||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (December 2013)|
|Red John (Thomas McAllister)|
|The Mentalist character|
|First appearance||"Red Hair and Silver Tape"|
|Last appearance||"Red John (episode)"|
|Portrayed by||Simon Baker (Voice, in "Red Sky In The Morning", "The Crimson Hat" and "The Desert Rose")|
|Aliases||Roy Tagliaferro; Dr. Joe N.H.; McAllister.|
|Occupation||Sheriff of Napa County, California|
Red John is a fictional character and the primary antagonist of the CBS crime drama The Mentalist. As a serial killer, he's believed to have begun his killing spree in 1998, and has, with his operatives and acolytes, killed more than 70 people in California, Nevada, and Mexico, throughout his murder spree. Five years prior to the action of the first episode, he murdered the wife and the daughter of Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), making Jane his dedicated nemesis.
In the season 3 finale, "Strawberries and Cream (Part 2)", Jane encounters a man in a shopping mall who convinces him he is Red John and whom he subsequently kills. The man was portrayed by Bradley Whitford. However, after this "cliffhanger" episode, over the course of the first several episodes of Season 4, Jane determined that the man he killed, Timothy Carter, although a psychopathic killer himself, was not Red John but one of Red John's many operatives.
In the episode "Red Sails in the Sunset", Lorelei Martins, a Red John operative, who goes astray after Jane convinces her that Red John murdered her sister, Miranda, accidentally reveals to Jane that he has already met Red John and shaken his hand. Jane compiled a list of men whose hands he has shaken and eventually narrows the list to seven names. Lorelei, however, is captured by Red John, whom she refused to name to Jane, breaking a promise she had made, and reads a pre-mortem message from Red John threatening to go back to killing "a lot" until Jane captures Red John or vice versa. In Lorelei's message from Red John, she names the seven men Jane had narrowed down his list to include, indicating that somehow Red John has gotten inside Jane's mind, although Red John doesn't deny being one of the seven men.
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. After unmasking himself to Patrick Jane, McAllister discloses that he is the founder and overall leader of the secret organization known as the Blake Association.
- 1 Character profile
- 2 The Face and other signatures
- 3 Tyger Tyger Conspiracy: The Blake Association
- 4 Victims
- 5 Appearances, accomplices, and copycats
- 5.1 Face-to-face
- 5.2 Todd Johnson and Red John impersonator
- 5.3 Red John still at large
- 5.4 James Panzer and Susan Darcy's investigation
- 5.5 Ninth anniversary of Jane's wife and daughter's death
- 5.6 Jane's breakdown and Red John's proposal
- 5.7 Lorelei Martins
- 5.8 Visualize
- 5.9 Bob Kirkland and Homeland Security
- 5.10 The Seven Suspects
- 5.11 The Final Hunt
- 5.12 Kirkland's Ambition and the Final Clue
- 5.13 The Blake Association
- 5.14 The Reveal and Death of Red John
- 6 References
The number of people in series who claim to have met "Red John" is limited. Although Patrick Jane learns that he has met Red John and shaken his hand at some point, Jane only discovered Red John's true identity midway through season 6. Nevertheless he relentlessly pursued Red John, and ultimately in Season 5 narrowed his list of suspects to seven.
The information below reflects speculation before the character's identity was revealed in the series.
- Red John is male. This can be determined from reports of Rosalind Harker (Alicia Witt), a blind woman and former lover of Red John who first appears in the episode "Red John's Footsteps". Harker's description, if it is to be believed, further states that he is "just under six feet tall, with short, straight hair, not muscular but not soft, with strong hands". Her testimony may be considered somewhat suspect as she seems quite fond of him, regardless of what the CBI agents tell her, and is one of the few, if any, people to be around him who is still alive.
- He has gone by the alias "Roy Tagliaferro," the name by which Harker knows him. This name may be related to his work with iron, as Virgil Minelli first realizes "Tagliaferro" means "cut iron" or "cutting iron" ("taglio" = "cutting" and "ferro" = "iron") in Italian. He has also used the pseudonym "DR. JOE N.H." (an anagram of Red John) or "Doctor Joe in New Hampshire" when accessing the CBI secure network.
- He appears to be white, based on the appearance of his bare hands (Red John holds a cup of tea with his left hand in the season 4 episode 13 "Red Is The New Black"), which seem to be those of a Caucasian male.
- He is quite literate. Familiar with the poetry of William Blake, Red John quoted a line from the poem The Tyger to Jane at the end of season 2. This same line was spoken by another Red John associate, Todd Johnson, directly to Jane shortly before Johnson died after being burned alive by FBI agent/Red John operative Craig O'Laughlin.
- He works occasionally with others. His first known accomplice was named Orville Tanner, though Tanner died in prison. Tanner's son, Dumar, appears in the episode "Red John's Footsteps" as another friend of Red John. Other accomplices of Red John have been revealed as the series has progressed, including some inside the CBI itself (Sam Bosco's secretary Rebecca in the episode "His Red Right Hand"), others outside the CBI who admire him and perform their own murders, such as Todd Johnson (who appears in the episode "Red Moon"), some whose inside information likely provided Red John with detailed data on Jane and his CBI team (such as Craig O'Laughlin, who is revealed to be a Red John operative in "Strawberries and Cream Part 2"), and others who have been "sent" to communicate with Jane (such as Lorelei Martins in "The Crimson Hat"). Each "disciple", as Jane calls them ("Red John doesn't have friends. He has tools."), exhibits fierce and complete loyalty to Red John, and each is disposed of, often by his/her own hand, after serving his or her limited, albeit important, function.
- He either has extensive knowledge of computers, or employs someone with such knowledge to assist him, as he has on several occasions accessed (either through hacking or the assistance of an insider) what Agent Grace Van Pelt refers to as the "CBI secure network" (the first time this occurred was in the season 1 episode "Red John's Friends").
- In his criminal history, Red John's initial method of killing was with a handheld linoleum cutter. A "textbook Red John" murder (according to Agent Kimball Cho in the first season pilot), consisted, at that time, of the use of a stun gun to subdue the victim, followed by "binding with tight black plastic ligatures, frenzied cutting and stabbing assault of the torso, and subsequent abuse of the viscera". If his victim is sleeping, Red John is believed to awaken him or her to see and revel in the terror of his victim. This was Red John's early style of murder, but in subsequent seasons he has killed by other means, including poison and, in at least one instance, a handgun.
- He is a member and mentor of an organization of corrupt people in law enforcement called the "Blake Association" and has a tattoo of three dots on his left shoulder.
The Face and other signatures
As part of his criminal signature, Red John draws a smiley face on the wall with the blood of the victim—always clockwise (except when it was portrayed in skywriting in "Red John's Footsteps"), using the three fingers of his rubber-gloved right hand. Patrick Jane says in the pilot episode, "Red John thinks of himself as a showman; an artist. He has a strong sense of theater ... the first thing that anyone sees is the face on the wall. You see the face first and you know. You know what's happened and you feel dread. Then, and only then do you see the body of the victim. Always in that order."
Jane uses this information to work out that an apparent Red John murder was a copycat crime. Red John has twice painted his victim's toenails with their own blood. Both were female. The first was Patrick Jane's wife, Angela, to strike a personal blow against Jane for derogatory comments Jane made on television about Red John. Years later, knowing the case would be intercepted by the California Bureau of Investigation team and that the reminder of his wife's death would make Jane furious, Red John painted the toenails of a young girl, to lead Jane into a trap.
Red John's victims have been mostly female, with some exceptions, such as Jared Renfrew (Todd Stashwick) in the season 1 episode "Red John's Friends", a man Jane helped to be released from prison on the condition he would give Jane information on the whereabouts of Red John. Fearing Red John, the man escaped Jane's custody before giving any relevant information. Later that day, the man contacted Jane to explain that he would be of no further assistance, although this doesn't save Renfrew's life. Jane used background noises from the conversation as a starting point to find this man, but Red John got to him first, killing both Renfrew and the prostitute Renfrew had been with. In the Season 2 episode "His Red Right Hand", it is revealed another man was killed when he interrupted his wife's murder at the hand of Red John. Jane believes this occurred early in Red John's career and that Red John made a "mistake" due to his inexperience. Jane believes Red John removed the body from the crime scene (something he had otherwise not done) to bury the mistake. In the Season 2 finale "Red Sky in the Morning", Red John and Jane meet when Red John rescues Jane from kidnappers; however Red John wears a mask that obscures his face. Red John also kills the two kidnappers, one of whom was male, but leaves a boy who the kidnappers blackmailed into looking like a criminal alive. In the season 4 episode "Blinking Red Light", Red John kills James Panzer, a blogger and serial killer known as the San Joaquin killer, after Panzer has been goaded by Jane into insulting Red John on television. Jane did this because he could think of no other way to protect society from Panzer.
