Exclusive

The Mentalist's Amanda Righetti Confirms Exit, Teases 'Surprise' Send-Off For Van Pelt

Pink TopsWith her departure from The Mentalist on the horizon, Amanda Righetti is finding comfort in a familiar refrain: change is good.

Speaking out for the first time about her spring exit, the actress concedes, “I feel like the time is probably right,” adding, “It’s the end of one thing but the beginning of something new.”

VIDEO | The Mentalist: Red John Finale Will Feature a Twist (or Two)

Righetti, who is leaving alongside leading man Owain Yeoman, admits that she’s still in the dark about how exactly Van Pelt and Rigsby will be written out of the CBS drama. “It keeps changing,” she explains. “It’s been a little bit of a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants season. I think it was sort of an unexpected turn for the writers too, to have the show kind of be reworked this season. So everybody’s kind of trying to figure it out. And [they're] probably keeping it close to the vest so it comes as a surprise to everyone that is watching.”

RELATED | Exclusive: The Mentalist Promotes Emily Swallow to Series Regular

In the meantime, Righetti confirms that Van Pelt and Rigsby will play a role in the show’s post-Red John era, which kicks off in the Dec. 1 episode (following a two-year time jump). “Basically, they have their own private security company,” she reveals. “So we sort of are outsourced and freelanced with the FBI, and that’s how we fit in.” (Reporting by Scott Huver)

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100 Comments
  1. Mary Ann says:

    So I guess this kills a lot of people’s theory that Van Pelt works for Red John. I was really hoping they would not go that way.

    • SarahSmilesCA says:

      No it really does not kill it off. RJ never got to tell Jane how he got the list. Van Pelt makes perfect sense…their story is not done yet and both her and her boy are leaving…the producers are doing everything right now for us not to connect the dots, but it is looming on the air how he got the list.

      Yes Bertram could have hacked her computer, but it makes so much more sense if she helped him. Also there was tension in the SUV when the two were arrested…and not just because they were arrested…

    • linda sinna says:

      I agree-Why kill them off? They could at least come in and out of the show.

  2. Rebecca says:

    I still don’t like this decision. Rigsby & Van Pelt were the only reason I kept watching. Red John mystery doesn’t do it for me.

    • M. says:

      I feel you.

      I’ll miss the two of them terribly, because right now I just can’t imagine how the show will work without them.

      (Not to mention the fact that 2 original-cast members have to leave while 2 new persons were made regulars – change might be good, but it isn’t always for the best. It’s gonna be interesting to see, if the show will work after this “reboot”. But that’s just my opinion.)

      • prish says:

        Well, a security company has more leeway in the plotting, making it easier to have someone not bound by department regs help out. As long as they’re there, I’m happy.

      • Rolynn says:

        Ya, I’m having a hard time with the ‘reboot’ in fact I’m still angry over the simpleton idea of who Red John was and how it ended. It was like straight out of Murder She Wrote. Now we are shifted, as is most of the team, to having Jane within the F.B.I. It’s just not believable. I see how they are going to kill off Rigsby & Van Pelt and I think it stinks. They were all like a family within a cop show and just needed better writing. The best episodes were the earlier ones, or at least when they all worked together to save Jane’s butt.

    • Mac says:

      It is going to be like “Two and a half men” without Charlie Sheen. Something totally different from what it used to be.

      The question is why?

    • maria says:

      totally agree

    • maria says:

      they were fun to watch, good characters, good interaction with PJ Lisbon and Cho

    • maria says:

      For me was one of the reason i was watching the show. Interesting characters, good team that support help and stood next PJ.

      • Judy says:

        I agree. I don’t like the new location and the original characters, was one the he reasons I liked that show. Don’t care for the new format at all. The interaction between the original team made the show for me

    • mary walker says:

      I agree with you.I wish Righetti and yeoman, could some how be brought back. The show just doesn’t seem the same . Maybe the writers could figure something out.
      Loved the show before.

      • Pamela says:

        Yes this was a favorite because of the team. Now it’s terrible. Remember criminal minds? That was an epic fail too.

