The Mentalist Creator and Stars Discuss the Jane/ Lisbon Dilemma, Boast of a Love-or-Hate Finale

The Mentalist Preview Jane LisbonThree may be a crowd on The Mentalist (Sunday, 10/9c), but four was company when the CBS series’ creator, Bruno Heller, along with leads Simon Baker and Robin Tunney, spoke with TVLine to survey the season-ending arc centered on Lisbon’s D.C. debate and how it’s stirring something in Jane. Read on for their thoughts about navigating that sticky wicket and how the May 18 (series?) finale will split the audience 50-50.

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TVLINE | Bruno, I understand that it was always the show’s intent to get to this place with Jane and Lisbon at the end of this season, even dating back to last summer?
BRUNO HELLER | We were certainly thinking about it. When the show started, for me there was not a thought of that at all. But one of the things about TV over the years is the characters develop their own dynamic and direction as truth is revealed, and it seemed to us – and [the actors] can contradict me if they like – that love blossoms. There is a genuine feeling there between the two characters that had to be honored, one that was just natural and organic.

TVLINE | Simon, were you interested to explore this side of….
SIMON BAKER | [Interrupts] From the moment I met Robin Tunney. [Tunney and Heller laugh] I looked at her and I said, “You will be mine.” No, you know, it’s one of those things where…. It’s the whole Moonlighting theory that comes into play with long-form TV. It goes on, and sometimes on and on, and do you give the audience what they want, or do you keep the flirtation and tease going? Is that really what they want, is that what they like — to want something? Because as soon as you seal any sort of a deal with anything, it’s like, “Well, that’s that, and from there where do we go?” There are plenty of places always to go, but it’s a risk and a challenge.

TVLINE | But on a character level, were you and Robin interested to ask the question, “What do these two people really mean to each other after all these years?”
BAKER | Yes — and that became really evident, I thought, after we closed the Red John story and we did the episode that took place two years later. It was about laying the foundation for the rest of the season, in the sense of it was an episode about longing and missing each other, missing that relationship as it stood.
ROBIN TUNNEY | I also think the show has always been something more than just a straight procedural. And once the Red John storyline cleared up, it was like, “OK, these people are left with each other. So how do you create stakes?” There was a history, but there was this idea of “What’s next?” How do they feel about each other? It created sort of an arc where there was a lot at stake, people’s hearts and all that stuff, without, “Oh, we can throw another serial killer into the mix.” It was something that was fitting to the show and it created drama.

TVLINE | Robin, in the closing sceneTheMentalist_doorstep of last week’s episode, what is going on in Teresa’s mind as she stands at the doorstep, wiping tears off her face?
TUNNEY | I think she’s just dying for [Jane] to declare himself — and she’s really worried that he won’t. This opportunity with somebody else [Agent Marcus Pike, played by Pedro Pascal] has come up and it’s like, “OK, am I crazy? Should I do this? Am I missing out on something because I’m hanging out waiting for somebody else?” That’s something that’s really scary to her. This guy comes along who’s crazy about her and it’s like, “Am I going to pass up on something that’s real, to hang out and see what happens?” She’s just dying for Jane to declare himself. She’s not sure what else she can do, like, “So, this other guy has asked me to move with him….”

TVLINE | What is it that’s keeping Jane from being more forthright with Lisbon? Is he perhaps not confident in his ability to make her happy, or…?
HELLER | Simon can probably answer that better than me, but for me, if you spent so much of your life self-protectively concealing your feelings, for very good reasons, and feel that it was your love that essentially killed other people in your life, that connection to you has been a bad thing, there are all kinds of fears deep down that would stop you from speaking honestly. Men in general have difficulty declaring their emotions, and in this case [Jane and Lisbon] had a long and close, brother-sister relationship, so to suddenly declare a different kind of love is extremely difficult.
BAKER | Everything seems to be good, and then suddenly the girl that I like to stand next to has these “demands” upon my character to give more of himself…. That’s a part of it. It’s also that Jane is a broken toy. He looks like he’s gotten to be OK, but really, he’s not functioning completely. I guess Lisbon’s wondering and hoping whether or not he ever will function again, and he’s looking at her, thinking, “She’s going to walk away, and I can’t fix myself. I’ve forgotten how to give of myself and surrender.” So it’s a challenge. You could interpret it a lot of different ways, but I knew what I was playing. I didn’t necessarily choose to articulate it, because I think the nature of someone not being able to surrender to someone else or give themselves up is incredibly private. And I think it has to feel like it’s authentically private for it to be legitimate.

PHOTOS | The Mentalist Finale First Look: Will Jane and Lisbon Literally Ride Off Into the Sunset?