In Season 4 premiere, Patrick Jane says that Red John's victims are "nearly all women, late at night, in their homes. He wakes them first, because he likes to see the fear in their eyes. He likes to hear them beg for mercy as he cuts them open."
In the episode "The Scarlet Letter" (season 2, episode 2), Jane tells Senior Special Agent Sam Bosco that "Red John doesn't make mistakes. He doesn't leave clues. If you have new evidence, it's because he wants you to have it. The question isn't 'What does it mean?'; it's 'Why did he give it to you?'"
Bruno Heller, show's creator, has said that Red John isn't a "pathetic loser who is hiding out in a basement somewhere", and that Jane is "not fighting the Green River Killer. He's fighting Moriarty." In addition, "Jane and the audience are coming to the gradual realization that this is a much larger task than it seemed at first. It's like those Amazon tribesmen who throw spears at passing airplanes, then come to realize those planes are the seeds of a much larger civilization that is coming down on them." Like Moriarty, Red John has a network of agents, willing to kill or to die for him. In a radio interview Heller has also stated: "Red John is really just a personification of death, I mean it's that simple. Patrick Jane is very much alive and is very much about being alive in the face of death. And Red John is the fate that awaits us all in the end."
Tyger Tyger Conspiracy: The Blake Association
In the season finale of the second season, a William Blake theme is introduced, when a person, whom we believe at the time to be Red John, saves Patrick Jane from being killed under the direction of deranged slasher-movie makers Ruth and Dylan. Jane is tied with saran wrap to a chair and, while he is immobilized, Red John recites the first verse of the William Blake poem "Tyger, Tyger":
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In subsequent episodes (season 3), Jane wonders about this but doesn't tell anyone that Red John recited it to him. In episode 9 of season 3 (Red Moon), serial cop killer Todd Johnson is burned alive. While in the ICU, with Jane the only person present, Johnson whispers in his dying breath "Tyger! Tyger!". This makes Jane conclude that there is a connection between Johnson and Red John, but he doesn't tell anyone about this either.
During subsequent episodes, it becomes clear that Red John either has an inside man in the CBI or is himself working within the CBI. In episode 16 of season 3 (Red Queen), the new director of the CBI, Gale Bertram, also recites William Blake. This time it's from another poem, called "Cradle song". The two lines he recites are these:
And when thy little heart doth wake,
Then the dreadful night shall break
Jane is not present at the time of the reciting, but it is quite out of character for Gale Bertram to recite poetry, and the fact that it is a poem by the same author is probably more than coincidence. In the season 5 finale, it is revealed that Bertram is one of Jane's seven suspects.
In the season 3 finale, Jane tells the entire team all that he knows and recites the first verse of the "Tyger! Tyger!" poem. Kimball Cho knows the poem very well and recites the first two lines of the second verse:
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
When discussing what the poem means, Cho says, "Well, God made the lamb, but he also made the tiger. You can't have light without darkness. Life without death." This is also the mindset Red John's accomplices follow to act on his orders. In Cho's interpretation, he refers to a third, and earlier poem by William Blake, called "The Lamb" to which "Tyger! Tyger!" is a response or a further musing on the different parts of creation and the reasons for them, as started in "The Lamb". Actually, Blake himself refers to "The Lamb" in "Tyger! Tyger!", in the last line of the fifth verse:
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
In the season 6 episode "Red Listed", there is a revelation by Bob Kirkland as to what "Tyger, Tyger" means. Kirkland reveals to Smith that corrupt officials use the term "Tyger, Tyger" to cover up dirty work done under law enforcement. Smith pretends to know nothing about "Tyger, Tyger" until he shoots Kirkland in the back six times, after which he tells the driver, who belongs to the same organization, "Tyger, Tyger". The driver replies with the same phrase.
In the season 6 episode "The Red Tattoo", a woman named Kira Tinsley is murdered by a man with a tattoo containing three dots - she reveals this to Jane in her final moments. Jane, believing that the man who killed Tinsley was Red John, gathers his five remaining Red John suspects into one location, only to find that three of his suspects have the identical tattoo of three dots, revealing that they are all part of the "Tyger, Tyger" group of corrupt officials.
In the season 6 episode "The Great Red Dragon", Red John suspect Reede Smith decides to hand himself in after the same organization he is part of attempts to kill him, in the same way he killed Bob Kirkland. Once he is alone with Lisbon and Jane, he reveals that he is a member of The Blake Association, that they use the phrase "Tyger, Tyger" to identify fellow members, and that Red John is also a member of the Association. He explains how he came to join the Association after accidentally shooting a girl. The Association promised to clear his name and protect him if he agreed to join them and follow any instructions given to him, including murder.
As of Season 5, Red John had killed a number of people, mostly women. In the series pilot, a copycat killer claims in a letter that he has killed 12 women (he claims to have "12 wives" in the letter). This means that only 11 women had been killed by the real Red John at the time of episode one. In the episode "Red Dawn", when Jane first joins the CBI, he states at that time Red John was known to have killed 10 people. After Jane kills Timothy Carter, he tells the jury that Red John killed "at least 28 people".
- Unnamed Victim- Red John's first known murder is done with the assistance of Orville Tanner, himself eventually arrested and sent to prison, where he dies.
- Subsequent unnamed victim:
- Janet and Carter Peak - According to Agent Cho in the episode "His Red Right Hand", Red John's 3rd and 4th victims. When Red John kills Janet Peak he is surprised by her husband, whom he is then forced to kill. In the same episode, Red John is discovered to have then buried Carter Peak's body, which is subsequently found, one of Red John's few "mistakes". The DNA evidence on Carter Peak's body is sought out by Sam Bosco and his team, and eventually Patrick Jane, but is never located as "Agent Rojo" removes the evidence before the CBI can examine it. Agent Rojo turns out to be Rebecca, Bosco's secretary and one of Red John's associates.
- Subsequent unnamed victims - Red John and/or his operatives kill others, who have not yet been named.
- Angela Ruskin Jane and Charlotte Anne Jane - Patrick Jane's wife and daughter, killed by Red John in retaliation for Jane's insulting remarks toward and about Red John on national television. Angela's toenails are found painted in her own blood, something Red John has never done (and repeats only once, some years later.) A year or so after their deaths, Jane joins the CBI. Red John paints his signature smiley face on the wall of Jane's bedroom in his Malibu house, where it remains.
- Miranda Martins - In the episode "Red Sails in the Sunset" it is revealed that sometime in the past Lorelei's sister, Miranda, was found raped and tortured, chained alone in a warehouse, where she died of heat suffocation. Etched in the floor was the word "ROY", which Jane takes as a sign that, before her death, she was identifying her murderer as "Roy Tagliaferro", an alias of Red John. It was confirmed in the 16th episode of the 5th season ("There Will Be Blood") by Jason Lennon, a Red John operative, that Red John was responsible for her death.
- Jared Renfrew and Juana Porfiria Braga - Renfrew, who knows Red John presumably through his own association with the late Orville Tanner, is murdered with Braga, a prostitute, in Tijuana in the episode "Red John's Friends". Although Jane is aware that Red John wishes Renfrew out of prison to "get him out in the open" and therefore vulnerable, Jane assists Renfrew's escape and manages to secure new evidence proving Renfrew's innocence. Renfrew abandons Jane, and is murdered shortly thereafter without providing any useful information. The painted smiley face is left above the bodies, along with the words "He is Mac", which could have been scrawled by one of the victims as a possible clue.
