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YMMV: The Mentalist
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Bosco. Because he was a jerk to Jane, mainly because he suspected that Jane was putting Lisbon and her career in danger, and/or flirting with her (and in Bosco's book, these were pretty equal crimes), he was not a fan favourite. Add forty-five minutes of Lisbon looking beautiful and distraught after his shooting - hey presto, everybody cries when he snuffs it after admitting that he loves her.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Is Jane a guy who likes to mess with people for the giggles and because it's fun, and does police work out of boredom and altruism? Or is he a guy warped beyond all repair by his family's murder who messes with people and hunts out murderers to inflict pain?
  • Angst? What Angst?: Everyone that has worked for Red John seems to treat his gruesome actions as well as the actions they do for him with the same amount of emotion as if he simply asked them to pick up something from the grocery store.
  • Arc Fatigue: It takes five seasons for Jane to compile a concrete list of 7 suspects. It's all paid off now.
  • Ass Pull:
    • Shettrick is Volker's mole. Unlike other Moles in the series, this time the writers just pull her out their asses.
    • For many, The Reveal that Red John was Sherriff McCallister falls into this. Mostly because so little evidence over the course of the series pointed to him- except for evidence in season 6, the season he was revealed-, and because it doesn't easily jive with what we did know about Red John. Not to mention, any motive or backstory Red John had was dismissed by Jane as irrelevant, so we learn little about him beyond the fact that this man was Red John, and many of his impressive- nigh impossible- feats are given no explanation.
  • Author's Saving Throw: That damned reset buttony season four premiere. It basically negates all the epic Gambit Pileup in the season three finale.
  • Base Breaker: Red John: the best Myth Arc since The X-Files, or the most annoying Arc Fatigue since How I Met Your Mother?
  • The Chris Carter Effect: The Red John Myth Arc has become far more elaborate and convoluted than originally intended. While it appears that Bruno Heller always knew who Red John was going to be (or picked his possible choices early on, at least), the character went from a particularly devious Serial Killer who knew how to cover his tracks, to a Serial Killer who knew a few other killers, to a Serial Killer with a shadow army of fanatically devoted, loyal-unto-death brainwashed followers. In season 6 they took his catchphrase ("Tiger, Tiger") and decided to turn what looked like a cult into a sophisticated criminal organization that nobody had heard of, and made Red John a possible member, to a possible senior member, and finally into the apparent mastermind of the whole thing. Oh, and he's repeatedly performing "psychic" feats that make Jane look like an amateur, that are never explained. Beyond a certain point he's basically a supervillain and you have to start wondering why he ever resorted to anything as trivial as serial murder in the first place. The Reveal that he is Sherriff McCallister only raised further issues, as many clues that were dropped about Red John turn out to be irrelevant (his height, for instance- the actor in question is taller than Red John was stated to be). Practically all of the clues that pointed to him were only dropped in the sixth season, the one he was revealed in; most clues from previous seasons were never mentioned again. There are also logistical questions that push it into Fridge Logic territory, such as how he can keep showing up and killing in Sacremento, where the team is based, especially in his last season, when he's supposed to be a small-town sheriff from Santa Monica, hundreds of miles away.
  • Complete Monster:
    • The nemesis of Patrick Jane is Red John (Sheriff Thomas McAllister), a sociopathic Serial Killer whose sexual perversions and sadism led him to torture and murder women. Early in his career, Patrick Jane, then a phony psychic, said he would use his "powers" to help the police catch Red John. Unfortunately, Jane made the mistake of insulting Red John on the air, which caused the killer to murder Jane's wife and young daughter. Years later, Red John is mostly "retired" from serial killing, but he still kills many, either to silence loose ends or to play mind games with Jane. Some of Red John's crimes include murdering a teenage girl and kidnapping her twin sister to lure Jane into a trap; having Sam Bosco's CBI team killed; kidnapping Kristina Frye and brainwashing her into believing she's dead, all because she empathized with him on television; having Madeline Hightower's cousin tortured to death to get information on where she was hiding, then later sending a mole to murder her and her kids; trying to get Jane to murder his best friend and Love Interest, Teresa Lisbon; murdering a woman because Jane had a happy memory of her as a child; and decapitating the therapist who helped Jane recover from his psychological breakdown following his family's death. Red John is also the mastermind of the Blake Association, a criminal conspiracy and protection racket for corrupt law enforcement officials and controls them from behind the scenes. In addition, Red John has his own devoted followers, usually comprised of psychotics and killers, that help him in his crimes or vice versa. However, their lives mean nothing to him, and he either kills them when they outlive their usefulness or drives them to suicide in order to protect himself. Overall, Red John is a raging narcissist with a massive ego and a god complex. He is driven by an intense need for attention and gets off on the power he has by holding thousands of lives in his hands.
    • Cale Sylvan from season 2's "Blood Money" distinguishes himself as a sociopath and a serial killer that just enjoys killing people. He makes his living as a hitman because, in the words of Jane, "If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life." Already connected by the police with the "mysterious" deaths of seven people (drowning, hit-and-run, etc.), his most recent victim is a DA, Kelly Flower. Sylvan breaks into her home and murders her, but not before videotaping her begging for her life to keep as a trophy. When Jane assesses hes a sociopath, the CBI arrange a sting operation and send Agent Van Pelt to act as a buyer interested in procuring his services. Once he agrees to kill her target and shows her the video of him killing Kelly as proof that he can do it, hes quickly arrested. When he is released, the CBI find him at his Murder House. Inside hes watching TV, laughing and drinking, and as hes doing so, a man is duct-taped to a table in the kitchen, gagged and screaming for his life. Eventually Sylvan gets up and plans to start cutting the guy up before the police arrest him. Before Sylvan can give any information on who hired him to kill Ms. Flower, hes sniped from far away. Following his death, we see the CBI excavating his house where eight bodies have already been discovered in the front yard alone.
