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Series / The Mentalist

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mentalist /'men-tə-list/ noun. Someone who uses mental acuity, hypnosis and / or suggestion. A master manipulator of thoughts and behavior.

Lisbon: I apologize for my colleague...
Jane: No, she doesn't! I retract that apology.

Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) is a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation, but rather than using knowledge of applied sciences, he uses the knowledge of human behavior. Armed with only the Sherlock Scan, suggestions and hypnosis, Jane often reveals overlooked details to the amusement of his team, when he's not keeping them in the dark for kicks. He used to claim that he was psychic by using these abilities, until he "read" a serial killer named "Red John". Insulted, Red John killed his family and left a note calling him out for this.

Leading the team is Agent Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney), who, when not blasting him for breaking protocol (or flirting with him), accepts Jane as very useful for closing cases. Rounding out the team are Agents Kimball Cho (Tim Kang), Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman), and rookie Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti).

That's the first five seasons, anyway. At the middle of season six, the show undergoes a massive retool at the conclusion of the first Myth Arc. The CBI is disbanded, Rigsby and van Pelt leave the series, and Jane, Lisbon, and Cho go to work for the FBI, where they join Dennis Abbott (Rockmond Dunbar), Kim Fischer (Emily Swallow), and Jason Wylie (Joe Adler) of the Austin, Texas field office. When the Kim Fischer character proved unpopular with fans, a new female agent, Michelle Vega (Josie Loren), was brought in for the program's final season.

On May 10th, 2014, the series was renewed for a seventh season. However, it was also announced that the episode order was limited and the show was canceled following this final season. The series ended on February 18, 2015 with a two-hour finale. Though there was talk of the show possibly finding a new home on cable, with the various resolutions the characters received, that seems unlikely.

Put character tropes here, please.

This series provides examples of:

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  • Abusive Parent: Lisbon's father. Jane's probably qualifies too, at least for emotional abuse. Rigsby's father, as well, seems to have been abusive, or at the very least cold and emotionally absent.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Also Lisbon's father. She is thus hard on other alcoholic parents she meets. And Rigsby's father.
  • Actually a Doombot: Jane kills a man who claims to be Red John in the Season 3 finale. In the Season 4 premiere, it turns out the man was merely one of Red John's accomplices.
  • Affably Evil: Brent Stiles. Also O'Laughlin. Red John is closer to Faux Affably Evil.
  • A Fool for a Client: Subverted in one episode when Jane successfully defends himself on a murder charge for killing a man he believed to be the serial killer Red John, who murdered his family. However, its Hollywood Law for the prosecutor not objecting to any of his argument, which amounts to seeking jury nullification (which they deliver).
  • The Alleged Computer: In "His Right Red Hand," according to a "The Reason You Suck" Speech rant by California Bureau of Investigation director Virgil Minelli, the computers at CBI have "more viruses than a $10 whore."
  • Always Save the Girl:
    • Jane claims that he will always save Lisbon, which is one part incredibly sweet coming from wildly-untruthful, dangerously-unpredictable flirt-machine Jane, and one part hilarious, because Lisbon could kick Jane's ass. She is always the one who shoots/catches/kicks the shit out of the bad guy, often saving Jane in the process.
    • Of course, in the season one finale, "Red John's Footsteps", Jane does save Lisbon, at the cost of killing the one man who could have led him to Red John (even after declaring that he would rather die himself than let Red John continue to live free).
    • In the final season, when they get together as a couple, he can no longer deal with the possibility of her being in danger and twice makes moves specifically to stop it, once placing himself in the line of fire instead. He then declares that it's too much for him and he has to get away, regardless of whether or not she comes with him. He comes back.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • In The Red Barn, while he was a pretty scummy guy overall, there's some ambiguity over whether or not the third farm overseer had any complicity or involvement with the first Red John murders.
    • In Bloodsport, it's somewhat unclear whether the victim did have an affair with MMA fighter Manny Flacco. The person this claim comes from is Flaco's grudge-holding opponent. When Flacco denies it, his wife seems to suspect otherwise, pointing out previous affairs he's had. The victim's conduct in the flashbacks prior to her being killed never explicitly suggest this though, and since it wasn't involved with the murder, the answer remains unclear.
    • In the season 6 episode Red John, we never truly find out how Red John managed to figure out Jane's list of 7 suspects months before Jane did. Red John claims that he knew about the list because he's psychic, but considering that he's telling this to Jane right before Jane strangles him, it's debatable about whether or not he's being truthful or is saying whatever he has to in order to save his own skin.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Jane to Lisbon in the Season 6 finale "Blue Bird". It works.
  • Artistic License – Biology: In "Red Bricks and Ivy", Sophie aka Rosie is a young chimpanzee, a great ape, but is several times referred to as a monkey, and none of the characters who would definitely know better ever correct the error. The original script called for a monkey, but the dialogue should have been changed when the species was.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Diamonds are hard, but brittle. Hitting one with a fire extinguisher (like in "A Price Above Rubies") should break itnote . At least it didn't cut through the table as Aristotle wrote.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: In "Blood for Blood", Jane successfully hypnotizes someone into quitting smoking... in less than thirty seconds. Whether or not it worked over the long term is unknown, but still.
  • Artistic License – Religion:
    • The portrayal of Wicca in the episode "Red Rum" was a source of much outrage to actual Wiccans and Neo-Pagans. In their eyes, the "Wiccan priestess" on the show was pretentious, irresponsible, and utterly immoral. It goes without saying that, while every religion abhors murder, using magic (considered a sacred gift from the God and Goddess) to murder someone is beyond blasphemy. The characters consider the religion of Wicca and the practice of witchcraft as interchangeable (though this mistake is made in real life too) and have very dismissive opinions on it. Rigsby even goes so far as calling it an "alternative lifestyle, like Star Trek or yoga".
    • Since the "priestess" was an attention-seeking girl with no understanding of the faith she claimed to follow, viewers were not shown any contrast to this image, which is essential in portraying something that most viewers know little to nothing about.
  • Asshole Victim: Tons, the worst being the victim of "Red Carpet Treatment", who had brutally raped and murdered a woman in the past and had every intention of doing the same to an ex-girlfriend of his.
  • Attention Whore:
    • Jane should have known better than to badmouth a serial killer while live on a nation-wide TV show...
    • After the murder of his wife and daughter, he does know better. In fact, he berates Kristina Frye with uncharacteristic agitation when he sees her calling out to Red John on TV.
    • He even knows better than that. In "Blinking Red Light", knowing that the serial killer in the episode is an Attention Whore himself, Jane tricks him to do exactly what Jane had done in the past: badmouth Red John on TV. In the next scene, that killer winds up gruesomely murdered, Red John-style.
    • He does it again in Season 7, pretending to be a psychic so that Keller, who is trying to contact his dead father, will come after him. He does, which leads to a series of events that ultimately gets the TV host killed.
  • The Atoner: Jane, whenever a case brings him into contact with someone that he scammed back in his fake psychic con artist days.
  • Babies Ever After:
    • The happily-married Wayne Rigsby and Grace Van Pelt have a baby daughter, Maddie, and a successful consulting business in the sixth-season episode "My Blue Heaven", set two years after the events of earlier in the season. They returned for one plot in season 7, but they're basically ending in the series as happy parents.
    • In the series finale "White Orchids", Lisbon tells Jane that she is pregnant.
  • Bathroom Search Excuse: In "Blinking Red Light," Jane pretends to work with James Panzer, blogger and self-proclaimed expert on the serial killer the team are hunting. He visits Panzer's home to see what he's got, and asks to use the bathroom as an excuse to snoop. A look around there makes him certain Panzer is the killer, because his bathroom is "too neat."
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Jane is very good at pulling these off. In the episode "Red Sauce", he deliberately enraged a retired mafia boss and called him on the phone. Once the mafia boss started yelling and threatening Jane, he handed the phone to the murder suspect. The suspect, thinking these threats were aimed at her, and afraid of the approaching mafia hitman (actually Rigsby in disguise, told by Jane what clothes to wear), confessed to the murder.
    • Another example from the episode "Black Gold and Red Blood": Jane, despite being imprisoned, would like to ask the victim's brother-in-law Ronny some questions regarding the case. After learning Agent Rigsby is on his way to question Ronny, Jane calls Rigsby and tells him of his strong feeling that Ronny will be hostile and aggressive towards him. Next, he calls Ronny, identifies himself as Agent Rigsby, and taunts him with his alleged homosexuality and him being an ex-marine. So, when real Agent Rigsby arrives, Ronny punches him in rage. He ends up in the same county jail as Jane, so Jane is now able to ask his questions. Which grows even more complex and awesome when Jane reveals he wanted to talk to the guy visiting Ronny. "Good" may be an understatement.
    • When Jane is forced to work with another team, he quickly notices that one agent is self-conscious about his height and the team leader is a strong believer in surveillance. He uses this knowledge to trick and sabotage them.
    • Season 4, "Blinking Red Light". Jane basically pits Red John and the Monster of the Week against each other. How? By belittling the attention-hungry monster in comparison with Red John, he tricks the monster into badmouthing Red John on TV (like Jane had done in the past), which causes the pissed-off Red John (who doesn't tolerate public slander) to kill that monster as retaliation. With this gambit, Jane manages to both kill the monster and force Red John to resurface.
      • Seems to be a case of Out-Gambitted. Red John never cared a whit that anyone thought he was dead and probably knew that Jane thought he was manipulating him; Red John has taken the opportunity to mess with Jane further by stalking the FBI agent investigating the murder and, later, killing the morgue assistant who let Jane bring Red John's blind ex-girlfriend in to confirm that the fake Red John Jane killed was not Red John (confused yet?) and dumping the body in his blind ex's house for the police to find. He has taken to directly taunting Jane via webcam and other means, and the FBI agent he is stalking rightly suspects Jane covered up the fact that Red John was still alive, so Jane might go to jail for his convoluted scheming.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: When trespassing, Jane easily convinced the police that he was the homeowner and that the true homeowner was the trespasser, or at least seriously confused them. This is by no means an isolated incident.
  • Becoming the Mask: The undercover Dirty Cop who kills a fellow undercover narc in "Pink Top". The cop is tired of shitty pay and thankless work, and therefore joins the drug dealers. In fact, Jane realizes that the police officer is truly dirty when he notices that the cop no longer bothers to change out of undercover clothes upon getting back to HQ.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Patrick Jane and Kristina Frye.
  • Big Bad: Red John, whoever he really is. He's the only consistent villain and he has his own Myth Arc.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In "Pretty Red Balloons", when an AK-armed killer pins down both Cho and Rigsby and then holds Lisbon at killshot, it's up to Van Pelt to save the night.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Jane and Lisbon in the final scene of the sixth season finale.
  • Big Eater:
    • Rigsby is constantly snacking during cases and stakeouts in season 2. (It seems to fade almost entirely by season two.)
    • Jane seems to take every opportunity to eat, starting from the pilot, where he casually goes to the kitchen and makes a sandwich before questioning the mother of the murder victim. Jane also makes tea whenever possible, usually when talking to a suspect and sometimes after illegally entering. It's gotten him in serious trouble at least twice, once when a defense attorney presented his fingerprints from a mug as evidence he'd broken in and gotten the entire case against her client thrown out, and another time when the victim's tea had been poisoned leaving Jane himself in serious condition after he brews himself a drink.
  • Black Helicopter: Invoked in the "Black Helicopters" episode. While Jane is infiltrating an anti-government homestead commune, he has his FBI superiors fly an unmarked black helicopter over the commune to make the whole group paranoid as part of his plan sniff out a murderer that is hiding amongst them.
  • Blackmail:
    • Lisbon blackmails Sam Bosco to drop all charges against Jane in "Black Gold and Red Blood". Lisbon threatened to reveal that Bosco had done something very bad in the past to a criminal who had gotten away without being charged. Revealing the secret would have ended her career as well, since Lisbon helped Bosco cover it up.
    • In the sixth season, when Dennis Abbott recruits Jane into the F.B.I., Jane provides a list of demands on a napkin that he wants met if he's going to work for them. When he gets back to the United States, Abbott reneges on the deal and instead tries to set his own terms, which include stuff such as Jane basically being on a sort of probation which could be retracted at any time if he doesn't toe the line while working with the F.B.I. Jane, of course, does not like this at all, so he escapes then tells Abbott that he has a list of names of members of the F.B.I. who are members of the Blake Association and he'll release it to the media unless his own demands are met and he's allowed to work for the F.B.I. free as a bird. It's a total bluff, but it works, as Abbott has no way of knowing that he's lying.
    • In a later episode, after Abbott has come to trust Jane, he asks for Jane's help dealing with a guy who's blackmailing him in an attempt to undercut his wife's promotion.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Jane likes to use this one to brush off his antics.
    Jane: The message the aide brought in made [the Mayor] nervous. So I took it.
    Lisbon: You're stealing now?
    Jane: Well, let's just call it "purloining".
  • Black Widow: Jennifer Sands in the first-season episode "Ladies in Red" and Erica Flynn, who murdered her husband in the third-season episode "Every Rose Has Its Thorn". Patrick Jane is attracted to both women, which (in his damaged way) makes him suspicious of them almost immediately.
  • Blind Driving: Happens twice, both times by Jane. The first time he is temporarily blind and guided by Grace in the passenger seat, while the second time he is blindfolded and guided by the unconscious reactions of Walter Mashburn in the passenger seat. Surprisingly, he fares much better in the latter case. Considering in the latter case he totaled a half-million-dollar car, you can imagine how badly the first went.
    • To be fair, he did fine driving in the latter case. He just forgot to set the parking brake when he was done (and given the way that plays into the ultimate solving of the case, it was almost certainly intentional).
  • Bluff the Eavesdropper: Used in the season 3 finale to give one of the CBI employees who might be Red John's spies the room number of a person they were hiding. The person is actually somewhere else, and the room number is a trick to reveal who is Red John's spy.
  • Bluffing the Murderer: Pretty common tactic by Jane.
  • Bondage Is Bad: In "Red Rover, Red Rover", Jane calls out the victim's co-worker for being into "whips and latex". Well, he also handcuffed a coworker and BURIED HIM ALIVE, so...a subversion?
  • The Book Cipher: While undercover in the "Orange Blossom Ice Cream" episode, Jane is given a string of 81 numbers by a terrorist Arms Dealer so that Jane can use his Photographic Memory to smuggle them to a contact in America. Jane quickly figures out that the numbers are a book cipher as the arms dealer keeps two filled bookshelves and, in Jane's words, "he's not a reader". After the American contact is killed, Jane has to break into the arms dealer's home to figure out which of the many book acts as the key.
  • Bookends: The series starts off with Patrick Jane losing his wife and daughter to Red John the serial killer and it ends with him marrying Lisbon, who is later revealed to be pregnant after their wedding.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: In "18-5-4", a brilliant mathematician is shot and killed by a clown who cuts off his ring finger and later uses to open the biometric lock on a hidden safe in his house.
  • Break the Cutie: Van Pelt's fiancé, FBI Special Agent O'Laughlin, turned out to be The Mole for Red John in the season 3 finale, and she was forced to shoot him dead. In season 4, Van Pelt has a definite personality change into a version of Knight in Sour Armor.
  • Break the Haughty: In "The Redshirt", an arrogant Jerk Jock ex-pro football player whom Jane asks to fake his own death to help catch his would-be killer thinks it will be fun to see what people say about him after his death. He soon discovers that all the people he thought were his friends actually hated his guts and only pretended to like him for the money. At the end of the episode, after he has been suitably humbled, Jane reunites him with his ex-wife, who still loved him despite his womanizing.
