Net closes in
The riddle at the heart of Nine’s The Mentalist may be close to being solved. Guy Davis finds out more about the mystery of Red John from series creator Bruno Heller and star Simon Baker.
For years now, Patrick Jane, the intuitive, occasionally infuriatingly smug hero of The Mentalist has been using his remarkable skills of insight and observation to help the authorities bring a wide variety of baddies to justice.
But there’s one overriding mystery that has driven Jane over the course of the series – the search for “Red John”, the serial killer who murdered Jane’s wife and child.
Clues have been uncovered, leads followed and a list of suspects compiled, and at the end of The Mentalist’s last season Jane had narrowed it down to seven possibilities.
But here’s the thing: Jane’s secret list wasn’t so secret after all. Red John knew the
Iidentities of the men Jane suspected. And as the show enters its sixth year on the air, it’s becoming clear a final showdown between the two long- time adversaries is approaching.
Australian actor Simon Baker, whose performance as Jane has proven to be his big US break, and Mentalist creator and executive producer Bruno Heller recently took to the publicity circuit in the US to discuss what lies ahead in this new season, and particularly to discuss the culmination of the Red John mystery.
“That list of seven makes a kind of quantum leap forward now that Jane and Red John
Heller: “If and when Red John is caught, we want to find out what happens to Jane and Lisbon after that because so much of Jane’s life has been defined by that hunt for Red John.”
realise the endgame is nigh,” Heller said, adding “things move fast and explosively and excitingly over the first few episodes [ of the new season]”.
According to Heller, the seven suspects on Jane’s list play a pivotal role in the season’s early stages, with Jane and his colleagues at the California Bureau of Investigation, including Serious Crime Unit boss Teresa Lisbon ( Robin Tunney), working feverishly to determine which one is the killer.
And without wishing to spoil anything for Mentalist devotees, it has been confirmed Red John’s identity will be revealed.
It’s a bold move for the show, especially considering the mystery surrounding Red John has been a central part of The Mentalist since its inception, but Heller believes the series can thrive once that mystery is resolved.
“It felt very much to all of us like that chapter of the story was done,” he said.
“Frankly, I think the great asset and value of the show is in Baker’s head and what he does. Red John was a feeling in the show and an objective. But in terms of the momentby- moment pleasures of the show, those are delivered by Simon Baker and his people, not by Red John.