    • Tommy Volker from season 5 is a Corrupt Corporate Executive responsible for the slaughter of over three hundred Amazonian tribesmen when they refused to relinquish their land so he could use it for development of his geothermal project. When a journalist finds evidence Volker was behind the massacre, he manipulates an old friend into sabotaging her car. While his friend believed he was only pulling a prank, Volker intended her to die and had his assassin, Charles Milk, trail her. After her crash, Milk suffocated her, stole the evidence that implicated Volker, and Volker left his "friend" to serve as the fall guy for his scheme. At the same time, CBI Agent Teresa Lisbon convinced Volker's secretary, Rebecca Shaw, to provide evidence against him. In response, Volker visited Shaw that night with his assassin, and watched, smiling, as he strangled her to death. This apparently is a habit of Volker's, as he's also shown attending the strangulation of another employee who intended to reveal Volker's involvement in the Amazonian tribe massacre. Loyal employees fair little better with Volker as he has Charles Milk assassinated in a drive-by shooting, along with two innocent bystanders, when Lisbon got too close to Milk, and later promised to kill another of his hired goons just because the man was interrogated by the police. When Volker discovered a little boy had witnessed one of his crimes, he had no reservations in personally trying to execute him when other hitmen of his refused to do so. A cold-blooded sociopath, Volker was driven by nothing other than a disturbing mixture of greed and sadism.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Rigsby's class reunion entrance to Ini Kamoze's "Here Comes the Hotstepper" in "Rose-Colored Glasses."
  • Designated Hero: Jane.
  • Epileptic Tree: Countless theories on who Red John is.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The episode "Red Carpet Treatment" teaches us that revenge is sweet and totally worth investing years of your life and buckets of money in. And it's entirely possible that you can get away with it, too.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Jane and Lisbon.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Or in this case, French love Simon Baker. This show does extremely well in France.
  • I Knew It: In 6x09. Who didn't see "Kim's" and Abbot's sudden but inevitable betrayal coming? They're federal, it's what they do.
  • Jerk Ass Woobie: Patrick Jane, arguably, yes he is quite the jerk, but considering that his wife and daughter were murdered by a serial killer, you do have some sympathy with him.
    • Richard Haibach. He's a former child abuser and eventually goes on to kidnapping and murder, but he was sexually abused by his own father and he and his sister are implied to have had a crappy life overall, and he is frequently harassed by the CBI- especially Lisbon- for things he actually did not do, including crimes as serious as child murder. The reason he actually becomes a killer is because Jane once framed him as being Red John and as a result he was kidnapped and brutally tortured, so naturally he has a grudge.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: One very common reaction to the end of the season six premiere where Red John captures and seemingly kills Lisbon, smearing his trademark smiley face on her face in blood as he calls Jane with her phone to taunt him. Genre Savvy fans were not amused.
  • Love It or Hate It: Season 6's "Red John" is either the hands-down best episode of the series and a satisfying culmination of the show's Myth Arc, or an absolute travesty that fails to live up to the hype. There is no in-between with fans.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Patrick Jane is the epitome of this trope. He is brilliant, charismatic and manipulative. He runs rings around poor Lisbon, the rest of the team and the criminals. Nobody ever knows the full plan except him and, on the rare occasion something goes wrong, he will get out somehow. The audience want Patrick to succeed in catching the murderers and to eventually get Red John even though his methods are often questionable.
  • Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize: Subverted in an interesting way in both "Blood In, Blood Out" with Jon "Why squirrel hate me?" Sklaroff and "Red Letter" in Rick Hoffman. Sklaroff's character is guilty of some drug charges and Cho pretends to kill him to get the real killer to confess. Hoffman's character isn't the killer, but is running a human trafficking ring through his anti-human trafficking organization.
    • Seemingly lampshaded in "Blinking Red Light." Jane tells Lisbon to go with her gut and pick the suspect who looks like he did it. She immediately chooses William Mapother. Subverted in that he was innocent; double subverted when the killer turns out to be played by David Paymer.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Patrick's deceased wife and daughter, Charlotte and Angela.
    • Thomas Volker one of the few villains to pull a Karma Houdini.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: Jane and Lisbon are a possible case. One that the writers went with in later seasons...
  • Replacement Scrappy: The new CBI Special Agent in Charge, Hightower, is an epic bitch to the team. She broke up Van Pelt and Rigsby, scolded Lisbon continuously, and hang Jane's fate on the team. By Season 3, she was getting better, though. In fact, she saved Jane's life.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Dennis Abbott was hated for his role in breaking up the team while Jane was trying to get to Red John. He is now universally adored by the fandom due to his blatant, shameless shipping of Jane and Lisbon.
  • Special Effects Failure: In "The War of the Roses," when Erica Flynn is supposedly sunning herself on a tropical beach, she's clearly just sitting on a soundstage in front of a rather cheap green screen effect.
  • Stoic Woobie: J.J. LaRoche. His mother was gruesomely raped and killed herself three months after. There are strong hints that he chased the rapist and tore off his tongue, and, according to Jane, he's been punishing himself with remorse ever since. Still one of the most stoic characters in the series.

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