  • Briar Patching: In Season 3, when Jane is captured by Rachel and ends up tied to a pole in the same room with a dead man, he begs her to remove the corpse because he supposedly can't stand the stench. Her reaction was to move the corpse closer to him, which is exactly what he wanted (so he could search the dead man's pockets).
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Jane. Sometimes veering into Crazy Is Cool, as his bizarre manner frequently puts people around him off their game.
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: In "Blinking Red Light," the CBI team catches the case of a young girl who has been found murdered, her throat slit. It quickly becomes clear that she was most likely killed by a serial killer known as the "San Joaquin Killer," a brutal serial killer who has already killed several other young women in the area. During the course of the investigation, Patrick Jane encounters a blogger named James Panzer who is obsessed with the case. He tells Jane that the killer is a "purist," based on the way that he slits the victims' throats slowly and watches the life drain out of their eyes. Later, Jane returns to him, saying that he thinks he's wrong - that the killer isn't a purist at all, but rather someone who was deeply damaged during childhood and kills out of a need for attention. Panzer replies that Jane couldn't be more wrong, that the San Joauqin Killer is a "genius" who has run circles around the police. Jane recognizes that he is talking about himself. After his first attempt to catch Panzer fails, he manipulates him into appearing on a TV show and making similar statements. More importantly, he gets him to talk smack about Red John, the serial killer who killed Patrick Jane's wife and daughter, because Jane had himself talked him down on television. Of course, Red John promptly kills James Panzer.
  • Catchphrase:
    • She doesn't say it a hell of a lot, but Van Pelt developed a fondness for saying "eureka" once she learned what it means.
    • Patrick Jane likes to remind people that "there's no such thing as psychics."
  • Cain and Abel: Lindsay Hendricks who kills her sibling Mary Beth for fairly selfish reasons in the episode ''Russet Potatoes in perhaps the only sibling murder case in the show.
  • Call It Karma: Patrick Jane says in "Redwood" that he's counting on bad karma having an expiration date, as taught by traditional Buddhists.
  • Calling Card: "Red John" leaves a smiley face painted in blood at every murder. In the first episode, the location where one was painted disproved that "Red John" was the murderer.note  Led to some slight Memetic Mutation online, particularly on Facebook.
  • Celibate Hero: Jane has been disinterested in relationships ever since the death of his wife. He is, however, a terrible flirt.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Jane does this to the team in the first episode of the second season.
  • Charity Ball: There's one to raise funds for the CBI.
  • Check, Please!: After he kills an accomplice of Red John's, Jane asks one for his tea.
  • The Chessmaster: Jane frequently gets murderers to incriminate themselves this way. Sometimes he even lets his coworkers in on the plan.
    • Red John, too, who "has no allies, only pawns". At least two serial killers have a connection to him, and he had a mole in the CBI. He also spies on them via their own security cameras. He also has some kind of connection with the cult Visualize, which directed CBI to one of his abducted victims.
      • When he finally reveals how he did it, it's even more clever than had been implied He created the Blake Association, ostensibly a network of crooked law enforcement officers covering for each other, giving him an entire network of people to do his dirty work without any of them knowing they're under the thumb of a serial killer.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The corrupt doctor in "Pilot" gives vital information for the CBI to rescue Jane in season three's "Ball of Fire".
  • Chekhov's Gun: An actual gun is used as one in "Red Brick and Ivy".
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Literally. Bosco's secretary Rebecca turns out to be an operative for Red John.
    • There are two guards who are approaching Jane at the end of "Strawberry and Cream". One of them has the camera focused on him for no more than two seconds. That guard takes away Red John's accomplice's gun and phone, effectively putting Jane on the murder of an unarmed man.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Rigsby's background as an arson investigator is first mentioned in "Flame Red". It comes in handy investigating a firefighter's murder in "Fugue in Red" and in finding evidence of Jane's kidnapper in "Ball of Fire".
  • Church of Happyology: Visualize, led by Malcolm McDowell. It uses straight-up violence in addition to legal harassment. They also have some kind of link with Red John.
  • Chute Sabotage: In "Carnelian Inc.", an anonymous campaign against a big corporation begins with the threat of a murder at a specific time and place. CBI is waiting at the location when a corporate executive from Carnelian Inc. on a corporate retreat plunges from the sky; the canopy lines on his parachute cut
  • Circus Brat: Patrick Jane, who spent his formative years on the carnival circuit.
  • Class Reunion: The subject of an entire episode in season two, where the Alpha Bitch pulled off one of the worst high school pranks ever. Jane singled out the suspect by having Rigsby pretend to be the victim of that prank. The episode also provided a Funny Moment: Jane accidentally talking the all-grown-up nerd into a brawl with the Jerk Jock and his posse.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: Wayne Rigsby's girlfriend and the mother of his first child, Sarah Harrington, conveniently broke up with him offscreen following the events of the fourth season finale, clearing the way for his restarted romance with Agent Grace Van Pelt.
    • FBI Agent Marcus Pike, erstwhile (and very briefly) fiancé of Teresa Lisbon, was jettisoned offscreen following the events of the sixth season finale, clearing the way for Jane and Lisbon to begin a relationship. Lisbon says "he'll understand". The dumped Pike returns in the seventh season opener "Nothing But Blue Skies" to snark at Jane about whether his long-term plans for Lisbon will measure up to the home, family, and happy future Pike was offering her.
    • Agent Kim Fischer was Put on a Bus in between seasons six and seven. Fischer was apparently brought on as a possible romantic interest for Patrick Jane in the middle of the sixth season. Negative reaction to the character and to the possibility of a love triangle between Jane, Fischer, and Lisbon resulted in a quick turn-around for the storyline in later episodes of the sixth season. In the season seven opener, it was mentioned that Fischer had transferred to Seattle to take care of her sick mother.
  • Collapsed Mid-Speech: A chef does this.
  • Complexity Addiction: If the killer in "Jolly Red Elf" had just left the victim dead on his couch, the death would most likely have been passed off as accidental alcohol poisoning. Instead, she forced him to put on his Santa costume and pushed him off the roof of the building, drawing a huge amount of attention to the death—which still might have been passed off as a drunken accident if she hadn't also planted a suicide note, which the police took all of five minutes to confirm wasn't in the victim's handwriting.
  • Con Man: Patrick Jane. Also his brother-in-law, Danny Ruskin.
    Cho: Jane could sell cats to mice.
  • Con Men Hate Guns: Jane doesn't usually carry a weapon and mostly avoids physical violence altogether, but he seems to have a particular dislike of firearms. Being held at gunpoint upsets him visibly more than it does the other characters (who in fairness, are cops, and thus have an excuse for being unusually composed) and he handles guns very, very carefully when he handles them at all. This makes the few times he does use them—in season one to save Lisbon's life and in season three in an attempt to exact his vengeance on Red John—a bit more shocking.
    • Not to mention his final showdown with the real Red John. Shooting him in the abdomen while standing right in front of him is one thing, but the way he then dealt with his goon looked like he knows what he is doing. Where we all conned into believing he doesn't know how to handle guns?
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Invoked by Jane in the denouement of "Red Menace".
  • Continuity Nod: When trying to get the public's help in a case by using a popular radio station, Jane says that the Californian Bureau of Investigation "really does exist", suggesting that listeners should look at their website and quickly checking with Lisbon that there is a website. In an earlier episode, he convinced a young girl to trust him by saying he was with the CBI, that the CBI is real and that they have "a website and everything".
  • Cool Car: Jane's vintage Citroën DS.
  • Cowboy Cop: The whole team at times, but special mention goes to Jane and Cho. Jane isn't even a cop and somehow manages to always get away with blatant disregard for any rules, and Cho, who's proven just as eager as Jane to step over boundaries is an extremely interesting variation of the trope...really, how often is the Cowboy Cop also The Stoic?
    • Cho in "Blood In, Blood Out": "Mr. Reed, I apologize for accusing you of several crimes which I knew you had not committed. And for assaulting you. Repeatedly."
    • Also Dennis Abbott, who initially appears to be a by the book Da Chief - it's revealed that over a decade before the show, he executed a Zeta Cartel commander in cold blood.
  • Crazy-Prepared: In one episode, it is revealed that Jane routinely checks the shoe bottoms of people in wheelchairs on the off chance that they are faking it. He says that the events of the episode was the first time it paid off.
  • Crusading Widow: Jane quests to get Red John back for roughly ten years at the risk of his job, his friends, and possibly his sanity (as his attempts get progressively more extreme). In the first season finale, he states that he would be okay with dying if it led to Red John's arrest (although Lisbon insists that he's exaggerating).
  • Cryptic Background Reference: There was one in "Code Red" regarding Lisbon and Jane's relationship before the series started, that Lisbon knew Jane would never swear on his child's grave, "not for anything". And "Every Rose has Its Thorn" had Jane comment that he and Lisbon have known each other for seven years (although not that they have been working together that long).
    • Jane and Lisbon's first meeting is shown in the fifth season origin episode "Red Dawn": Jane met Lisbon and Cho and started working as a consultant for the department about a year after his family was murdered.
  • Cunning People Play Poker: Patrick Jane is a very skilled poker player, being versed enough in reading body language that he is able to determine when someone is bluffing or not, going so far as using a high stakes game to get a killer to reveal himself.
  • Cut-and-Paste Note: "A Price Above Rubies" has one reading "You'll get a call in 2 hours. Take the jewels where you are told. No cops, or your aunt dies."
  • Cutting the Knot: Jane tries to prank Lisbon by hiding her keys in a puzzle box he had trouble solving. She breaks it open with a hammer she keeps in her desk.
    • When the little boy she babysat for as a teenager deliberately locked her out of his house, Lisbon threw a brick through the basement window to get back in — and then insisted on paying her employers for the window, because she was such a "straight arrow," TJ Mullins says in the seventh season episode "Little Yellow House".
  • Dance Party Ending:
    • Episode "Copper Bullet" ends with the team enjoying themselves at a concert of some band. Everybody's dancing — Jane with Lisbon, Abbot with his wife Lena, Wylie with his crush Vega — except for Cho who decides to get one more taco (and doesn't seem to mind that he's not with anyone).
    • The series finale "White Orchids" ends with Jane and Lisbon's wedding. One of the final scenes has their friends and family dancing happily to the song "September". The series ends with the newlyweds glowing with happiness and Teresa telling Patrick she's pregnant.
  • Dark Action Girl: Lorelei Martins in season 5 episode 16. An unusual brute force version.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The only ones that don't have this (that we know of) are the ones who haven't had much of their past revealed.
    • Jane had a morally-ambiguous and insensitive father and his own showboating got his wife and daughter murdered. Unsurprisingly, he's had some issues ever since.
    • Lisbon had an alcoholic father who, after the death of her mother, committed suicide and left her to care for her siblings...though not before spending years having blackouts where he beat the crap out of them. She notably has major trust issues.
    • Cho apparently grew up on the shady side of the law, exposed to a lot of gang violence. He was a member of the gang Avon Park Playboys, where his nickname was "The Iceman", because if the gang wanted something done cold, they got Cho to do it. He later spent some time in juvenile hall and straightened out his life when he joined the U.S. Army's Special Forces.
    • Rigsby's father was a biker and a criminal, which apparently didn't work out so well, as he really hates bikers.
    • Van Pelt grew up in a small town and was judged and held back based on her appearance and gender as a kid. This did not combine well with her ambition, and, for a while, she had trouble taking her focus off her work. It is also strongly hinted someone close to her (e.g., a sister) committed suicide.
    • Lorelei Martins, who knows Red John, had a sister who was sold to another family and was later killed by Red John, though she initially doesn't believe that it was Red John who did it.
  • Darker and Edgier: If you compare this show to other police procedurals. His constant dickery aside, this show is about Jane's quest for vengeance. He's not actually interested about justice, truth, and law enforcement. All Patrick Jane wants is to murder the murderer of his family.
    • Contrast Psych, especially. Two shows with basically the same premise, but Shawn is happy-go-lucky and solves crimes for fun and profit, where Jane is troubled and self-hating, only using his position at CBI as a means to find Red John.
    • This has now happened in-show as well. Whereas previous seasons have been more of the "victim of the week" type with the Red John arc blended in, the end of season 5 and the beginning of season 6 have been almost exclusively about the hunt for Red John.
  • Dating Catwoman: Patrick Jane, with Kristina Frye, Lorelei Martins and Erica Flynn.
  • Dead Man's Chest: In "Redline", the killer stuffs the body into the trunk of a sports car when security shows up unexpectedly. The killer is unable to retrieve the body and the car ends up on the showroom floor.
  • Death by Origin Story: Patrick Jane's wife and their daughter.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Lisbon. She's a lot more lenient with her team than she used to be, Jane and his wacky schemes in particular.
  • Department of Child Disservices: Patrick Jane briefly spent some time in foster care as a child and found it an unpleasant experience, as he says in the sixth season "Red John's Rules". In earlier episodes, Jane went out of his way to make sure the children they interacted with on cases did not end up in foster care.
  • Descent into Addiction: Cho gets injured on duty, and his doctor gives him pain medication which he takes as needed. Over the course of several episodes we see him popping pills. Eventually he realizes he's becoming addicted to them, so he flushes the remainder of the pills down his toilet and never takes them again.
  • Description Cut:
    • The opening of "Bleeding Heart" has an interviewer asking Lisbon about how local police agencies get along with the CBI. She assures the interviewer that "We get along extremely well with our local partners in law enforcement." Flashback to the start of the current case, in which a local police chief, Chief Donner, is telling Lisbon "My people can handle this, no problem" and then Jane pisses him off by telling him "Cheap soap, un-ironed shirt, stomach pains, recent loss of weight. I'm gonna take a wild guess here. You're angry because you're living in a motel. Your wife found out about the woman you're having an affair with. You're a seething mass of self-loathing, and understandably so."
    • "Cackle-bladder Blood" opens with Patrick Jane being found with a dead body and holding a gun, his story being that he heard a commotion and found the dead body and he took the gun, not being good with forensics. Lisbon manages to finagle things so that the CBI is on the case and to get Jane released, telling the detective "I am reaching out to you Detective, I know this man and I know he's telling the truth about what happened." Slam cut to them walking out the doors...
      Lisbon: The truth, now!
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight:
    • In the first season finale, the villain of the episode dies in Jane's arms after Jane shoots him to protect Lisbon.
    • Steven Rigsby succumbs in the arms of his son in "Blood Feud".
    • Agent Michelle Vega bleeds out in the arms of her mentor, Kimball Cho, in the seventh season episode "Nothing Gold Can Stay".
  • Dirty Coward: This is what Red John turns out to be. For someone who spent most of the series as a Smug Snake and a Sadist who took delight in murdering people, when Jane finally finds him and shoots him, Red John is downright terrified of Jane killing him. He does everything he can to avoid death, from trying to convince Jane that he's too good of a person to commit murder, to making a run for it and collapsing when the bullet wound takes its toll, to calling 911 in a vain attempt to save himself, to flat-out begging Jane to spare his life. It doesn't work, and Jane even calls him out for his behavior.
    Patrick Jane: So now you want mercy? After everything you've done?
  • Disorganized Outline Speech: A suspect uses one in proclaiming his innocence.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Agent Marcus Pike, Lisbon's significant other in a handful of sixth-season episodes.
    • Greg Tayback, the fiancé Lisbon ran out on when they were teenagers. In the fourth-season episode "So Long and Thanks For All the Red Snapper", his wife says it took a long time for Greg to get over "the Teresa Lisbon".
  • Dictionary Opening: Season 1 starts with a black screen which the following text slowly fading in:
    mentalist /'men-te-list/ noun. Someone who uses mental acuity, hypnosis and/or suggestion. A master manipulator of thoughts and behavior. This is dropped in later seasons.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop:
    • Lisbon's team sometimes treats themselves to donuts (and pizza) as a reward for the successful closure of a case.
    • Jane tends to subtly mock other cops through donuts. He once gives Bosco's unit a box full of donuts as a symbol of truce, claiming that he quit pursuing Red John's case. Once he is out of office, Bosco orders his men to throw the donuts away. Unknown to the unit, Jane has secretly placed an eavesdropper at the time.
  • Dope Slap:
    • Van Pelt gives one to Rigsby in "Red Bulls" for not wearing a bulletproof vest... while she's lying on a gurney after getting shot in her bulletproof vest. They two of them were working together on the assignment, and it was purest luck that Grace rather than Wayne had been the one to get shot. The bulletproof vest had just saved her life; if Wayne had opened the door Grace had, he would have died.
    • New team leader Kimball Cho delivers a dope slap to the back of Agent Jason Wylie's head in the series finale when Wylie requests a transfer because he doesn't think he's that good in the field. Cho then asks Wylie to stay with the team.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Averted in "Something's Rotten in Redmumd." The murderer was a 35-year-old female teacher who was having an affair with a 16-year-old male student. She killed the victim, a fellow teacher, with a baseball bat because he caught them making out in the woods and was going to report it. Cho points out to the 16-year-old student that what his teacher did to him constitutes statutory rape.
  • Do You Trust Me?: Jane and Lisbon do a trust fall in the first-season episode "Carnelian, Inc".
    Lisbon: You're untrustworthy. It's my job not to trust you.
    Jane: Lisbon, I want you to know that you can trust me. No matter what happens, I will be there for you. I will. I need you to know that. Now, can I catch you?
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: This is the dying act of O'Laughlin to spite Grace.
  • Driving Question: Who is Red John?
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Luther Wainwright.
    • Also Bret Stiles and Ray Haffner. Stiles is a particularly noteworthy example because he'd been a recurring character since the first season and had established a complex dynamic with Jane, only to be unceremoneously Killed Off for Real and almost instantly forgotten.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Jane gets hammered on Bloody Marys in "Red Rover, Red Rover". This was on the anniversary of his family's death. Since he had a "regular table" with two empty places, it is possible he does this on special dates (birthdays, happier anniversaries, etc.).
  • Dying Clue: One of Red John's victims, Jared Renfrew, manages to write "He is man" or "He is mar" in his blood just before dying. Whether the message is complete or even if it was written by the victim or Red John himself are questions still open to speculation.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Bosco.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The entire main cast. Every single one of them has a Dark and Troubled Past, usually involving a prior criminal career or Abusive Parents. Or, in Jane's case, both.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Jane joined the CBI with only the idea of finding and killing Red John in his head, after losing his wife and daughter. Several years later, he has made many friends, his life is stable, he has found Red John, and he is not only married to Teresa Lisbon, but she is also pregnant.
  • Eat the Evidence: Jane in "Devil's Cherry", who, as usual, helps himself to the victim's supply of tea...and ends up inadvertently poisoning himself with belladonna. The belladonna and tea end up being crucial evidence.
    Rigsby: Smudging fingerprints. Drinking evidence. He's like a drunk uncle.
  • Electric Torture: in "Ball of Fire," Jane is kidnapped by the daughter of a man he put away who has since died in prison. She has a lot of fun subjecting him to this via cattleprod while reminding him of how he had emotionally manipulated her and her father during the case, tricking him into confessing by faking a suicide note from her.
  • Electrified Bathtub: In "Scarlet Ribbons", a security guard is found dead in his bathtub with a hairdryer dropped into it. Since the guy is bald they pretty quickly infer that it was not an accident.
  • Elopement:
    • Patrick Jane and his dead wife, Angela Ruskin, ran away together to get married. Angela, like Jane, was a Circus Brat (Jane describes her as "carnival royalty"), but she hated the carny life and wanted to get away from it. She also wanted Jane to stop working as a Phony Psychic, but he was unable to give up the lucrative lifestyle.
    • When Teresa sees how large their wedding is getting, Patrick suggests eloping. Then they really decide to relocate the wedding because there is a serial killer going after Patrick, but the whole party relocates as well.
  • Enormous Engagement Ring: Patrick Jane purchases or rather, extorts, a very large diamond engagement ring to give to Teresa Lisbon in the series finale. Lisbon thinks it's gorgeous but says it's too much and she can't accept it. Jane insists on giving it to her and wins the argument.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Red John does NOT tolerate "poor imitations" of his work, and is even kind enough to spare the life of the patsy the main perpetrators of the plot blackmailed into it (with his mother's life, no less) with merely a shot to the leg.
    • In the Season 4 episode "Pink Champagne on Ice", a woman who is planning to rob a casino kills her accomplice, finding him too evil as he laughs about killing the roommate of the girl he kidnapped as a hostage. The woman, Trish, is prepared to kill the hostage and two people who can recognize her despite them giving her the money. She says she would have felt terrible about it though.
    • Played straight in season 5 episode 12, when Tommy Volker and a hired hitman drive up to an apartment building to murder a witness to a previous murder done under Tommy's orders. When the hitman discovers that said witness is a nine-year-old boy, he immediately rejects the job, saying he's never killed a child before and he's certainly not going to start now.
  • Everyone Can See It:
    • Everyone can see that Bosco is in love with Lisbon, apart from her.
    • Everyone can plainly see the sexual tension between Rigsby and Van Pelt as well (even the Attorney General of California, according to Lisbon). When they start secretly dating, everyone catches on immediately...except for Lisbon.
    • Everyone knew there was something between Jane and Lisbon. Rigsby and Van Pelt knew. Bosco knew. Haffner knew. Sean Barlow, the fake psychic Jane knew growing up, knew the second he laid eyes on Lisbon. Lorelei Martins casually brought it up before asking Jane to kiss her. Red John knew. Abbot knew. Fischer knew. Wylie thought he knew. Poor Pike had his suspicions. Jane's hallucination of his daughter knew. Everyone knew... except Kimball Cho.
  • Evil Aunt: In "Red Lacquer Nail Polish, which also initially seems to invert this, with the victim's nephew seeming like a greedy schemer and prime suspect before it turns out that he's being framed, and his lawsuit against his aunt was in fact fully justified, as she was guilty of embezzlement while he wanted to do a better job of managing a family charity.
  • Evil Plan: Red John's plans to thwart the CBI nearly always involve these.
    • The most evil one was in the season 3 finale. By sending an accomplice who pretends to be him to meet Jane, Red John essentially gives Jane a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't option. One, Jane kills the accomplice, but ends up in prison. Two, Jane doesn't kill the accomplice, but rots himself with the guilt of missing his best shot at (what he thought was) Red John. Thankfully, Jane survives the battle, and the war goes on.
  • Everybody Lives: In "Ruby Slippers", the body in the burnt-up car was dead to begin with, and the supposed victim underwent a transformation.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In "Black-Winged Redbird", the head of the company was apparently willing to cover-up his products having caused civilian deaths in the Middle East, but as soon as he finds out that the "victim" of the episode actually killed himself out of guilt, and was partially driven to this by the third conspirator, he angrily turns on her for letting/encouraging their friend to kill himself and offers to make a statement to ensure her punishment in spite of there being no hard evidence against them.
  • The Faceless: Red John, naturally. First time, he is shown from behind. Second time, he is seen wearing a mask. The producers promised Red John would finally be seen in the season 3 finale...but season four revealed it was only another accomplice. (He was finally revealed in season 6.)
  • Fair Cop: The whole cast.
    • Except for Jane. He's a consultant.
    • Lampshaded by Jane in "Red Carpet Treatment" when he appears on Karen Cross's TV show and refers to Rigsby and Lisbon as "conveniently telegenic" cops.
    • Lampshaded again in "Red Is the New Black" when Jane and Van Pelt go to interview a fashion photographer. He immediately tries to get them to pose for him.
  • Fanservice:
    • Rigsby is seen wet and shirtless and then dry in a small t-shirt in "Blood Brothers".
    • The dead undercover narc in "Pink Top". That epically short skirt, tight dress, and big breasts...
  • Fanservice Pack: In the first season, Lisbon was rather frumpy. With season 2, she got the usual upgrades—new hair, better clothes, high heels and she ain't frumpy no more!
  • Fate Worse than Death: Whatever Red John does to Kristina Frye, it makes her think that she is actually dead.
  • Faked Kidnapping: In "Red Sails in the Sunset", Jane tells Lisbon Lorelei kidnapped him to avoid getting in hot water for breaking Lorelei out of prison.
  • Fake Kill Scare: In a rare example of this being done by the protagonist, in "Red Brick and Ivy", Jane sets up a particularly elaborate version of this trope while investigating the murder of a scientist who was working on a device that could alter a person's morality. Jane presents himself as an experimental subject and then "accidentally" terminates the procedure when it was supposedly set to eliminate his moral compass (as a test of the system's effectiveness). He then proceeds to "kill" one of the victim's colleagues in order to sell it, so that the suspect will believe that Jane is willing to harm him and react accordingly.
  • Femme Fatale: The deadly and charming manipulator Erica Flynn, seen in three episodes of the series, Lorelei Martins, a recurring character in the fourth and fifth seasons, and Jennifer Sands.
  • Financial Abuse: Jane's father, Alex. While traveling the carnival circuit, dear ol' dad took all of a $10,000 payday (that Patrick brought in by selling a con) and gave Patrick a mere pittance while he gambled the rest away with poker buddies.
  • Final Season Casting: Rockmond Dunbar as Abbott and Emily Swallow as Fisher, until it was subverted by a surprise season seven pickup. Played straight with Josie Loren as Michelle Vega, though.
  • Fixing the Game: Jane starts out cheating using his supposed psychic powers. Later, he just plain cheats.
  • Flashed-Badge Hijack: In "Fire and Brimstone", Jane abandons Lisbon on a beach en route for his final confrontation with Red John. Lisbon flags down a car, flashes her badge at the driver and commandeers the car to go after him.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Teresa Lisbon is uber responsible, while all three of her younger brothers have gotten themselves into jams throughout the series that Teresa has to help them out of.
    • Implied to be the case with Jane's wife, Angela, and her brother. According to Jane, Angela hated the "carny" life and wanted to do better for herself. Meanwhile, her brother was getting himself into so much trouble that Angela had to bail him out on her wedding day. In her dress. She wasn't happy.
  • Follow the White Rabbit: A hallucinating Jane chases a rabbit that leads him to his daughter in the episode "Devil's Cherry".
  • A Fool for a Client: Jane represents himself in the trial mentioned below.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Jane is brought to trial for murdering Red John in season 4 premiere. He is found not guilty. Surprise.
  • Friend to All Children: Jane loves children, possibly due to losing his daughter. Lisbon also seems to have a major soft spot.
    • Lisbon actively uses this against Jane in the premiere of the program's third season, bilking him into working on a case he didn't want to work by introducing him to the victim's daughter, who's about the same age Jane's daughter would have been were she alive. It works, and Jane's impressed, but he also tries to make her feel guilty about it for the rest of the episode and says that he's going to have his revenge.
  • Fun with Subtitles: In "Red Sauce" from the first season, the CBI has reason to suspect one Sonny Battaglia, a well-connected gangster type. Van Pelt mentions that he lives in Palm Desert and Jane, with notable interest, asks "Palm Desert, California?" Lisbon, realizing what he's thinking, immediately replies "No." "Palm Desert's not in California?" asks Jane. "No, you can't sneak off and try to talk to Sonny Battaglia!" replies Lisbon. Jane gives a giggle and says that he thought that she meant that Palm Desert wasn't in California. "It is in California, right?" The scene changes and a subtitle at the bottom of the screen reads "Palm Desert". There is a delay of about two to three seconds, and then "California" appears underneath that.