- Emma Plaskett - Plaskett is killed in the episode "Red John's Footsteps".[why?] Her corpse appears with Red John's signature cutting style, and her toenails are painted red in her own blood, just as Jane's wife's had been. This, along with a skywritten signature smiley face, alerts Jane that Red John wishes him on the case. Her twin sister is allowed to live, however. Although Plaskett was stabbed and cut in Red John style, her body is found outdoors.
- Dr. Towlen Morning - Killed in the episode "His Red Right Hand", Morning was Janet and Carter Peak's doctor. He is murdered in an unconventional way for Red John (frozen and his body displayed in public). He is presumably killed due to his possession of DNA records concerning the death of Carter Peak, a rare mistake in the early days of Red John's killing spree.
- Marlon Hicks - A member of Sam Bosco's team. Hicks is killed in typical Red John style and his corpse is left under Red John's signature smiley face. He is presumably killed for examining the files of Dr. Morning that could implicate Red John.
- Rebecca Anderson - Bosco's secretary who kills two of Sam Bosco's team and mortally wounds Bosco in "His Red Right Hand", is killed by Red John, after she is captured by the CBI, by some kind of fast-working extremely toxic substance introduced subcutaneously.
- Jacqueline Sandoval - Sandoval is killed in the season 2 episode "Red Sky in the Morning", shortly after a television broadcast in which she interviews purported psychic Kristina Frye about Red John. Sandoval's comments on Red John ("that horrible Red John") lead to her being killed in typical Red John style, with the smiley face signature painted on her wall. Frye disappears, presumably kidnapped, and left in a near comatose state.
- Dylan and Ruth - Amateur film students & budding serial killers who after killing Sandoval in the above episode, are killed by Red John since they imitated his style of murder to make a snuff film. In this episode, a masked Red John quotes to Jane a line from the William Blake poem, "The Tyger". The students are shot and stabbed to death by Red John.
- James Panzer - In the season 4 episode "Blinking Red Light", Panzer is secretly a serial murderer himself, the "San Joaquin Killer", and is murdered by Red John after a televised interview in which Jane goads Panzer into insulting Red John - Jane realized that Panzer is going to keep on killing and that there is no other way to protect society from him. At the time of the interview, both Panzer and the public assumed that Red John had been killed by Jane (in the finale episode of Season 3). It is not clear if Red John is aware of Jane's stratagem or the underlying reason, but Panzer nonetheless dies in typical Red John slash/stab style, and the smiley face is painted above his corpse.
- Lorelei Martins - Lorelei is first introduced in the fourth season finale as a cocktail waitress, and is later revealed as one of Red John's friends. In season 5 episode 16, "There Will Be Blood", she is found dead under Red John's smiley face after Jane turned her against Red John by convincing her that Red John murdered her sister, Miranda (see above). In the same episode, Lorelei shows her capacity for violence, killing Julia Howard, who played a role in Miranda's death, after brutally interrogating Howard and extracting information. Lorelei fatefully reneges on her promise to reveal Red John's identity, telling Jane she has "done a lot worse [things than breaking a promise]". She later shoots Jason Lennon, another Red John operative, a seemingly respectable philanthropist and society figure, who played an even larger role in Miranda's killing, critically wounding him. (Lennon is later killed in his hospital bed by Homeland Security Agent Bob Kirkland.) Red John tortures and kills the rebellious Lorelei after forcing her to make a pre-mortem recording to Patrick Jane, telling Jane that he is going to go back to killing "a lot" until Jane finds him or vice versa.
- Eileen Turner - Eileen Turner (née Barlow) was a fellow "carny" and childhood companion of Jane from his carnival days. A younger Eileen being lifted in the air by her father on the Fourth of July was one of the few memories that made Jane happy. Her murder in the fifth season finale marks Red John's return. Turner was betrayed by a social worker, Miriam Gottlieb (played by Laura San Giacomo) who wanted Turner's baby and just happened to be an "old friend" of Red John. The social worker commits suicide in the back of a police car by swallowing what appears to be a cyanide pill. A video in which Lorelei Martins, shortly before she herself is to be killed by Red John for treachery (she sought to kill him for having murdered her sister), reads Red John's words; his reference to killing a happy memory of Jane's was born out by Eileen Turner's murder.
- Brett Partridge - Partridge was a forensics Agent who was introduced in the very first episode. At the end of season 5, he, along with six other men, are revealed to be Red John suspects. At the end of the sixth season premiere, he is found severely and mortally wounded by Red John. Before dying, he says "Tyger, Tyger," to agent Lisbon. This was the same poem that Red John and Todd Johnson recited to Jane.
- Sophie Miller - Miller was Jane's psychiatrist after his nervous breakdown. She was a suspect in her husband's murder, but was exonerated by Jane. In the second episode of season 6, Jane attempts to contact her after assuming that Red John learned about the connection between Eileen Turner and him. After not receiving an answer to his two calls, Jane goes to her house to find her severed head in her oven. Jane learns that Red John visited her as a patient under the alias, "Jay Roth". He is described as being middle-aged, in good health, victim to certain phobias, an excellent whistler, and slightly narcissistic.
- Charlie- Charlie was a guest at a wedding in Napa. At the wedding chapel, he tried to steal a very expensive bible, but was caught in the act. He therefore killed the only witness, Uncle Larry. When Jane and Lisbon discover that he is the killer, he takes Jane hostage. While on the roof of the chapel, Red John/McAllister climbs up a ladder reserved for tree trimming and shoots Charlie in the torso. This is the second time that Red John has saved Jane's life.
- Kira Tinsley - Tinsley was hired by an unknown client to play a love interest to Agent Kimball Cho. As a private investigator, she planted a listening device in the CBI offices. When Jane discovers that it was not Visualize who employed Tinsley, he concludes that Tinsley was either hired by Red John or is one of his many operatives. He hurries to rescue her, but is too late and arrives just as Tinsley is about to die. She reveals to Jane that her attacker has a tattoo on his left arm of three horizontal dots, which she draws on her arm using her own blood.
- Bret Stiles - During the meeting with the 5 remaining Red John suspects, a concussion bomb goes off. This knocks out everyone in the room except Red John who knew of the bomb in advance. Since Red John knew that he was no longer safe because he possessed the "Blake Association" tattoo, he faked his own death. By doing this he knew that the one of the two other members present in the room, Gale Bertram or Reede Smith, would be pinned as Red John. Red John dragged Jane, Bertram, and Smith out of the room where the second explosion would go off. This time a lethal one, which killed Bret Stiles.
- Ray Haffner- Along with mentor Bret Stiles, he perished in the second explosion at Jane's house during the Red John suspects meeting. Since he and Stiles weren't members of the "Blake Association", Red John figured he and Stiles had to die, in order to protect himself.
Likely killed by Red John
- Ron Deutsch - A security guard and Red John operative who is a first responder after Jane kills Timothy Carter in the season 3 finale. In season 4, it is revealed that Deutsch had removed evidence from the scene that would have confirmed Jane's account, including Carter's cell phone and gun. Deutsch is electrocuted in his bathtub by Red John or another Red John operative.
- Baris Acar - A morgue attendant who lets Jane look at Timothy Carter's corpse and whose face Jane has the blind Rosalind Harker feel to examine the features, which Harker confirms are not those of "Roy" (the alias by which she knows Red John). Acar is interviewed by Susan Darcy in the episode "Red is the New Black". Acar's body is later found dead in Harker's closet. It is not clear why he was killed, as he had no new information to provide, but his death directly resulted from Darcy's interference in Jane's activities.
- Martin Talbot and Alan Charney - Two members of a fictitious cult-like group, "Visualize", who lived and worked at Elliston Farm, a farm owned by the cult, in 1988, a decade before "Red John" became known as a serial killer. The decomposed bodies of the men are discovered in the season 5 episode "The Red Barn" and subsequently identified as possible early victims of Red John, as the barn in which their bodies are found bears the characteristic bloody "smiley face" design, albeit on its outside wall.
- Michael Kirkland - In the season 6 episode, "Red Listed", Robert Kirkland explains that his brother joined Red John's following after their mother had committed suicide to escape from their abusive father (who later drank himself to death). Kirkland states that, after his brother had joined Red John, he never saw or heard from him again and believes him to be one of the countless victims.
