'The Mentalist' finale: Red John revealed! But do you believe it?


Image Credit: Michael Yarish/Warner Bros.

After three years of hunting the brilliantly cunning serial killer that murdered his wife and daughter, Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) finally came face to face with the mysterious Red John last night, and the monster turned out to be… a former fast-talking White House aide turned semi-competent Texas cop. Which is to say: Bradley Whitford! The former star of The West Wing and The Good Guys was scary-good in the epic, game-changing scene that closed The Mentalist’s season 3 finale. I had theorized that Virgil Minelli (Gregory Itzin of 24), Patrick’s former boss at the California Bureau of Investigation, would be exposed as Red John. I thought for sure the villain would be someone our hero (and we) actually knew. (I still could be correct; more, later) Instead, The Mentalist surprised us by putting someone we had never met in Red John’s seat, and pulled it off with exceptional casting. When Whitford put on the creepy high voice that Red John has used to speak with Patrick in the past, I was chilled. And sold.

But is that the end of the Red John story? That’s the burning question fans of The Mentalist must be asking themselves this morning. In the season finale, Patrick set an elaborate trap designed to expose and snare Red John’s mole inside the CBI. Mission accomplished: The traitor turned out to be FBI agent Craig O’Laughlin (Eric Winter), who outed himself by trying to assassinate Virgil’s replacement, Madeleine Hightower (Aunjanue Ellis), who had been framed for murder and gone into hiding, protected by Jane and Agent Lisbon (Robin Tunney). O’Laughlin managed to wound Lisbon before dying from a hail of bullets fired by his fiance, Agent Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti), and Hightower. With all due respect to poor Van Pelt, I wasn’t sad to see her beau go. I think The Mentalist’s attempt to expand the scope of its storytelling by getting into the love lives of its core characters has been something of a bust. And given how the show gave less and less time to those storylines as the season progressed, I wonder if the producers felt the same way.

Patrick figured out O’Laughlin was dirty after realizing that he was wrong about his first choice for the mole, CBI director Gale Bertram (Michael Gaston). He had brought Bertram to a public space — a food court at an upscale shopping mall — with the intention of confronting him. After his O’Laughlin epiphany, the psychic sleuth cut Bertram loose, then had another epiphany: What if Red John was nearby, watching him? Patrick called Lisbon and asked her to hit redial on O’Laughlin’s phone and then tell whoever answered that O’Laughlin was dead. Patrick heard a ringing at nearby table. A man sitting alone reading a newspaper answered his cell phone and responded in Red John’s fake high tenor. The showdown ensued. Red John froze Patrick in place with a gun hidden under his paper. He congratulated Patrick on his victory. He portrayed himself to Patrick as some kind of do-gooder, whose twisted acts of violence were attempts at making the world a better place. He revealed to Patrick that he intended to retire, adopt a new face and identity, and use the vast resources at his command to pursue his brand of social justice and reform in a less perversely sociopathic fashion. You know, working with kids or something. (Was he serious?!) He told Patrick that he should abandon his vendetta against him because his desire for bloody vengeance would only corrupt his soul. He then said goodbye to Patrick and stood up and began walking away.

And Patrick almost let him. Instead, our hero asked Red John to stop and prove he was who he claimed to be. Red John sighed deeply and proceeded to describe Patrick’s wife’s scent, and Patrick’s daughter’s scent, too. Patrick shot Red John dead right then and there with the gun hidden in his pocket. He then calmly sat down and drank the rest of his tea, looking serene and profoundly satisfied as the cops swooped in to arrest this mad man of the mall.

So is that it? Is the Red John mystery over? I don’t think so. Red John leaves behind a lot of mysteries that need to be resolved, all of them nifty opportunities for story. Who was this man? How was he able to pull of his intricate, elaborate crimes? How did he convince his lackeys to do the things they did, even willfully, joyfully killing themselves? (See: The lady assassin that threw herself out of the hotel window in last night’s episode.) Did Red John leave behind deadly contingency plans in the event of his demise?

