Mentalist Duo Talk Final Threat, Unique Nuptials, Duct Tape Dream Come True

Mentalist Series Finale Preview

It’s always special when a TV series gets to end on its own terms, and CBS’ The Mentalist will do just that on Wednesday night, with the final two episodes of its seventh, farewell season.

First up at 8/7c, the episode “Brown Shag Carpet” finds Jane returning to the team to help draw out a serial killer fixated on psychics, Then in the series finale, “White Orchids,” Jane and Lisbon are heading for a wedding, though a killer’s quest for revenge threatens to snuff the nuptials.

Here in Part 1 of their TVLine Q&A, series creator Bruno Heller and lead actress Robin Tunney discuss how the final two episodes deliver a “darkness before the dawn,” the “new door” that ultimately opens for Jane and Lisbon and the “duct tape” wish that amazingly came true.

TVLINE | So here we are, talking about The Mentalist‘s series finale…
ROBIN TUNNEY | I think you’re going to be our last Mentalist interview for all time.

TVLINE | Don’t get me started. I’m already bound to get verklempt.
BRUNO HELLER | I might get a pendant with your name on it.
TUNNEY | Memorialize the moment!

TVLINE | You can send me a piece of the old CBI. Bruno, how would you describe the tone for each of these final two episodes? Are they distinct?
HELLER | They’re very much conceived as to play as one and also play separately, because that’s the nature of TV. So, the first episode is not just a setup for the second episode but it sets up problems that are solved in the second episode. We wanted to pay due respect to both what the show has always been, which is a murder mystery drama, and the romantic comedy that has developed over time. It’s light conquering darkness, but you’ve got to start with the darkness to make the light pop. That’s what these two episodes are — as well as very much a “farewell and thank you” to the audience with as much sincerity as possible.

TVLINE | Do we have a nickname for this final serial killer? And is it someone that we’ve perhaps met before?
HELLER | It’s not someone you met before. He’s called Lazarus, and he has a weird obsession with psychics, which obviously plays into the basis of the show. As Robin pointed out to me, I don’t think we’ve done any other serial killers over the years as strongly as this except for Red John, so it’s very much a “full circle” kind of event.

TVLINE | Robin, does it fall on Lisbon to lure Jane back in for this one last job?
TUNNEY | I think he comes back because he realizes Lisbon’s a tremendous piece of ass. [Laughs]
HELLER | I’m going to miss you, Robin. I really am.
TUNNEY | No, he comes back because he wants to. I think he realizes in a way that he needs her. You know, the first [episode] is much darker. There’s darkness before the dawn because the show does end of a very optimistic note. I think most importantly it will satiate the fans who’ve stuck with us through many different time changes, night changes, those who have really grown to love and care about these characters. It gives [Jane and Lisbon] a real future, as a new door opens into a new life for them, and I think that that’s exciting. I think the fans will love it, and that’s what’s important.Mentalist Wedding Preview

TVLINE | What affected you more, reading the final script or filming it?
TUNNEY | Filming it. You know, this has been the greatest job of my life. I feel like I’ve been so lucky to be surrounded by a group of people that were really talented and also just great human beings, who you couldn’t wait to go to work and talk to and could rely on for advice. Our directing producer, Chris Long, is such an amazing guy. Bruno is, and Simon [Baker]…. It’s also one of those things where the greatest job of your life is also the hardest job of your life, because the timing and the demands are so much… We did 24 episodes for the first five years, and then 22. And this isn’t something that’s a big, sprawling ensemble. We were all there together.

TVLINE | Bruno, when you were working on the pilot seven years ago, what odds would you have placed on these two characters winding up married?
HELLER | Oh, I wouldn’t have even opened a book on it. I mean, it crossed my mind, but no, it was never a thought. It immediately became a thought as soon as you see these people doing their stuff. Lisbon is the kind of “light” in the show, and Jane was kind of consumed in darkness — and suddenly here is a ray of light, a ray of hope that maybe he can do something with his life, that this someone can help him seek out what he wanted. Simon Baker Honored On The Hollywood Walk Of FameAnd then she became a genuine part of his life. The story just comes naturally. You don’t have to think up clever things to do.
TUNNEY | I remember, after the pilot got picked up I saw Bruno. We were in his office and I said, “You can be honest with me: How many episodes in before I get kidnapped by Red John and I have duct tape on my mouth? Just tell me now, because I know it’s coming.” He said, “Robin, honey, I promise you: You will never be kidnapped by Red John and you will never have duct tape on your mouth.” And guess what? I never got kidnapped by Red John and I never had duct tape on my mouth. They really like to put women in Hollywood with duct tape on their mouth, tied to chairs by the villain. But it never happened to me and I thank you for that, Bruno Heller.

TVLINE | Obviously I have to ask about the wedding, since the pictures already went wide. Robin, was it everything you could hope for from a TV wedding?
HELLER | Didn’t she look fabulous?
TUNNEY | You know, I think the way they carried it off was really unique in that it wasn’t just your traditional TV wedding. I’m just so happy that Teresa Lisbon got a happy ending. I don’t think she’s somebody who ever expected that or ever really wanted it.

TVLINE | And no duct tape.
TUNNEY | No duct tape. I was not duct-taped to a chair. It was this sort of traditional ending for a very nontraditional woman.

Coming up in Part 2 of our Q&A, following the series finale: Heller discusses alternate endings, Tunney ponders her next move and both contemplate The Mentalist‘s legacy.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. CBWBDK1 says:

    I will really miss this show!

