Post Mortem: Is The Mentalist's Red John Saga Truly Over? And 7 More Burning Qs Answered
Patrick Jane’s where (and when — cue two-year time jump!) will be revealed in the Dec. 1 episode, “My Blue Heaven.” But in the meantime, series boss Bruno Heller and star Simon Baker answered some questions about this seminal showdown.
DID RED ALWAYS END UP DEAD? | Heller says that Jane coming face-to-face with his family’s killer “wasn’t a time for moral ambivalence,” and as such “any other ending would have almost been dishonest.” The means of death also is signficant. “To pull a trigger is just pulling a trigger — the gun does the killing,” Baker posits. “But to actually grapple with someone and kill them with your hands is far more intimate.” Heller concurs, saying the end result was “hard, but good, to watch” for viewers craving closure.
WILL JANE PAY FOR HIS CRIME? | Sure, there didn’t seem to be anyone around, but the DNA evidence (and motive!) is surely substantial. And as Heller notes, “You can’t go around killing people willy-nilly without some sort of ramification.” As such, whatever The Mentalist looks like sans the CBI, “Jane is going to be in a position where his personal desires are not the point…. What he does in the future is not going to be entirely up to himself.”
WHERE’S THE WHY? THE HOW? | If there’s one quibble about the resolution of the Red John arc, it’s that McAllister did not fill in all the blanks about his decade-long run of bloody chicanery. Nor will those answers come post mortem. “One of the things you discover when these figures of great evil are unmasked in real life is…. they tend not to be very interesting…. They tend to be egomaniacal one-track minds,” Heller explains. “As we laid out in the episode, and as Jane himself says, ‘The rest is details’” — the stuff of “great Internet fodder, but not very entertaining for a weekly TV audience. So as much as some people would love to delve into that, it’s not what this show does.”
HOW DID RED JOHN OBTAIN JANE’S LIST? | With his final breaths, McAllister claimed that he was an actual psychic and used those skills to divine Jane’s list of suspects. But was that but a final bit of posing? Could RJ instead have had a mole inside Jane’s innermost circle? Heller told TVLine that, for now, he will leave “that thread dangling.” Parsing McAllister’s words, he says, “Jane feels very strongly as I do that psychics don’t exist, though you can’t tell that to the millions of people who get genuine solace and understanding from [them]. Any and all answers to that question … depend on your point of view.”
IS RED JOHN NOW A FOUR-LETTER WORD? | For the foreseeable future, yes. Says Baker, “I think it’s really nice to have a clean cut and not mention Red John at all for a while. Even if [Jane] speaks of the [death], he doesn’t mention Red or John in the same sentence.” And as for any “disciples” of the killer ever picking up the baton, “I never say never,” Heller allows, “but the audience and the story demands that we step away from that trope for a while.”
WILL THE MENTALIST LIGHTEN UP? | Returning next Sunday with a two-year time jump and the characters scattered here and there, The Mentalist will certainly feel a bit different — and that includes the tone. “A great weight has been taken off Jane’s shoulders — and to that degree a weight has been taken off the show,” Heller says of the 5-1/4 season storyline. “It’s going to be the same show… but with less darkness at the edges,” now rid of Red John’s looming presence.
HOW WILL LISBON & CO. BE AFFECTED? | Already, Amanda Righetti – who, like TV husband Owain Yeoman, is exiting the show later this season — has shared how life will change for Van Pelt and Rigsby. And that’s just one of the wrinkles resulting of the CBI shut-down/Red John take-down. “It’s a little like the children of divorce. What’s next?” Heller offers. “They’ve been enthralled to somebody else’s mission, in a world that they didn’t choose, and now the world is changing around them…. It’s a process of growing up and leaving home.” All told, The Mentalist minus Red John, Heller feels certain, “is going to be a great show. It’s up to the audience to decide whether they like it or not.”
AND LASTLY: HOW LONG DID JANE HAVE THAT PIGEON IN HIS POCKET?! | Heller says that Jane borrowed the bird much earlier in the hour, “just before Lisbon arrived in that park, when he is feeding those pigeons.” Still, considering the ensuing car chase/FBI road block, then subsequently shaking the Feds and racing to the graveyard, that’s a long time to keep the bird cooped up (and quietly, at that). “Pigeons are very friendly, amendable creatures,” Heller says. “It’s quite easy to kidnap one from a park, if you want to try it!”
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