The Mentalist

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The Mentalist
The Mentalist 2008 Intertitle.png
Genre Crime drama
Created by Bruno Heller
Starring Simon Baker
Robin Tunney
Tim Kang
Owain Yeoman
Amanda Righetti
Rockmond Dunbar
Emily Swallow
Composer(s) Blake Neely
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 138 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Bruno Heller
Chris Long (2009–)
Daniel Cerone (2010–)
Eoghan Mahony (2013–)
Tom Szentgyorgyi (2010–)
Ashley Gable (2010–12)
Producer(s) Charlie Goldstein (2008–10)
Ken Woodruff (2010-)
Simon Baker (2012–)
Erika Green Swafford (2012–)
Michael Weiss (2012–)
Matthew Carlisle (2010–)
Running time 40–44 minutes
Production company(s) Primrose Hill Productions
Warner Bros. Television
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original channel CBS
Original run September 23, 2008 (2008-09-23)  – present
External links

The Mentalist is an American police procedural television series that debuted on September 23, 2008, on CBS.[2] The show was created by Bruno Heller, who is also its executive producer. The show follows former "psychic" Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), who is a consultant to the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) (and beginning with season six, the FBI), using the highly developed observational skills he previously employed to "read" people's minds.

On May 10, 2014, CBS renewed the series for a 13-episode seventh season, which is scheduled to premiere mid-season 2015 and will be the series' final season.[3][4][5]


The series follows Patrick Jane, an independent consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) based in Sacramento, California. Although not an officer of the law, he uses skills from his former career as a successful, yet admittedly fraudulent, psychic medium to help a team of CBI agents solve murders. The real reason for Patrick Jane's involvement with law enforcement is to track down the serial killer known as Red John, who was responsible for the brutal murders of his wife and his daughter.

Before the murders, Jane had a lucrative career as a con man, successfully posing as a psychic medium and enjoying near-celebrity status. Five years before the events in the show's pilot episode, he appeared on television to claim that his paranormal abilities helped the police profile a serial killer named Red John. Red John, angered by the perceived slight, murdered Jane's wife and his young daughter in revenge.

Jane subsequently abandoned his career and teamed with the CBI, using his skills to help them solve various crimes. His main focus is on the cases involving Red John or Red John copycats. He admits to faking the supernatural aspects of his skills, often asserting that "there's no such thing as psychics," yet he has finely honed skills in cold reading, hypnosis, and picking pockets, as well as powerful observational skill and a deep insight into the human psyche and behavior.

His last act at CBI was to finally find Red John and kill him. After spending two years off the grid, Jane cut a deal with the FBI to work for them, bringing with him former CBI Senior Special Agent Teresa Lisbon, the only person who seems to be able to keep Jane's theatrics and lack of boundaries under control. Jane and Lisbon work with their former fellow CBI Agent Kimball Cho, FBI Special Agent Kim Fischer, are supervised by the no-nonsense Supervising Special Agent Dennis Abbott and are now based in Austin, Texas. The rest of the former CBI team, Wayne Rigsby and Grace Van Pelt, have started their own security firm but keep in touch with their former colleagues.

Production and distribution[edit]

The show often sets episodes in fictional locales with names like Salinger Mill and Rancho Rosa. Like the majority of American television shows, The Mentalist is mostly filmed within the studio zone in Los Angeles County, but occasionally films a few scenes on location in Sacramento. The structure used to represent the CBI headquarters in Sacramento is the back of the Pico House in downtown Los Angeles. On October 15, 2008, CBS ordered the first season of The Mentalist[6] and the show has subsequently been renewed annually since 2010 both in the domestic market and overseas.[7][8][9]

TNT began syndicating The Mentalist in the fall of 2011.[10]

In November 2013, it was confirmed that Amanda Righetti and Owain Yeoman would be leaving after season six concluded.[11]

Cast and characters[edit]

