The Mentalist's Owain Yeoman Hails Rigsby's 'Action-Packed' Send-Off -- Next Stop: Gotham?

The Mentalist Rigsby Van Pelt LeavingOn CBS’ The Mentalist (Sunday, 10/9c), someone is hunting and killing CBI members, present and past — the latest target being Grace, who was abducted at the close of last week’s episode. That harrowing development paves the way this Sunday for an “action-packed” swan song for two original cast members: Owain Yeoman, who plays former CBI agent/Grace’s husband Wayne Risgby, and Amanda Righetti herself.

RELATED | The Mentalist‘s Amanda Righetti Teases ‘Surprise’ Send-Off For Van Pelt

TVLine spoke with Yeoman about bidding the show adieu after nearly six seasons, having Rigsby go out with a bang, the “pairing” he’ll miss most and whether there’s a place for him in series creator Bruno Heller’s buzzy new project, Gotham.

TVLINE | Where does this Sunday’s episode pick up in relation to last week’s, where Wayne had just called Grace and then we saw someone come up behind her?
It’s sort of an immediate follow-up, and it escalates from there. It was great fun for me because it was an action-packed episode and in many respects very unlike our show, which has become a bit synonymous with being a little sleepier, a little slower. But from the minute this one starts, it doesn’t really let up.

TVLINE | Yeah. In some of the photos Rigsby looks like he’s getting pretty aggressive with people, slamming Heibach (played by Lost’s William Mapother) up against a wall and stuff.
It’s a very different Rigsby than the one we’ve known in the past. The Mentalist Rigsby Van Pelt LeavingI sat down with the writers and we were trying to work out how best to say goodbye to a beloved character and give it a proper finale, and I think where we’ve ended up in this episode is a real fitting tribute.

TVLINE | Does Heibach now top the list of suspects?
In many respects, yes. But the beauty of this storyline is that every single one of those people has a beef with the CBI. Now that of course Red John is out of the picture, there’s that feeling that everyone’s taken a big collective sort of sigh of relief. But it’s important for the life of the show to make sure that there’s a feeling of a new antagonist there, so we’re going to learn throughout this episode what this antagonist’s motivation is in attacking these CBI characters. I can’t give away exactly who it is, but the person who does end up being the main antagonist in the episode is brilliantly played. The whole thing felt like a little bit of a mini feature for me — it was very location heavy, very action heavy and there’s a lot of twists and turns. The CBI, and particularly Rigsby and Cho, are together taking matters into their own hands, saying that if someone attacks us personally this is a personal call to arms for us.

TVLINE | You mentioned this antagonist’s motivation. Is it an understandable one?
I think Bruno [Heller] very carefully made sure that all of those people have a genuine motivation. Long-term fans have an involved knowledge of the characters going way back into the history of the show and they will definitely understand why this character has a bit of beef. So yeah, it’s very interesting and I think it puts us all in a very extreme situation. It was very funny to shoot these huge “winter” landscapes location in 80-degree heat while we were spraying everything down with fake snow. That was a little bit befuddling for the mind. But for me, the action really doesn’t stop. There’s a series of car chase sequences, and at one point, I’m actually holding someone out a car, to an almost Mission Impossible effect. It was great fun to shoot.

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TVLINE | Since this is your and Amanda’s last episode — and without spoiling the outcome — does it end in a way that viewers will be like, “Well, yeah, I guess it does make sense that they’re leaving the show now”?
I hope so. I mean, I think it’s been an important development for the show to try to move things forward. After six years on the air, the formula of a show can become comfortable, so the need to introduce new blood and a new angle is very important. Hopefully people who have followed the show from day one will understand, while they might not love the idea of two beloved characters leaving. Certainly, within the mythology of the episode, they’ll understand why it is that those characters are not going to be around. I think it gives closure for sure.

TVLINE | Of course, the news of your departure leaked back in August. But when did you know how you were going to be written out? Were you given any kind of a timetable?
It was always [meant to happen] on or around the episode that we ended up leaving. Bruno has had a very clear mythology of the show from day one — funnily enough, in one of the first ever interviews, he said, “I see this show running for six years,” and here we are six years later with a lot of these things being tied up. The Mentalist Rigsby Van Pelt LeavingClearly, the man’s a genius, the true mentalist. But it was discussed with us, and we went back and forth on a couple of scenarios. It’s very hard, I think, to make sure that you honor the life of that character and do it in such a way that makes people feel like that character has been fairly treated in his or her departure. But feel like the characters had run their course. They had the love story realized with the marriage earlier in the season, and all the really worthwhile, creative stories have been told from Rigsby and Van Pelt’s point of view.

