This season, Red John strikes into the heart of the CBI. Ever since the serial killer murdered Patrick Jane’s family, the California Bureau of Investigation consultant and former faux-psychic has become obsessed with finding the man who destroyed his life. But after a homicide suspect is set ablaze in his jail cell and a CBI agent is later framed as Red John, Patrick realizes his adversary is closer than he imagined. The 5-disc 24-Episode Season 3 of this hit procedural combines crime-solving twists with wry humor that celebrate mind over matter. In settings from gold country to the racetrack to a martial-arts cage brawl, unconventional Patrick uses his unique skills of observation and manipulation to buck the system. And crack the toughest cases.
Simon Baker's sly, sexy charm is a big reason The Mentalist
is one of TV's most popular series. But Baker isn't the only appeal of this thoughtful, well-written, fast-paced crime drama. The Mentalist
owes much more to Agatha Christie than to Law & Order
or other contemporary police procedurals--because it focuses on Baker's character, Patrick Jane, using his brain and intuition to crack cases. Sure, there's the usual thorough police work done by Jane's California Bureau of Investigation team, led by the no-nonsense Agent Lisbon (the always appealing Robin Tunney). But Jane has gifts of observation that help profile, and capture, the bad guys preying on the good people around Sacramento. Jane is also pursuing his own specific demon: Red John, the evil serial killer who murdered Jane's family at the beginning of the series. It's a wonder that the folks in California aren't in a blind panic, given that this madman is still at large some three years later--but it's to The Mentalist
's credit, and to its CBI in particular, that the story thread continues to be believable, and manageable from a crime-fighting perspective. The ensemble cast is stellar, including Tunney, who seems to be developing some deeper feelings for Jane. Other standouts include Tim Kang and Amanda Rhigetti, whose new romance with an FBI agent pummels the heart of her former flame, played by Owain Yeoman, and contains a potential landmine or two itself later in the season. But it's Baker's light, deft portrayal of a tortured genius who manages to keep a wry sense of humor that makes The Mentalist
so compelling episode after episode. As always, the location shooting around Northern California is breathtaking.
This boxed set includes a great documentary with interviews of professors and former law-enforcement officials at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, talking about how real serial-killer profiling is done--and applying it to the fictional Red John. And this season also features an episode directed by Simon Baker, with a commentary from him that is particularly crisp and entertaining. Crime-show fans will love The Mentalist, and so will those intrigued by the always-baffling puzzles of human behavior. --A.T. Hurley