Post Mortem: The Mentalist EP Says New Clue 'Is a Big Deal' -- But How Will Jane Possibly Use It?

The Mentalist Red John Has TattooMake no mistake, the new clue revealed at the end of this Sunday’s The Mentalist was an ink-redible development with regards to the hunt for Red John.

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As this week’s hour of the CBS drama came to a close, Jane learned from a pretty private eye (guest star Beth Riesgraf) who was hired by — and ultimately stabbed by — Red John that her employer has a tattoo of three dots on his shoulder.

And lest you question that reveal as perhaps a piece of misdirection, executive producer Eoghan Mahony, who wrote the episode “The Red Tattoo,” assures TVLine, “That is a legit clue, and it is a big deal. Now Jane’s got his leverage.”

Yes, but short of inviting the remaining suspects into a Turkish bath, how will Jane possibly get eyes on each of their bared shoulders? “That is the next step: Now that you know that information, how do you use it in a useful way?” says Mahony. For that answer, “You’re just going to have to watch the next episode,” he teases, “but you’re going to enjoy it a lot. Jane’s going to tell the team what he’s found, and they’re going to ask exactly that: How do we figure out [who has the tattoo]? But luckily you’ve got Patrick Jane to find the best way to make that work.”

Also of note in this week’s episode: Just as it was suggested that possi-John Sheriff McAllister is afraid of heights (but isn’t) and pigeons (he possibly is), we now know that Ray Haffner gets squirrely around spiders. But whether any of these disclosures synch up with the fact that RJ has a phobia remains to be seen.

Explaining the decision to scatter these bits of intel across recent weeks, Mahony reminds, “Whoever Red John is, we know that he is an incredibly brilliant mind. He’s a psychopath but a brilliant one, so he’s not to going to be easy to find. So how can we, using what tiny crumbs of information we have, force him out into the open? We saw that McAllister might have a fear of heights but clearly he doesn’t. And if you throw a bird into my face I’m probably going to scream, so is that reaction a phobia or just a reaction to having a bird fly in your face? That’s the challenge Jane and the team are faced with.”

Regardless of Jane’s specific next move, it will involve all of the remaining suspects, as Michael Gaston, Malcolm McDowell, Drew Powell, Reed Diamond and Xander Berkeley are set to appear in next Sunday’s episode (playing Gale Bertram, Bret Stiles, Reede Smith, Ray Haffner and Sheriff McAllister).

That episode, titled “Fire & Brimstone” and penned by Ken Woodruff, “moves the story forward in a way that going to be both surprising and will keep you on the edge of your seat,” Mahony promises. “It’s a good one.”

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.