Lead actor Simon Baker in 2013
Jane spent his childhood in traveling carnivals with his mean-spirited con-man father who taught him to see all outsiders as marks. After meeting his wife, Angela Ruskin, who was also a carny, the pair left carnival life. Honing the skills his father taught him, Jane became a successful psychic and medium. Jane, using his 'psychic' skills, went on television and gave an unflattering profile of the serial killer Red John. Red John retaliated by killing Jane's wife and daughter, Angela and Charlotte Jane. Patrick suffered a mental breakdown and was hospitalized. After leaving the hospital he decides to work as a criminal consultant for CBI so he can stay close to the Red John case in hope of finding Red John so he can, as he told Teresa Lisbon, "kill him". He has developed close friendships with his colleagues, especially his boss, Senior Special Agent Teresa Lisbon. He is driven by inconsolable remorse over the deaths of his wife and daughter, and while he usually presents a jocular, teasing face, he shows his darker side when dealing with his nemesis. At those times, Jane becomes intense, focused, and willing to go to great lengths to capture and even kill him. He owns a classic French automobile, a robin's egg blue Citroën DS 21 Pallas as a tribute to the series Columbo in which Lt. Columbo owns a Peugeot 403, and is an avid tea drinker like Hercule Poirot.[12]
  • Robin Tunney as Senior Special Agent Teresa Lisbon—a senior special agent with the CBI and leader of the Serious Crime Unit.
Though Jane often annoys her with his unusual behavior, she views him as a valuable member of the team. Likewise, she is the only member of the team Jane trusts with details of his past. Lisbon's mother was killed in a drunk driving accident, leaving her to care for her brothers and her abusive, alcoholic father. Her team is responsible for the Red John case, although the responsibility for catching Red John was taken over briefly by Sam Bosco, her mentor when she was a junior agent, until he and his team were murdered by one of Red John's operatives. Lisbon is captured by Red John in the episode "The Desert Rose".
  • Tim Kang as Special Agent Kimball Cho—a special agent with the CBI and a member of Lisbon's Serious Crime Unit.
Cho has a dry, deadpan sense of humor and is good friends with team member Special Agent Wayne Rigsby. He is often the one who sees through Patrick's parlor tricks. Although he was secretly called Ernie by the Bosco team (who also refer to Rigsby as Bert), Cho claims not to mind as "Ernie's the clever, handsome one". He was a member of a street gang, the Avon Park Playboys, which garnered him a juvenile, though sealed, record and time in juvenile hall. He enlisted in the Army, serving in the Special Forces, before becoming a police officer. Because of his difficult childhood, Cho often tries to befriend young people who have committed crimes but are not yet lost causes.
  • Owain Yeoman as Special Agent Wayne Rigsby—a special agent with the CBI and a member of Lisbon's Serious Crime Unit.
Rigsby serves as the team's arson specialist, leaning on his two years as a San Diego arson investigator. Rigsby is good friends with Cho and has developed romantic feelings for another team member, Grace Van Pelt. Although against regulations, the two began seeing each other secretly. Although the pair later ended the relationship, after it became public, to protect both of their careers, they remained close friends, until their wedding in season six. Rigsby has had to endure various professional and personal difficulties as a result of the actions of his father, a former career criminal involved in a notorious biker gang.
She has a deep belief in spirituality and mysticism and will butt heads with Patrick when he dismisses supposedly psychic phenomena or otherwise does or says something offensive or inappropriate. She continued to be close to Rigsby even after their romance ended. She has a subdued personality and is very organized, which leads Jane to deduce during the first season that this is because she is hiding some deep emotional trauma. She was engaged to FBI Agent Craig O'Laughlin, whom she was forced to kill after he was revealed to be a Red John operative intent on killing Teresa Lisbon and Madeline Hightower. She and Rigsby eventually rekindle their relationship and are married in season six.
  • Rockmond Dunbar as Supervisory Special Agent Dennis Abbott—a supervisory agent with the FBI in the field office in Austin, Texas.
  • Emily Swallow as Special Agent Kim Fischer—a by-the-books agent of the FBI and Abbott's subordinate.