  3. CBWBDK1 says:

    Two years is a long time. I will miss those Cho and Rigsby talks, those were fantastic!

  4. nicole says:

    I’m very sad that they are leaving I hope they can stay until the very end of the season! In “TV Guide” it was also said that they have now two children together (don’t know if this number count in Ben).

  5. DreamRose311 says:

    And [they're] probably keeping it close to the vest so it comes as a surprise to everyone that is watching.

    This probably could’ve been more effective if it hadn’t even been announced they were leaving…

  6. JC says:

    Ok, well, good on one hand that neither one will be killed off this weekend, and no one on the team was working for Red John. On the other hand, this means they’re still not safe. :( It does clear up some confusion that I had earlier though, because I had thought that the initial reports of them leaving talked about it happening in the spring, which this interview confirms. But then with the Red John storyline concluding now, there seemed to be a general assumption that they would be getting written out at the same time, which also made sense with the whole Mentalist 2.0/reboot thing going on. This though makes it seem like we’ll see them around for awhile yet. Which is good. I just still want them to leave alive and together.

  7. Jeff says:

    They have their own Private Security firm and are freelanced out to the FBI. I smell a spin off

  8. Et al says:

    Are we going to have to hear about this non-stop like when that Xena woman left NCICSI?

  9. HAP says:

    Righetti was never much of an actress. She got started in the biz because she had big boobs.

  10. Not too sure how I feel about the whole two year time jump thing. I knew that the actors were leaving but a two year time jump? As much as I’ve liked this show from the beginning, hope I didn’t end up jumping ship.

  11. momsasaynt says:

    This was in the TV Guide article 2 wks ago. I am so sad they are leaving just love those 2 after they leave i probably won’t watch either.

  12. DL says:

    I like their characters, but for me they were never much more than “likeable.” They fit comfortably within the show, sure, but I’m excited to see some new blood that might be more interesting or have very distinct personalities like Cho certainly does.

  13. Pat says:

    I heard that they would be leaving when this season started, so this had already been out there. The only thing new is their departure in the spring. But does this mean the season finale in May which is the spring?

  14. tp says:

    This pushed me over to the “not watching anymore” side. My shows are quickly disappearing. Le sigh.

    • caff3inat3d says:

      Or you could like… Grow up and get over it. Your shows aren’t disappearing, you’re just being a petulant viewer. Maybe try appreciating the story rather than watching a show for one or two (trivial) characters? Actors and actresses usually don’t want to be tied to a show forever and if they do, it’s because no other work is coming in.

  15. Pat says:

    Won’t be sorry to see them go, they are both a bit wishy washy, hopefully they get some decent actors/ actresses to replace them, for a change. Don’t know if it was their idea to leave, but I think they’ll both struggle to get other parts.

    • prish says:

      I’ve done a drama major, and I see their work as superb, he with his father and Cho and she in dealing with one of them having to give up their jobs. (as well as many other scenes) Don’t forget, the actors’ job is to follow the director’s lead and tolerate the editor’s eye.

      • john says:

        No offence but a drama major doesn’t make an actor/actress superb. Yes they are fine but I did an archaeology degree and i don’t say mummies look well.

    • maria says:

      I m watching the show from season 1, and i loved the main cast. I think they are good actors, they play their roles perfectly well

  16. mantua says:

    Granted I left the show after three seasons – plan to binge-watch the rest in the future – I always felt a Van Pelt / Red John connection. If she was a tomboy as a child with short red hair, considering her body type that works for her extremely well as an adult, probably not that well as a young girl – tall for her age, athletic with broad shoulders – kids could have teased her for looking like a boy…a boy with red hair…hence her ‘nickname’ she hated…Red John. Add in some brutal bully trauma that twisted an unstable personality to begin with and you might just have a serial killer. I assume a lot has gone down since that would make this crazy – and more importantly EARLY – theory impossible to execute.

