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.

‘THE MENTALIST,’ SEASON ONE (2008). Simon Baker stars in the first season of this CBS dramedy about a man who easily solves crimes. Text © Rissi JC

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.

‘THE MENTALIST,’ SEASON ONE (2008) #TVarchives Click To Tweet
‘THE MENTALIST,’ SEASON ONE (2008). Simon Baker stars in the first season of this CBS dramedy about a man who easily solves crimes. Text © Rissi JC

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.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. I actually don't generally like crime shows (unless Sherlock counts as a crime show in which case, LOVE!) but I have an old coworker who really loves The Mentalist…and a lot of times we like the same things. So I should probably check it out. Great review!

    1. Sherlock totally counts as a crime show, Melissa. :)

      I am kind of a crime show junkie to the point that a friend teases me about it though I love costume dramas and the more lighthearted series, too. If you try The Mentalist I hope you like it – there are times when it gets a bit "too" serious but (so far) it's a nice balance of humor and sleuthing. :)

  2. I adore the Mentalist! The witty banter and rapport between Lisbon and Jane makes the show in my opinion. I can't wait to see how they wrap the show up in this final season.

    1. Aw, bummer! I hadn't read yet that this was The Mentalist's final season. In that case, I agree, here's hoping things are wrapped up nicely. After all Patrick has been through, he needs a good ending. :)

      LOVE Lisbon and Jane both – they are great characters.

  3. Great review! I absolutely love this show, though the last few episodes have been rather different! I just discovered it recently and caught up pretty fast! My mom and I decided that The Mentalist was like a middleman between Psych and Sherlock, since he's more mature than Shawn but kinder than Sherlock!
    And Heidi I don't think it's officially been cancelled yet, at least I couldn't find anything when I searched. From what I could tell it's on the fence but the ratings are looking up!

    1. Thanks for reading, Abbi.

      I'm right there with you – and I love your description of the show. You are so right. He's in-between Shawn and Sherlock, well said. Oh, you have me nervous about those S6 episodes. I'm about to start S4 and will of course, then watch five before the DVD for six comes out; I've read spoiler-y stuff though so needless to say, I'm eager to watch it all unfold.

      I had to search a cancellation too, Abbi and found the same as you. Here's HOPEING it gets a renewal because it's a show definitely worth it. :)

  4. You know, I haven't even heard of The Mentalist. I know: where have I been? Sounds like a pretty cool show. I'll probably give it a watch sometime in the future. Thanks for the review!

    1. We'll live under a rock together, Fayehope – I just started it myself, so where have I been!? :) So far, so good and I'm already about to start season four! Yeah, I've kind of binge watched this one. ;)

      Thanks for reading.

  5. I've been meaning to try the Mentalist for awhile but never quite got around to it. I recognized the main actor from The Devil Wears Prada and immediately put it on my to-watch list. If you're into crime shows, have you seen Perception? It's one of my favorites :) (although nothing can ever beat Sherlock)

    1. Hey, Skye! :)

      If you liked Simon in The Devil Wears Prada, you'd like him in this. It's really quite fun and I appreciate its tendency to be more lighthearted than "heavy."

      Yes! I did rent Perception, it was clever and I like that the hero isn't your average character – makes things interesting. :)

      Three cheers for Sherlock. He's just… awesome.

  6. I love that you reviewed this! I'm SO in agreement with you – such a fantastic show. The writing's smart, Jane's personality is so random and fun, and we love how they pull off many of the heartwarming wrap-ups. :0)

    1. Hey, Mary! Glad you stopped by – and shared your thoughts on The Mentalist. I agree. Jane's personality makes the show what it is. The crazy, random things he does is what endears it plus I also love that its a more lighthearted look at a crime show rather than serious. The episode last night had him inspiring a group of concert musicians to engage in a moment of random music making and that ensured that the ending was upbeat. :)

  7. I've actually wanted to check this show out for a couple years, but I've just never gotten around to it. I love Psych (Shawn has even mentioned "The Mentalist" in a few episodes!), and I just have a feeling The Mentalist is one I'd like.

    Now that White Collar is over for the season (sniff, sniff…) I have a spot in my rotation open. But, I'd kind of like to get back into Castle, as well. Watched a few episodes, and then over the holidays I just got out of the habit of watching it. But from the little I saw, I could tell that it would eventually build into something great.

    Really appreciate your reviews on things like this, Rissi! From what little I'd heard of the content of The Mentalist, I thought it would be pretty iffy…but your content review makes it seem not as bad as I feared. Maybe I'll get around to checking the show out later this year. :)

    1. If you like Psych, I really think you'd enjoy this one as well, Valerie. It's not as funny in the same sense as the USA show, however it still has great humor. (And of course, the crimes are probably more "grisly.")

      I'm a bit nervous for White Collar this fall (when I finally get to see it) because I followed the tweets and have a Twitter friend who was quite mad at how things went down. Here's hoping I'll still like it. Love Castle. It's such a happy-go-lucky show and the relationships? They are fabulous.

      Thanks, Valerie. I never know if it's worth posting TV shows or not just because I'm WAY behind on the current seasons by my own choice. The first season of The Mentalist is reasonably clean before the next few fall a bit "off" but are still nothing horrible so long as the viewer can excuse a scene or two here and there. Hope you enjoy the show if you decide to give it a shot. :)

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