quality. The protagonist of the series is Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), who works as a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation. In his former life, he was a highly successful ‘psychic medium’ who on air ‘reading’ angered a serial killer known as Red John. This led to the murder of his wife and young daughter, causing his life to spiral out of control.
Though he was a fraud, Jane does have the ability to do cold readings and has highly sensitive observational skills. He uses these skills to help the C.B.I. track down killers, but his ultimate goal is to take revenge on Red Jack.
“The Mentalist” is a wonderfully scripted series, made all the better by Simon Baker’s amazingly charismatic performance. Watching him ‘work’ is always a joy to viewers, especially in the fact that his seeming lack of social skills or etiquette always ends up angering someone. While the premise, and often his actions, are a bit overboard, Baker always manages to make every moment seem completely plausible.
Robin Tunney also stars as Senior Special Agent Teresa Lisbon, and while she is generally exasperated by Jane’s actions, she cannot deny his abilities. The pair has a strong chemistry and shows in every scene. The rest of the team is made up of Special Agent Kimball Cho (Tim Kang), Special Agent Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and Special Agent Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti). All of the characters are perfectly cast and the banter that goes on between them always seems completely natural.
The first three seasons of “The Mentalist” had the continuing arc of Jane’s attempts to ferret out Red John. The season three finale was a masterpiece and the cliffhanger ending had my jaw dropped to the floor for at least an hour after it ended. Well written and extremely well-acted, it was one of the best finals I had seen in quite a while.
When we received the fourth season DVD set for “The Mentalist”, it took approximately 38 ½ seconds for us to put the first disc in the player. The first episode thankfully dealt with the finale and for the most part, put it to rest. While I can’t say it was a perfectly satisfying episode, it was still quite entertaining and set the stage for the rest of the season. The 24 episodes that make up season seven were every bit as good as what had come before. I am not seeing any sign of this series slowing down. As I mentioned previously, some of the plot points may seem a bit contrived, but the performances of the cast completely sell it.
The DVD set does not offer up much in the way of specials features. There is only one, in which members of the real LAPD Homicide Task Force profile their counterparts in the TV series.
“The Mentalist” ranks high amongst the best that TV has to offer. If you’ve been missing it, shame on you. Pick up all four season sets, watch them and prepare for a dynamite fifth season.
Little Red Book
Pretty Red Balloon
Ring Around the Rosie
Blood and Sand
Where in the world is Carmine O’Brien
Blinking Red Light
Fugue in Red
Always Bet on Red
My Bloody Valentine
Red is the New Black
At First Blush
War of the Roses
His Thoughts Were Red Thoughts
Pink Champagne on Ice
Something’s Rotten in Redmund
So Long, and Thanks for All the Red Snapper
Red Rover, Red Rover
The Crimson Hat
Starring: Simon Baker, Robin Tunney, Tim Kang, Owain Yeoman, Amanda Righetti
Extras: CBI: Behind the Badge
Specifications: 1080p High Definition (1.78:1); Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Release Date: 9/18/2012