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The Mentalist is the best TV series ever!
on May 24, 2014
I have the first 5 seasons and am waiting impatiently for the 6th. I have watched the show on TV since the pilot episode and I rewatch the DVDs. This is one show where buying the DVDs has a long lasting payoff. The show has so many facets that rewatching always uncovers nuances not noticed before. Simon Baker is an outstanding actor. He totally inhabits the character of Patrick Jane. He created it and he owns it. Patrick Jane is a fully 3-dimensional character with a complex personality, a traumatic and compelling background, and plenty of flaws as well as admirable qualities.
The Mentalist is a crime procedural far different from any other and far more entertaining. But against that background it is the story of Patrick Jane, a con artist from a traveling carnival family whose history goes back 100 years. He lives between the world of carney hucksters and the outside world of marks. He has a moral compass that is remarkable for its realty based view of justice. Is it not the same as revenge? Is there objectively a right and a wrong or is it just stuff that happens? He is kind, generous and compassionate, hating the part of his past where he used his fake psychic "powers" to exploit the vulnerable. He is guilt ridden that by showing off those skills on TV to disdain a serial killer named Red John, he got his wife and little daughter murdered. The trauma put him in a mental hospital for most of a year and he was out for revenge ever since. Some of the episodes that show Patrick Jane's pain and loss are heartbreaking. He is at times, when justice is hampered by rigid laws, a cold blooded killer, in episodes that are astounding and award-worthy.
Through all this, Patrick Jane is the most lovable, charming, entertaining emotional mess imaginable. He solves every murder case with wit and out-of-the-box thinking. Sometimes in the box, so to speak, as when he buried alive a vicious killer to extract a confession. In responding to outraged objections that this was torture and illegal, he just said, "I gave an evil man what he deserved." He did, and to more than just one evil man. He does not let rules stand in the way of justice and what he sees as a moral imperatve. This is NOT your typical crime procedural. I doubt that I will ever see a TV series of this quality again, so I treasure the DVDs.