Intelligent shows are hard to come by. Sometimes even a concept that is already a thing can still be clever if it’s got a bushel of talent. Fortunately, The Mentalist, season one has this.
The Mentalist, Season One (2008) CBS TV Show Review
Living a lie is what Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) does best. Or he did. For many years, he masqueraded as a high-profile medium who could communicate with deceased loved ones. Off of other’s pain he made a good living for his family. Years later, his new role, as a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation (or the CBI) has ulterior motives attached.
Led by agent Theresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney), the team is used to, but always wary of Patrick’s crazy talk and random theories. Most especially is this true of newbie, Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti). Joining the women on the five-person traveling CBI team is Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman), who crushes on rookie agent Van Pelt, and Kimball Cho (Tim Kang). When the infamous serial killer known as Red John strikes again in a double-murder, Patrick takes a very personal interest in the case. But is this Red John or a desperate copycat…?
There is plenty interesting about this show. One of these things is Patrick Jane! He’s such a charismatic, likable albeit deeply-scared character (plus it doesn’t hurt that Baker is in the lead role). Though I will saw, because they refer to him as “Jane,” it brings to mind reflections of the popular, dramatic scene in Jane Eyre. But that’s beside the point and in fact, a totally random thing. Back on topic.
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When you look closely at the characters, some would-be viewers may not appreciate or like Patrick. I do. Baker plays a confident, self-assured character whose feathers don’t ruffle easily (save for his family) nor does he mince words. Baker is heralded as a kind of Sherlock Holmes character and in some respects that is indeed true. His astute observations are largely based on guesswork and calculated deductions of what he sees.
Because of this, Jane often calls things as they are without apology. He’s often like a little kid in a candy store with his guesses – albeit a very charming one. I like what writers do with his character yet know beneath the fun façade, he’s a man emotionally hurting from guilt. Perhaps this is no reason to excuse him though it does explain why he is as he is and no matter the method, it does get results. (And really, anyone who is a fan-girl of Sherlock Holmes shouldn’t mind Patrick’s variety of questioning.) If you’re a crime show junkie – like me – then The Mentalist is worth a look. Though later seasons don’t follow the same path, the first season strays away from romantic entanglements, which is a refreshing change.
Fans of the lighthearted Psych may also enjoy this alternative as it puts a more serious approach on crime-solving. Between Patrick’s love of a good cup of tea, something he describes as a “hug in a cup,” or the cohesiveness of the team, the genuine laughter is priceless. Underneath the mirth is a sense of doom due to Patrick’s past yet that didn’t deter me from becoming fully involved.
CONTENT: some of the crime scenes are more violent than others. They find victims in a variety of ways though the camera rarely catches anything overly graphic. Red John’s victims are raped though we see little of this aside from conversation and a victim drowning in their own blood. At least one case involves homosexuality [limited to nothing more than conversation] and others discover affairs during the investigation. There is some innuendo and Rigsby the subject of teasing because of his crush on Grace. Profanity is rare though a part of the dialogue – including da*n and other commonplace words. The show is TV14.