Season Episodes Originally aired DVD release dates Blu-ray release dates
Season premiere Season finale Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 Region A
1 23 September 23, 2008 (2008-09-23) May 19, 2009 (2009-05-19) September 22, 2009 (2009-09-22)[13] March 8, 2010 (2010-03-08)[14] September 23, 2009 (2009-09-23)[15] October 1, 2013 (2013-10-01)[16]
2 23 September 24, 2009 (2009-09-24) May 20, 2010 (2010-05-20) September 21, 2010 (2010-09-21)[17] November 8, 2010 (2010-11-08)[18] November 10, 2010 (2010-11-10)[19] TBA
3 24 September 23, 2010 (2010-09-23) May 19, 2011 (2011-05-19) September 20, 2011 (2011-09-20)[20] October 10, 2011 (2011-10-10)[21] November 2, 2011 (2011-11-02)[22] TBA
4 24 September 22, 2011 (2011-09-22) May 17, 2012 (2012-05-17) September 18, 2012 (2012-09-18)[23] October 8, 2012 (2012-10-08)[24] November 7, 2012 (2012-11-07)[25] TBA
5 22 September 30, 2012 (2012-09-30) May 5, 2013 (2013-05-05) September 17, 2013 (2013-09-17)[26] October 14, 2013 (2013-10-14)[27] October 16, 2013 (2013-10-16)[28] TBA
6 22 September 29, 2013 (2013-09-29) May 18, 2014 (2014-05-18) September 30, 2014 (2014-09-30)[29] October 20, 2014 (2014-10-20)[30] October 8, 2014 (2014-10-08)[31] TBA
7 13[32] 2015 (2015)[33] TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA


Critical reception[edit]

The first season of The Mentalist received mostly positive reviews, with critics being divided on the procedural format but praising the performance of Simon Baker. On Rotten Tomatoes, season 1 had an overall rating of 59% from 17 critics, and 76% from audiences, with the consensus saying "The setup and episodic storytelling is far from original, but The Mentalist distinguishes itself from other procedurals mostly due to the talents of Simon Baker."[34] On Metacritic, season 1 has a score of 65/100, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[35] Robert Bianco of USA Today felt the pilot episode lacked in originality but praised Baker, saying "The Mentalist may be a copy, but it's a well-done copy sparked by an actor who has come into his own as a TV star."[36] Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe said "the CBS show has very little dramatic heft or distinction, but it's wily and brisk enough to engage you for an hour." Gilbert also praised the chemistry between Baker and Tunney, but criticized the crime cases, feeling they were predictable and at times uninteresting.[37] Mary McNamara of The Los Angeles Times praised Baker as "virtually irresistible" and said "...psychological sleight of hand can't fill an hour every week. For that you need complicated, interesting crimes and complicated, interesting characters solving them. "The Mentalist" seems prepared to deliver just that."[38]

The pilot episode had an audience of 15.6 million viewers in its first airing, and 7.8 million in a re-airing three days later.[39] The December 2, 2008 episode, "Flame Red", was the highest-rated television show of the week, marking the first time a program in its first season had achieved that distinction since Desperate Housewives four years earlier.[40]

U.S. ratings[edit]

For the ratings of individual episodes, see List of The Mentalist episodes.
Season Time slot (ET) # Ep. Premiered Ended TV season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere
(in millions)
Date Finale
(in millions)
Tuesday 9:00 pm
September 23, 2008
May 19, 2009
16.82[42] 2008–09 6 17.52[43]
Thursday 10:00 pm
September 24, 2009
May 20, 2010
15.22[45] 2009–10 10 15.37[46]
3 24
September 23, 2010
May 19, 2011
14.11[48] 2010–11 9 15.24[49]
4 24
September 22, 2011
May 17, 2012
13.09[51] 2011–12 12 14.57[52]
Sunday 10:00 pm
September 30, 2012
May 5, 2013
9.17[54] 2012–13 24 11.82[55]
6 22
September 29, 2013
May 18, 2014
9.69[57] 2013–14 26 11.27[58]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Director of Center for Inquiry West & IIG West, James Underdown presents editor Jimm Gadd with award August 21, 2010


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External links[edit]