  • Get Out!: Patrick Jane says it to Lorelei Martins after she first reveals that she is working for Red John and offers the "hand of friendship".
  • Gone Horribly Right: Some of Jane's plans.
    • In the season 6 premier while he goads a confession out of the kill it causes the man to take him hostage (with a second gun Jane hadn't known about) and shoot a cop.
    • In the season 6 finale, Jane is revealed to have sent a fake letter supposedly from the killer, with a clue leading back to the hotel room (doing this partially as an excuse to spend time with Lisbon). The killer arrives with an accomplice and a gun after Lisbon has had a fight with Jane and left him alone up there, and two other suspects (the victim's lover and a young man who was Convicted by Public Opinion) also show up, waving around guns and wanting to shoot the killer. This causes Jane to grumble that in retrospect, he made the clue too easy.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: In "Red Gold", Jane tells Hightower, who is out in the field instead of Lisbon, that she can be "Bad Cop".
  • Graceful Loser: Stutzer in "Red Brick and Ivy". After being unwittingly part of a masquerade to find out the real killer, and being told his invention—years and years of work—works when it actually doesn't, he finally finds out. He's briefly disappointed, then takes it in true scientific fashion: he says "Mind plays tricks", sits down, and goes "eh, never mind".
  • Great Escape: In "The Greybar Hotel", FBI agent Teresa Lisbon is undercover in prison to get a convict to turn on her boyfriend who leads a car theft ring. Teresa and her cellmate Marie are about to break out of jail together. It involves dressing as employees and going away casually with them at the end of one shift. The escape plan works, but because the staff know about it.
  • Guile Hero: Our friend The Trickster Patrick Jane outsmarts villains by getting in their head, not blowing it off with a gun.
  • Guilt-Ridden Accomplice:
    • Nilda in Bloodhounds, who sadly confesses to the crime even as her sister coldly denies it, and is implied to have pressured her into it.
    • Sonya in "Desert Rose" who is seen trying to talk the others out of actually killing the victim in the flashback and is quick to confess after Jane's summation, although this is at least partially done to try and avoid the lion's share of the blame for herself.
    • The truck driver from Brown-Eyed Girls, who claims to have been blackmailed into the operation and while being questioned actually shows hope rather than fear when thinking that a potential witness (one of the trafficking victims who'd run away but been mortally wounded in the process) might have survived.
    • The Courier between Mob Boss John Arcado and his hired killer, who claims to have only done so due to threats against his life and shows signs of Must Make Amends by volunteering to testify after he is found out.
    • Brenda Shettrick shows some unhappiness about having to help Tommy Volker with the worst of his actions.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: The killer in "Red Alert", when confessing the details of his second murder, which he committed because the victim had stumbled across evidence that had the potential to reveal his attempt to frame someone else for his first murder, notes that "she said that she hadn't told anyone else [about the evidence], so I met her at her home [and killed her]".
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: Kimball Cho! No business like Cho business!
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • Captured Red John accomplices are repeatedly murdered in custody.
    • Tommy Volker has his Dragon killed without a second thought once Lisbon tries to get a warrant to arrest him and also attempts to murder a kid who saw him at a murder scene.
    • Human trafficker Michael Ridley does this to four accomplices over two episodes (three of them while they were in jail, and another who the police were looking for).
  • Helpful Hallucination: Grace Van Pelt's hallucination of her dead fiancé, Craig O'Laughlin, in "My Bloody Valentine", and Patrick Jane's hallucination of his dead daughter, Charlotte Anne Jane, in "Devil's Cherry".
  • Hero Insurance: When Hightower rolls in, Jane gets explicit Hero Insurance. "You're golden for anything less than murder." Lisbon, however, does not get the same protection, and Jane is told very specifically that if he breaks the law, she's taking the fall for it.
  • Hero with an F in Good: Aside from performing good deeds, Jane fails to follow most of the typical practices of "good" people.
  • Heroic BSoD: Jane, after coming home to discover the grisly scene of his family's murder. The episode "Red Brick and Ivy" reveals that the BSOD was what sent Jane off to a padded room for a while.
    • Jane undergoes brief BSODs when he unexpectedly sees the dead bodies in "His Red Right Hand" and "Aingavite Baa". It is possible Jane needs to mentally prepare himself before seeing a dead body, or seeing multiple dead bodies triggers flashbacks of finding his family.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Amanda Righetti gave birth in January 2013. During much of season five, her character, Grace Van Pelt, was limited to desk jobs and chest-up shots.
  • High-School Sweethearts: Or rather, middle-school sweethearts. In "Bloodsport" it's mentioned that Betriz and Manny have been dating since they were thirteen and married since they were seventeen.
  • Holding the Floor: If it wasn't for this trope, Jane would be deader than dead.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Patrick Jane. His wife and daughter were in fact murdered and he will mock religious beliefs or any belief in the supernatural. Although he may have been an atheist before since he was a secretly fake psychic before the murders. In fact, this is what got his family killed, so it explains his hostility to such beliefs. And when another psychic "successfully" guesses a few things and tells him about the murders, he breaks down defeated and crying. One of the few times he openly wavers on the issue is the episode that ends with Jane and his brother-in-law visiting Jane's wife's grave. His brother-in-law, Danny Ruskin, asks if Jane thinks Angela can see them. After a long moment, Jane whispers very softly, "Maybe."
    • His own mind calls him out on this in "Devil's Cherry", in the shape of his daughter, Charlotte Anne Jane.
      Jane: I'm doing this for you.
      Charlotte: We're dead. We don't care.
  • Hollywood California: Averted. The crime-solving team is part of the California Bureau of Investigation, and so its cases tend to focus on smaller cities in California where the local law enforcement are less prepared to deal with exceptional crimes.
    • However, one of those smaller cities, Citrus Heights, was shown as a rural mountain town. Citrus Heights is a flat, overdeveloped suburb in the middle of the Sacramento Valley.
  • Hollywood Law: About 80% of the cases Jane closes would be thrown out of court in real life because he used some form of coercion or intimidation to get the suspect to confess and/or reveal the location of key evidence (in particular, the episode "Blood in, Blood Out" would really have ended with the killer walking and Jane, Rigsby, and Cho being brought up on assault charges).
    • Not to mention how many times they handle evidence without properly documenting it or handling it with gloves. A defense lawyer would've had a field day with how much they contaminated the crime scenes.
    • In "Red Listed", it is revealed that, due to Jane's antics on cases, a few criminals ended up being acquitted or having their cases dismissed.
    • In one episode a hitman—a psychopathic, sadistic hitman who had been killing for years, no less—is released on the technicality that Jane uncovered the evidence leading to his arrest by illegally breaking into his apartment, thus forcing the judge to declare all subsequent evidence Fruit of the Poisonous Tree. This would never work in Real Life and would, at worst, have led to a new trial, if that; the evidence itself included video tape of the murder, a confession, and entrapment of him being hired by Van Pelt to kill somebody. Such a sociopath would never be released so easily.
      • Justified in a sense. At that point, still halfway through the episode, the judge remains one of the possible hitman contractors, so the writers don't want to clinch the real culprit right away.
    • The season 4 premiere takes the cake though; Jane has murdered a man he believed to be Red John, and he is let off because he convinces everyone that the man was Red John. In fact, this and later episodes frequently say that if the guy wasn't Red John Jane is going to prison for the murder. In Real Life, whether or not the man was Red John should be irrelevant—Jane committed murder, and admits to it, with numerous witnesses to the crime. He should go to jail regardless. The only possible way out is if he was found temporarily insane thanks to confronting the man he believed to be his wife and daughter's killer, but that is unlikely since he was illegally carrying an unlicensed gun (specifically to kill Red John), and had announced repeatedly to colleagues and others that he was hunting Red John not to arrest but to kill him. This could, however, fall under the header of jury nullification, which, though legally iffy, does occur.
      • On the flip side, the question of whether or not the man was Red John should have been irrelevant to Jane's side of the matter as well — the issue would be whether Jane had good reason to think he was, and he can reasonably (and truthfully) claim that the man he killed both pretended to be Red John and knew things only Red John would have, which demonstrates that his belief was reasonable, even if it was also ultimately wrong.
    • Averted in Season 4's "Red Rover, Red Rover." Jane's method for getting the murderer to confess to their crimes was to knock them into a coffin and bury them alive, similar to what they did to the victim-of-the-week. While he doesn't kill them, Jane's actions land him in hot water with his boss, who points out that what Jane did was torture and that any confession the murderer made is going to get thrown out because of that. This proves true in later episodes when it's revealed said murderer was out on bail and was looking to be acquitted by a jury only to be killed off by another person before that could happen.
  • Hopeless with Tech: Patrick Jane.
  • Hope Spot: Lorelei Martins has discovered who killed her sister. She tells Patrick Jane that she might tell him Red John's true identity if he lets her go. She ties up and threatens to kill Red John's accomplice to her sister's death, then tells Jane that he can ask the man about Red John. However, Lorelei shoots the accomplice and goes after Red John without telling Jane the truth. The last moment she is seen, she has been killed by Red John.
  • How Many Fingers?: Used by Lisbon on a female suspect in "Red Herring". The suspect had been poisoned and was definitely in no condition to to tell Lisbon how many fingers she was holding up. She perished shortly afterward.
    • Jane was knocked out by a baseball in "Throwing Fire". When he woke up, Cho held up three fingers and asked him how many. He answered six.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Jane in "Red All Over" after he finds an excuse to say "Stop the presses".
    • Jane again in "The Red Mile" when he's able to say excitedly that "The butler did it".
  • Hunting "Accident": In "Black Cherry"; but it was actually a hunting accident. The home-seller foursome wanted to cover it up, but were found out after one of their number wanted to go to the police and was killed by the other three to keep it quiet...and Jane noticed the lack of a rug in one of the home models that was in an identical other home model.
  • Hyper-Awareness: It's what makes Jane brilliant.
  • I Am Legion: Implied with Red John and his large following.
  • I Can't Hear You: In "Pink Tops," Jane and Lisbon are working the case of an undercover female detective who was killed just outside of a popular local dance club known for its continuous loud music. Lisbon tries to call Jane while he is inside the club, only for him to ask what she's saying a couple of times and then hang up. She finally arrives and meets him at the club, where he is talking with the proprietor, Vince Candide, whom he says is "a womanizing buffoon, but I think you'll be amused by his presumption."
    Lisbon: What?
    Candide: Huh?
    Jane: He... this is, he...
    Lisbon: (holding up a picture on her phone) Have you seen this woman? (he looks and shakes his head) What about Omar Vega?
    Candide: Who?
    Lisbon and Jane: Omar Vega!
    Candide: Sorry. I gotta go run the place.
    Jane: He can't hear! Thanks, Vince!
  • If It Bleeds, It Leads: One of the episodes is titled "If It Bleeds, It Leads" and is about the death of a TV reporter. Naturally, her death is headline news on the station that she works for.
  • I Have Brothers: Lisbon largely raised her three younger brothers and managed the household for her drunken and abusive father after her mother died when she was twelve. She chose a male dominated profession and seems most comfortable around men.
  • I Want My Jetpack: In "The Redshirt", after a witness posts video of a murder on YouTube:
    Cho: Welcome to the future.
    Wainwright: They promised us jetpacks and they give us compromised investigations.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The title of every episode includes either the word "red", a synonym for red ("crimson", "scarlet", etc.), or objects that are red in color (rubies, cherries, etc.). One episode name is a string of three numbers, 18-5-4, which, at first, seems to be breaking this, until you realize that 18, 5, and 4, when replaced by the letter at that point in the alphabet, spells "red". About the closest it comes to breaking it is the episodes with "Pink" in the title, though pink is a shade of red.
    • After the Season 6 episode "Red John" (in which the titular villain is unmasked at last), episode titles started using colors other than red ("Green Thumb", "White Lines", etc.).
  • Idiot Ball: Van Pelt grabbed it firmly at the end of season 3, when she hangs up on Rigsby. While she and O'Loughlin are at the place where a protectee is being kept. Did it not occur to her that he may have something important to say? O'Loughlin's Red John's accomplice.
    • Lisbon also grabs this since she didn't keep her phone on her while protecting Hightower from an extremely dangerous serial killer, and therefore didn't get Jane's warning until the assassin walked right into the cabin.
    • Happens often to minor characters. There's a guy burning people alive in wooden buildings, he's probably after me and my barn's door is banging—I better go in and check it out!
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Whenever Van Pelt got a new boyfriend, Rigsby took a few minutes to explain some things to him. This never quite seemed to work out and eventually they ended up together.
  • I Have Many Names: Red John. "I have many names. Some people call me 'Red John'." Except not. The guy that said this, Timothy Carter, was Actually a Doombot.)
    • Gale Bertram: "I am many things to many people."
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Jane has a lot of fun with his abilities while catching criminals, but when he talks to Lisbon about Rigsby and Van Pelt's relationship...
    Lisbon: Okay, I am not jealous and resentful. That is nonsense.
    Jane: Yet you recall my exact words. There's no shame in it. I feel that way too sometimes. Why does everyone else get to have a normal life?
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Happens in "Red Badge", though they already knew who the killer was and it took an elaborate setup just to make him slip.
    • Another case showed up in "Seeing Red", but the slip isn't quite significant enough to make a case on, so rather than call her on it, Jane sets up a situation to force her to confess.
  • Important Haircut: Inverted. Flashbacks to Jane's days as a Phony Psychic, such as the episode "Pretty Red Balloon", has his hair straighter and shorter.
  • Impossibly Awesome Magic Trick: In one episode, Jane entertains some local kids with a magic trick: he makes a coin disappear from his hand and appear in the pocket of a boy standing in front of him, without having had an opportunity to touch or otherwise sneak a coin into his pocket.
  • Immune to Mind Control: Jane needs to get into a locked & guarded room to talk to a prisoner, but the guard can't be hypnotised, so he resorts to sleight of hand to steal the guy's keycard instead.
  • In-Series Nickname: Teresa Lisbon's co-workers at the CBI gave her the nicknames "Mother Teresa" and "Saint Teresa", in reference to one of the cases she solved and to the way she worried over and cared for her team.
    • Patrick Jane once referred to Lisbon as the "Good Witch Glinda" in reference to Glinda from The Wizard of Oz. He seems to have cast himself as Dorothy.
    • Bosco's men called Rigsby and Cho "Bert and Ernie", referring to the Sesame Street characters. Cho liked being called "Ernie" because he says Ernie is the "clever, handsome one".
    • Lisbon's nicknames in her family are "Reese" and "T". Jane's nickname is "Patty".
    • Fellow gang members called the teenage Cho "The Ice Man", because if they wanted something done cold, they got Cho to do it.
  • Indignant Slap: Being The Gadfly, Jane tends to get slapped often, generally accepting this as the cost of doing things his way. Averted with Lisbon the time he made her think they were going to die: she punched him.
    Lisbon: [After Jane gets slapped by a suspect] I hope that hurt.//
Jane: It did.
  • Internal Affairs: Season 3 has as a recurring character Agent JJ LaRoche of the Professional Standards Unit, the agent assigned to investigate the murder of a prisoner in CBI custody.
  • Irony: in 'Ball of Fire', the team are discussing who might have kidnapped Jane. They mention his habit of pissing off everyone he meets, including police officers, but Hightower doesn't think "a cop would go after a civilian over Jane." Umm... who was Red John again?
  • Is That a Threat?: In "Blood for Blood," Agent LaRoche offers Van Pelt a deal. He asks her to help him with his case into the investigating the death of a suspect in CBI headquarters, though it might mean wearing a wire to spy on her fellow agents. He tells her that it'll show that she's a good cop, and would help her case in regards to her having possibly left a door open during a witness protection case. She asks if he's threatening her.
  • It's Personal: Patrick Jane was really only interested in helping authorities catch Red John for the extra fame it would bring him... until Red John murdered his wife and daughter.
    • Also, do not invade Kimball Cho's house and assault his girlfriend. Don't be so stupid! That'll get you killed!
    • Also-also, do not try to frame Lisbon for murder. That'll get your ass thrown into jail and Patrick Jane will snark at you.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Lisbon says this to Cho and Rigsby, when she thinks she is exposed to a deadly virus strain in "Code Red". Jane fools the entire facility and has alerted Cho and Rigsby to catch the bad guy beforehand.
  • It Runs in the Family: In the fourth season episode "Where in the World is Carmine O'Brien?", Teresa Lisbon, her bounty-hunter younger brother Tommy Lisbon, and Tommy's 14-year-old daughter Annie join forces to nab the suspect at the end of the episodenote . Annie looks up to and has many traits in common with her aunt and also wants to go into law enforcement.
    Jane: Well done, Lisbon family!
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While fans hate Bosco for throwing his weight around, the fact is, the man is dead right in how Jane's antics make the entire unit look bad as they're relying on a manipulative, arrogant con man who basically commits crimes (or at least gets others to) in order to catch a bad guy. He even brings up how so many of their arrests are the subject of appeals thanks to defense attorneys seeing Jane's actions as illegal.
    • When Rigsby and Cho ask Bosco to let Jane off the hook for bugging the office, Bosco says he will in exchange for the two agreeing to do something "off the books" for him later on. As soon as they agree, Bosco reveals this was a Secret Test of Character because, as cops, Rigsby and Cho should be refusing to do anything illegal, even if it is for a superior officer.
  • Job Title
  • Jurisdiction Friction: The C.B.I. sometimes clashes with local law enforcement officials who don't like the fact that the C.B.I. gets the right to take over the case. They have also clashed with the F.B.I., perhaps most notably in the fifth season premiere "The Crimson Ticket", when their agents and F.B.I. agents have a throwdown at a crime scene regarding the events that happened in the fourth season finale. Later, the C.B.I./F.B.I. rivalry will continue, with Lisbon getting drawn deeper and deeper in. However, it all became Hilarious in Hindsight when most of the cast joined the F.B.I. in the sixth season.
  • Kangaroo Court: In "Bloodstream", Jane drops in on a hospital meeting involving organ donations and starts talking about kangaroo courts, being careful not to actually refer to the meeting as one. But when the head honcho tries to imply that he's suggesting that their meeting is a kangaroo court, he pounces on it.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Red John spends most of the series as this. Whether through his accomplices or circumstances or his intelligence or through sheer luck, he manages to evade Jane's attempts to capture and kill him. This finally comes to an end in season 6.
    • Tommy Volker is one of the few criminals on the show that's managed to pull this off. Despite Lisbon's attempts to link him to the massacre of an Amazon village and the murder of a news reporter who was going to expose Volker's crimes, he manages to escape justice and even kills his secretary for tipping off Lisbon while making her death look like a suicide. He does eventually get his comeuppance though.
    • The dating service woman head (who's also played by Morena Baccarin) hints at the possibility of the jury letting her off scot-free in regards to her husband's murder because her accomplice who was going to testify against her was unstable. Subverted in a later episode, when we discover that they didn't and she's in jail, then Double Subverted when she escapes and flees to a tropical paradise.
  • Kick the Dog: Jane, we know you don't get along with Bosco, but unplugging his morphine so he'll wake up and talk? Geez Louise.
    • In fact, this pushes Lisbon to finally give Jane a proper, and very much deserved, What the Hell, Hero?.
    • He does it again when, in trying to catch a killer who used a bioweapon to murder someone, he tricked an entire complex full of people into believing that they've been exposed to it. Again, Lisbon is furious.
    • In one episode at a high school reunion, a "popular girl" had manipulated the super-nice pushover guy from school into tying up a nerdy and unpopular boy naked in the girls' locker room and publishing the video online, as revenge for the nerdy kid telling his friends they'd made out. Nobody ever finds out about her involvement and the pushover is expelled with his whole life derailed over the guilt, while the unpopular kid is so devastated he spirals into depression and ends up committing suicide years later. When the pushover has gotten his life together 20 years later and determined to finally confess the truth of what happened by crashing the reunion, she kills him to keep her part in it from getting out and causing a scandal that would mess up her own career and public image. Jane obviously enjoys breaking her, possibly because he was once a father.
  • Last Minute Hook Up: Invoked with Jane and Lisbon in the Season 6 finale. Word of God has it that they always planned to do a seventh "encore" season, but made sure to include this trope in what at the time might have been the show's final episode if it didn't get renewed.
  • Last-Name Basis:
    • Averted increasingly often as the team gets closer. Of course, Van Pelt was called "Grace" from the start and Bosco and Lisbon were already familiar. It's just bizarre that Jane refuses to call Minelli anything but "Virgil", though.
    • Lisbon even used this to try to trick a killer once when he was alone with him. Talking on the phone, she asked Jane to tell Rigsby that "Teresa needs his help". She added, "Oh, me?" to further drive the point. It didn't work.
  • Left Hanging: The show has several episodes, starting as early as the second season, hint at a connection between Red John and Visualize, and it's ultimately confirmed in Season 5's "The Red Barn" that there is in fact a link of some sort. That ends up being the extent of what's revealed about that connection; the series never followed up on this thread after "The Red Barn", so it's never established what the link is.note 
  • Leitmotif:
    • You can tell when Rigsby and Van Pelt are going to have a romantic and/or sexually-tense scene, because they have a special theme that always plays. To a lesser degree, there's a small variety of playful music accompanying Jane's mind screwing.
    • Red John has his own special leitmotifs. They're an ominous combination of orchestretal percussion, string sounds, and harp harmonics. Notable ones include Face to Face, Your Worst Nightmare, and Bloody Bed
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Unable to prove the identity of a serial killer and knowing more will die if he fails to act, Jane goes on a talk show with the killer and goads him into mocking the "deceased" Red John. The episode ended with the serial killer dead at the hands of the mocked.
  • Lighter and Softer: The final season and a half. Although there are still dramatic scenes and plotlines, Lisbon and Jane finally hook up and the threat of Red John is no longer hanging over the main cast's heads. This is symbolised in the second half of the sixth season by Jane's new tendancy to wear a hawaiian shirt and colourful socks, rather than the outfit he wore while working as a psychic and grieving his wife.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Word of God says Lisbon and Jane were supposed to be like this. It doesn't stop fans from shipping them, of course. Or from them actually developing romantic feelings for each other, culminating in their hook up at the end of the sixth season. The trope actually gets mentioned by name in the very same episode Lisbon and Jane hook up, with Cho using it to justify why the two won't get together.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Jane only seems to own three-piece suits. He does, however, get the occasional temporary change.
    • Same for Van Pelt, who always seems to dress à la Myka from Warehouse 13—but not quite the same.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Lisbon is arguably this for Patrick Jane.
  • Living Lie Detector: Among Jane's list of powers. Lisbon still had to take a polygraph, though, presumably due to Jane's bias.
  • Lonely Bachelor Pad: Patrick Jane has a large house he almost never goes to; when he does we see it nicely furnished - except his bedroom (the only part he really uses), which is just a mattress under the "Red John" symbol a Serial Killer left after murdering Jane's wife and daughter.
  • Long Game: Jane played this for six months. He let himself be fired from the CBI, got along with Vegas underworld, assaulted police and gangster alike. He plunged himself to rock-bottom... so Red John would come out and reach him.
  • The Lost Lenore: Patrick's Wife.
  • Lovable Nerd: Agent Jason Wylie.