Indirect victims/killed by Red John associates
Red John's disciples or operatives are willing and ready to assist him, including in acts of murder to either sabotage investigations or influence events. Almost all die after serving their purpose(s). These include:
- Unnamed police officer - The officer is shot in the chest by Dumar Tanner, the son of Red John's first accomplice, Orville Tanner. Dumar is shot moments later by Patrick Jane.
- Sam Bosco, Nick Martinez, and Mark Dyson - They are all killed by Rebecca who tells Jane that, "Red John thought you'd understand. I got rid of Bosco and his team so that you could have the case back. Red John misses you. And it's what you wanted too. Isn't it?"
- Todd Johnson - Red John associate who has killed several police officers, including his own uncle. When Johnson is captured by the CBI and suggests he has information for Jane, Red John has him burned alive by FBI Agent Craig O'Laughlin, one of Red John's highest-ranking disciples. Madeline Hightower is later framed for the Johnson killing.
- Manuel Montero - A successful archaeologist and friend of Todd Johnson - they were on the same football team. Montero was found dead in a museum. It is unknown if he was killed by Red John or one of his operatives, such as O'Laughlin.
- Alan Dinkler - In the episode "Strawberries and Cream", he is killed as a pawn to get information, via a bomb vest that explodes while he is wearing it. Anthony Gupta, who detonates the vest, is another Red John associate. Gupta himself is fatally shot by Agent LaRoche in an escape attempt. In the same episode, O'Laughlin murders two police officers, before he himself is killed.
- Max James - In the episode "Strawberries and Cream", it is revealed that Anthony Gupta tortured James, Madeline Hightower's cousin, to death while trying to get Hightower's location for Red John.
- Unnamed assassin (committed suicide) - Hired by O'Laughlin to kill Hightower in the episode "Strawberries and Cream". The young woman leaps to her death from a hotel window rather than allow herself to be taken into custody by the CBI.
- Two Deputies- These two deputies were shot in their heads by O'Laughlin, while protecting Madeleine Hightower.
- Luther Wainwright - The CBI boss is found gagged and bound in the backseat of the limousine driven by Red John's operatives, the unnamed bodyguard and Lorelei Martins. Wainwright has been shot to death in the back seat, possibly by Susan Darcy during the firefight, in the fourth season finale.
- Julia Howard - Howard worked at the women's shelter where Lorelei Martins' sister stayed temporarily. When Lorelei discovered that she was involved with her sister's death, she tortures her, then kills her.
- Gale Bertram - The CBI director is killed by the Blake Association member, Oscar Cordero.
Appearances, accomplices, and copycats
At the start of the series, Red John was initially known as simply a serial killer who tortured and murdered mostly women, with at least eleven confirmed victims by the series' premier. However, Red John's persona would become much more mysterious as any individual who would come close to disclosing any crucial information regarding the killer to Jane would wind up dead themselves, implying that Red John is far more than just an average serial killer and has deep connections throughout the state. It would later be revealed that Red John has a multitude of followers that see him as a savior who gave their life a purpose and willingly aid him in his various plans and murders in gratitude for what he gives them, which can range from a new life, an occupation, or some form of compensation. His followers do not simply aid him, but worship him and willingly give their lives for his cause, refusing to ever reveal any information about their leader or how they met him. Jane soon realizes that Red John is more powerful than he could ever imagine, having connections in law enforcement and an entire cult of brainwashed followers under his complete control and at his beck and call.
The character of Red John himself remained largely unseen from the beginning. His face was confined in the shadows when he escaped from the abandoned house in the first-season finale. He may have appeared as a slim, dark-haired CHP motorcycle officer (blue turtle neck, rather than blue tie) to poison Rebecca using his left hand; he is also seen in flashback in "His Red Right Hand". In the second-season finale, "Red Sky in the Morning", a man claiming to be Red John appears in the flesh, wearing a black sweatshirt, apron and pants, black rubber gloves, a pair of charcoal boots, and a grotesque rubber mask that distorts his face, making him look a little similar to what many believe the real life serial killer Jack the Ripper donned during his murder hunts. In the episode, Red John saves Jane from two student filmmakers who had copycatted Red John murders.
During the encounter, Red John keeps his face hidden behind a mask, preventing Jane from identifying him. Before leaving Jane, Red John recites the first stanza of William Blake's poem, The Tyger. This poem is alluded to numerous times throughout the series, before and after its reveal to Jane, with its contents making up the backbone of Red John's philosophy (implying the reason for why it is his favorite poem) of there being no such thing as life without death or light without darkness, something he tells his followers to get them into the correct mindset for their murders and exploits.
There have been further developments in season 5. In "Red Sails in the Sunset", Lorelei Martins reveals, in a moment of pique, that Red John is someone Jane knows by telling him that he and Red John are very much alike and she is surprised that they didn't become best friends as soon as they shook hands.
Todd Johnson and Red John impersonator
In the episode "Red Moon", Jane exposes an EMT worker, Todd Johnson (Josh Braaten), as a serial cop killer. After being locked in a holding cell in the CBI headquarters, Johnson says he will only talk to Jane, as he claims only Jane will understand what he has to say. When the guard returns with Jane, Johnson has been set aflame and is writhing on fire. On his death bed, Johnson says to Jane, "Tyger, Tyger", indicating he is in some way connected to Red John. The reason behind Todd Johnson's cop killings is left unclear, but later seasons, along with Johnson's knowledge of the phrase 'Tyger, Tyger', would imply that their deaths were in someway connected to the 'Blake Association', a massive and secret organization of corrupt cops and other law enforcement agents that is controlled anonymously through Red John himself. Red John most likely ordered Johnson to murder various police officers who were close to discovering his society or were members themselves (perhaps indicating why one of Johnson's victims was burned alive as to hide the organization's tattoo, which is marked on all members to better ensure loyalty), who failed to complete their orders or were planning on turning themselves, and the association by extension, over to the authorities.
When Johnson realized that Red John would never let him live while he was in custody and surrounded by potential corrupt officials, he was prepared to reveal everything he knew to Jane, before he himself is killed by another Red John operative, but still managed to utter the society's main form of communication to Jane. Jane then begins a secret investigation of his own to track the killer. Red John, in the meantime, decided to exploit the opportunity to use Johnson's murder as a means to target another individual close to Jane and additionally cover up the identity of Johnson's true killer, who also served as his secret informant on the CBI. Meanwhile, Special Agent J.J. LaRoche (Pruitt Taylor Vince) tries to find who killed Johnson. He ultimately suspects Supervising Agent Madeleine Hightower (Aunjanue Ellis), due to DNA evidence that Jane believes has been planted by Red John or one of his accomplices. Hightower escapes by pretending to take Jane hostage. Jane hides the innocent Hightower in the trunk of Agent LaRoche's car, and advises her to remain in hiding, not only to evade the police but due to the danger represented by Red John. Hightower goes to stay with her sister.
In the season 3 finale, "Strawberries and Cream Part 2", the mole is identified as Grace Van Pelt's fiancé, FBI Agent Craig O'Laughlin (played by Eric Winter); O'Laughlin attempts to assassinate Hightower and instead shoots Lisbon, and is then himself shot dead by Hightower and Van Pelt in tandem. In a mall, after Gale Bertram leaves in a huff over Jane's wasting of his time, Jane, on a call with Lisbon during the shootout, tells her to use O'Laughlin's cell phone to redial the last number and tell the one who answered that O'Laughlin is dead. When Lisbon does so, a phone rings near Jane and is answered by a man (Timothy Carter, played by Bradley Whitford) reading a newspaper and speaking in an odd voice. After ending the call, Jane approaches the man and questions him. At first, the man appears upset and threatens to call security, but then smiles and says he was joking and claims he is Red John. The two talk; the man reveals to Jane that he has a gun concealed in a folded newspaper and states that he is tired of killing and wants to start a new life, and encourages Jane to do the same. Jane says he will not be able to move on until Red John is dead. The man begins to leave, but at Jane's insistence answers a question, revealing details about Jane's wife and daughter that Jane mistakenly presumes only Red John could know. Jane shoots Carter with a gun he has hidden in his pocket. In Season 4, Carter is shown to have been a Red John operative imposter.
