124 of 129 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2008
This TV show, in its first season, is, like "Life," a police procedural with lots of flavor--in this case, a former phony psychic who, years ago, talking insultingly about a serial killer on his psychic TV show.
The killer was watching the show, apparently, took offense, and proceeded to murder the guy's entire family.
After much soul searching, our hero quit his pseudoprofession and now works with a police agency doing for crimes what Gregory House does for his hospital--solving the cases no one else can solve. He uses his ability to read people and situations that stood him in good stead during his stint as a phony psychic.
Of course, like the cop in "Life" his merry, mischievous exterior conceals an iron core of permanent, near-psychotic rage. The Mentalist works with the police agency he works for in order to find the serial killer to killed his family, and he has told his boss there, in merry seriousness, that if/when he finds the guy, he will take him apart in a way Dexter (as in the HBO series) would admire.
All this is backstory. No spoilers, as I promised. There's considerable interaction with his boss, her boss, and the three person team that also works with the boss, and they're all competently played, seemingly pretty much credible as detectives.
So both this and "Life" have:
1. fine actor in the lead role--with "The Mentalist," Aussie heartthrob Simon Baker, who every woman appears to find irresistable (according to my wife).
2. multilayered plot, with an ongoing story arc on top of the case du jour, and evolving relationships among the team members.
3. light and shadow--lots of comic moments alongside very dark stuff indeed. In painting this would be called chiaroscuro (think Rembrandt paintings of interiors illuminated by candles).
If you like "Life" I'm certain you'll like "The Mentalist" even if the more run of the mill procedurals (all the CSIs for example) don't appeal to you. I'd also put "Bones" in this category FWIW.
And this is about as good as we can expect until Joss Whedon's next show shows up (presumably "Dollhouse" with Eliza Dushku, herself a master of chiaroscuro).
70 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2009
I am just a teenager, and generally not interested in the stuff my parents love to watch (currently they're obsessed with "24"), but one evening I decided to settle down with them and check out what they were watching, and it happened to be, "The Mentalist." It was love at first sight.
The Australian-born star, my heartthrob Simon Baker, stars as the coy and undeniably hot guy with brilliant mentalist abilities who "just pays attention," Patrick Jane. After criticizing a serial killer on a TV show (sorry Simon, but how dumb can you be???), Jane returns home to find his family slaughtered by the very killer, Red John, to get revenge on him for his earlier actions on TV. Shocked and heart-broken to the core, Patrick decides to change his ways and use his abilities for better purposes, seeking out the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI)and offering his help on serious crime cases. The season continues as it sheds some light on Jane's past and as he grows closer to his new colleagues at the bureau, yet his obsession with finding Red John does not die.
I found myself intrigued immediately by "The Mentalist." I can't quite explain it. Something about the show just clicks, and that's why it's become so overwhelmingly popular with us viewers. Simon definitely steals the show, but not only do we love him, we feel something for Simon's character. He hides his pain of his family's murder with a coy, playful, and cunning face, and though he is all of this, it's only skin-deep, and in the finale episode, "Red John's Footsteps", the veil is pulled for a brief moment and we see how angry and obsessed Jane is with finding Red John, ready to die himself to solve the terrible crimes.
This keeps the audience hungry for the next episode every time one finishes, and not only that. This show is incredibly rare and beautiful, because how often do you find a show that you love all the cast members, you enjoy the plot, it's got lots of humor, it's not dumb, and it has an awesome writer? Answer? Hardly ever. Even "Ghost Whisperer" and "CSI" get tiring, and "The Mentalist" is a cute, quirky, and intriguing new show that makes me fall in love with Simon all over again whenever his face goes on screen.