  • Mad Artist: the killers in "Red Sky in the Morning" (2x23)
  • Magician Detective
  • Magical Realism: Kristina Frye may be an actual psychic.
  • Meaningful Name: Scott Saynay, the name of the man who was convicted of raping La Roche's mother. It's chillingly appropriate, because after La Roche, apparently, cut out his tongue, he can no longer say anything.
  • Mentor Archetype: Kimball Cho, to Agent Michelle Vega.
  • Merciful Minion: After Volker ordered one of his hitmen to kill a kid, said hitman instead had a relative take the kid in, where he lived a relatively-happy life.
  • Military Brat: Agent Michelle Vega, whose father was a career military man. She was enrolled at West Point but didn't graduate. After her father's death from liver cancer, she no longer was interested in a military career.
  • Millionaire Playboy: Walter Mashburn, who asks Lisbon out in the second-season episode "Red Lines" and has a one night stand with Lisbon in the third-season episode "Red Hot".
  • Mind Rape: When Red John is done with Kristina Frye, she only responds when Jane calls upon her 'departed spirit' as though performing a seance.
  • Mind Screw: Patrick Jane's favored method of catching the killers... as well as pranking his colleagues.
    • Red Jane pulls more than a few sinister examples as well over the seasons. While most of them are explained in the end, one that never gets resolved is how the hell he predicted Jane's suspect list with perfect precision in a recording before Jane had even made it.
  • The Mob Boss Is Scarier: One Victim of the Week is the son of a mob boss who is dying of cancer. The boss is on record as planning to kill the person responsible. Cho goes to investigate a possible suspect, who got beaten by the son's goons over a bar dispute. The suspect loudly says that the victim was a great man and he had no problems with him. Then he tells Cho quietly to come back after the old man dies and he might have a different story to tell.
  • The Mole: Craig O'Laughlin, Van Pelt's new Fiance.
    • Also, there is Bosco's secretary Rebecca from season 2.
  • Moment Killer: Jane has a classic moment where he interrupts an Anguished Declaration of Love from Rigsby to Van Pelt. AGH!
    • He has all-around awful timing, occasionally cheerfully breaking into a very dramatic moment.
    • Van Pelt has a remarkable tendency to interrupt tense moments as well, but she doesn't contrast the mood as starkly and seems to understand that she's done this.
  • Monster Clown: In "18-5-4" (R-E-D) the victim's fear of clowns was used to give him a particularly traumatic death. By his own wife, no less.
  • Monster Fangirl: Red John has lots of these, who are perfectly willing to kill themselves when they have outlived their usefulness.
  • Monster Misogyny: Red John is primarily into torture-killing women & girls, brainwashing women and generally victimizing anyone who's of the female persuasion. At one point he even raped a woman and left her to die of heatstroke in an abandoned warehouse. Heck the writers of the show even have Jane's murdered family consist of a wife and daughter (no sons).
  • More Hypnotizable Than He Thinks: Patrick Jane quickly hypnotizes the tense and edgy Lisbon in the second season episode "Red Badge" by pretending that he isn't going to hypnotize her after all. He realizes Lisbon has been drugged when she isn't able to remember what she was doing even under hypnosis.
  • Moving Beyond Bereavement: Patrick still wears his wedding ring and turns down a gorgeous potential threesome by saying he's married, five years after losing his wife (and daughter). Between his feelings of guilt, his drive for revenge, and his fear that anyone he becomes involved with will be a target for Red John, Patrick is unable to move on until he's finally succeeded in killing his family's killer.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Jane, Cho, and Rigsby all qualify.
  • Mugging the Monster: Jane and the boys attempt to steal a painting off a psychotic Russian Mafia lord. Of course it works, it's Patrick Jane!
  • Murder By Proxy:
    • In the very first episode, Patrick Jane's Establishing Character Moment has him going through the kitchen of a family whose teenaged daughter was found murdered. Jane observes a few key details, then speaks to the wife, telling her that she knows perfectly well who killed her daughter, and why. The woman pulls out a gun and shoots her husband dead. A subsequent conversation reveals that the CBI team found the girl's journal after the shooting of the husband, and it is revealed that the father had been sexually abusing his daughter, and killed her when she finally decided to put a stop to it. Jane, himself the father of a young daughter who was murdered by Red John, has absolutely no patience for child abusers, and it's implied he had the mother kill the father rather than wait for the man to be arrested and tried for his crimes, which, as a consultant for the CBI, Jane is perfectly capable of seeing to.
    • Fitting with his Heroic Comedic Sociopath tendencies, Jane is part of an investigation looking into the murder of a lawyer who had been very successful at defending a violent biker gang. While it turned out that the killer was the lawyer's own son, enraged at his father cheating on his mother, Jane has no sympathy on the biker gang, and arranges for it to look as though the gang leader had been taking bribes as a police informant, right in front of the gang. While we're never told how the situation ends, it had already been established that the gang killed traitors, and this trope is heavily implied.
    • While Red John is a killer who has killed others before, he gets a thrill out of manipulating others to kill for him, and has an entire network of individuals at his beck and call ready to commit any heinous act he asks of them, including getting one man to claim his identity so that Patrick Jane would believe he had caught and killed Red John.
    • Though the world at large believes Red John dead, Patrick Jane knows otherwise. He and his team encounter a particularly cunning serial killer who covered his tracks well. Jane tricks him into a TV interview, hoping to trip him up and get a confession, but he's too smart for that. In a move of desperation, knowing he can't prevent another murder any other way, Jane goads him into belittling Red John, knowing his Arch-Enemy cannot stand to be mocked. The CBI finds the new serial killer dead, and it's confirmed that Red John is still alive.
  • In "Red Sky in the Morning" a video is uploaded to the internet that purports to be of Red John committing a murder.
  • Mushroom Samba: Deconstructed in "Devil's Cherry". Patrick accidentally poisons himself with tea infused with belladonna, causing him to have hallucinations—including one of an aged-up version of his dead daughter, Charlotte. While it's actually useful in solving the case, the episode does not fail to make it clear that intentionally indulging in hallucinogens (especially toxic ones like belladonna) is hazardous to your physical and mental health.
    • Jane was also already onto the answer before the belladonna took effect—he just had to go through his hallucinations to remember what he was trying to tell himself.
  • Must State If You're a Cop: The episode "Black Helicopters" has Jane and the team of FBI agents he and Lisbon now work with tangle with an anti-government commune in Texas. Agent Fischer investigates a farmer's market incognito after meeting with a wall of silence as an FBI agent. After one of the members she talked to previously outs her, she is irately informed that she is required to identify herself as a law enforcement officer.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The killer in "His Thoughts Were Red Thoughts" clearly does this while confessing to Cho, even while claiming not to feel guilt for the murder.
  • Myopic Architecture: In one episode, the Victim of the Week was killed via exposure to a deadly virus kept in a high security vault accessed by retina scan—which didn't work right and would let in anybody who presented their eye for scanning.
  • Myth Arc: Jane's manhunt toward Red John. The titles of all episodes always include either the word "red", red objects, shades of red, or anything somehow related to "red" to represent the fact that Red John is still the main villain of the series.
  • Narcissist: Red John is this in spades. He has a grandiose opinion about himself, he takes any slight against him personally (to the point of killing people who badmouth him on TV), he has a stunning lack of empathy for others, and he sees his accomplices as mere tools to be used and thrown aside once they've completed their task.
  • Never My Fault:
    • Jane often averts this, but can occasionally be flippant about how his manipulations of suspects affect their lives (like the two brothers in the pilot), often saying it was something that would have happened anyone. In the season 6 premier, when a suspect he goads into incriminating himself by drawing a gun (which he'd disable) ends up having a second gun, and shooting a cop, Jane does accept responsibility, but refuses to admit about how reckless his actions were, simply calling it, "a good plan that went awry."
    • Quite a few of the mruderers tend to bitterly blame everything on someone else (often the victim for being such a threat to them), with one killer angrily saying that it's all his ex-wife's fault for demanding so much alimony that it drove him to crime. The CBI team are often left visibly unimpressed.
  • No Badge? No Problem!: Jane will usually inform people that he is merely a consultant and not an actual police officer. However, when he deems it necessary, he has no qualms about letting people think that he is a full CBI agent.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Karen Cross of "Red Carpet Treatment" is a stand-in for Nancy Grace.
  • No-Sell: It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while Jane will take a stab at hypnotizing someone to absolutely no effect. The prison guard in "Redacted", apparently, just isn't easily distracted by shiny objects and soothing voices.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Patrick Jane, with suspects and co-workers alike.
  • Non-Idle Rich: It can be assumed Patrick Jane made a lot of money during his years as a psychic. At the end of "Blood Money", he only looks slightly put out at having to pay $16,000 in court fines. He still wants to go to the range with Lisbon and shoot something.
    • This is certainly not the first time it's been hinted that Jane has some serious riches. In an episode in the first season, he won $250,000 at blackjack by memorizing cards and blew a large amount (if not all) of it on expensive gifts for the team. Later, he won $300,000 in poker and donated that to pay for the operation of the mother of one people who had been investigated in the case.
      • Not to mention that when the team rejected his expensive gifts of jewellery, instead of taking them back and getting a refund or selling them on, he put them into a donations bin for a charity store.
    • In season three, Jane doesn't blink at dropping a total of $15,000 on horse racing. The first bet of $5k netted him only a few hundred dollars in return, but he got the satisfaction of besting a man who'd been rude to him. The payoff was worth it.
    • The season 4 premiere hints at his financial limits; Jane needs to get his hands on a million dollars, and while he does, he has to play high-stakes poker to get it, so presumably he's either not a millionaire or is, but not so much of one that he can just casually throw that kind of money around.
    • Jane is able to purchase outright 24 acres of prime Texas hill country real estate for his future home in the series finale and a large diamond engagement ring in a platinum setting. Earlier in the season, Cho says outright that Jane "got rich" in the phony psychic business. His wealth has apparently not been significantly diminished.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: Jane, after getting whacked in the head with a baseball. Played for Drama in that his comment just before losing consciousness references a flashback to his own troubled childhood.
    • On the flip side, just after gaining it, he insists he's fine, brushing off the How Many Fingers? question with 'six'.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • In the season three episode "Cackle-Bladder Blood":
    Jane: (after getting slapped by an old friend he hasn't seen in years) AHH! What was that for?
    Sam: Detroit.
    Jane: Oh, yeah. Fair enough.
    • The main focus of the episode Redemption (Season 2, episode 1). The cause of why the woman was accused of stealing a million dollars from her employer was both a Noodle Incident and a Riddle for the Ages within the episode. The actual Noodle Incident was integral to the plot.
  • Noodle Implements: Red John manages to Mind Rape Kristina Frye into believing she's a ghost by only using a paintbrush, really bright lights and empty rooms.
  • Not Afraid to Die: Patrick has said he values getting his revenge on Red John above his own life and freedom. As long as he can kill Red John, if he dies in the process or afterwards, he accepts that.
  • Not a Morning Person: Teresa Lisbon.
  • Not Me This Time: In one episode, a serial abductor/killer known as "the balloon killer" was suspected of kidnapping a child. However, after shooting him, he implies (and Jane confirms via phone and a note) that he's innocent.
  • Not So Above It All: Both Lisbon and Cho. Despite being The Stoic, Cho is the most willing to go along with Jane's plans. Lisbon, on the other hand, spends most of the series trying to wrangle Jane into following department rules, but admits multiple times that she enjoys taking part in his plans (particularly ones where she gets to do some acting and won't be in charge of cleaning up the consequences).
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Jane and Red John, according to one of Red John's flunkies.
    'Rebecca: You're very much like him, you know, the way you look at people and see right through them. That is just spooky.
  • Not-So-Phony Psychic: It is never explained how Red John knew some of the things he knew about Jane. In "Red John's Rules", Sean Barlow claims Red John really is psychic.
  • Not So Stoic: Cho wasn't as collected as usual in "Blood In, Blood Out".
  • Obfuscating Disability: Stuart Hanson, the wheelchair-bound man in "Miss Red".
    • Also Tommy Olds, the retarded handyman in "Flame Red".
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The killer in the episode "Flame Red" uses this trope to exact revenge on the murderers of his friend. Fools everybody until Jane exposes him.
    • Jane uses this when it suits him, as well; it helps him get away with more.
    • Annabelle Draber in "Blood Money" (2x19), the wheelchair-bound elderly mother and the real brains behind the operation of drug smuggler Hank Draber, uses obfuscating senility and Obfuscating Disability.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The CBI is really small for a state police agency, especially in a state as large as California. Look for Minelli's "The Reason You Suck" Speech below for the in-universe explanation. He later tells Lisbon that the only agents he'd ever lost were the ones killed by eight years.
  • Officer O'Hara: Patrick Jane's family is originally from Ireland, as Sean Barlow says in the fifth-season episode "Red John's Rules". Jane's childhood nickname was the Irish "Patty" and old friends greet him with "Patty, my boy". Teresa Lisbon's grandparents also emigrated from Ireland, as she says in the seventh-season episode "Greybar Hotel".
  • The Old Convict: Rigsby and Van Pelt interview a relatively old prisoner in Red and Itchy who recalls recently-released Scott Saynay as the easiest cellmate he ever had due to the man's "quiet" nature, has a good idea of what was in La Roche's tupperware when they bring it up and quickly terminates the conversation out of fear of crossing the person who cut Saynay's tongue out.
  • On the Rebound: Wayne Rigsby struck up a relationship with Sarah Harrigan not long after the breakup of his relationship with Agent Grace Van Pelt. Grace Van Pelt began dating and became engaged to Craig O'Laughlin not long after breaking up with Rigsby.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: At the start of "Blood Feud", the team is very silent as Rigsby is under suspicion of murder. Cho is contemplating a tennis ball, Van Pelt is literally twiddling her thumbs, Lisbon is standing very still, and Jane is sitting upright on the couch instead of lying down.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Occasionally, Rigsby will sound a little more Brit than American. It rarely goes so far as to be identifiably Welsh, but Owain is noticeably "off" here and there. For Patrick Jane, Simon Baker's native Aussie accent peeks through on certain words with long vowels, e.g. "talk", "walk", "awkward", and "do". As above, it's not enough to be identified as an Australian accent, but it's enough to throw you for a sec. "Fugue In Red" and "Every Rose Has Its Thorns" have some particularly good examples. Then there's the placeholder at the end of each episode, in which Simon drops the American accent completly.
    Simon Baker Stay tyooned fer ow' next eppasode.
    • In one scene of "Red in Tooth and Claw" (Season 5, Episode 14) Simon Baker refers to the gummy dinosaurs he has bought as "jelly" dinos. This troper can't find any other similar slip-ups.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. There were two Red John suspects named "Bret(t)" with different spellings: Bret Stiles, the Visualize leader, and crime scene investigator Brett Partridge.
    • Teresa Lisbon has two nieces named "Annie". The elder of the two, her brother Tommy's teenage daughter, Annabeth, who prefers to be called "Annie", appears in the fourth-season episode "Where in the World is Carmine O'Brien?". Her brother Stan's daughter Annie is said to be attending preschool with one of her three brothers in the seventh-season episode "Little Yellow House".
  • Outlaw Couple: Cole Foster and Marie Flanigan, the carjacker/spree killer Bonnie-and-Clyde couple in the seventh-season episode "The Greybar Hotel".
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Everyone to Jane.
    Jane: Doctors always want to believe they're the smartest person in the room—while, of course, that's me.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": In the episode "Ladies in Red" (1x04) Patrick is certain a missing businessman is still in his house. He picks up a number pad and runs through the "Top Ten" passwords to open a panic room/vault. After noticing a picture of a sailboat, he uses the number on the boat's sail. The vault opens, revealing the businessman's dead body.
    • Later, in "Red Moon", Van Pelt asks the Wi-Fi code for the sheriff's office. It's "1234".
  • Phone-Trace Race: In "Redacted", the team acquired a dead man's cell phone, which one of their suspects was calling. They said it would take two minutes to triangulate the call. Patrick Jane took the phone, named a location and issued an ultimatum, then hung up. When everyone looked at him askance, he said that it would just be easier to bring the suspect to them. He was right.
  • Phony Psychic: Played with. Jane used to be one, until "Red John" paid a visit to his family. Now he decries all "psychics" as phonies. That doesn't stop people from asking if he has Psychic Powers. Especially Van Pelt.
  • Photographic Memory: Jane shows this skill while pointing out clues. In "Red Handed", he explains to Van Pelt that information can be placed in different locations in his "memory palace", which he sees as the carnival where he grew up. Jane attempts to teach Rigsby the "memory palace" trick in "Rose-Colored Glasses". "Red All Over" has Jane remembering a room well enough to tell Lisbon where to look for a hidden bomb...over the phone.
    • One of Red John's accomplices lets slip that Jane has shaken hands with Red John. A couple of episodes later, Jane has made a list of all the people he has shaken hands with. Ever. His list is 2,164 names long. He's narrowed the list of possible suspects down to seven by the end of season five, though.
  • The Profiler:
    • Jane's core tactics involve getting into the criminal's heads and using it to solve the crimes. One notable example is "The Red Barn", where he deduced the killer by noting which of the suspects had the most familiarity with the Red John logo, which appeared in the barn in the episode.
    • Luther Wainwright, who came from a criminal psychology background and deduced Jane to be a psychopath in "Ring Around The Rosie", also qualifies.
  • Post-Script Season: With the death of Red John at Jane's hand and the CBI disbanded due to a Dirty Cop scandal, Seasons 6.5 and 7 retooled the show, moving part of the cast to an FBI office in Austin, Texas and moved over purely to a Body of the Week format with no overall Story Arc other than the Jane/Lisbon romance.
  • Promoted to Parent: From the time she was twelve, Lisbon was responsible for raising her three younger brothers after she lost her mother in a car accident and her father became an abusive alcoholic. She also tends to mother her team, including Patrick Jane.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Subverted with one of the suspects in "Rhapsody With Red", who had a one-sided crush with the victim and even had the murder weapon in her trunk. But Patrick quickly deduced that she was innocent and was genuinely sad over her death. Turns out it was the male Stalker with a Crush who killed her so his female love interest would get a higher seat in the orchestra.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Whatever happened to Kristina Frye?
    • Summer, Cho's prostitute informant who has a Will They or Won't They? with him. In "Panama Red", she returns, noticeably pregnant and engaged to be married. She also shows that she hasn't got any brighter, needing Cho to get her out of legal trouble when she is caught among members of a counterfeiting syndicate during a raid. In the end, she gets married and moves with her new husband and moves to Seattle.
    • Rigsby and van Pelt leave the series during the post-retool Time Skip, opening a computer security company and starting a family. They come back for a brief "old enemy returns" story arc early in the retool, but don't stay in the main cast.
    • Agent Kim Fischer transferred to Seattle to take care of her sick mother in the season seven opener "Nothing But Blue Skies".
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Kristina Frye ends up believing she is dead after being brainwashed by Red John. Far-fetched as it is, it's actually not impossible. The medical term for it is "Cotard delusion".