Red John still at large
In reference to the season 3 finale, the series creator, Bruno Heller, has stated: "What you get from that scene is what you should get. The viewer is supposed to be convinced. Patrick Jane is certain it's Red John... The thing is, Red John is a master of the mind game. If Red John wanted to die, maybe this is how he wanted to die. Or maybe he just wants Jane to think he's dead." In the season 4 premiere it is revealed that Ron Deutsch, the bald security officer at the mall, was a Red John operative who removed crucial evidence from the scene. Jane comes to believe the man he shot was not Red John, but Timothy Carter, a twisted business man who, with his equally twisted wife, Sally, had kidnapped a young woman Debbie Lupin, in whose search the couple cynically pretended to join. Jane tricks Sally into revealing the girl's location. Sally is arrested by Lisbon and taken into custody, not to be heard from again, as she commits suicide in jail. Jane convinces a jury that Carter was Red John and is acquitted, although Jane is already beginning to have doubts about that.
In "Little Red Book", Lisbon arranges a meeting with Agent J.J. LaRoche, who is apparently leaving Major Crimes, to see Sally Carter, who committed suicide by sharpening a spoon, leaving a note about how lost she was now that her "God" (by which she presumably means Timothy Carter) is dead. But Jane, still not satisfied Carter was Red John, brings Rosalind Harker, the blind woman who had a relationship with Red John, to identify Carter's body. She feels his face and told him that she had never met the man before, confirming Jane's suspicion that Red John is "still out there somewhere".
James Panzer and Susan Darcy's investigation
By the episode "Blinking Red Light", it is now widely believed that Red John is dead, with Jane and Lisbon the only ones aware he is still alive. One of the people believing Red John to be dead is James Panzer, a blogger pretending to devote his life to find a serial killer known as "the San Joaquin Killer" (abbreviated SJK, who has killed at least five young women). In reality, Panzer is the killer. Jane suspects Panzer but initially lacks the proof to expose him. When he and Panzer both appear on Karen Cross's television talk show discussing the SJK case, Jane recognizes Panzer has to be stopped and goads Panzer into comparing Red John unfavorably to SJK. Panzer rises to the bait, making bold statements that the SJK killings were the work of a genius and Red John by comparison is a "common sociopath, lazy, sloppy, delusional" and already forgotten since Jane killed him. Panzer then makes the same mistake made by Jane and Kristina Frye: belittling Red John in a public forum. A couple of hours after the television appearance, Panzer is found murdered, with Red John's smiley face painted in blood on one of the walls near his body. Panzer's murder proves Jane's theory that Red John is still alive. This makes Panzer Red John's ninth male victim.
By the episode "Always Bet on Red", the FBI had investigated Panzer's murder and believed that a copycat of Red John was now active. The agent in charge, Susan Darcy (Catherine Dent), begins pressing Jane for confirmation that he did kill Red John. At this time, Red John is shown to be stalking Darcy via an uploaded video called "I Dare You" on the Major Crime server, which shows her in her apartment, unaware that she is being filmed. The cameraman uploads an infobox saying, "She's cute, this is going to be fun". Jane reluctantly frames the late Thomas Maier, father of Panzer's first victim, for killing Panzer as revenge for SJK's victims - Maier had recently committed suicide. The FBI closes the case, presumably leaving Darcy safe, as she will presumably drop her inquiry.
In the episode "Red is the New Black", Jane's efforts are later exposed and undone when Darcy refuses to let the case go after finding too many discrepancies. Darcy interviews Rosalind Harker, Red John's blind ex-girlfriend and also the attendant of the morgue that Timothy Carter's body was taken to following his death. Darcy subsequently realizes that Red John was still alive even though Jane has kept up the deception. Later, Harker contacts Jane and happily reveals Red John, once again under the alias "Roy Tagliaferro", has come to visit her for tea, promising to "sort things out" with Jane and Darcy. As Harker speaks on the phone, a slim man, holding a tea cup in his left hand, and dressed in a smart, dark-coloured suit, is sitting nearby; Harker, when asked, confirms that "Roy" is present and listening.
Jane, fearing Red John will kill Harker, alerts Lisbon and Darcy, and they proceed to her house with an FBI SWAT team. Upon arrival, they find Harker alive and unhurt, playing her piano alone, seemingly sad that Red John "couldn't stay". Darcy notices a blood trail leading to a nearby closet, which, when opened, reveals the murdered body of the morgue attendant, confirming that Red John is still alive, either following Darcy or with access to the information in her files and/or her comings and goings. All of the Red John files were delivered to Darcy by CBI Director Wainwright, himself killed shortly thereafter by either Red John or a Red John operative.
Ninth anniversary of Jane's wife and daughter's death
In the season 4's penultimate episode "Red Rover, Red Rover", Jane receives a message from Red John: an envelope with the words "Happy Anniversary" under the wiper of his car. In the cemetery where Jane's wife and daughter are buried, a little girl named Hailey (Emma Rayne Lyle) approaches him and says, "Hello, Patrick." When Patrick asks how she knows his name, she says, "Your friend told me," and reveals the red smiley-face painted on her hand. She says, "He told me to ask you a question ... 'Do you give up yet?'" Hailey tells Patrick the man is white, was wearing a baseball cap, and had an odd voice. Lisbon says to Patrick that Red John wants to play with his mind. Later in the episode, Patrick burns all the CBI files of Red John, presumably out of despair, and the next morning says, "He's right... it's time to give up ... nothing's working. Nothing. It's just a game, and he keeps winning. The only way for me to stop him is if I stop playing."
Jane's breakdown and Red John's proposal
In the season 4's finale "The Crimson Hat", after being fired from the CBI, Jane finds himself in a Las Vegas bar, where he meets an attractive woman named Lorelei (Emmanuelle Chriqui). He gets arrested. Lorelei bails him out, and the two make love in Jane's apartment. The next day, Lorelei reveals herself as an associate of Red John and says her presence in Jane's life is "a gift". She brings forward Red John's proposal for friendship and a 'change' in Jane's lifestyle to help him overcome his depression. Jane is shocked and tells Lorelei to get out. However, he later confides to Lisbon that his breakdown had been tailored to get Red John to believe Patrick was really giving up. Red John communicates through Lorelei that he will only meet Jane in person if he kills Lisbon and brings him her head as a "present". The CBI team executes a plot where they fake the murders of Lisbon and Rigsby at the hands of Jane, and the team goes into hiding. On hearing this over the news, Red John sends a message to Jane to meet him in Nevada. Darcy is investigating the apparent deaths of Lisbon and Rigsby. She discovers that the body found does not belong to Rigsby and gets arrest warrants issued against the entire team involved in the deception.
Meanwhile, a limousine pulls over in the middle of a deserted street where Jane is waiting. Lorelei and a huge, armed man emerge from the car, and she claims Red John is inside. Lorelei looks at the box Jane is bearing and asks if it contains a football or a cabbage. He tells her it is a melon, specifically a honeydew. She does not react angrily, apparently since Red John (and thus she) became aware of Jane's deception. Lorelei does have her assistant beat Jane up "a little". Jane sits in the front seat of the limo while a dark, shadowy figure sitting in the back whose voice is distorted with a radio transmitter, and whose face is not visible, greets Jane. He tells Jane that he was fooled for a while by Jane's plot but was apprised of the truth by a "good friend" inside the FBI. At this moment, Lisbon and her team, who were to move in and arrest Red John, are arrested by Darcy and her squad. Lisbon, cuffed on the side of the road, tells Darcy about the plan and the imminent danger to Jane's life. Just as Lorelei is about to reluctantly punish Jane by cutting off two of his fingers, the CBI and FBI teams arrive. Jane emerges unharmed. The FBI fire bullets at the fleeing limousine, which stops. Lorelei is arrested unhurt, although the driver/bodyguard is killed. Darcy opens the back door, which reveals CBI Director Luther Wainwright, bound and dead, with a cell phone attached to his body. Lorelei is interrogated at the CBI by Jane and Lisbon. She refuses to speak about Red John but tells Lisbon that she and Jane have been lovers, calling Jane "lover" frequently. Jane tells Lorelei that she will eventually reveal what she knows and walks out of the room, ending season 4.