TVLINE | Robin, has this last run of episodesBlue Bird been entertaining for you, to be “the prettiest girl at the dance” with two not-unattractive men fighting over you?
TUNNEY | Uh, yeah – after wearing sensible clothes and shoes for five years, it’s been pretty nice.
HELLER | That’s Robin’s real life anyway, men fighting for her….
TUNNEY | [Laughs] It’s interesting, the storyline between Jane and Lisbon. From the very beginning, I remember the TCA [press tour] and PaleyFest [panel during] the first season, it was like, “Will they or wont they?” And my answer – “I have no idea” — was an honest one. And then throughout the years… [Simon and I] could have grown angry at each other or hated each other, but I grew so fond of him as a human being that the idea of where that was going was so easy to play, because I really enjoyed going to work with him. I feel like it’s a progression of how people bond. That’s the great thing about television, is you have the chance to experience things in real time, over six years.

TVLINE | Bruno, are you willing to rule out Pike as the mastermind behind the season-ending kidnapping mystery? That there won’t be that easy out?
HELLER | I’m willing to rule that out, yes. Pike is not the bad guy.
TUNNEY | It all seemed too good to be true!
HELLER | Sometimes I think I’m way too dumb for this audience, to come up with clever solutions like that. [Laughs] Life is not that complicated or dark – though I wish I had come up with that before.

TVLINE | How satisfying will the finale be if it turns out to be the series’ very final episode?
HELLER | You go first, Baker.
BAKER | [Thinks] On a scale of 1 to 10….
HELLER | Oh, I’ll go first then – “11.” Listen, this last one was written and designed to be a suitable big, happy romantic send-off for the series if that what happens — but it also opens a new chapter if that is not the case. I think we hit the mark well enough. I’m very happy with it. Baker is a perfectionist, so he’s not going to be happy until I’ve created a cross between Gone With the Wind and Psycho or something.
BAKER | Oh, Jesus. Can we readdress those references?
HELLER | OK, maybe not those two. But one of the reasons the show has gone as long as it has is precisely because these two, especially Simon, are never satisfied. They’re always pushing for more and better, more interesting and fresh and original. We may not have always succeeded, but that is the bar we’ve been trying to get over. I think we’ve done our best and it’s up to the audience to decide how well it’s done.
BAKER | We’re in the popularist business with The Mentalist. It’s not Breaking Bad, it’s a show that has had a very consistent audience for six years, and it’s all about pulling our audience in directions where we challenge them a bit. You can’t always give everyone what they want, and sometimes people want to be protected from what they want. I think the best result could be to divide the audience 50-50.
TUNNEY | I think it’s going to make a lot of people really happy, and I think it’s going to make some people angry — and that’s the most you can hope for. Because everybody’s emotionally invested in the show in a different way. And that’s good, because they’re genuine reactions. I don’t think anyone will feel in the middle of the road about it.

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98 Comments
  1. Reblogged this on song of a girl and commented:
    I just. . . my love for Robin and Simon knows no bounds.

  2. enri says:

    Thank you Matt! I’m still hoping we get just 1 more season.

    • Tav says:

      Same here. If Jane and Lisbon get together/at least kiss (which is what I’m guessing happens), it’d still be unsatisfying for their story to end there. I’d really like one more season to finally see them interacting romantically.

  3. Denise says:

    Am I the only one that does not want them together?

    • Yep. *g*
      I understand that there are people who don’t ship them. Still, at this point I think it has become pretty obvious where we’re heading, so… just lean back and enjoy the ride (for I fear it might be the last one).

    • LV Sunny says:

      I think the story would suffer if they ended up together. They’ve become best friends and it’s OK to fear losing your bestie to another…mostly because another deep relationship would take time away from these two’s core partnership. Eventually, these two, along with any third party, would end up in a good place with each other. They’re all smart and inspire each other and I think that would make a great dynamic if the show continues.

    • M3rc Nate says:

      Idk about NOT wanting them together…but personally I never really felt like they had much chemistry…i mean she is a pretty negative, rude, unsmiling woman with some daddy/drinking issues if i remember….so its not like i ever saw her laugh cause of Jane or flirt with him or even look at him in a *longing* way….i just dont feel any chemistry there at all. A partner ship where there is a ton of trust and all that? totally..but nothing romantic.

      I actually really liked Jane and Kim Fischer (FBI Agent), their chemistry was very real and she was even fun with Jane when he joined the FBI…granted in the past 6 episodes or so they basically havent had a scene together…but i could see Kim and Jane together chemistry wise much easier than Jane and Lisbon.