  • Rearrange the Song: The brief snippet of theme music that's played leading out of the opening teaser of each episode was given a subtle, slightly more jazzy rearrangement for the episodes that came after Jane killed Red John.
  • Reset Button: The Season 4 premiere essentially undid the actions in the Season 3 by revealing that Red John is still at large (and thus wasn't killed by Jane) and by having Jane acquitted by the end of the episode (allowing him to pursue other cases like he usually does).
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Virgil Minelli delivers a Moment of Awesome of one to the standard "How are you feeling" reporter questions:
    Minelli: You know, for 8 years, I've put up with the idiotic questions of the media, and I've never said squat. But today, I must tell you Meredith, you've really set a new standard in horse's-assery. You people have no... concept... of what we do. We go into dark, horrible places, alone and afraid. And we do it with no money, broken-down vehicles, with computers that have more viruses than a $10 whore. How? Good people. And I lost 3 good people today, and a fourth is in critical condition. And you ask me how I'm feeling? I'm feeling sad, you moron. Any other questions? [silence] Okay, then, good day to you. Lisbon, carry on.
  • Red Herring:
    • In the episode "Bleeding Heart", Lisbon told her team to look into someone, but Jane said not to bother because it was a red herring. Van Pelt asked what this meant, to which Lisbon responded, "A red herring is what you look into regardless of what Jane tells you." There was also a second season episode titled "Red Herring".
    • Subverted with Bertram. About midway through the third season, in the episode where Hightower is framed and Jane helps her escape, Director Bertram quotes a William Blake poem. Savvy viewers will recognize this as a hallmark of Red John and his followers. Fast-forward to the season finale, and it turns out that Bertram isn't Red John's inside man after all. However, we find out in "Fire and Brimstone" that Bertram is part of Red John's criminal syndicate called the Blake Association, so this ends up foreshadowing how the Red John arc finally ends.
  • Red Wire Blue Wire: Lisbon is in a house with a bomb. Jane (on the phone) helps her find the bomb, but says to just get out of there—he's not going to play Red Wire Blue Wire with her. She only has seconds (and unbeknownst to Jane, the little girl in the room with her is not reachable and refusing to come out) so she simply pulls out all the wires, which works.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Jane's MO. He does things the cops couldn't possibly get away with, and he avoids punishment (other than the tongue-lashings) simply by being too unpredictable to catch ahead of time. On occasion, he does face minor consequences, like getting punched. Most of the time though, when he does something wrong, Lisbon takes the heat; it's been acknowledged that Lisbon will lose her job, not Jane.
  • Replaced with Replica:
    • In the series finale, Patrick Jane is at a jewelry story and notices the jeweler performing a "French Drop" whereby he replaces a valuable ring with a worthless duplicate, in order to steal the ring from a couple who has brought it in to get it turned into a necklace. Jane stops the theft, but lets the jeweler go with a warning because he's shopping for an engagement ring for Lisbon.
      Patrick Jane: So show me your very best selection, please. And, sir, if I see any glass the cuffs will come out.
    • In an early episode, the Victim of the Week owns a valuable painting which he has on display in his office. Jane destroys it after figuring out that it's actually a copy; the original is securely stored away.
  • Retool: A major one occurred mid season six after the Red John arc came to an end and there'd been a two-year Time Skip, with Rigsby and Van Pelt departing for their new cybersecurity business, Dennis Abbot and Kim Fischer being upgraded to series regulars, Cho joining the Austin, Texas branch of the FBI, and Jane returning to the United States in exchange for dropping the charges against him]] to work with the FBI, and insisting that Lisbon join him.
  • Revenge:
    • Jane's whole purpose for working with the CBI. Sam Bosco asks Jane to avenge him before dying:
      Sam Bosco: Do me a favor. When you catch him, don't arrest him. Kill the son of a bitch.
      Jane: That's the plan.
    • Revenge has been a recurring theme in the series. Besides Jane's hunt for Red John, there have been several vengeance killings investigated by the CBI. How the person feels about it afterwards varies - at least one person says it was worth it; another says it doesn't help because her daughter is still dead - but Jane always asks.
    • "Red and Itchy" strongly implies that a vengeful La Roche cut out the tongue of his mother's rapist.
    • Jane gets a faceful himself in Ball of Fire. The daughter of a man he caught and who has since died in prison, has him kidnapped so she can express her feelings with a cattleprod.
  • Riddle for the Ages: This, and a Noodle Incident, was the whole focus for the episode Redemption (Season 2, Episode 1). It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Dennis Abbott's old boss, the shady Bill Peterson, has a pet cat who gives the team the evil eye in the seventh season episode "Copper Bullet" and tries to let its master know that Jane and companions broke into his house.
  • Room Full of Crazy: The Red John copycat killer in the second season finale.
  • Running Gag:
    • Jane loves to point out that he's not actually a cop, just a consultant. In a Mythology Gag, in an episode showing Jane's very first case before he was formally hired by the CBI, Lisbon introduced him to a group of suspects as a "consultant".
    • One of Jane's stock tactics is to draw the attention of a large group of people and ask the perp to please raise his or her hand. The point is to tell the perp that the CBI is after him, and so he is more likely to get spooked out and make mistakes. Sometimes Jane gets the CBI to arrest someone because he or she was the only one not looking round to see who else might raise a hand.
    • Jane telling suspects being interviewed that they can go, only for one of the other staff to point out that he doesn't have the authority to tell them that and that suspect can only go when they say so.
    • Expect Jane to get punched in the face after pushing someone too far at least once a season, if not more.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Any number of times.
    • One particularly notable example was "Red John's Friends". Jane is told that he's not allowed to pursue a particular lead regarding Red John because it would piss off some important people, so he chooses to quit. Lisbon and her team are advised it's hands-off, but decide to help him anyway. Minelli threatens to suspend them all, but then decides to look the other way by saying that he's leaving on a personal matter and that they'd better have things wrapped up before he gets back.
    • It's also deconstructed when a competent defense attorney uses Jane's usual behavior to get an ironclad case against a serial killer thrown out in court since due process had been violated.
    • In "Blood for Blood", a preteen confesses to Lisbon and Jane that she killed her father, partly in self-defense (after he turned a gun on her) and partly because he killed her mother. Lisbon wants to take her to Juvenile Hall, but Jane says that if they do that, the girl will just get lost in the system, likely spending months if not years in juvie and/or foster care and getting punished, even if she's acquitted. Lisbon points out that they are part of that system, which is good people that are doing the best they can. Jane, naturally, is not persuaded. Lisbon takes the girl to juvie anyway with Jane in tow, but when she gets there, she simply stands for several seconds before the guy at the desk tells her to hurry it up because they're very busy. The girl tells Lisbon it's okay. Lisbon dithers a bit longer and then tells the desk guy to keep up the good work before taking the girl home. Jane happily tells the guy at the desk that he's just witnessed a beautiful thing.
  • Secret Test of Character: Given to Cho and Rigsby by Bosco in "Black Gold and Red Blood". They fail.
  • Seduction-Proof Marriage: Jane initially is faithful to his wife, declines all offers of seduction, and constantly wears his wedding ring—but he's technically not married, since his wife was murdered years before the series started. Later in the series, he starts dating occasionally again, and even briefly takes a TV psychic for a girlfriend. That last part doesn't end well after she repeats Jane's mistake of antagonizing Red John on live TV.
  • Serendipitous Survival: In one episode, a former football star is presumed dead when a bomb explodes in his car. However, the agents then discover that the man is still alive. The man is a notorious womanizer and he kept a apartment within walking distance of the bar he owned. On the night of the bombing he hooked up with a female fan and they snuck out to have sex in the apartment. His assistant was tasked with moving the car and was killed by the bomb.
  • Serial Escalation: Just how many disciples Red John will have? Just what sort of morally ambiguous gambit will Jane play? Just how far will Lisbon go to bail Jane out?
  • Serial Killer: "Red John". Unusually, he is able to find, and manipulate, other serial killers. He's technically retired in that most of his last victims are to cover his tracks, or to avenge an insult, whereas he began as someone who targeted women seemingly for kicks; a dramatic change of MO.
  • Serial Killer Baiting: In the second episode, "Red Hair and Silver Tape," Jane links the Victim of the Week — a teenage girl with red hair — with another redhead who was kidnapped previously but not harmed. Reasoning that the first girl was a practice run and the attack was botched, he sends redheaded team member Grace Van Pelt as bait and stakes out the motel room where he expects the culprit to take her. The ploy with Grace misses, but Jane still catches both culprits sneaking a different redhead into the motel room.
  • Serial Killings, Specific Target: In "Carnelian Inc.", a series of threats against the title corporation ends with one the executives being murdered via Chute Sabotage. Later a second executive is shot. However, the second executive was always the real target, with the first murder being random to create the impression of a maniac with a grudge against the company.
  • Sexy Coat Flashing: At the end of "Red Listed", Van Pelt shows up to collect Rigsby and opens her coat to real she is wearing nothing but black lingerie and high heels, before dragging him off to a hotel for their delayed honeymoon.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Patrick Jane.
    • However, Jane is only ever seen in his hallmark three-piece suit, his curls can get unruly, the suit itself is somewhat rumpled, and his shoes are very worn. There is only one episode where he is seen not wearing a vest and that is when he is undercover.
  • Sherlock Scan: Essentially Jane's MO.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Lisbon, who is often overshadowed by the gorgeous Van Pelt, has one of these moments at a society fundraiser that she's been ordered to go to because the CBI is broke. Jane, UST-ee/unrequited love/co-worker seems not to notice, but then he is Patrick Jane, and probably thought he could screw with her in some way by not mentioning it. Made awesomer by the fact that when she gets called away to a crime scene, she just sticks her regular leather jacket over the top and looks eccentric and beautiful.
  • Shipper on Deck: Cho developed a tendency to bug and encourage Rigsby about Van Pelt whenever the two were alone. Jane has also had a couple of shipper moments. Dennis Abbott also actively nudged Jane and Lisbon to act on their feelings for each other in several sixth and seventh season episodes. Rigsby told Jane in a sixth season episode that he and Van Pelt always thought he and Lisbon would end up together.
  • Ship Tease: Here we go. First, there's Rigsby and Van Pelt, who seem to be the Official Couple, and do get together, with somewhat disastrous results in the beginning. Then there's Lisbon and Bosco, which, while canon as all hell, is almost universally hated by the fans. The crowner is Lisbon and Jane, which has included some fairly un-platonic touching, an anguished declaration of caring, which was heartbreaking, at least two Undercover as Lovers gambits, and one slow dance. Yuh-huh. Slow dance. Of course you're just co-workers. How on earth would anyone think otherwise?
    • Then there's "The Crimson Hat", which just plain oozes Jisbon shipage. In addition to the little scene at the church where Lisbon pointedly exclaims how much she hates Jane (with her usual amount of "Can't Live with Them, Can't Live without Them" affection), there's Jane's "Good luck, Teresa. I love you" right before he fakes shooting her multiple times. Of course, when Lisbon asks him what he meant by that, Patrick feigns forgetfulness and asks what he said, because he was a little hyped up at the time and can't remember. Then after she saves him from Red John's girl and goon, they're holding hands. Really, writers? Really? You just love to yank the shippers' chains, don't you?
    • According to Bruno Heller, one of the subplots in season 5 will be Lisbon dealing with Jane's "I love you" before he faked her death in the season 4 finale, which leads her to realise she's in love with Jane. Their relationship will probably be upgraded to either Unrequited Love or Complicated Possibly Requited Love. Jane will be dealing with Red John's girl in order to get to him.
    • In season 5's premiere, Jane's hallucination of his daughter makes constant remarks about liking Lisbon and asking why Jane and Lisbon are not together. When your own subconscious tells him to be with someone, there is something big there.
    • And now, perhaps the crowning tease, are Jane's rather blatantly romantic letters to Lisbon from his undisclosed location following Red John's death, and the little box she keeps them all in. There's even a scene of her reading them with a glass of wine in front the fire. For shame.
    • In the Season 6 finale, they get together. Finally.
  • Shout-Out: Rigsby snatches a girl's microphone out of her hand and takes over, at one point stating "I'mma let you finish". Now, where have we seen that before?
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Watching Patrick Jane in action has made his colleagues less awed by others doing a Sherlock Scan.
    Dr. Daniel: You're ambitious, more than you let anyone see. A girl from nowheres-ville, desperate to make it big, but you're worried that you'll always be small-town, small-time, you haven't got what it takes, and that's why you're so shut down to everything but this job.
    Van Pelt: Dr. Daniel, no offense, but I've been working with Patrick Jane for nine months now. You wanna get under my skin, you're gonna have to up your game.
  • Silent Conversation: The last words Bosco has to Jane are seen but not heard by Lisbon and the audience.
  • Silent Credits: Not the ending credits, but the opening teaser of "Brown Eyed Girls" has Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon discover a badly injured woman. Patrick Jane tells her to stay with him, but she passes away just before the brief opening logo sequence that displays that the show the was "created by Bruno Heller."
    Lisbon: Jane, she's gone.
    Jane: Yeah, I know, I know. (intro, sans the normal jazzy music)
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Happens, of all people, to Cho.
  • Sleepyhead: Patrick Jane loves to nap.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Patrick Jane is a clear example of this trope, as "18-5-4" demonstrates.
    • To show off Patrick's amazing memory skills, they play without a board, instead just telling each other what moves they make.
  • Snowball Lie: During season four, after "Always Bet on Red", as Jane goes to great lengths to forge evidence to hide the fact that he lied to the jury and really didn't kill Red John.
  • The Sociopath: It's a crime show, so this is to be expected, but of particular interest is one episode in which they have friendly chat about the titular character meeting the criteria for antisocial personality disorder.
    • That said, only about 3 of the 7 or 20-odd points (depending on which checklist they used) of the criteria are mentioned, and he is incorrectly scored on the "Glibness/Superficial Charm" bit—he might fit that, but it's the "superficial" part that's important, not the "charm" part, and the fact that Jane is willing to use his charm to manipulate others is mitigated by the fact that he is also simply charming by nature.
    • The fact that he was clearly in love with is wife and feels guilty about her death also makes it impossible for him to be a sociopath.
    • He very clearly empathizes, especially with the grieving, goes out of his way to comfort those he feels are in real pain and is extremely...annoyed with those who fake it.
  • The Sponsor: In the episode "Jolly Red Elf", the bizarre death of a Santa-suit-clad alcoholic lead Jane to seek out his AA sponsor, who was later revealed to have been in love with the victim.
  • The Stakeout: A regular thing, given the nature of the series. In "Byzantium," Wylie comments that he thinks it's a job that will eventually be replaced by robots, likely soon. Cho points out that being in the field isn't all action.
  • Standard Cop Backstory: Lisbon was abused by her alcoholic father after her mother's death and practically raised her three younger brothers.
  • Standard Office Setting:
    • The investigating team works for the CBI (California Bureau of Investigation). The headquarters are situated in a nice red brick building with modern interiors full of glass, bricked walls and black furniture. Teresa Lisbon leads the team and has her own office. Other members of the team have a desk at the open space. Patrick Jane doesn't have a desk, but a couch, and he's often seen lying and sleeping on it. A kitchenette is quite essential for him, as he makes and drinks tea all the time.
      • He does have a desk, he just doesn't use it much. Van Pelt has to go through it at one point, and finds a hidden letter that simply says, 'STOP LOOKING IN MY DESK'.
    • In season 6, some of the characters are shifted to work with the FBI. The architecture is even fancier. Jane makes sure he gets his old leather couch to the bullpen, even though it is against the FBI's policy. Teresa often compared the office and its meeting and interrogation rooms to an aquarium.
      Lisbon: This room makes me feel like I'm in an aquarium, and everyone's looking at me.
      Jane: Mm. Well, you could very easily feel like they're all in the aquarium and you're looking at them.
  • Stepping Out for a Quick Cup of Coffee: Minelli pulls this one in "Red John's Friends" (see Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right! above).
  • Stock Phrase: Two in one line by Jane: "Stop the presses! I Always Wanted to Say That."
  • The Stoic: Cho. We're not sure if he's actually capable of facial expressions.
    • To be fair to Cho, in the first seven episodes or so he actually smiled. For some reason, his ability to emote has been severely reduced over the seasons.
    • He's finally called out for that in "Pink Tops". A witness isn't intimidated by Cho's attitude and demands some courtesy if she is to talk with him. At the end of the episode, when Cho finally defrosts on her, she is willing to become an informant.
    • Agent Michelle Vega coaxes a few smiles out of the stoic Cho in seventh season episodes, making her death in "Nothing Gold Can Stay" all the more heartbreaking for him. What makes it even worse, he also shows emotion in response to her death, really driving home how hard it's hitting him.
    • Cho is also all smiles at the wedding of Jane and Lisbon in the series finale, suggesting his stoicism is something he chooses to do on the job, rather than him being incapable of anything else.
  • Stress Vomit: In a Flashback episode showing Jane's first case with the CBI, before he even becomes an official "consultant", he vomits after seeing his first dead body.
  • Stylistic Suck: In "Red Sky in the Morning", Patrick points out that apart from the real-life murders, the killers' film was just a corny slasher. Red John shared the same opinion.
  • Superstition Episode: An episode in season one had a witch who had cast a death spell on the Body of the Week. After Patrick meets her, he prompts her to cast a binding spell on Cho. For the rest of the episode, Cho is somewhat freaked, especially after the witch's statement while casting the spell seems to have come true...
  • Surprise Party: In the opening of "The Red Barn", there is a surprise party for Teresa Lisbon having ten years with the CBI, disguised as a crime scene with a dead body that suddenly comes to life with Lisbon examines it, scaring the pants off her.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: Lisbon informs Jane that she is pregnant with his child after they say their vows in the series finale. He's initially stunned speechless, but both of them are thrilled.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: The series finale gives one of these almost across the board. Abbott is preparing to head off and join his wife in Washington and work at FBI headquarters, Cho has been promoted to head of the Austin office, Wylie is stepping up to be more of a field agent than a desk jockey, Lisbon and Jane get married, and Lisbon reveals to Jane that she's pregnant.
  • Survivor Guilt: Patrick has this regarding the death of his family, compounded by his belief that he did cause their deaths with his hubris and arrogance, adding in even more guilt than the usual.
  • Suspicious Spending: In "The Desert Rose" after Jane points out how the victims body was stored in a freezer like that of the diner that their in (and then describes his theory) the diner owner retorts that there are lots of other diners the victim could have been robbed and killed in. Jane agrees, but then points out that this diner is the only one which could afford to put a fancy sign on the highway to attract more customers.
  • Swiper, No Swiping!: One of Patrick Jane's stock-in-trade tools. It doesn't really work on its own, but is useful when applied properly in combination with some of his other tactics.
  • Sympathetic Murder Backstory: FBI team leader Dennis Abbott reveals that years before he murdered a Mexican cartel leader to keep the man from killing all the passengers on a bus that was about to come through town. His team later helps him destroy all remaining evidence of the murder in the seventh season episode "Copper Bullet."