In the season 5 episode "Red Sails in the Sunset", Lorelei Martins reappears in a women's prison, having been removed from CBI custody by the FBI. She remains loyal to Red John, and when Jane (with the aid of Bret Stiles (Malcolm McDowell) has her broken out of prison, she expresses shock and disappointment that her liberator is Jane, not Red John. Jane discovers Lorelei previously had a sister, who was murdered some years prior. Lisbon faxes him a photo of the crime scene where the word "ROY" can be seen scrawled on the floor next to the sister's body – information that had been withheld from the public at the time of the murder. This suggests to Jane that Red John (who has used the alias Roy Tagliaferro) was the killer, a fact that Jane reveals to Lorelei, who, angry at an earlier deception by Jane, tells him that "you're just like him, you know that? Relentless manipulation... I only wonder why the two of you didn't become lifelong friends from the moment you shook hands." This slip of Lorelei suggests that Jane has met Red John in the past. However, Lorelei refuses to believe Jane about the murderer. Alerted to Jane's whereabouts, the CBI begins to close in on the pair, but Jane allows Lorelei to escape, telling her to "find the truth" for herself and come back to him when she realizes Red John used her.
Lorelei reappears in episode 16 of season 5, "There Will Be Blood". This episode reveals two new accomplices of Red John: Julia Howard and Jason Lennon, well-regarded citizens, a worker and a trustee of a women's shelter, respectively. Lorelei tortures Julia to get information about her sister's death. She kills Howard after brutally beating her. After Lorelei comes after Lennon, Jane appears to try to rescue Lennon (for Jane's own ends) and to acknowledge Lennon's and Red John's involvement in Miranda Martins' murder. Lorelei shoots Lennon, critically wounding him. After kissing Jane, she departs on a mission to kill Red John, breaking her pact to reveal Red John's identity. She tells Jane she has done "much worse [than breaking a promise]", and that she and Jane are both going to hell "on two different roads". Two weeks later, Lennon is revealed to have survived the shooting, although in a coma, while Lorelei is found dead under Red John's smiley face with Homeland Security and police at the scene. Jane apologizes to her corpse but, still peeved over Lorelei's breaking her promise to identify Red John, tells Lisbon (of Lorelei), "She had it coming."
In the fifth season episode, "The Red Barn" it is hinted that Red John may currently be or was a member of the "Visualize Self-Realization Center" church, a notorious cult with a reputation for brainwashing its members, as two bodies which fit his MO were found on a farm previously controlled by Visualize, complete with his signature smiley face on the outside of the barn where the bodies were found. The murders are revealed to have been committed over two decades ago, when various Visualize members worked on the farm until its eventual shutdown due to a lack of farming expertise, and ten years before Red John was an active serial killer who targeted predominantly women. This implies that Red John uses the cult and its techniques to recruit individuals that would make suitable followers (as many of Visualize's members come from broken families and traumatic childhoods, a trait that nearly every single Red John operative also shares) and brainwashes or seduces them to effectively control them, finally explaining how Red John recruited so many followers over the years who worship him and willing give their lives for his plans.
Rebecca Anderson, a loyal Red John operative who previously murdered Sam Bosco and his team under his orders before she herself is killed by Red John, reveals that Red John "opened her eyes to the truth" and enabled her to see the world for what it really was. This is similar to Visualize's motto of opening up potential members' eyes to the truth in order to effectively recruit them, implying that Red John uses the same philosophy to recruit his followers. Visualize is also known for teaching its members various and diverse skills, such as bomb manufacturing and advanced technology and computer uses, skills that Red John himself and many of his followers also display throughout the series. In a later episode, a private investigator named Kira Tinsley, who was hired by Red John to spy on the CBI, mentions that it was a Visualize member that hired her, confirming that Red John is indeed still a functioning member of the organization. The leader of the cult, Bret Stiles, has shown in previous seasons that he has a very thorough grasp on Red John's inner workings, hinting at a connection between the two, which seems to finally be revealed as Visualize. Whether Bret Stiles actually knows the identity of Red John appears to be debatable throughout the series, but subsequent episodes imply that, although Stiles may know Red John is connected to his organization, he does not know which member he currently is and simply uses his own resources to keep tabs over the killer's activities.
Bob Kirkland and Homeland Security
Robert "Bob" Kirkland, introduced in the retcon episode "Red Dawn", has engaged in numerous suspicious activities relating to Jane and Jane's search for Red John. In flashback just after Jane has joined the CBI, a man is seen thanking FBI Director Alexa Shultz for asking Virgil Minelli to keep the FBI updated on the Red John investigation. A couple of episodes later, the man reappears. He identifies himself as Homeland Security Agent Bob Kirkland, telling Lisbon that the Tommy Volker matter is being handled and that she should "take a step back".
After he leaves her office, he comes upon Jane. The two shake hands, and Kirkland tells Jane that he knows him, although Jane didn't know Kirkland. In the next episode, Lorelei Martins tells Jane that he had already met and shaken hands with Red John. In the episodes "Red Sails in the Sunset" and "There Will Be Blood", Kirkland and Homeland Security are shown taking deep interest in finding Red John's accomplice, Lorelei Martins, when she goes on a killing spree. Neither the CBI nor Homeland Security locate Lorelei before she is found murdered under Red John's trademark smiley face. When Jason Lennon (who admitted to being an accomplice of Red John) awakes from an induced coma, he is interviewed by Kirkland. He tells Kirkland that he remembers who shot him but says he does not recognize Kirkland. Kirkland then kills Lennon with an injection, making it appear Lennon has died of his injuries. Kirkland tells Jane that Lennon "never said a word" before dying.
In the episode "Red Letter Day", Kirkland has two Homeland Security agents break into the attic where Jane works (and occasionally lives) at CBI. They take pictures of the information on Red John that Jane has on display. Kirkland is able to reproduce a near exact version of Jane's bulletin board on Red John, presumably including the references to Kirkland himself as a suspect. Jane had had suspicions that he was being watched and realizes that his room has been broken into because he sees the toothpick he had been leaving of late between the door and the frame lying on the floor where it fell after Kirkland's men entered the premises, never noticing it.
Kirkland reappears in episode 4 of season 6. He is revealed to be responsible for killing names on a list of fake Red John suspects his men stole from Jane. Once he learns that the list was fake from Jane, he kidnaps him. At the barn where he is being held captive, it is also shown that Richard Haibach is there, one of the men suspected of being the "San Joaquin Killer." Jane is saved by Hightower and Lisbon, and Kirkland is arrested. On his way to prison, his vehicle is pulled over by FBI Agent Reede Smith. Smith informs him that the "Tyger, Tyger" quote is used by dirty officers of California Law Enforcement. Smith is one of them. When he gives Kirkland the address to a safe house, he then shoots him to death while running to his freedom. He and the driver cover it up and before departing say, "Tyger, Tyger." While Kirkland originally monitored Jane through his connections in the FBI and researched Red John on his own accord, Kirkland's findings into the existence of this criminal organization enabled him to authorize Homeland Security to openly investigate Red John, as he is a suspected member of the organization, which could pose a threat to national security and commit acts of terrorism.