    • TJ says:

      Grace as Red John, that would’ve been a good twist. It doesn’t really make sense for a lot of reasons, but it still would have been a better twist than was seen in Heller’s “Red John” episode. For six years the show has been leading up to this and s06ep08 just seemed very anticlimactic. With this mediocre end to Red John and the departure of Van Pelt and Rigsby, it seems as though Heller is trying to get the show cancelled by getting viewers to jump ship en masse. Maybe he’s tired of the show and is ready for something else. I know the feeling.

      • cmaglaughlin says:

        The Sunday night slot after late-night NFL, combined with low demos in the 18-49 crowd, let alone the dragging out of Red John…leading to a kerplunk conclusion, does not warrant another season. Sad that the show increased by almost 3 million viewers this year, but not in the right age group. In other words, dumbed down shows like “The Big Bang Theory” appeal to advertisers…thus networks. CBS does not own “The Mentalist,” and another network picking it up is highly unlikely. I’m convinced Bruno Heller sees the handwriting on the wall and proved thus by presenting such a “boner” on Sunday! Besides, the fat lady is getting ready to sing and soon Bruno, like Judge Marilyn Milian, will say, “Stick a fork in it. I am done.”

  17. Jack says:

    Owain Yeoman is one of the most attractive men I have ever seen in my life — why oh why must he leave? :(

  18. john says:

    Michael. why a two year time jump?

  19. May I remind u of a little show called 24, that kept itself fresh with new cast members every year(other than Kiefer). Yeah, u can’t really compare the two, but retconning yourself after so long, especially after a story that pretty much defined the show, is necessary to allow it to grow and evolve. If u keep doing the same story line over and over, it gets boring and redundant. I look forward to this change, it is sad to see Amanda and Owan leave, great tal;ent they are. Besides, they could be back on our TV screens sooner than u think, it may not be the Mentalist, but I’m sure there are other projects they have their eye on

  20. barbara says:

    don’t like the sounds of two year time jump.

  21. lynn says:

    This is the last season, the show will be canceled, this is why they are wrapping things up and folks are jumping ship. Sunday nights @ 10pm is where CBS sends shows to die.

  22. That Is awful, They both help Make The Show! Bad Bad MOVE On the Shows Part!

  23. J. E. Rowe says:

    The writing has gone downhill since the first two seasons, so it may be time to take the show off the air. It’s only interesting when Jane has a worthy opponent and a clever twist to the plot.

    • Linda P. says:

      I have always preferred the episodes that were NOT about Red John. I thought the show could go on better without that plot.

      • Lana L. says:

        Thank you, thank you! I thought I was the only one! I also prefer the “non Red John” episodes. It gave the writers the much needed opportunity to come up with fresh storylines. I was honestly so sick of RJ I didn’t really care if they caught him or not. However, after watching the RJ saga unfold for 6 yrs and seeing the vast reach that RJ had, why assume that one of his followers would not take up his mantle and continue on in Red John’s name? It almost seems as tho when RJ was killed, his nationwide network of followers fell dead as well…….just a thought.

    • maria says:

      they need to bring back the main cast and the writers from the 1 and 2 season:andi bushell Asley Gable <bruno Heller etc

  24. barbara says:

    killing off characters stars just being written out makes for lousy tv

  25. misterv says:

    Amanda Righetti has a future in film so I am not surprised if she isn’t upset leaving a show close to ending it’s run where she was a supporting character

  26. Kim Cambest says:

    The Mentalist has just topped one of my all time favorite shows, LOST, as the WORST ENDING to a story line EVER! At least LOST answered some of the plot questions. Last nights episode was an insult to Mentalist fans and everyone who ever followed the Red John mythology. Shame on you Mentalist writers for the slap in the face!

    • Rolynn says:

      I wholeheartedly agree! It would have been so cool to see Red John as a middle aged, charismatic psycho. Someone you could believe, would overwhelm those women and men that were shown in episodes; lying, protecting, and killing for him. The writers were obviously told to rush the storyline up in lieu of audience numbers. The problem wasn’t Red John fever, I think it was the poor writing for some of the episodes. Murder She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder, and Monk for example. They will try the Red John thing one last time….