      BTW….show runners and writers…the reason “Moonlighting” exists is NOT because of audiences being like “well, the tension and playfulness is over…im done with this show” when you get a will-they-wont-they couple together, it is because you are crappy writers. I dont even have to speak in hypothetical, recently a few shows have gotten will-they-wont-they characters together and it has good good-to-great. Its about committing to the relationship on the show, some things do have to change but not everything….a couple with will-they-wont-they that gets together can still have passion, flirty-ness, tension, friction and all that stuff viewers love. It is mediocre writers faults that writing will-they-wont-they is super easy to do, so they do it…then when they pull the trigger they dont commit, and dont have the skills to write the characters organically being together in a non-boring way.

      Its really quite easy….take Castle for instance. Yes the quality of their relationship waxes and wanes from episode to episode…but overall they keep it interesting because the characters are still flirty, still fun, still going through life experiencing bumps, working things out…they did NOT just have them settle down, the show focus more on the cases and less on their lives because presumably their lives are boring now that they are together…its quite easy…continue to show them flirting and their home life being fun and awesome and the occasional issue pop up and no moonlighting curse.

      • Jeremy B. says:

        Fischer and Jane have NO romantic chemistry at all … and your characterization of Lisbon is so completely WRONG that it makes me wonder if you ever actually watched the show. Whatever… I think after the last few episodes, it’s pretty much CLEAR that Jane and Lisbon are in love with each other, and this interview only adds to that- so it’s obviously not the Lisbon-haters and anti-shippers who will delight in the finale, if I might dare a prognosis here…

      • Bob Smith says:

        I agree completely. NO CHEMISTRY between Jane and Lisbon

    • batman says:

      no. u r absolutely rught. their platonic love is attracting. the brother-sister relationship suits them well. i don’t understand why it cannot continue like that! she finds someone, he will find someone and they still bond and always for one another like BFF. what’s the big deal??? not every great love is a romantic one.

  4. J says:

    Thank you for the fabulous interview!! The finale is going to rock.

  5. Simz says:

    Thanks for the interview.

  6. Thanks so much for this article! So excited for the finale! And fingers crossed for season 7!

  7. Thanks so much for this very interesting Interview!:) This makes me want to see the finale right now.;)

  8. Sal says:

    OH MY GOD! Amazing interview Matt thank you SO much! Here’s to more interviews to come.

  9. Val says:

    this interview is probably the best thing that could happen: THANK YOU

  10. hi this is Jane
    thank you for the great interview *smiles*

  11. MusicSweetly says:

    Thanks for the interview! Robin and Simon are fantastic to see every week; I sincerely hope the whole cast and crew get a Season 7! Blue Bird also sounds amazing, can’t wait to see it!

  12. Silvia says:

    Thanks for this great interview, Matt. Those 3 are amazing. Can’t wait for the season finale.

  13. Vanessa says:

    Heller, Baker, and Tunney…golden! The show’s fate is still up in the air but it’s nice knowing that we’ll at least be getting a happy ending if this were the end. Thanks again for the coverage.

  14. Ilay Jane says:

    The best show ever…best interview ever…YOU HAVE TO RENEW THE MENTALIST!!! PLEASE…I’M DYING…PLEAAASSSEEE :'(((

  15. Thank you for the intv Matt!!!!!

  16. Heejoo says:

    Thanks for the interview, we really needed this! Simon and Robin are awesome XD

  17. Alice says:

    Thanks for this beautiful interview..we have the best lead actors in the world..Simon and Robin are a precious gift. And Bruno will kill us with the finale. Can’t wait <3

  18. Maria says:

    Thank you so much for this great interview! It’s so interesting to read what they have to say about the characters! I really hope The Mentalist gets Season 7, because I love these actors and characters so much!

  19. Peggy says:

    Holding my breath for season 7

  20. Leyla Mentalista says:

    Thank you so much for the best show in the world! You’re such good actors and of course you need to get renewed!!! plzzzz SOMEONE!! Save The Mentalist!
    Greetings from Germany :*

    • Mary DeMarco says:

      I absolutely love The Mentalist. It is by far my most favorite show. And, yes, I thought the ending to this season was FANTASTIC. I thought it was a perfect ending and look forward to more seasons.

  21. Anastasia says:

    i’m hoping this amazing show gets another season!!I can’t get wait for the last 2 episodes and after reading this interview my excitement/agony has doubled!!Simon and Robin acting has been phenomenal these 6 seasons and i really wish we won’t have to say goodbye to Patrick and Teresa just yet;They deserve a happy ending :)

  22. Brookelyn says:

    This show needs another season!! We need to see these 2 together. Love the new reboot & new characters & I cant wait for the finale!

  23. MLW says:

    Wonderful article and a wonderful show. I really hope they get another season but if they don’t it’s good to see they really care about making the viewers feel good about the end.