TVLINE | What will you miss most about being on the show? Any on-set antics? Any cast member’s eccentricities?
I’ve had a long-standing, fun “bromance” as it were with Tim [Kang]’s character, Cho — we affectionately called them “Chigsby,” and that will definitely be the thing that I miss the most. Tim and I share a very similar sense of humor and he always makes me laugh. When I speak to people about that, I forget that they just don’t know how funny Tim is. They say to me, “Does he ever smile?” I’ll definitely miss him and just being part of that big family unit. After six years, you end up seeing more of them than you do your own family, so it was a sad day to say goodbye but I felt like we’d really, really closed the chapter in a very appropriate way.

TVLINE | You mentioned your regard for Bruno Heller. If there was an opportunity, who would you like to play on his new Fox series, Gotham? Maybe the Riddler?
I’d had a conversation with him! I said, “I’m just going to let you know, Bruno, that I do look particularly good in a Batman costume.” He said, “That’s great, but unfortunately [on Gotham] Bruce Wayne is 11. So as much range as you have, I don’t know if you can play an 11-year-old.” But if Gotham’s on for another 20 years, it should be just about right for me to step in as Batman! I wish him the best of luck with that — I think they have a really interesting and a really unique take on that whole mythology.

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

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34 Comments
  1. CBWBDK1 says:

    I really miss those Cho and Rigsby moments, they are always so great.

  2. S. says:

    He could play flashbacks as Thomas Wayne. Or just another cop, since it’s supposed to about Gordon. I for one wouldn’t mind.

  3. Carol says:

    Hate to see Rigsby and Van Pelt leave! They were perfect on the show! I don’t think there is a reason for them to leave except the show wants a more diverse cast which is absurd – Hollywood should hire for talent not political correctness!

  4. DiverKlein says:

    If they kill gracie i’m crossing my show off my dvr. Probably gonna be the last season anyway from the looks of the ratings, but still. No need for her to die

  5. Mary Ann says:

    They should have kept Van Pelt and Rigsby and got rid of that new FBI agent. I am not loving her character.

  6. Bonnie Maynes says:

    I thought the interview was very interesting and informative. I don’t like to see Grace and Wayne leave but I love the new direction of the show. I just hope they have a happy ending.

  7. The Men Al. Ist says:

    last weeks episode was formulaic but decent…still hadn’t figured out who Rigsby was talking to on the phone because his baby is too young to talk yet it sounded like he was talking to a kid. What happened to the baby mama also?
    either way I agree I am not feeling the new agent chick..she seems a bit whiny

    • Ani says:

      Rigsby’s older kid would be about three since the two year time lapse after red john was killed. I’m hoping rigsby and van pelt make it through next episode alive, but this season has been pretty disappointing so I’m guessing one or both of them will probably die.

  8. Tran 2.0 says:

    Rigsby and Van Pelt’s swan song could definitely be the end for The Mentalist before its May 18th finale.

  9. sladewilson says:

    I’m hoping they don’t kill them – send them off into the sunset but don’t kill them….

  10. Rose says:

    I’m sensing that Rigsby will be the one to end up dead!! And it breaks my heart!!

  11. Andrew Hass says:

    I don’t think either Rigsby or Van Pelt dies but maybe the death is faked for some reason.Then at the end we see them together somewhere.

  12. Anna says:

    Sadly, I think it’s the end of TM. But will be happy to see Rigsby and Van Pelt leave together. Looking forward to this episode, and any future projects these actors are in.

  13. Kris says:

    Don’t care for the new people on the show! Hate that Van Pelt and Rigsby are leaving! Have always loved this show, Never missed an episode. After this episode, will not be watching any longer!

  14. J says:

    Sad to see Rigsby and Van Pelt go but I understand change happens. The best of luck to both Yeoman and Righetti. Can’t wait to see this special ep- Sunday!

  15. trylon says:

    Sounds like Rigsby & Van Pelt’s swan song will be a great emotional, action-packed send-off…for Rigsby. Hopefully Van Pelt will have more to do than just be the helpless damsel-in-distress. She’s had little enough to do since the time jump as it is. I want her to go out on a high note too.

    • JoshSon says:

      That was my thought exactly! It’s going to be all about Rigsby, while Van Pelt spends the whole episode captured, and then will either live or die at the end. Stupid. But it Fits their pattern…Van Pelt has been given rarely anything to do throughout these six years, and as an Amanda Righetti Fan, quite honestly, the Fact that she’s leaving doesn’t even make me sad, because, the show has always underused her. I’m not sure why they’re using this storyline to end their time on the show, Righetti, with her athletic body and all, should be an action star, yet there she is, desk-bound For six years, starting as a useless rookie, ending as a damsel in distress. Sad.

