Post Mortems

The Mentalist Post Mortem: A Tragic Twist Dredges Up Jane's Dark Past — Plus: The Series Finale in Four Words

Mentalist Vega Dies

The following contains spoilers from this week’s episode of The Mentalist.

With just three episodes left to air, CBS’ The Mentalist this Wednesday night pulled the trigger on a catalytic final story arc for Patrick Jane, by killing off FBI Agent Michelle Vega. Though a new recruit to the team, Vega’s tragic death in the line of duty has sparked something in Jane, whose tie to law enforcement as of late has been tenuous.

TVLine spoke with showrunner Tom Szentgyorgyi, as well as Vega’s portrayer, Josie Loren, about uncorking this sad twist, why it has hit Jane so hard, and what fans can expect from the series finale (airing Feb. 18).

TVLINE | Josie, what did you know and when did you know it, regarding Vega’s fate?
JOSIE LOREN | Actually, the day before I started shooting the first episode, Tom called to let me know what was in store. They didn’t want me to be surprised. They wanted me to know going into it, and that I was to say nothing. It was a secret for a while.

TVLINE | Tom, once this was announced as the final season, did you know you’d want to kill someone off to activate Jane’s final journey?
TOM SZENTGYORGYI | Very much. And I called Josie because we wanted to be absolutely clear that when that news broke, it wasn’t a comment on her performance.
LOREN | [Laughs]
SZENTGYORGYI | We knew that we wanted in this last batch of episodes to sort of take the show back to the beginning. Jane’s character was born out of trauma, in effect. The person that we watched for seven years was shaped very much by violent death. And though we had captured Red John and put that part of the story behind us, we knew we wanted to go back to that world — and that would involve killing someone.
LOREN | And I could not be happier that I got to be that person!

TVLINE | Can you elaborate a bit on Jane’s reaction, his speech to Lisbon in that closing scene? He’s only known Vega a short time, after all.
SZENTGYORGYI | Exactly — and that was also deliberate. We decided that because Jane has already lost people who at that point were the most important people in the world to him, we didn’t want to revisit that, Job-like, by killing another good friend. What we wanted was someone who would bring to the fore both the risks of the work — how people The Mentalist Jane Quitscan die even when they’re brave and smart and careful, as Vega was — as well as the idea that beginning a relationship, recommitting himself to love and to life, was going to have risks. And given his history, he might be reluctant to undertake such risks. His love for Lisbon meant risking losing Lisbon, just as he lost his wife and daughter, so for us the death of Vega was a way to really bring that home. He cares for Vega, and one of the nice things in this last stretch of episodes is seeing how warm and real that relationship felt. But Lisbon is the love of his life, and the risk to her and the risk to him, the risk loving brings with it, is utmost in his mind now.

TVLINE | And with Jane saying, “I can’t do this anymore…,” have we seen him work his last case?
SZENTGYORGYI | No. We haven’t seen Jane work his last case. Yet.

TVLINE | Josie, can you clarify what all Vega was agreeing to with Wylie before she died? Were they on the same romantic page, or…?
LOREN | It’s funny you ask that because when we were shooting the scene, I was originally playing it very Vega-esque — she isn’t really demonstrative, she doesn’t flirt with him — because I wasn’t too clear on what exactly she was agreeing to, as you said. And then the director led me in the direction of, “No, you’re giving him an open door without being over the top about it, being as casual as possible.” Wylie is someone that she grew to really enjoy.Mentalist Vega Dies It’s nice because he is such a contrast to who she is, she almost needs people like Wylie in her life.

TVLINE | And now she’s gone and devastated him by dying.
LOREN | I know…. I feel bad.

TVLINE | As sad as it is to leave the show, at least it frees you up right in time for pilot season.
LOREN | Yeah, it’s one of those things where it was so bittersweet — I would have loved to have done the full 13 episodes, because the cast and crew is just awesome. I had the best time. But at the same time, it worked out really well in terms of being available for pilot season.

TVLINE | Tom, are we going to see more of Wylie’s reaction in these last few episodes?
SZENTGYORGYI | Very much. You’re going to see everyone’s reactions. We wanted to create what had been Jane’s situation at the start of the show, which was him struggling to deal with a death, and show the rest of the cast dealing with a similar thing. Some will deal with it well, some will deal with it not well. Wylie’s certainly one of the people feeling it most keenly, and who’s freshest to this experience.

TVLINE | For Cho, Mentalist Vega Dieswill this galvanize him in this new role of responsibility, or will it shake him a bit?
SZENTGYORGYI | I don’t want to give away too much, but you’re going to see some very specific responses.

TVLINE | Come finale night, Feb. 18, do those two episodes feed into each other, or are they just two episodes that happen to be airing on the same night?
SZENTGYORGYI | They definitely feed into each other. They’re two stories, but they are very much a pair. The penultimate episode is titled “Brown Shag Carpet,” and the last episode is called “White Orchids.”

TVLINE | Interesting. Because I was debating with someone if the last episode would be “Black Out” — as in the absence of all color — or “White Out,” as in the presence of all color.
SZENTGYORGYI | No, no…. But several people have noted that with “Brown Shag Carpet” we have come up with the ugliest title. And that’s mine, of course!