I could see the early episodes of season 4 exploring many of these questions, with Patrick Jane helping Lisbon from behind bars, playing Hannibal Lecter (minus the serial killing cannibalism) to her Clarice Starling. Then again, maybe not. Because the bigger question is this: Was Bradley Whitford playing the real Red John, or was he playing a man posing as Red John? My guess is that next year will pivot on a disagreement between Patrick and Lisbon about the answer. One will be convinced that Red John is dead; the other won’t. It would be a nice role reversal if Lisbon is the one who becomes the obsessed conspiracy theorist fixated with the notion that Patrick put down the wrong man. She’ll succeed, and Patrick, humbled and wracked with guilt, will have to deal with the fact that he murdered an “innocent” — “innocent” insofar as Whitford’s character would be revealed to be a man just like him, a tragic victim of Red John’s evil, warped and manipulated into acting in an evil manner himself. And so it will go that when Patrick meets the real Red John — most likely in the final episode of the series — he’ll have the chance at a do-over. Will our hero once again choose bloody vengeance, or will he choose a different, better path for himself?

Those are my thoughts. Yours? Do you think the true Red John was exposed? If not, who do you think it could be?


Read more:
‘The Mentalist’ season finale: Who’s your pick for Red John?
Were the character-deaths last night game-changers for ‘The Mentalist’?

Comments (508 total) Add your comment
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  • blue

    There are lots of ways to continue the RJ story and the Patrick Jane sans RJ story without resorting to a total invalidation of this closure by revealing the RJ reveal to have been a lame fakeout. Many viewers would despise that, probably many to the point of bailing on the show.

    Keep this closure intact, and I’m on board for the rest of the Mentalist adventure.

    • jj

      Ditto! Killing the wrong guy never sits well with viewers.

      • Rock Golf

        Okay, I think I’m missing something or on to something. Jane & Bertram were at the mall because that’s where Hightower was supposed to turn herself in. Jane figured that by telling Bertram, Red John would get word.
        But Bertram wasn’t the mole. How did Red John know to go to the mall? His real mole, O’Laughlin, didn’t know about that part of the plan.

      • Dan

        Rock, you might have missed it because it was brief, but Red John mentioned that O’Laughlin let him in on their trap.

      • Dan

        Oh, and remember, Van Pelt spilled the beans to O’Laughlin.

      • yesrgyer

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        —-If he’s in a coma, Patrick Jane won’t be walking around freely. He’ll simply be charged for attempted murder.

      • For the record…

        They filmed those scenes at the Burbank Town Center. It is not an upscale mall, even with the best set dressers that money can buy.

    • DL

      I agree and disagree. On the one hand, I am completely on board with the outstanding Bradley Whitford as Red John and having that ending be completely what it appeared to be. On the other hand, however, I do not think that just because he was shot three times means that he has to be dead. What if he is alive but in a coma, in intensive care, and then suddenly he disappears from the hospital? First off, it would give a legitimate reason for Patrick to go free considering that they can’t charge a man for a crime when there’s no victim. Second, it would allow us to continue the hunt for Red John even after revealing his identity, and it would make it important to discover who this man really is, where he came from, and how to begin to unravel his pervasive network of mystery and evil. It would raise a whole bunch of new questions. Is Red John alive? Is he still comatose? Is there someone above even RJ himself that rescued him, or was he spirited away by his own people? For me the very best possible outcome of this finale would be if Red John survived and then mysteriously vanished. It would be the birth of a whole new Red John hunt, and bring a completely new dynamic to the show.

      • Binky

        Sorry, but even in the occasionally fanciful world of “The Mentalist,” I doubt they’d argue that there was “no crime” because the victim disappeared. Plenty of witnesses to a shooting. Best bet is that he’ll argue self-defense, given that RJ had a gun.

      • STK

        If he’s in a coma, Patrick Jane won’t be walking around freely. He’ll simply be charged for attempted murder.

      • Swansong

        I agree with you.. There needs to be more explanation about RJ and who he was. It is implausible to think that RJ was killed off without the viewers knowing more about this mysterious man. . There are gaps of information about the whole matter involving his power, how he made connections to important people ,etc. There are lots of ways for the show to capitalize on all this. Hope the new season begins to untangle this web.. And gives us answers. It is a great show!

      • skdl;z; lsdkaf;sa

        if Patrick does get arrested, he can simply tell the judge that Red John was a serial killer and the man that he killed

      • mercury

        he could tell the judge it was red john yes but the only link would really be O’Laughlin’s phone and the the mystery man ? red john or not altho passing it of in a court room jane could plead rage temporary insanity into believeing this actually was red john thus his motavations for his revenge altho killing red john/mystery man he could also plead he shot in self defense both men were standing faceing each other with loaded concealed weapons i might add that they were both aware of the possiblities is endless for this scenario please excuse the spelling lol back to what i was saying is red john actually dead or is he still floating around and truth be told i dont think that he was stupid enough not to send an imposter in his place

      • TheMentalCase

        Unless ‘Red John” was faking his injury somehow, i dont see how the show can continue. At the least, PJ is looking pretty guilty of attempted murder

      • Carol

        I have never liked the whole Red John thing. I don’t think the show needs it and I, for one, was delighted to see it end with Jane getting to put an end to it and, hopefully, move on. I loved the look of satisfaction. I love the smartypants Jane outwitting both and police and the bad guys in the non-Red John episodes and I am so ready to be done with serial killers. I thought the season finale was one of the better episodes because it brought closure.