  16. anne says:

    i don’t understand why they have to leave: just because rigsby and van pelt got married? they were agentes too. Cho and rigsby,…will be tha last episode for me too

    • annie.o says:

      i often wonder why people say that “this will be the last show for me “???? why??? cause someone is leaving??? thats crazy…it takes alot more than two people to make that show a hit !!!! this show will be fine without them….everyone is replacable!!!!

  17. nicole says:

    They limited their screen time next to nothing in the last episodes since RJ got killed. And now they will gone for good. I will miss the old team dearly. And now they give them only one episode to send them off. At least two episodes with them front and center would have been nice!! They dynamic of the show will ultimatly turn after 6×15 and it will be a very sad moment! I still hope they can go on for another season and invite Wayne/Grace back for a guest appearance.

    But for now pleasssssse do not kill Grace! Then I’m done with the Show!!

  18. Apres Ski says:

    They should have never broken up the original team! Red John kept them together in a tight formation and we’ll never forget this show for that.

    However, when they rebooted this show and kicked it up to the FBI, it lost the cozy, comfy feeling. Even Jane’s couch lost it’s magical naps. When Jane demanded and got his couch in the FBI, that female agent, whose hair I hate every week, should have walked into the office, thrown her hands in the air and either quit or demand a transfer. She has done nothing for the show or the story line. Lisabeth should have been bumped up to the FBI like Ho and this way, it could have kept part of the cast together. Oh well . . .

    I’m disappointed in the reboot but was not too surprised to see its name missing from the CBS Renewals List. I guess I’ll say my goodbyes this season because it was always up against another favorite of mine, Revenge which I’ve been forced to watch online.

    But I will miss this show the way it was when it first appeared.

    Revenge, back to you . . .

  19. robinepowell says:

    As long as Rigsby and Van Pelt end up happily ever after with their daughter and little Ben. Maybe another baby in the future for them.

  20. Pauline says:

    I don’t think Grace and Wayne will be killed. I think they will find out they are pregnant and decide to lead less risky lives

  21. Frank says:

    They are a great team and a very good addition to the cast. Hope to see them come back or make frequent appearances. The show is great, why change a good thing.

  22. LuluBlu says:

    Sad to see two of my favourite characters leave, but they had really done all they could with them. I mean, they’ve done the whole on-again off-again thing heaps of times, they’ve done them falling in love because of being undercover together, they’ve both shown jealousy over each other’s alternate girlfriends/ boyfriends, and finally they’ve got married and had a kid. Then, they did the whole ‘girl gets kidnapped so guy goes crazy until he finds her’ thing. What else could they do?

    P.S. I don’t think that Amanda Righetti was under used. She was shown as being a computer, tech person so why wouldn’t she be sitting at a desk? Although I would’ve liked to see her like kick someone’s butt to save Maddie (her daughter) or Ben, or even Rigsby.

  23. Jeannene Moore says:

    Probably won’t watch this show anymore, I’ll give it a try but don’t have much hope for it’s longevity in my lineup of favorite shows.

  24. psychic being says:

    Heller is a genius and he figured everything out from the begining uh? That’s why the RJ ending was SO MESSED UP!..a.hole

  25. Olga says:

    I was so angry when I saw that last episode right after Grace Van Pelt’s abduction! The protagonist was cutting corners again, but this time he kidnapped and assaulted the would-be kidnapper together with his female lawyer! (Who was innocent, by the way). He kidnapped her, assaulted her, rearranged her clothes, took her phone, made her walk the highway and risk her life – I don’t know how it’s called. To me, it’s very close to endangering someone, raping someone, even. I wish they didn’t turn the protagonist into a sick, heartless villain. And, frankly, in that moment my sympathies weren’t with Grace Van Pelt and her husband. I wished them gone – forever, and painfully.

  26. allison Orton says:

    When is the next showing of “The Mentalist”? It’s hard to keep track of with so many seeming interruptions in it’s air time. Is it on Sunday’s at 9:00, 10:00, Thursday’s at 10:00, or when in the heck is it on–and when is it on again–A date? And, yes changing characters when there has been such a close working cast is the pits!

  27. Bonnie says:

    From the comments I read below, I think I may be in the minority when I say I’ve really enjoyed the “re-boot”. After 6 years, any show would be at the least starting to stagnate (if not worse), and all of the shows I’ve watched that have gone past 5 years have all done something “crazy” to shake and change things up. Maybe I was just lucky with my picks, but each of them that did were on air a total of 8-10 seasons. I like the FBI setting, they have cool technology and seemingly a budget that could handle any of Jane’s cons. For me, the re-boot has been fresh and fun, and I love the addition of Abbot. I didn’t like Kim so much at first, but over the rest of the season, she has adapted, changed, and I began to like her, too. I like what the show is doing, and just wanted to out my 2 cents out there to show support for one of my favorite shows.

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