The Mentalist's (Second) Biggest Mystery Solved! Plus: Is Closure for Another Storyline Coming?

Mentalist TupperwareThis Sunday at 10/9c, CBS’ The Mentalist will at long last solve a mystery — one not involving Red John so much as… a beige-ish plastic bowl.

That’s right: We are about to find out what J.J. LaRoche is hiding in that Tupperware container.

RELATED | Scoop on The Mentalist‘s Season Finale Surprise for Lisbon

The mysterious tub was first alluded to in the procedural’s Season 3 finale, when Jane — having had a thief break into the home of the CBI’s Internal Affairs boss — leveraged the discovery of said item and its contents in a trade for a list of RJ suspects. Executive producer Daniel Cerone, who penned Sunday’s episode, titled “Red & Itchy,” says that while some on The Mentalist’s staff were content to leave the Tupperware’s contents a mystery, he craved resolution.

“Writers will often do things or create mysteries that are handy in the moment, and a lot of times they’re story devices – the classic MacGuffin, something everyone is chasing or provides a purpose to the story. And one of the big reasons why we planted that [Tupperware idea] was… to create a way for Jane to blackmail LaRoche in that season finale,” he explains to TVLine. “Now, some of the writers on this show believed that it’s better left to the imagination. If you’ve ever heard J.J. Abrams’ TED talk, he uses mystery boxes to tell stories, and I think many of our writers would have been happy to let it lie. But I felt compelled to open it.”The Mentalist Season 5 Mystery Solved

But can the contents of a food storage product possibly be worthy of such drama, and such concern for LaRoche, should his secret get out?”Absolutely,” Cerone insists. “If the secret of the box were to be revealed, LaRoche’s career would come to an end.”

Having written the episode that first introduced Pruitt Taylor Vince‘s character to the CBI team, Cerone says, “I’ve always been fascinated by him, because the way I wrote him he was borderline Asperger’s Syndrome, somebody who was not a social animal but very smart and very driven. And what this episode does is turn a card over. And by the end of it, Jane and LaRoche go on a bit of a journey together. We learn some secrets about LaRoche that help us understand him better down the road” — including why he become an IA officer.

While we wouldn’t dare disclose here what lies inside, Cerone says that the matter of whether the contents required an airtight container “is one of the questions the episode explores,” and that the answer is “definitely darker-themed.” He also shares that while viewers will be let in on the secret, Jane will continue to keep it under wraps.

But the Tupperware tale is not the only storyline getting some resolution this Sunday. Reiterating that he is “someone who doesn’t like loose ends,” Cerone says the episode afforded an opportunity to tie up two of ’em. “There’s another storyline that this episode will also close,” he teases. “It’s an open-ended storyline that occurred earlier this season and that I’m sure people thought we’d forgotten about, but we have not.”

Oh yeah, and the same episode also features a case to be cracked, though it’s almost incidental. “There’s a dead body at the beginning of the episode, but that mystery is solved by the end of Act 1,” Cerone says. “The driving mystery is what’s in the box.”

Want more scoop on The Mentalist, or for any other show? Email and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

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  1. Nerwen Aldarion says:

    Is the second “loose end” the fact that Brenda worked for Volker? That would be nice to see that resolved.

  2. Alichat says:

    Heh….I have that exact piece of Tupperware sitting in my fridge.

  3. Nadia Cureton says:

    i wish they’d solve the RJ mystery already. Maybe there won’t be anymore show left but I’m really getting tired of it.

    • lilu says:

      I’m tired that there is no clear clue who is Red John so everyone and their unborn children can be him and at the same no one is Red John. It has no progression at all. I’m watching the show, because of it’s plot and it sits in one place.

      • Scott says:

        CBS have a special portal on their The Mentalist website which lists the 30 most likely candidates who can be Red John. There is also a video there which guarantees that by the end of this season’s finale, the list will be narrowed down to just 7 people, one of whom is Red John. So with 20+ episodes next season, I would hope it’s fairly likely by this time next year we’ll know who Red John has been all along.

        • Moonchild says:

          Good because I have stopped watching it but this made me read the story – so I will watch tonight! when Jane slept with that woman & the whipper snapper (the last Chief) was murdered, I couldn’t take it anymore – being no closer to WHO RJ is & then the idea that perhaps it is JANE – I couldn’t take that!

      • nptexas says:

        Lazy, lazy writing. Sometimes I think even THEY don’t know who is RJ. It’s like that haven’t made a decision so there are 30 suspects! Really? 30!? Please

    • GMom100 says:

      Me too!! I love the show, but I’m getting really sick of Red John. I haven’t watched many shows this season because of the sports delays. Time Warner Cable does not recognize the later times AND they don’t carry it on the prime On Demand! Big bummer!! Also, I have trouble with buffering on the CBS website. Therefore, I’m kind of behind on what all is happening.

      • TVDIVA says:

        If you have a computer and internet access, you can watch the show for free the next day on the CBS web site.

      • nptexas says:

        You haven’t missed a thing. Just read a few recaps & you’re good. This show is on my “hate watch” list albeit way below The Following. What a waste of my life hours. Lol.

    • nptexas says:

      Ditto! So tired of the way they’ve handled this for a long time!

  4. I think Red John will be solved next season in the series finale.

    • SWOTD says:

      Wrong. The show will go on after that mystery is solved. No need to end the show.

      • Enri says:

        I think it’ll end up running for 7 seasons. I did just read an article on red blog saying red John will be caught in season 6. I love the mentalist.