  27. JoyAnne says:

    I guess we all have different feelings about last nights demise of RJ. It was not how I expected but meeting RJ I thought it showed a different side of the character. As long as to the majority of people (I mean in the show) he was unknown he controlled so many. He was IMO powerful purely from being a mystery. But face to face with Jane, he was really a coward that begged not to die. So much of his dirty work was done for him by the ‘Blake’ organization. I’m looking forward to the show continuing and I’m so pleased to see it is officially renewed. I’m going to miss Grace and Rigsby. I hope they show up from time to time. One thing I’m sorry about is CBI being done away with and I’ve taken a real dislike to the new FBI character. haha. Looking forward to seeing Jane, Lisbon & Cho meting up again and back to their great chemistry working together. Judy my opinion of course. Whoops. Forgot to ask. Is the Blake organization out of business?

  28. Maxwell Rice says:

    I’m surprised by all the people that think this is the final season or that this was the final episode. It’s not, it’s just the end to the Red John storyarc. And I’m glad that it’s over. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it as much as anyone, but I’m glad that they didn’t try to find contrived ways to stretch it out any further and in doing so diminish it’s quality.

    I’m also surprised by all the people who hated this conclusion, calling it “anti-climactic,” or “disappointing,” or saying that Red John wasn’t “good enough.” Personally, I absolutely LOVED the way they handled it. Red John went out like the sniveling, cowardly, broken son-of-a-bitch he was, and it shouldn’t have been any other way. It was a much more realistic portrayal than the usual Hollywood trope of evil characters being maniacal and powerful geniuses. Real evil is born from a place of weakness, not strength, and Red John was as weak as they come. I would have been disappointed if they HAD tried to make him seem “worthy.” The entire point of how Red John’s character was handled in the end was to show us that he wasn’t worthy; he was pathetic, because that’s the sort of person who does horrible things. Subtle and brilliant writing as far as I’m concerned.

    Finally, though I am sorry to hear that Rigsby will be leaving with her, I am THRILLED that Van Pelt is being written off. She is one of the worst characters in anything ever and I’ve hated her since the pilot. Her entire contribution to this series over the years has been to continually get duped by the bad guy over and over while consistently failing to wise up and learn from her past mistakes just so she can get suckered by the next charlatan that wanders into her general vicinity. On more than one occasion she was directly responsible for setting back the Red John investigation due to her inability to use basic deductive reasoning skills and/or sensible judgement, which is ironic considering those skills constitute 90% of her job description. The only question I’m left with is whether or not the preposterousness of her character was intentional or not on the part of the writers; any real cop with her abysmal track record would’ve been canned years ago, but then again, it’s not very likely a real cop would look like her. So either the writers just messed up trying to write a youthfully naive ‘rookie’ type character, or they actually intended her to be a completely unqualified moron who gets by on her looks. Either way, I’m glad to see the back of her. And also that she’s leaving the show.

    Anyway, I look forward to the changes that are on the way, I’m glad that my top 3 favorite characters (Jane, Cho, Lisbon) are sticking around, and I really hope that this “shake up” doesn’t spell the end for one of my favorite shows.

  29. Whylie says:

    Red John got much too dam boring to continue watching so now he’s gone perhaps they’ll figure out something else to write about. We can hope.

  30. Jackson says:

    Not sorry to see Van Pelt go. Nothing against Amanda Righeti–just didn’t like the character. She was practically useless as a cop. Her purpose was to create a love interest and sexual tension with Rigsby. I mean she dated at least two killers who were trying to get to Jane or Hightower, she allowed Red John to capture Christina, and she allowed the murder of a witness she was guarding in witness protection, failing to protect him from a marshal who had been paid to kill him or even his own daughter. Her computer skills were useful I guess. They should have done more with that. Rigsby was a little better as a cop and as a character; I especially liked his relationship with Cho.

  31. maria says:

    I wish they haire good writers from other seasons like Andie Bushell and Asley Gable

  32. anthony hedges says:

    They need to write them back in as often as possible with the security company. All the original cast needs to be there! They will lose way too many fans and the whole cbi thing was cool! The building was cool and different and we’ve seen a million fbi shows! Get back to the original cast and set!! Most people dont like change! I’ve talked to
    alot of people who have stopped watching. ” if it aint broke ” !!!!!!

