Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review: The Mentalist (TV Series)

Title: The Mentalist
Starring: Simon Baker, Robin Tunney, Tim Kang, Owain Yeoman, Amanda Righetti
Created by: Bruno Heller
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Drama
Country: United States
Language: English
Episodes: 116
Seasons: 5
Years running: 2008 -
Status: Currently Airing
Synopsis: An infamous 'psychic' abandons his public persona, outing himself as a fake, to focus on his work as a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation in order to find "Red John," the madman who killed his wife and daughter.

What do you get when you add a fake psychic and a group of stoic agents together in an attempt to chase down a serial killer? The answer would be entertaining television. Patrick Jane is an infamous former psychic who made his living reading people on a television reality show. It was never hard for him to quickly learn things about him that they believed no one could ever know. These little pieces of information would lead him to conclusions about deceased relatives and loved ones. Most would never believe that he'd faked any of his psychic abilities. Yet, Jane was doing just that. When his wife and daughter are murdered after he taunted a serial killer the police were searching for, Jane makes finding the killer his life's mission. This leads him to work with the California Bureau of Investigation in order to catch the killer known only as Red John.

This brings him under the reluctant supervision of senior agent, Teresa Lisbon. She's a no-nonsense cop with a track record of solving cases such as that of a serial child rapist. Lisbon often disapproves of Jane's tricks and mindgames. Once Jane begins proving valuable to solving cases, she continues to scold him while being a little more relaxed around the former psychic. The chemistry between Jane and Lisbon is undeniable. They work well together, often much to the misfortune of the criminal they're pursuing.

The rest of Lisbon's team has a similar outlook on Jane. Kimball Cho, a former narcotics agent, is much like Lisbon, preferring to do things by the book. He's an excellent interrogator with great listening skills. However, Cho often meets Jane's antics with an expressionless look. His partner on most cases is Wayne Rigsby. Rigsby previously worked in the arson investigation unit before he transferred to Lisbon's team. He's usually the quickest to follow Jane's plans. The youngest agent, Grace Van Pelt, believes earnestly that psychics are real despite Jane's assurance that they are not. She's sensitive and easily manipulated despite her intelligence.

Along with the search for Red John, the team closes murder investigations. They often come under questioning because of Jane's unusual antics. It's these antics that help find the resolution, whether it's
questioning the victim's family with a sassy tone or tricking a suspect into revealing their guilt. All doesn't work out well for Jane and the team. They often find themselves being reprimanded by Lisbon's superior officers due to the methods they use to find murderers.

There aren't many crime television series that can hold my attention for five seasons. The Mentalist has
accomplished that feat with wit and charm. This is not only due to the impeccable casting of Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, but that of Robin Tunney (Lisbon), Tim Kang (Cho), Owain Yeoman (Rigsby) and Amanda Righetti (Van Pelt) as the CBI agents tasked with working alongside Jane. It's in their interactions as well as the cases that keep me watching time after time. I'm sure that I'll still be watching when season 6 begins on September 29th of this year. Whether they catch Red John this season or not, I'll continue to watch as the team solve cases in their stylish way.

Rating: 4.5/5

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