      • @SWOTD says:

        Yes. If the Red John thing goes I don’t really mind. I tune in for Jane and Lisbon and Cho and Rigs & Van Pelt. This show is great and still has a lot of time left in it without needing Red John. Besides his minions could pop up or something later. If so many people are tired of Red John, I don’t want his character bleeding viewers. And it seems everywhere I go people are talking about being tired of him. I just want to keep my show. That matters far more to me than Red John.

  5. Bonnie Maynes says:

    I love the hunt fo rRed John. It’s fun to guess who. I hope they do get Brenda. I love the Mentalist.

  6. Natalie says:

    Ugh. I’m so glad he’s tying up two loose ends. Daniel Cerone is awesome. He and Bruno are two of my favorite television writers. Thanks for this great article, Matt. You always do great interviews. :)

  7. J says:

    Thanks for the scoop, Matt!

    So looking forward to this episode. LaRoche is a very interesting character and I can’t for the life of me figure out what could be in the Tupperware container. The last ep that Jane and LaRoche teamed up was fun to see.

    The Mentalist keeps getting better and better!

  8. L says:

    Thanks so much for this, Matt! It’s always good to read stuff about The Mentalist, especially since we don’t get much to start with.
    Very excited about the Tupperware storyline and hopefully finding out what’s up with Brenda.
    The Mentalist just gets more and more exciting – the finale looks amazing!

  9. Moria says:

    Hey I get to be the first to point out the actor’s name is Pruitt Taylor Vince, not Pruitt Vince Taylor. Always liked the actor – although the conspiracy theorist in me is convinced his real name is Vince Taylor Pruitt & he changed it to be arty.

  10. Maria says:

    The tupperware from two seasons ago!! I forgot all about that, so unless the contents lead to Red John’s identity and move the story forward I’m not sure I still care. We need to seriously move closer to finding Red John already.

  11. Alaura says:

    Sooo what is in the tuperware????? I have no clue what it is?

  12. Torontoron says:

    Well, tongues are certainly wagging over this Tupperware box.

  13. John says:

    I’m tired of the Red John storyline. I find myself tuning it out when it is focused on him, catch him already and move on.

  14. TongueTupperware says:

    Lol, I taste what you did there, Tonrontoron. :D

    Lol, what’s something you need to keep hidden from people and from smelling…

    Well, apparently if you want to have revenge on someone for raping your mother, I guess you can do several things…

    Like cutting off their penis, their hair, their eyes, another body part, or maybe just killing them…

    Who would ever cut someone’s tongue off, anyway.
    Certainly not JJ Laroche.

  15. Chris says:

    Hmm…so what was actually in the Tupperware….Does Jane even know or has he been bluffing it since season 3? Nobody actually looked inside or did they?

    Red John will be someone no one suspects but who? Someone close to Jane…..

  16. Rachel G. says:

    Seriously, I could watch this show with the sound off – who doesn’t like watching Simon Baker! But the plot lines are excellent, well thought-out and clever. The Red John story arc is not the longest-running in TV history, and it is what drives Patrick Jane. Why would any think that the search for your spouse and child’s killer be tiresome? All of the characters are strong and could stand alone.

  17. Morisot says:

    Ugggg. When the promos said that after this season there will “only” be SEVEN suspects left — I gave up.

  18. Matt says:


    • ellen8 says:

      DIdn’t the last scene with Lisbon give you a hint?

      • Lord says:

        Speaking of the last scene in the tupperware episode.. Did anyone take notice of the mother…was that Lauren Bacall??? I would bet money on it!!!

    • Redjohn says:

      Red John himself is there in the box! This show is driving me nuts! Please someone catch this Red John and kill him or either kill me! Dexter is a far better show than this one..

    • Shannon says:

      The Tongue of the suspect that killed LaRoche’s mother.

  19. moving says:

    Great blog post. Its useful information.

  20. Redjohn says:

    Theresa Lisbon is Red John.. Mystery’s solved..Now, end this show!!!!!

  21. Redjohn says:

    In the first episode of season 5 “The crimson ticket” Theresa Lisbon said confidently and with a bit of arrogance “Women can strangulate too” to Van Pelt.. I think Lisbon is Red John..

  22. Shannon says:

    I am re-watching the seasons past and I think it is interesting that a lot of the “moles” pawns etc seem to be connected to Van pelt in some way. The FBI guy tried to kill Hightower, the lawyer dude try to kill Jane, Van Pelt has also been used a lot of times as the bait etc..
    I just found it curious and it is probably nothing but still makes one think about things.
    I still think Red John has more power/pawn w/in the CBI then we know still. Some things seem to contrive for Red John to know w/o having first hand knowledge about things. Especially when he appears to be always one step ahead of him. I am looking at the 7 of the top suspects but to me 3 of them definitely seem out of there and probably are definitely not red John and would be an insult if they were. I definitely do not think Bret Stiles is Red John because that would be too obvious and lame, but I do think he is friend’s with Red John and it amuses him to see Red John torture Jane. How else would Stiles be able to get the address of Kathrine the psychic lady w/o being friends with Red John. It could also be he funds Red John in exchange for probably keeping the cops at bay of his “cult”.
    I still think Red John has clout within law enforcement and power to pull a lot of strings.I still think Red John is older based on season 1 finale when the deputy stated Red John was a family friend, friend of his father’s and based on that info than Red John can be concluded as being older than Jane. Granted hopefully the writers when revealing who Red John is that they line everything up with all the clues we have been shown/mentioned etc..

  23. Shannon says:

    The one thing please don’t do is make one of Lisbon’s team or her herself a mole for Red John because that would be ludicrous.

  24. Welcome Steinbach! We are so thrilled to welcome you into the Fruit Share friends and family we all know you are planning to like it!

  25. Brad says:

    Red John is either Patrick Jane himself or a character not yet introduced played by Kevin Spacey.