  • Take Me Instead: Patrick Jane does this during a hostage situation in "Nothing Gold Can Stay" after he decides he can't let a risky plan to attack the hostage-takers go through. He even specifically uses the phrase "take me instead."
  • Take That!: In "Green Thumb", Jane's first case with the FBI, when he finds out the FBI team is flying to New York via regular airline services, Jane remarks that he was "expecting a jet". This references Criminal Minds, whose team of FBI agents fly around in their own jet, and may be Heller's way of taking a jab at how unrealistic CM is for having a private jet.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Exposed in one episode via Jane playing the ghost of Hamlet's father.
  • Temporary Blindness: Jane in "Bloodshot".
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Averted. When Patrick Jane goes off work, you know he's serious and there have been at least three times on the series where he's left the job for quite a while.
    • Played with a bit, though, because while it's a large span of time in-universe, it's usually less than one episode before he goes back to law enforcement one way or another.
  • That One Case: Red John again.
  • The Butler Did It: In season 3's "The Red Mile", Jane gleefully exclaims this, while running around nearly beside himself with excitement. Though the butler was driving the car to Jane's pre-arranged trap, it was actually the rich mother-in-law that did it.
  • There Is No Kill like Overkill: Craig O'Laughlin was shot with extreme prejudice by both Van Pelt and Hightower.
    • How about the victim of "Red Carpet Treatment"? Bludgeoned with a sharp rock idol and then shot nine times in the face, POST-MORTEM.
  • There Should Be a Law: Lisbon and Van Pelt take certain not-quite-crimes—like being creepy—very seriously.
    • Justified. Lisbon and Van Pelt — Van Pelt especially — are consistently harassed or disrespected throughout the series in ways that their male colleagues are not. It's understandable that this kind of behaviour becomes their Berserk Button.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted, just barely. Patrick Jane did need to be institutionalized after his wife and daughter were murdered, and it took him months to become functional again, but it seems to be largely without followup, even when his methods go to the illegal. After Jane shoots Tanner, who had a gun, to save Lisbon, they both have to go therapy. Lisbon goes to about six sessions with Dr. Carmen, but Jane only has one.
    Lisbon: You signed off on him after one session.
    Dr. Carmen: He has good mental health.
    Lisbon: Now I want to see your license to practice.
    Dr. Carmen: Ha ha.
    • This is possibly because Dr. Carmen needed to focus on Lisbon because he planned to frame her for murder. This, understandably, does not make Lisbon any warmer toward therapy.
    • Van Pelt is is seen in therapy after she kills her fiancé.
    • Abbott suggests that Cho go to therapy after the death of Michelle Vega in season seven.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: In a most disturbing variant at the end of "Red John's Rules", Red John reveals through a recording of the late Lorelei Martins that he not only knows what vital clue Jane has received during the season, but also which seven suspect names he has whittled it down to. Doubles as a twisted Video Will.
  • The Tell: Jane can tell when Lisbon is lying because she speaks in a high voice. Actually, he can do this to most people, provided he's spent enough time with them.
  • The Trickster: Patrick Jane.
  • They Died Because of You: Red John makes it quite clear in his note that Patrick Jane's wife and child are dead because of what he said about Red John on national TV. Patrick's guilt is enough to put him in a mental hospital for six months, then go on a years-long crusade for revenge.
  • 1000 Origami Cranes: Patrick Jane is accomplished at origami. He gifted Lisbon with a jumping origami frog as a peace offering in "Pilot". In the seventh-season episode "Nothing But Blue Skies", he slipped an origami crane into her pocket.
  • Time Skip: Of two years between episodes 8 and 9 of Season 6. Also notable for the change in Idiosyncratic Episode Naming with names containing "red" to containing other colors.
  • Title Drop: The hallucination of Charlotte to Patrick Jane in "Devil's Cherry". "You tell me, you're the mentalist."
  • To Absent Friends: The team gathers at CBI for rounds of tequila after Sam Bosco's death.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: Promoed that one of the agents will die in the February 4, 2015 episode "Nothing Gold Can Stay." It turned out to be the rookie agent Vega.
  • To the Pain: Jane. "When I find Red John, I will cut him open and watch him die slowly."
    • That episode included an Aesop about revenge. Jane, after saying that, tells not one but two people that revenge doesn't lead anywhere after things turn out badly due to it. Then he admits that he thinks what he said is a load of bull and hasn't changed his mind at all.
    • He doesn't do exactly this to Red John, only because there wasn't time.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Patrick Jane loves tea, so much so that he included the need for "an adequate supply of tea at all times" among his conditions for returning to the United States to work for the FBI in the sixth season. Jane claims that tea "is like a hug in a cup." He always drinks his tea out of a special tea cup—a blue Fiestaware teacup and saucer in earlier seasons, and a white tea cup and saucer in the sixth and seventh seasons at the FBI that Jason Wylie warns Agent Vega not to touch because Jane will find out. Lisbon later gives Jane back his repaired blue Fiestaware teacup as a birthday gift in a seventh season episode.
  • Trash the Set: The CBI offices are dismantled by the FBI in Season 6's "The Great Red Dragon". They are completely bare, with all the desks and Jane's couch gone at the start of "Red John".
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: California is a pretty big state, but the team is seen working the case at their headquarters in Sacramento in several episodes regardless of where the crime was commited.
  • Tricked to Death: In "Blinking Red Light" James Panzer ( a.k.a. the San Joaquin Killer) is on live TV discussing the San Joaquin Killer, and Jane manipulates him into making unflattering comparisons to Red John. He does so despite such on-air discussion of Red John having resulted in three deaths and one person catatonic by that point.
  • The Trouble with Tickets: In the opening of "Red Alert," Jane is pulled over speeding and ends up sending the cop on a chase to the crime scene. Later, he is ticketed, and refuses to pay it. He spends most of the episode insisting to Teresa Lisbon that he won't pay the ticket and at the end of the episode she tells him that she'll get the CBI director Gail Bertram to pay it, that she has her ways.
  • Trust-Building Blunder: Agent Michelle Vega asks Kimball Cho to do a trust fall to rebuild his trust in her in the seventh-season episode "Black Market". Cho tells her if she tries it, she'll end up on the floor. But, though they don't do the trust fall, Cho does ask her to go with him to the gun range at the end of the episode.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Rigsby was forced to do this, but it was taken back once they realized he was hypnotized. So did Lisbon when she failed her polygraph test.
    • The whole team went unregulated for an episode for breaking protocol. Minelli looked the other way because it was a Red John case.
  • TV Telephone Etiquette: Lisbon likes to do this to Jane sometimes - just hang up on him. Given that it's Jane, it can almost be said to be a Justified Trope.
  • Two Shots from Behind the Bar: In one episode, Rigsby's father (an ex-con) is "helping" on a case, and goes into a Bad-Guy Bar. Moments later several people run out. Rigsby enters and finds his father with a shiv pointed at some guy's throat and the bartender with a shotgun pointed at Rigsby Sr.
  • Übermensch: Jane. He recognizes no restrictions in his quest for Red John. He considers this more important than (common) morality. The following lays his philosophy out (Jane has been arrested by Bosco, and Lisbon has come to see him):
    Lisbon: Look, I hope we can get you out of this mess. But it's also true that I do hope that you learn a lesson from this. There are real boundaries in life. These are real prison walls.
    Jane: Only in your mind, Lisbon. Only in your mind.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Jane has this. In fact, he's so valuable to the CBI that if his antics ever go too far, it's Lisbon whose job will be in trouble.
    • Lisbon has this too, in a way. Jane has made it clear to several superiors that he will act out even more or quit if assigned to any team other than Lisbon's.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Rigsby and Van Pelt had one in the pilot after Jane teased them for the very obvious Unresolved Sexual Tension between them.
  • Undercover as Lovers: Jane and both the women on the team. In season one, it was Van Pelt (he was the professor who seduced her and made her his fiancee), and in season two, it was Lisbon (which had the Jisbon shippers practically exploding when he said "I love you"). This is Patrick Jane, however - a certain baseline of dickery needs to be respected. Also in season two, Jane coaxes Lisbon into posing as his lover so they can get a hooker to join them upstairs, all as part of a plan to question the pimp, of course.
  • Unreliable Voiceover: Used to chilling effect in "Red Alert". The murderer confesses, but says that the victim drove him to it: she led him on, lured him to her house, rejected him, and then threatened to expose him. The flashback we see while he's talking, however, tells a different story. Lisbon is not fooled.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension, Will They or Won't They?: Rigsby/Van Pelt.
    • They do eventually get together, but thanks to the work restrictions break up again. And after some time apart (and a few Romantic False Leads), they get back together again.
    • It's present between Jane and Lisbon too, albeit subtle and overshadowed by the whole Rigsby/Van Pelt thing. He's not above teasing her about it. And although the actors had both said it wouldn't happen, there was still plenty of Ship Tease which lead up to their getting together in the sixth season's finale.
  • Unusual Euphemism: In the season 3 premiere, "Red Sky At Night", Lisbon, irritated with Jane's refusal to elaborate on his latest wacky scheme, grumbles "Oh, sheepdip!" to him.
    Jane: [mocking Lisbon] No, I don't wanna know your plan. Sheepdip your plan.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Most of the CBI, but particularly Jane himself, ironically. Lampshaded in "Red John's Friends" by Lisbon. "You think you're playing him and he thinks he's playing you. One of you is wrong."
  • Villain Cred: In "Green Thumb" a prideful kidnapper and ex gang member who almost extorted ten million dollars from the Federal Government agrees to sign a confession after an appeal to this.
  • Villainous Rescue:
    • Serial killer and Jane's nemesis Red John comes to Jane's rescue in the Season 2 finale. He saves Jane from his own copycat killer
    • Red John in "Blinking Red Light", when he kills the increasingly-vicious serial killer who had managed to elude Jane's various traps and avoid becoming a serious suspect by the authorities in charge of the case. This is mostly to avenge an insult and draw Jane further into their "relationship" however, not because he actually cared about the other killer's crimes.
  • Waving Signs Around: In the opening of "Ring Around the Rosie," the CBI is working an immigration rally with a bunch of people waving signs saying things like "We are not thugs," "Stop targeting immigrants NOW!!" and "Legalize aliens." After someone is stabbed to death in the area, Patrick Jane quickly zeroes in on the one guy in the area who isn't waving a sign and who is standing around looking shifty with crazy eyes and wearing a big overcoat in hot weather as a suspect.
  • We Can Rule Together: More or less what Red John offers Patrick Jane through Lorelei Martins in the fourth-season finale.
  • Wedding Ring Removal: Jane continues to wear his wedding ring long after his wife and daughter were murdered by the Serial Killer Red John. After tracking down and killing Red John he continues to wear the ring, only removing it in the last episode, as he's preparing to marry Theresa Lisbon.
  • We'll See About That: This is the response of an FBI agent in the fifth-season premiere, "The Crimson Ticket", when Patrick Jane insists that Lorelei Martins is the CBI's suspect.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Season 2's "His Red Right Hand". Rebecca is revealed to be an accomplice of Red John in the CBI, Bosco and his entire team are killed, Minelli resigns from his position, and it is strongly implied that Jane knows about Rigsby and Van Pelt's secret romance.
    • Season 3's "Strawberries and Cream". Red John is revealed to be hunting down Madeleine Hightower to cover loose ends. Jane blackmails La Roche to get the list of suspects who could possibly be Red John's mole in the CBI. Initially, the team is lead to beleive it's Gale Bertman but it's later revealed to be Craig O'Laughlin who killed Todd Johnson and framed Hightower for it. O'Laughlin kills the police protecting Hightower and injures Lisbon, but Van Pelt and Hightower shoot and kill O'Laughlin. Lisbon then calls the last number O'Laughlin dialed and a man sitting next to Jane answers. Jane deduces that the man is Red John and when he confronts him, he confesses to being him. After a tense conversation, Jane kills the man, and the episode ends with Jane being arrested by security guards at the mall.
    • Season 4's "Scarlett Ribbons" The man Jane killed turned out not to be Red John, but was an accomplice who (along with his wife, Sally Carter) was keeping a girl captive in the basement. Sally is arrested, and Jane uses this to convince the jury that the man he killed was Red John. However, after being freed, he reveals to Lisbon that Red John is still alive.
    • Season 4's "Blinking Red Light". In order to stop Panzer from killing again, Jane manipualtes him into belittling Red John on live TV. The episode ends with Panzer dead, and the signature Red John smiley face painted over his corpse.
    • Season 5's finale: Jane narrows his list of Red John suspects down to seven names, and Red John responds by announcing that he's going to start actively killing again.
    • Season 6's premiere. Jane and Lisbon have an argument, Lisbon gets called to an abandoned house by herself and is captured by Red John. The episode ends as he taunts Jane over her phone and paints his bloody smiley face on her face.
    • Season 6, episode 4. There's an organization of corrupt cops and officials (that may or may not have Red John as a member). They identify with each other using the phrase "tiger tiger". Kirkland, one of the Red John suspects, is killed by Smith another suspect, who is a member of this organization.
    • Season 6, episode 6, "Fire and Brimstone". Jane leaves Lisbon stranded as he rounds up every remaining suspect to check for a tattoo that is allegedly supposed to identify Red John. Three of them have it. A shot is fired and then the house they've gathered in blows up.
    • Season 6, episode 7, "The Great Red Dragon". Three of the Red John suspects are found dead following the explosion. Jane subsequently rules out one of the two survivors, leaving Gale Bertram as the only possibility. When a manhunt for Bertram starts, Dennis Abbott from the Dallas division of the FBI comes in and order the CBI to be shut down due to corruption.
    • Season 6, episode 8: Bertram is revealed to NOT be Red John. One of the suspects faked his own death in the explosion, and he's the real Red John. He kills Bertram and confronts Jane, who shoots him, chases him down, and strangles him to death. The episode ends with Jane going on the run from the FBI.
    • Season 7, episode 10, "Nothing Gold Can Stay". Michelle Vega, the team rookie, is fatally shot.
  • Wham Line:
    Lorelei: I only wonder why the two of you didn't become lifelong friends the moment you shook hands.Explanation 
    Rosalind Harker: I've never met this man. I have no idea who he is.Explanation 
    Kira Tinsley: Tattoo. Tattoo on his left shoulder. Explanation 
  • Wham Shot: In The Red Barn, as Jane is wandering outside a barn where three bodies have been found, the camera pans up to show a very old and faded Red John Smiley-face painted on the wall. The three men were all killed in 1988, over a decade before what had previously been considered the first Red John murder, and this helps Jane narrow down his list of potential suspects a lot.
  • What Are You in For?: In "Black Gold and Red Blood," one of Jane's gambits results in him getting thrown in prison with a Scary Black Man who goes by "Boo."
    Boo: What you in for?
    Jane: Oh, eavesdropping on a state agent. You?
    Boo: They say I raped and murdered a guy. Stabbed him to death.
    Jane: Oh.
    Boo: But that's not true.
    Jane: Oh, good.
    Boo: We had consensual sex. Then I stabbed him to death.
    Jane: Okay...
    Boo: You get top bunk.
    Jane: ...I like the top bunk.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: When Jane suggests using Erica Flynn as support to find a killer, Lisbon objects, knowing she could run away. Jane asks this. Of course, things go wrong and Erica runs away.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After the season 3 finale, what happens to Special Agent Hightower? Is her name ever cleared? And although Jane states that O'Laughlin is "a known accomplice of Red John", how can he prove that when the only ones who know are Hightower (who is a murder suspect) and Lisbon's team (who found out while conducting an off-the-record investigation)?
    • The team just explains the trail of thought that led Jane to believe they were looking for a Red John accomplice; combined with the fact that he was on La Roche's short list of suspects, that they can link the assassin at the hotel to the info they gave him (with video evidence), and the fact that he killed two cops, makes the case pretty tight. They don't even have to prove he was an ally of Red John, really; the fact that he was a ruthless murderer and was a viable suspect should be enough, especially since fleeing from justice was just faked by Jane.
      • Ultimately resolved in Seasons 6 which confirms Hightower was exonerated but also had to leave the CBI.
    • The psychic Kristina Frye. Red John captures her and apparently Mind Rapes her to the point that she's convinced she's a ghost (Jane has to "hold a seance" to get her to talk to him). We're never explicitly told if she ever recovered or if she's sitting in a padded room somewhere going "BOO!" every time a worker brings her meds, or if she just gave up and died for real.
    • After killing Red John, Jane agrees to help the CBI catch the remaining Blake Association members so he can legally return to America and see Lisbon again. Except that after the agreement is made, the Blake Association is NEVER brought up again.
      • Fans generally assume that he was bluffing about there being other members, but this is unconfirmed.
    • In Red Bulls, Bosco's field team is shown to have eight agents in it (including Bosco) as they prepare to raid a house, but four of them are neither seen or mentioned in the next episode, which has Bosco and the other three members killed by Red John and his accomplice, with dialogue in that and subsequent episodes implying that the whole team was wiped out, although it is possible they were out of town on another case or something, or were a second team brought in for reinforcements for the raid, given how most other CBI teams seem to have just four members throughout the show.
    • In "Violets" there are at least five robbers during the opening scene but only three who arrive for the robbery as part of Jane's sting operation. It's unclear if the others had quit due to someone getting killed or were just busy elsewhere, and whether Abbot was including them when telling the mastermind how they'd captured his whole crew.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Lisbon does this to Jane more than just a few times.
    • At the end of "Red Rover, Red Rover", CBI Director Wainright suspends Jane for psychologically torturing a confession out of the Killer of the Week. When Jane mouths off, Wainright fires him.
      • Which naturally turns out to be the setup for another Batman Gambit to catch Red John. And RJ sees it coming.
  • Wicked Cultured: Red John listens to Bach and quotes William Blake's poetry.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Jane and Lisbon, arguably. They dance around it (and, on one occasion, with each other), and certainly Lisbon has straight-up admitted that she cares about him, but Jane is still hugely damaged and mourning his wife. Doesn't stop the shippers, but then it turned out the shippers were right.
  • Witless Protection Program: In the episode "Red Sauce", the Victim of the Week is a mobster in Witness Protection after testifying against his boss. His wife did it because he cheated after she gave up everything for him.
  • Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: In "At First Blush," Cho's confidential informant Summer confronts him in an elevator after he fired her, demanding her job back. She tells him that she's figured him out - that he likes her, but fired her so he doesn't have to admit it. She shoves him, demanding that he admit it. He admits that he does like her and she slaps him, telling him again to admit it. Then she realizes what he said.
  • Worthy Opponent: Red John considers Jane to be one, though Jane couldn't care less and just wants him dead.
    • In a more mutual example, Jane has this dynamic with cult leader Bret Stiles.
    • Michael Ridley provides another one-sided example, seeming to admire Jane's machinations and cutting through the BS, and feeling that if anyone would understand his goals it would be Jane.
    • A non-villainous example is Dr. Montague, a single-episode character whose mathematical approach to profiling causes her to butt heads with Jane a little, but he claims to like her, and both find some value in each others work.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Two of Volker's hitmen refuse to kill a child, one by hiding him and the other by flat-out telling him no.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: In "Strawberries and Cream", Red John sadistically describes to Jane how the latter's wife and daughter smelled as they were murdered. Season Four reveals this was only an accomplice, though.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Red John has this attitude towards his accomplices. He has personally killed several of them because they either became liabilities or they served their purpose and he had no more use for them. Jane even states Red John sees his accomplices as tools.


Video Example(s):


The Mentalist - Immigration

In "Ring Around the Rosie" from "The Mentalist," a large group of people is waving signs around demanding that the U.S. government stop targeting immigrants. The eyes of the ever-observant Patrick Jane, however, are drawn to the one guy that isn't marching or standing around waving a sign and shouting, but is instead standing around looking shifty wearing an overcoat that's way too thick for the hot day.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / WavingSignsAround

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