  2. arial2 says:

    I just wish they’d bring some sort of closure to the Kristina Frye storyline. A few seasons back, they left her in literal limbo. Since Lazarus is fixated on psychics, maybe they answer this one? Leslie Hope plays a recurring character on another CBS show (SecNav/NCIS), so maybe there’s hope? *hoping*

  3. Tran says:

    Give Mentalist a proper “happy ending” for its series finale.

  4. Jessica says:

    I agree – it has been a wonderful show – I will miss it too much. Thank you so much to Bruno Heller for developing these characters and this story – and for the actors and cast and crew that all made it possible! So wish there was some way to carry on from here, but glad I can keep it on DVD forever!

  5. javadude54 says:

    I’d like to see them leave the FBI and end up with Rigsby and Van Pelt as private eyes.

    • Oh, so quoting this! Even a few vignettes as additional scenes to the dvds would be awesome. But I guess having them become private eyes with the old team would be difficult, seeing as they’re settling down in Texas and Rigspelt is far away. Well, I guess we’ll see. Will miss this show so much!

  6. morgana says:

    Well, that’s going to end my tv viewing. This was the only show worth the commercials and cable fees. Such a great series with a phenomenally great cast, Luv, luv, luv this show. The fandom is in denial and mourning.

  7. I am happy that if they have to end the show, that its a happy ending, and that it is open to starting up again in the future if it needs to. So happy they didn’t kill off anyone else. there is still a great cast left to start all over again!

  8. DarkDefender says:

    Jane coming back because he “realizes Lisbon’s a tremendous piece of ass..” <–
    I am really going to miss this show.

  9. But Robin, Lisbon was kidnapped by Red John and no duct tape, but blood painted face.

    • Dee says:

      Red John knocked her out and left her in that abandoned house. He didn’t kidnap her.

      • Me says:

        Technically kidnapping is taking a person to a place they would not have gone on their own. That means if he moved her an inch it would be kidnapping; however, she never ended up kidnapped in the traditional Hollywood manor so you are right there.

        • Dee says:

          Well, she entered the house on her own free will, so it wasn’t a kidnapping, Hollywood or otherwise. She was tricked into going there, but she wasn’t forced.

  10. The Mentalist is the best show on TV

  11. Jo Batman says:

    I am going to miss The Mentalist so much. I love the cast.

  12. Me says:

    I think it would be so awesome to have the psych team in the wedding crowd. Even just Shawn and Gus.

  13. LEP says:

    Matt, just wanted to say I really enjoy your interviews. I have no idea how you watch all you watch, but your interviews always have both the perspective of a true fan of that particular show and also the professional web-magazine editor. Thank you very much.

  14. Nancy Fogelstrom says:

    Each actor was perfect for their part….the storyline kept me guessing….but enjoying every minute….great writers kept the show moving…. I will miss the entire production….wish it wouldn’t end….Thanks for a wonderful series….

  15. Luis says:

    I will miss the show terribly. The combination of sly humor with the deadly serious subject matter, the chemistry of the cast members and the charm of Simon Baker all combined to make this such a fun watch every week. I am sorry CBS only gave it a 13 week goodbye season. I believed Jane and Lisbon would eventually get together, from about Season 3 on, because Baker and Robin Tunney showed such great chemistry together. I am glad that particular vision was eventually realized. Lisbon brought great light into Jane’s life at a time he desperately needed it, and together, they reaped great rewards. Thanks to Bruno Heller, Simon, Robin and all the cast and crew for seven wonderful years!

  16. suzyku says:

    This last season has been the best! I will miss this show and hope that Simon Baker will be coming back very very soon, he’s wonderful!

  17. Arnold Handelman says:

    What a wonderful series. The stories were terrific, and the acting superb. I loved Simon’s playful sense of humor and charm, as well as his brilliant deductive talent. The chemistry between Lisbon and Jane was magical and endearing. My wife and I would eagerly await new episodes. Fortunately, the TV plays lots of old episodes, so we’ll be able to make our entertainment from The Mentalist continue. I guess we’ll ultimately buy DVD’s of the series.


  19. Susan Pitzer says:

    I am hoping CBS and Bruno Heller continue this wonderful cast with Cho as the team leader instead of Lisbon.
    Simon and Lisbon can make cameo appearences I hope?
    Thanks for the show, Mr. Heller and cast,
    Susan in Kansas

  20. Susan Pitzer says:

    Great Ending!!!!!!!#

  21. Shiloh says:

    Great ending. Perfect. It’s so nice when a show gets it right. So nice. :) Great interview, Matt.

  22. Toni Dietkus says:

    Massively Big THANKS to Bruno Heller for the Mentalist.
    This show delivered on every hoped-for delight I watch a show or read a book for. No drippy sentimentality! Snagged up such deep feelings, a joy ride, nightmare in the daylight, and finally a very creative and satisfying ending. This series never shrank from daring heights or soul-searing lows.
    Now I must go get a hankie, a large one. sniff

  23. gERRY hAINES says:

    Loved this show, so hope it still may be renewed, one of the really good tv shows, not many left. Most of them or weird now.

  24. a.leonard says:

    I have really enjoyed the Mentalist and sorry it is going to end. I wish you could continue the show.

  25. Will someone please tell me, with season and episode authentication, what instrument TERESA played in her high school band ???

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