TVLINE | Can you give me three words to describe the series finale?
SZENTGYORGYI | Three words? How about four — “All you’ve hoped for.”

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  1. All I’ve hoped for? NO BABY AND A WEDDING!?

  2. javadude54 says:

    Agent Vega was a great character and Josie Loren did a fine job of fleshing her out. She can be proud of this addition to her resume.

  3. Tran says:

    Very sad to see Josie Loren’s character gone for good even though the actress joined the cast since the beginning of the final season. Didn’t like her role when she was on Make It or Break It back then. Can’t wait to see how the final three episodes of The Mentalist is going to played out.

  4. Jenna says:

    As a long time viewer, I was rather neutral about it returning for another season after the odd wrap of the Red John era and the reboot of the show. However, I have enjoyed this season so much and how well the entire cast jelled. I am really going to be sad to see it go! Hope that Simon Baker and the other cast members return in new programs someday.

  5. Rob says:

    If its really all I hoped for they would move to another channel and be back for more years to come!

  6. DarkDefender says:

    I have enjoyed this show since day one.. Stuck through the shaky reboot and really loved this final season. I can’t wait (bittersweetly) to see how it plays out.
    On a side note: is it just me or has Simon Baker’s natural Australian accent slipped out a lot this season (particularly on the heavy emotional scenes)?

  7. Sheldon W. says:

    Nope. Not buying it.

    From the moment Vega agreed to go to that gaming thing with Wylie I knew she was going to die. It couldn’t have been more obvious if there’d been a neon arrow floating above her head pointing down at her – which was too bad because she was the rookie and we didn’t really get to know her all that well.

    I was very disappointed by this ep.

    • Q says:

      After war is everyone general.
      Why you didn’t say it before episode start?
      Now is too late.
      You don’t buy it?
      You don’t have to.

      Anyway, big THANK YOU to all crew, for fantastic 6,5 years.

  8. JJ says:

    Jane was so selfish in this episode. It was so frustrating to see him continue to put his feelings above Lisbon’s. He doesn’t even care how she would feel if something happened to him. I thought he was making such good progress but it seems like he’s just gone full circle and is back to his old selfish ways. Very disappointing.

    • Jake says:

      Well, she hasn’t gone through what he has – being the cause (indirectly) of he wife and daughter’s death. So yea, it may be somewhat selfish, but it’s true – Lisbon wouldn’t be as destroyed by his death (and would be able to eventually go on with her life) as Jane would be by her death.

      • JJ says:

        But when you really love someone you put their feelings above your own. If Jane really loves Lisbon he shouldn’t want her to lose him and go through the kind of pain he went through when he lost his family. He knows how hard that is to survive.

  9. JJM says:

    I don’t know why they didn’t just keep Kim and kill her off… Jane had a good bond with her since the revamp and I think it would have been a lot of an emotional heartbreak for his character rather than some rookie.

    • MJ says:

      They likely would have except Emily Swallow (the actress who played Fischer) couldn’t agree to come back for this season. A prior commitment.

  10. Harry_Wild says:

    I guess I left the show when they went from CBI to the FBI! I just could not watch it anymore after that! At the time I left; the show had fallen ratings.

  11. Linda Gulley says:

    There are so few shows that aren’t to gorry and are just enjoyable to watch. I am so sad that the Mentalist is ending. Have enjoyed ever episode. Don’t know why they have to end shows that are so good and put some stupid reality show in its place. Why take something off that really works.

  12. Jake says:

    I haven’t seen any spoilers and was really afraid (especially since he just got a promotion and actually laughed and smiled in last week’s episode) that it was going to be Cho that was killed. Glad it wasn’t, but still impactful to see Vega killed.
    This final season is really been hitting on all cylinders, glad CBS allowed them to do it.

  13. Alan Ashton says:

    The Mentalist has certainly gotten some horrible writing lately. Cho is supposed to be an experienced LEO so what does he do? He confronts known armed dangerous criminals in a crowded restaurant while there is a third person unaccounted for which results in the death of his partner.

  14. Heather says:

    I enjoyed her character and her flirtation with Wylie, so I was bummed that they killed her off. I can see why they did it, though.

  15. puma says:

    I sign my name with Rob, Linda, and Charlotte in that I hoped such a good show would continue (albeit, on a different channel wriiten by other authors developing similar storylines, but keeping the main protagonists). However, this episode gives an inkling of the squalor towards which it is heading. TM has been made irredeemable by CBS, WARNER Brs and its creators. No way TM could go on! How smart is duping the spectators?

  16. Pat Corbat says:

    Benig a devoted The Mentalist viewer, I am very sad that there are only 3 episodes left. I hope that Jane and Lisbon retiree from the FBI and are married as the show ends. ALL I HOPE FOR.

  17. Eve Parsons says:

    Lisbon has become very UN-likeable and incredibly SELFISH!!! – The writers have made Jane a character that he has never been – leaving the “love of his life” with a peck on the cheek?!? Really?