I can't wait for these DVD's to come out, because they are definitely worth the buy. I absolutely loved the first season, with hardly ever a dry spot, and I just hope that they keep the second season and any seasons after that as good, because I'm telling you, if someone screws this show up, I will be ready to kill. ;P
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2009
The Mentalist: The Complete First Season
Christie and Conan Doyle can be blamed for the flawed genius crime fighter with that unique quality with Sherlock Holmes, Ms Marple and Poirot. There have been later takes on this theme such as Nero Wolfe. More recently its been Monk, Columbo, Mrs Fletcher (Murder She Wrote), Profiler and Medium.
This isnt serious crime investigation and thankfully its not meant to be. Enough with the real life police/hospital dramas that are usually quite frankly an overglorification of a generally unattractive, nasty and messy business (believe me I work in the crime area).
Shows like those beforementioned and of course The Mentalist are pure entertainment and totally detached from reality and that's why I like them. What makes these shows so successful is a quirky character with a unique special quality, an actor able to translate the role well to the screen and good stories and supporting characters. Simon Baker is perfect in his role, the support characters are good and the story lines entertaining.
Too often networks have lost the escapist theme in favour of an attempt (falsely) to achieve a more realistic approach. Fewer and fewer are the fun shows that I recall as a young man, such as Hawaiian Eye, 77 Sunset Strip, Wild Wild West, the Man From UNCLE, Avengers, The Saint, Outer Limits and the Twilight Zone. There have been some recent successes with Magnum P.I., Macgyver, The Pretender and X-Files. Great examples of pure escapism, realistic enough have you half way believing, but fun enough to know at the end of the program that you have had a good time.
The Mentalist is just such a show. Its the sort of program you want to watch over and over again because of the unusual nature of the character and the cleverness of the actor in portraying that character. Its the process and the interpersonal exchanges that are why you watch programs like this. The conclusion, though important, is secondary to the journey we take with the lead character seeing his quirky and genius approach to the information received.
Thank goodness there are still some programs like this around, like oases in a desert of modern day TV visual chewing gum, that has long ago lost its flavour.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2009
Is The Mentalist a rip-off of PSYCH? To those who believe it is, I am sorry, but there is little that these two series have in common. PSYCH is a comedy with serious moments, but the Mentalist is a serious drama with moments of humor. Both are great series.
The cast is excellent. Let's focus on the supporting players-Tim Kang is a riot as Kimball Cho. He is so dead serious.
His partner, Wayne Rigsby played by Owain Yeoman, is the comic relief, especially when plays off Tim Kang's Cho. Of course, Rigsby has a mad crush on Grace Van Pelt played by the red headed beauty Amanda Righetti. She seems too beautiful to be a cop, but she is as about as serious as Kimball Cho and is a good officer.
One comment, because of space limitation, has to be made about the Boss of the group-Virgil Minelli played by the wonderful Gregory Itzin. He played President Charles Logan on 24 which gave the US presidency its first czar. Let's hope he is more prominent in Season Two.
Of course, Simon Barker as Patrick Jane and Robin Tunney as Teresa Lisbon are a delight to watch. The chemistry between them is electrifying.
Patrick Jane does have an air of sadness about him. The menacing Red John serial killer is always in the shadows.
The season finale is one of the best written finales that I have seen. The twists and turns in the finale is like a tango performed by two dancers who know how to shock and awe the watcher with such moves that are beyond technique-it is pure artistry.
It is a great freshman series. Hope the writing can keep up for season two.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2009
Another light-hearted investigative drama along the lines of Bones or The Closer. Good ensemble cast. Main character w a special talent. And an emotional back story that gives the series lots of heart.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2009
Wow. What an amazing show! At first it seems like just another crime show, like Law and Order, CSI, Without a Trace, or any of the others. But this show has what the others lack. (In my opinion, at least.) HUMOR! Straight out laughs! This show is hilarious! Yet it doesn't take away from the awful crimes that occur, or Patrick Jane's tragic past. Truly the greatest show out there today.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
It is tough to produce something new and different in a TV police procedural, but "The Mentalist" succeeds in its highly entertaining first season. Simon Baker (The Guardian) returns to TV as Patrick Jane, former wealthy (and fake) psychic who made the mistake of mocking a serial killer on television. The serial killer, Red John, retaliated by slaughtering Jane's wife and young daughter. Jane is now a consultant with the California Bureau of Investigation.