    • maria says:

      totally agree i guess rigsby and van pelt are leaving after season 6×15…and i will quite watching that show too unlless they bring back. Love that cast. Dont like the new characters wish Bruno heller simon Baker and chris Long would listen to us. We mat should send them a twit to cbs the mentalist twitter

  33. Kenny says:

    The producer has made a big mistake in getting rid of Vanpelt and Rigsby. The show had chemistry with those actors. The real problem was having Red John for so long. They should have ended it in the mall. The new characters coming in trying to make another type of show? This may be the end of the Mentalist. Too much tinkering and you lose viewers. I agree the ending of lost was a joke,getting saved at the end by some millionare would have been better.

  34. Deb says:

    I had quit watching because the whole Red John thing went on least 2 seasons longer than it should. I gave it again on the 2 years later program. The next time I watched Rigsby and VanPelt were gone. BAD DECISION. There chemistry gave the show the side story line all shows need. Sorry to see them go. I imagine other viewers got tired of looking for Red John and ratings went down. Tbey coukd have changed the organization without getting rid of characters. I don’t believe the program will make it now.Nothing personal against the new star, but she isn’t a good fit. If they want the show to work bring them.back and have Jane get.passed the murders and make him more firty with women. He is a good looking man they should play on that.

  35. maria says:

    i agree, big mistake the old cast works perfectly well, why they have to get ride of them?dont like the new characters.

    • anne says:

      totally agree

    • n gato says:

      yeah, one more in agreement! I have stopped watching the show, too bland without the sidekicks Grace / Rigsby – they functioned like Tony / Ziva in NCIS – they’re only ‘supporting’ characters, but if you remove them, the whole thing collapses. The show is not ‘serious’ enough to function on the silly storylines… it needs side stories, attraction, tension…. without them Jane’s character becomes boring…

  36. LeAnne says:

    I hate this new story line. Don’t think I will be watching once VP and Rigsby are gone. The FBI chick is very annoying.

    • anne says:

      totally agre with you, but somebody should write a petition to bruno heller, facebook or twitter (the mentalist cbs) for rigsby and van pelt back to next season, then i will watch the show again

  37. Lorena says:

    I don’t think this series will last much longer, there is not much more they can write about after the RJ stuff had a resolution.

    • anne says:

      totally agree, the show is getting boring lately, the new characters don’t add to much to the serie. I miss the original team

  38. Jac says:

    Oh no I don’t like it. Not sure if I can be bothered when Van Pelt and Rigsby go. I had thought all would be forgiven and they would all be back together. After reading the other comments I fear this could be the end for The Mentalist

    • anne says:

      totally agree. I will quite watching the show after Van pelt and Rigsby are gone… it’s not the same show i loved. for years.I don’t like the new story line, kind of slow, boring episodes, very predictible, Police procedur were great, but i don’t like this new FBI investigation, just cases involving important people mostly male murder case but the episodes and investigatios are boring. And We miss the chemistry of the old gang, I hate Kim and willey FBi characters

  39. Margaret says:

    The new series of. “The Mentalist” seems like a completely different programme. Whilst I would hate to lose this so far the new series is just too different from what we are used to. As we are now to lose two of my favourite characters I reckon the whole series should just end. Maybe that should have happened after Red John died. I got really fed up the length of time this lasted.

  40. JACKIE says:

    Rigsby and Van Pelt were my favourite people too and don’t like the new set up. As far as I am concerned, and a lot of my friends, ‘if it’s not broke – don’t fix it’. Why do people have to change something that is working so well. It used to be one of mine and my husbands’ favourite programmes. There is such a lot of rubbish on TV these days that we really looked forward to watching it, but sadly now we are not so bothered. Now we have learnt that two of our favourite characters are going we are just gutted. Poor do and very sad, it WAS a great show.

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  43. Kamlita goven says:

    Van pelt and rigsby shouldnt leave the show.

  44. carol g says:

    Please bring Grace and Wayne back. My husband and I sure do NOT like the show like we used to since they have been gone. Why are they out of the show??

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