  24. WhereTheSkyIsRed says:

    Fantastic interview! Three great minds.
    Thank you!

  25. WhereTheSkyIsRed says:

    Hoping for season 7!

  26. Anna says:

    Thank you SO much for this interview Matt, one of the best ones of The Mentalist I ever read!!! :) Can’t wait for the finale!! Fingers crossed for a 7th season.

  27. Ilay Jane says:

    We’re waiting hopefully for season 7. ‘The Mentalist’ is the only tv show which I watched from the beginning to the end…but the problem is now…THAT I DON’T WANT AN ENDING. IT’S JUST PERFECT :( *CRY CRY CRY*

  28. dman6015 says:

    Sorry, folks, but it’s a goner.

  29. Emily says:

    Awesome! It’s fun to read articles with these three talking about the show. I’m very excited for the season finale. Already had the impression that some people will be happy and some people won’t, but I’ve never been disappointed by Heller regarding the show and I don’t expect to be now. The only thing I hope for is a season 7. I just haven’t had enough of this fantastic show, which is, by the way, the only thing I watch on TV. Nothing else is worth my time. Thanks for the article!

  30. Leyla says:

    Thank you sooo much for this amazing show!! You’re such good actors and of course you need to get renewed!!
    I will be soo happy if CBS will renew it finally! And if they dont – there are still other networks which know that TM will become BIG again! The RJ storyline is over but Im sure Heller knows how to make it again! So dont give up! We wont either ;)
    Greetings from Germany

  31. Mags says:

    Matt thanks so much for this perfect interview!! Simon, Robin and Bruno have done an amazing job of leading us down this road!! The have been the ultimate teasers!! So excited for the SEASON finale to see it all finally pay off!! The best gift of all of course would be season 7!! So fingers crossed!! 😀

  32. The best interview ever!!! Thank you so very much, Matt!! Bruno Heller is a genius, Robin and Simon are just simply awesome!! I need them on my TV every week!! The Mentalist is the show that HAS TO BE RENEWED!!!

  33. CBWBDK1 says:

    I’ll be so happy if it gets renewed. I have enjoyed this show for 6 years and would love to see another season.

  34. There are a lot of shippers and some non-shippers.. so.. I dunno I really want a season 7 man..

  35. Oh! Loved it!
    I want The Mentalist Season 7.

  36. Jisbon *_*…thank you very much <3

  37. CBWBDK1 says:

    Don’t trust Pike! He’s been visiting brothels in westeros behind your back!

  38. bou says:

    Wonderful article and a wonderful show. I really hope they get another season!

  39. Thanks for posting this interview! Love those 3.

  40. I’m bringing this interview into my casket when I die, Matt. Thank you so much!!!

    Cheers to season 7, because our flawless casts so deserved it and simply it is the best television in history. Simon and Robin I have given up praising your performance, you brilliants never cease to amaze. Jane and Lisbon have impacted so many people’s lives, they are are legendary. Love you guys to bits! <3

  41. Eva says:

    This is the best interview we ever got. Jisbon is finally canon! I hope we get another season so we can see them exploring their relationship :)

  42. This made my day. Thank you. I knew before that there can only be one ending to all this, but to have it confirmed makes the wait a bit easier… and the thought that this is probably going to be the last we’re ever going to see of The Mentalist…

  43. fbiwoman223 says:

    thank you so much for this wonderful interview. I can’t even tell you how much this just made my day!

  44. DD says:

    JISBON!!!!!!

  45. Gaelle says:

    Thank you for this interview, Matt! It’s always a treat to see/read these three together. Can’t wait for this finale, and I really hope that we’ll get a season 7 some way or another.

  46. Erin says:

    Never m

  47. slb says:

    Simon and Robin are so perfect. I can’t fathom how season 7 is even in question. Greatest show, great interview. May we see them for at LEAST one more season!

  48. Erin says:

    Sorry about my incomplete comment, typo! I was going to type never mind my tears, I really love this interview. It must have been entertaining to sit in and watch! Lol. I love Robin and Simon onscreen together and I want the how to run for many more years… But no matter what happens I’ll always be thank-ful. I almost wish I didn’t love the show as much as I do so that my heart wouldn’t be aching with hurt :’) thank-you TVLine!

  49. chasingseagulls says:

    Finally! A great interview that addresses the issue. These two (Simon and Robin) have done a phenomenal acting job and should get Emmys for their performances. Of course there should be no question of a season 7–there is so much more to explore about this relationship and backstories. I absolutely adore this show. Thanks Matt.

  50. GOldenTV says:

    Thanks Matt!!! Great interview, lets hope for season 7! :)

    • Charlotte Green says:

      I have watched the series from the first episode, love where it is going, and think it should continue for at least two more seasons.

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