Jane assists a squad of detectives run by one Theresa Lisbon. His contributions to investigations are his remarkable powers of observation and an almost disturbing ability to read people. Balanced against these talents are a low threshold of boredom and a boyish charm that lets him get away with most of the pranks he plays on his squadmates and on the occasional suspect.
Robin Tunney does a nice job as the patient and highly professional Lisbon. Not less often than once a show, she gets talked into bending procedure to enable Jane to solve a case. Lisbon is properly wary of what she rightly identifies as Jane's achilles heel, his thirst for revenge on Red John. She may have a certain cautious fondness for Patrick Jane as well.
The rest of the squad provides a nice ensemble feel to the episodes: Amanda Righetti as attractive, ambitious Grace Van Pelt; Tim Kang as the wonderfully deadpan Kimbro Cho; and hulky Owain Yeoman as Wayne Rigsby, who suffers through the season with a terrible crush on Grace.
Each episode features a new case, typically a murder with unusual circumstances to which Jane can apply his talents. Each case has enough plot wrinkles to keep the viewer guessing along with the detectives. The show succeeds as a drama while retaining a nice touch of humor through the interaction of the squad members. The thread running through the season is Jane's hunt for clues to the identity and whereabouts of Red John, a search that will lead to a thrilling and disturbing season finale.
"The Mentalist: The Complete First Season" is very highly recommended as a new and entertaining version of the standard police procedural. "The Mentalist" has been renewed for a second season beginning in September 2009.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2009
There's nothing as great as discovering a new television series and finding out how unique it is! The Mentalist is one such show. Having heard about it on tv ads, I decided to borrow Season One from the local DVD store and see for myself what this show was all about. It's a bit quirky, a bit black comedy, but alot of fun. Simon Baker is perfect in the role of Patrick Jane, a pseudo-psychic who is always a few steps ahead of everyone else. His character is witty, intelligent, and a bit arrogant at times. I can't wait for Season Two....
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2009
I've come into the crime drama genre recently, having fallen in with roommates who watch NCIS, CSI, Criminal Minds, the Medium, etc. on a regular basis. Out of all the crime shows I've seen - and even most other prime time TV - the Mentalist is one of the very few with which I actively try to stay current.
Admittedly, the premise is similar to Psych, but while I find Psych's Shawn annoying and over-the-top, the Mentalist, Patrick Jane, comes off as suave and intriguing. You never quite know whether you can trust him completely, as he deals with his personal demons along with the murders in each episode. Each episode in this first season has a reference to the color red in the title, reminding you that the overarching story involves Jane's motivation for working with the team.
The Mentalist is also the only crime show in which I care about every member of the police team. I eagerly look forward to the snatches of development for each of the characters as they progress through the cases. It's got plenty of humor, but it's somewhat subtler than you'd find in Psych. Jane is quirky and nontraditional in his crime-solving, and it often puts his team in awkward situations, which they then manage to get out of in unusual ways. It's my favorite show on TV right now (and not even in my typical genre), and I can't wait til the DVD is released. I hope there's plenty more to come.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2009
Lately we've been bombarded with alot of new shows. It's hard not to like alot of them with all the technology that is available as apposed to the 70's and 80's when we had to put up with corny writing and shoddy effects. Still, they bring back the nostalgia, that we crave so bad ! Well nowadays we have alot better writing and ALOT better effects, this show has some of both. my wife and I and even our teenage daughters love it. Soon as it comes out we will be buying it. Simon Baker is a great talant and was a superb choice to play the guy that all the guys wish they were and all the woman kinda wish they were with. admit it! Watch a couple of episodes and you'll be hooked too!!!
p.s....Cho, is another great charactor ! Greatly portrayed by Tim Kang, kinda reminds us a little of Joe Friday maybe ? Anyway, ENJOY !