The Seven Suspects
In the fifth season finale, Jane reveals to Lisbon that he has narrowed the Red John suspect list to seven names. Although those names aren't revealed until the end of the episode, Jane and the CBI investigate a Red John murder. Although it was initially believed that Red John wasn't involved in the murder, and that it was either the victim's husband or uncle, it is revealed that Red John committed the murder with the help of Miriam Gottlieb, a social worker who wanted Eileen Turner's child. Gottlieb tricked Turner into separating herself from her volatile husband and moving into a motel, where Red John struck. In transit after her arrest, Gottlieb commits suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill, refusing, like almost all Red John's operatives, to be taken alive. Before her arrest, she gave Jane a DVD from Red John, which featured the now dead Lorelei Martins, who recorded a video shortly before her own murder by Red John. Martins reveals that Red John is very angry with her for revealing that Patrick and Red John had shaken hands, and that, in exchange for her making the recording, Red John will not "make her suffer so much". The video reveals that Red John somehow knows the names of Patrick Jane's seven suspects:
- Gale Bertram (first appeared in the Season 3 premiere, "Red Sky at Night" - CBI director, revealed to be a member of the "Tiger, Tiger" organization - Final Suspect - Killed in the Season 6 episode, "Red John")
- Bret Stiles (first appeared in the Season 2 episode, "Red All Over" - leader of the "Visualize Self-Realization Center" church - presumed killed based on DNA evidence in the Season 6 episode, "The Great Red Dragon")
- Raymond "Ray" Haffner (first appeared in the Season 4 episode, "Little Red Book" - private detective, former FBI and CBI agent, revealed to be a member of "Visualize" - presumed killed based on DNA evidence in the Season 6 episode, "The Great Red Dragon")
- Reede Smith (first appeared in the Season 5 premiere, "The Crimson Ticket" - FBI Agent, revealed to be a member of the "Tiger, Tiger" organization - apprehended in the Season 6 episode, "The Great Red Dragon")
- Robert "Bob" Kirkland (first appeared in the Season 5 episode, "Red Dawn" - Homeland Security Agent - killed by Reede Smith in the Season 6 episode, "Red Listed")
- Sheriff Thomas McAllister (first appeared in the Season 1 episode, "Red Hair and Silver Tape" - Sheriff, revealed to be the leader of the "Tiger, Tiger" organization and Red John - killed by Patrick Jane in the Season 6 episode, "Red John")
- Brett Partridge (first appeared in the Season 1 premiere/pilot, "Pilot" - Bureau of Forensic Science Lead Agent, revealed to be a member of the "Tiger, Tiger" organization - killed in the Season 6 premiere, "The Desert Rose")
Red John doesn't deny being one of these men. The killing of Eileen Turner marks the beginning of a new killing spree as Lorelei tells Jane that Red John will "start killing again ... often" until either Jane catches him, or he catches Jane. Out of frustration, Jane breaks the DVD with his own fingers, and sighs while looking out his window of his room at CBI.
The Final Hunt
In the premiere of season 6, Jane is highly disturbed at how Red John could deduce who he would have on his final list two months before finishing it, as well as have so much intimate knowledge of his memories and thought process. At a loss as to what to do, Jane remains extremely cautious around the seven suspects while Lisbon goes behind his back and has all the suspects' cell phones installed with GPS trackers.
Infuriated that Lisbon went behind his back and played into Red John's hands, Jane and Lisbon have a falling out, with Lisbon eventually going to an abandoned house after receiving an anonymous tip at 5570 West Huron Street. She calls SAC-PD; however, when she arrives at the address, a lady on the line informs her that they are temporarily unavailable. She then hears a faint scream inside and enters. Inside, she finds the mutilated body of Brett Partridge, chanting "Tiger, Tiger", before dying, effectively revealing that he is not Red John. Red John, who called in the anonymous tip and abducted and placed Partridge within the house to torture and murder him, knowing that Lisbon was tracking the suspects' phones and would arrive after learning that Partridge was in the house, abducts Lisbon. He then uses her phone to call Jane, who has previously been attempting to call Lisbon to apologize for their earlier argument, and taunts him as he paints his signature smiley-face out of Partridge's blood on her face.
However, Jane and the authorities locate Lisbon, who seems to have been left unscathed by Red John, confusing her and Jane. As Jane ponders how Red John could have such intimate knowledge into his past and memories, he concludes that Red John must have had access to someone with such knowledge: Sophie Miller, Jane's old psychiatrist, who helped him regain his mental health after he suffered a breakdown in the wake of his family's murder. After repeated attempts to communicate with Sophie fail, Jane visits her house, only to find her severed head in the kitchen oven, revealing her to be one of Red John's victims.
As it is revealed that Red John stole Sophie's personal files on her patients, Jane concludes that Red John most likely came to her in the guise of a patient in order to ply her for knowledge. However, Red John didn't know that Sophie used an audio device to record her thoughts about her patients, using her unique ability to read people even if they attempt to hide their true emotions and personality. Locating an entry dedicated to a man with the last name "Roth" (a word meaning 'red'), Red John's alias when visiting Sophia, Jane listens to a detailed description of Red John's inner workings; he seems to have a case of acrophobia*, and/or other phobias, is middle aged, is in good health, has no family but many friends, is a great speaker, has good posture, is an excellent whistler, possesses hints of narcissism, and seems to be harboring something dark within himself. With this knowledge, Jane is one step ahead of Red John with an additional description to narrow his list of six suspects.
Kirkland's Ambition and the Final Clue
As Jane keeps tabs over the six remaining suspects, Robert Kirkland begins using the information he stole from Jane's room in the CBI from the previous season to make his own list of Red John suspects and begins abducting, torturing, and murdering them. Little does Kirkland know that Jane intentionally put false evidence in his room in the event that someone stole his information that pointed to seven men, all of whom were bad men, but not Red John. Jane learns from Hightower, who faked the death of herself and her family to continue hiding from Red John, that Kirkland has been keeping surveillance on Jane through his connections with the FBI for nearly a decade as he believed he might be Red John.
Jane visits Kirkland at Homeland and informs him of his ruse, which entices Kirkland to take him hostage and bring him to his brother's barn, where he has been torturing the false Red John suspects. Kirkland reveals to Jane that he also wants revenge on Red John because he murdered his twin brother (explaining why he asks all Red John associates if he recognizes his face to confirm if they knew his brother), Michael, who was persuaded to join his ranks after their mother committed suicide to escape from their abusive father, who later drank himself to death. Kirkland never heard from his brother again and since then, has dedicated himself to using his position and resources to locate Red John and kill him.
However, Lisbon and Hightower locate both of them and arrest Kirkland before he can obtain any of the names from Jane. With only five suspects left on his list, Jane tells Kirkland that he will see this through to the end and will visit him to learn everything else he knows about Red John with Kirkland agreeing to do so. En route to the prison, the transfer van is forced to pull over by Reede Smith, who approaches Kirkland and confirms a theory that Kirkland previously mentioned to him earlier that day; there is a massive secret organization (later revealed as "The Blake Association") spread across various government agencies, in which its members cover up for one another if they commit illegal operations or unethical practices.
Smith reveals that he is a member and proposes to Kirkland that he should join, as he and his superiors have had their eyes on him for a while to join. The reality, however, is that Smith was ordered by his superiors in the organization to kill Kirkland as he knows far too much to be left alive. Regardless, Kirkland refuses, believing Red John to be amongst their ranks, and prefers to be killed instead; Reede complies and shoots him with the gun belonging to the guard driving the transfer van as Kirkland begins to run to make it look like an escape attempt gone wrong. Reede and the guard then chant 'Tiger, Tiger' to each other, the password used amongst the members of the conspiracy organization. This implies that Red John may be a member of the government organization or, at the very least, have intimate knowledge of its inner workings. Kirkland is killed before any of this information can be communicated to Jane.
After Kirkland's death, Red John resorts to drastic measures to find out what Jane knows about him by hiring a private investigator named Kira Tinsley to bug the CBI. When Jane discovers the bug and deduces that it was left by Kira, who falsely pretends to have an interest in Agent Kimball Cho, he realizes that Red John is now on the hunt to kill her. Having used his skills to plant the chip used to bug CBI inside Tinsley's purse, the CBI realize Red John has visited her and can hear her being murdered via the transmitter. Jane and Lisbon rush to save her and arrive just as Tinsley is about to die. However, before Tinsley dies, she whispers to Jane that Red John has a tattoo on his left shoulder (implying that the significance of a past clue 'he is mar' to mean 'he is marked') and draws it in her own blood, indicating three dots, which Jane then smears to avoid anyone knowing what Tinsley have told him.
The Blake Association
Knowing about the tattoo and using it as his leverage, Jane plans to gather the remaining five suspects at his old house where he has ammunition. He plans to attract each suspect individually, telling them he has critical information about Red John. Jane promises Lisbon that she can accompany him during this process, but Jane breaks his promise as he is worried about the safety of Lisbon. Once the five suspects are together, Jane tells them that one of them is Red John. He pulls out his shotgun and asks that they all put their guns on the floor. He then reveals what Tinsley told him about the tattoo and asks the men to reveal their left shoulders. First to reveal is Raymond Haffner and Bret Stiles, who do not have tattoos. Sheriff Thomas McCallister reveals his arm and his tattoo, three dots, just as Tinsley described. Jane moves in to take a closer look at whom he now believes is the real Red John before Bret Stiles indicates for him to look at Gale Bertram and Reede Smith, who both have the same tattoo as the sheriff. Now that three men have identical tattoos, a new window is opened to identify who Red John is; and whether Red John also has the tattoo. It is believed that the men who have these tattoos are all corrupt government officials who use the "Tyger Tyger" phrase to cover up their unlawful work.