  18. puma says:

    I also agree with Eve that the writing has become gloomier and as the latest script shows increasingly necrophilia will determine this grey to black path.

  19. Carol says:

    I was kind of hoping the last episodes would lean toward lighter cases something we could have fun with. Don’t know if I want to stick around for the last few episodes of them dealing with a comrades death. One more Cho stone face interrogation, one more Jane smile. But with Vega’s death how can there be any lightness to the remaining episodes – it would just be to soon in the grieving process.

  20. DiamondLifeDave says:

    This tea thing is getting ridiculous after all these years! Really? He’s got a blue cup & saucer at a hostage crime scene command center?? Where did he find hot tea in the middle of the street?

    And, am I the only one that noticed Simon broke character and did the whole scene at the table explaining his take on what to do in his own natural accent?! He has slipped into Aussie on certain words for years, but this was a whole scene.

    And, if SWAT was entering the house in real life there would be no chance Lisbon would be going in with them. Or Cho as the first one. That’s what SWAT is there for.

  21. brian says:

    does anyone know the name of the song that was played at the end of the episoed where Jane tells Lisbon he is leaving.

  22. puma says:

    Ouch! I just read who wrote the final episode of the Mentalist. Chills are going down my spine as I can imagine what a tear-jerker the end will be. Episode 10 was just the foreboding.

  23. This is all you need to know. This was a great show until CBS moved it to 10 pm on Sunday nights. The show rarely started on time because of sports and other considerations(things CBS thought were more important, like phony reality shows). Fans were screaming for the end of the Red John saga. They ended it, and then had nothing to write for a new storyline. The show is a Warner Bros. show(not a CBS show, which means it costs more) so they decided to dump it. They gave it 13 episodes for season 7(for syndication purposes) and then moved it all over the dial. They decided that they would rather keep a show like Madam Secretary, which loses to reruns of the Walking Dead in the ratings battle. They’ve fooled a lot of you into believing that Madam Secretary gets a lot of viewers, but it still loses to reruns of The Walking Dead. CSI is probably finished, and CBS may try to do to Blue Bloods what it did to The Mentalist, which would be a shame. Don’t let it happen.

    • Judson says:

      You nailed it. I had to record two hours of news on Sunday evening just to make sure I got the whole Mentalist show. Really Pd me off because sometimes I forgot. As for Red John, god I hated that arc. I quit watching that season (2012?) and only caught the last episode of the Red John saga because my sister recorded it.

  24. CRoger says:

    What was turning out to be the best season nose-dived to the worst after killing off Vga.

  25. Jojomundi says:

    “All I hope for” is to have Red John return in a shockingly surprising and satisfying way.

  26. I have watched this episode three times and cried each time. Everyone did such a great job and I will miss Vega. To see Jane still freaked about the one thing he can’t control – what happens to who he loves makes him so human. I cannot e a it for the finale.

  27. I have watched this episode three times and cried each time. Everyone did such a great job and I will miss Vega. To see Jane still freaked about the one thing he can’t control – what happens to who he loves makes him so human. I cannot wait for the finale.

  28. Catherine Poe says:

    I found this show when it had already been a couple of seasons in. I really liked the story & the characters & quickly got caught up. I have to admit that I always want happy endings so when Vega died, it came very close to ruining that whole episode for me. I was really hoping at the end Vega & Wylie would end up together. Their story line quickly became interesting & I was anxious to see her get together with him & then she dies. I wish they could have used a different character for that. I also wish it wasn’t the final season! Loved the show!!

  29. Bruce says:

    I am sorry the series is ending like this ,I had always hoped that a real person would show up with mental powers and shake Jane’s viewpoint, the series had a few attempts,but they always had “normal” ways to explain what happened

  30. puma says:

    Given the variation in the fan base, how can one of the writers even start to guess about what the fans hope for. Anyway, the show is heading towards a 100 shades of black ending. I would not be surprised if in the last two episodes the show comes full circle and hunted haunted Jane becomes the hunter and haunter and Lisbon ends up having to kill the man she loved and married. How’s that as a scenario?

  31. I didn’t understand the ending of Feb 11th episode. Who was the killer?

  32. Sean lundy says:

    Have enjoyed mentalist from day 1 and how we have seen the team have grown together. This series seeing abbot from getting jane into the fbi and being an a**e to trusting him with his life. Shame it’s come to an end

  33. paul kendall says:

    An amazing series sad it has come to an end and tk say in four words after “All that we hoped for” I would say “And more”

  34. apeksha says:

    Why end mentalist… And if you so wanted, why kill that poor girl… ,,, Vega… We loved her. Why don’t you wish to carry forward seasons… I love mentalist… Simon ..,,, are you reading,,, are you listening… Come back and so should Josie Loren/ Lopez… We loved her… And her chemistry with Wylie and Cho… She made him smile… Get her back

  35. apeksha says:

    Well written,, except for episode you killed Vega… Brilliant actress,,, brilliant series

  36. carla says:

    What is the name of the song that plays at the end while they bury agent Vega?