As Jane gathers them in his home, the house explodes with all five Red John suspects and Jane still inside. Police arrive, and Lisbon enters the house to discover Reede Smith. She identifies the tattoo and shoots Smith, wounding him, but he escapes. Lisbon then sees Bertram and tells him Smith is Red John. Bertram slips away as only Jane at this point knows he has the tattoo. An unconscious Jane is asleep at the hospital and Bertram attempts to kill him before being interrupted by Lisbon. As Jane begins to regain consciousness, Bertram flees and Lisbon and Jane deduce that either Bertram or Smith is Red John. It is also revealed through DNA testing that the other Red John suspects were killed in the blast, although no bodies were seen. Jane and Lisbon then realize that Bret Partridge was chanting the phrase 'Tiger, Tiger' to Lisbon just prior to his death in hopes that she was a member and could help him. When Agent Cho checks Partridge's body at the morgue to verify that he has the tattoo and confirm that he was a Blake member, he learns that Red John peeled away the section of skin on his shoulder where the tattoo would have been located, implying that Partridge was a member and Red John had attempted to cover up his affiliation to the group. While Smith attempts to recover from his wound, the corrupt law enforcement organization he is a part of attempts to kill him before the CBI finds him, fearful that he will reveal their secrets. After two attempts are made on his life, Smith decides to hand himself in to the CBI in exchange for protection, where he reveals that he belongs to The Blake Association after accidentally killing a twelve year-old girl as a result of paranoia induced from pain medication he was addicted to at the time; he was eventually cleared of the crime due to the Blake Association.
Since then, Smith has been a member of the group, helping fellow associates cover their own illegal acts, while developing more and more guilt over his own actions. The name of the group and its code are derived from William Blake and his famous poem 'Tyger, Tyger' implying that whoever controls the organization is an admirer of Blake's work. Smith further reveals that Red John is part of the association and that is how he managed to poison Rebecca, who was one of his followers at the time she killed Boscoe and his entire unit, as well as have so many connections throughout law enforcement. Jane then looks Smith in the eye and asks him if he killed his wife and daughter, at which point Smith states that he did not. This prompts Jane to reveal at a press conference that Red John is Gale Bertram, who has since gone on the run with the aid of a fellow Blake associate named Oscar. While hiding from the authorities, Bertram brutally murders a bartender who comes close to recognizing him on the news reports and evades capture by posing as a SWAT officer as other units, many of which he called in himself, arrive, allowing him to escape unseen in Oscar's vehicle. With so much corruption being revealed to have infiltrated California's law enforcement agencies, along with Bertram seemingly revealed as Red John, an out of state FBI team led by Special Agent Dennis Abbot from Austin, Texas, is sent to disband the CBI, at which point Jane decides to "let go" but tells Lisbon he hasn't quit in hunting Red John.
The Reveal and Death of Red John
The next day, as the FBI cleans out the CBI headquarters, Jane receives a phone call from Bertram, who is still on the run with the aid of Oscar, but cuts their conversation short when a police officer at the gas station he is calling from recognizes Bertram. Before the officer can arrest him, Oscar shoots the officer dead and escapes with Bertram. Jane bides his time until Bertram calls him again, wishing to meet him to gain a sense of closure and believing that their rivalry has ended in an honorable tie. Jane gets Bertram to meet him in the chapel at the cemetery where his wife and daughter are buried. Taking Lisbon's gun and escaping from the FBI as they attempt to arrest him, Jane meets Bertram at the chapel after being disarmed by Oscar and learns that Bertram is not Red John. Bertram reveals that he is not even a high-ranking member of the Blake Association and it is Red John who is one of the high members. He does not know who Red John is but was ordered to lure Jane to a meeting so that he can be killed, before ordering Oscar to kill Jane.
However, Oscar, also under orders from Red John, shoots Bertram dead as the real Red John enters the chapel: Sheriff Thomas McAllister. McAllister thanks Oscar and then instructs him to leave to give him and Jane time to talk. As Jane asks why Bertram had to die, McAllister reveals that, as the world now believes Bertram to be Red John, it would be a fitting end for Jane to end up dying with his supposed nemesis. The killer reveals that he has been the secret power controlling the Blake Association, having started it many years ago, and has been manipulating its thousands of members with their secrets and illegal acts, using his favorite poet 'William Blake' and his poem 'Tyger Tyger' as inspiration for the name of the society and its inner communications. With this secret organization at his disposal in conjunction with the dozens of loyal followers he recruited, seduced, and brainwashed through Visualize, McAllister formed connections all over the state to spy for him, tamper with evidence, commit murders, and aid in his plans of building up his society and cult and targeting Jane and people close to him.
While Red John gloats over his victories, Jane reveals that he knows how McAllister survived the explosion back at his home: he brought with him two bombs. One was a concussion bomb that knocked out everyone in the room, at which point McAllister dragged Jane, Bertram, and Smith away from the more deadly bomb. McAllister then brought in a dead body from the trunk of his car, which had its DNA records swapped with those of McAllister's courtesy of Brett Partridge, a member of the Blake Association whose job gave him access to the DNA primary data base and was later murdered by McAllister for knowing too much. This body was placed next to Stiles and Haffner, both of whom perished in the explosion, leaving only Jane, Smith, and Bertram alive, while McAllister escaped before the authorities arrived. McAllister knew that either Smith or Bertram would be accused of being Red John as they would be the only remaining suspects with ties to the Blake Association. McAllister had then ordered for Smith to be killed before CBI could arrest him and had Bertram, anonymously through the Blake Association, lure Jane to a final meeting before Bertram escaped the country, while also secretly ordering Oscar to aid the former CBI director and ensure his safety until Jane arrived, at which point he was ordered to kill Bertram.
Before McAllister can kill Jane, Jane hands him a handful of bread crumbs and releases a pigeon from his jacket, startling McAllister, who had displayed a phobia of the creatures in a previous episode and revealing that Jane knew McAllister was Red John before meeting Bertram and deduced his phobia, which Sophia Miller previously speculated on (also implying why he was unable to kill Lisbon previously as the house they were in during the season premiere contained pigeons). Jane then snatches a gun he taped underneath one of the pews the previous day and shoots McAllister in the torso and Oscar dead when he enters to stop Jane; McAllister begs Jane not to kill him. As Jane revels in finally knowing who his nemesis is and having him at his mercy, a startled woman enters the chapel and asks Jane to stop. As Jane tries to calm the woman and get her to leave, she reveals herself to be another of Red John's agents and attempts to slit Jane's throat with a knife. Jane knocks out the woman with a candle stand and, realizing that McAllister escaped during the commotion, chases the killer.
After being pursued through the cemetery, a neighborhood, and a playground, McAllister loses his stamina near a small pond and dials 911. Jane kicks his nemesis, knocking the phone away from him, and grasps the man's throat. As McAllister claims that he knew who would be on Jane's final list of suspects because he is a real psychic, Jane asks him two final questions to determine his honesty by looking at his eyes. Asking McAllister to blink once for no and two for yes, Jane asks if he is sorry for murdering his wife and daughter and if he is afraid to die; McAllister blinks twice to both questions. Satisfied with his answers, Jane then strangles McAllister to death.
- McHuston, L. (May 20, 2011). "Did Patrick Jane really kill Red John in season finale?". Inlandia Press. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
- Fretts, Bruce (May 20, 2011). "Cheers & Jeers: The Mentalist — And Red John Is...". TV Guide. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
- Bretts, Bruce; Roush, Matt (March 25, 2013). "Baddies to the Bone: The 60 nastiest villains of all time". TV Guide. pp. 14–15.
- Logan, Michael (March 6, 2012). "The Mentalist's Bruno Heller Delivers the Scoop: Will Jane Get Busted By the FBI?". Retrieved 2013-03-31.
- "Interview with The Mentalist Creator Bruno Heller". TV Time Machine. 2012-09-26. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- Hibberd, James (2011-05-26). "'The Mentalist' creator breaks his silence on last week's Red John finale shocker". Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- "Red Letter Day" episode of season 5.