      • Janice

        I think this scenario is a winner!

      • Janice

        I’m referring to DL when I say his scenario is a winner. I’d like to see this stellar show go in that direction.

      • Reginald

        Jane isn’t going to jail. RJ had a gun wrapped in his newspaper. Jane killed him in cold blood, but surely everyone in the CBI camp will argue that Jane shot RJ in self-defense. Jane wont go along with it, but that is the reason he doesn’t go to jail next season.

      • Craigart14

        Did Jane play them all? He got Red John to the mall, suddenly “remembered” the assassin’s rope and realized what it was for, got Bertram and all his back-up to leave, identified RJ through Lisbon’s redial on O’Laughlin’s phone, double-checked by asking for proof, and assured himself that RJ was armed so he could shoot him in self-defense. (Jane never carries a gun, and he hangs back when the shooting starts. Why would he take one to the mall if he didn’t intend to use it?) The nearly fatal flaw in the plan was Van Pelt’s and Lisbon’s failure to answer their phones. Why was Patrick so sure the plan would reveal the mole? Lisbon was concerned, but Patrick’s certainty convinced the others so no one thought about the rope being used for climbing down one floor instead of restraining a victim, even though it was lying on the bed next to handcuffs. Once O’Laughlin was “cleared,” there would be no reason for Grace to withhold any details from him. What DID these two “lovers” talk about between the assassin’s death and their arrival at the ranch? How much did Jane withhold from his team?

      • N

        LOVE DL’s theory! but Craigart14

      • N

        patrick was hoping that the mole would tell RJ and that would make RJ come to the mall to kill her himself so he i don’t believed he played everyone

      • kevin

        what if red john is really patrick jane look at the smile he leaves on the wall the eyes slanted jane is the same way and jane must has friends that the cdi dont know think about it me and my son came up with it.

    • GHOST

      After Red John confirmed his identity, Patrick didn’t wimp out like most tv heroes do (e.g. MONK) and let the bad guy live to rot in prison. Instead, the mentalist played the final mind game on RJ by putting a few caps in his @$%!# so that he would burn in hell. BRAVO! BRAVO!

      • Carol

        Very Navy Seals Taking Out Bin Laden!

      • Leigh

        Yea Jane knew he couldn’t go to prison because he was too smart and would get out in a week, so he had no choice but to kill him! Monk was better of leaving that guy to go to jail so he could get bum jacked every night!

      • pat jane

        damn right!BRAVO

      • alex

        exactly…there was an obvious way to go where a lot of shows do..putting red john in prison then allowing him to control jane from inside.

        Jane will EASILY get off considering he has 3…4 witness’, the director himself who was at the least nearby. Not to mention, he didnt kill red john with red john’s gun, he killed red john when red john had a gun of his own, and jane can claim self defense.

        of course this wont end up being the real red john, if it is, then one has to wonder why so many people did indeed kill themselves instead of failing on their mission to aid him

    • Tagger

      It was very satisfying to see Jayne take down Red John. Plus RJ claimed he had a vast network and had planned to dissapear; who else was helping Red John? Is he a cult leader like Manson? His assassins have been willing to commit suicide to protect Red John so I’m sure it’ll keep popping up but I’m glad that Patrick got his revenge.

    • Heidi

      Agreed Tagger. The mystery of who is Red John is over. Whitford was Red John and he’s dead. There are alot more mysteries to unravel (such as finding Christina, and has she been brainwashed, and who else is continuing to do Red John’s work) without invalidating Patrick’s innate knowledge that Red John was standing before him.

      I like the idea of the Starling/Lector visitation process. He can still have the connection with the show and the solving of crime, and make his relationship with Lisbon more intimate as well. They may even let him out of jail and put him on house arrest given overcrowding and on advice of the FBI/CVI.

      I’m looking forward to seeing where the show can go without revisiting ‘was that Red John’. Seeing Jane at peace provides an interesting change. He may be open to healing, moving on, and loving again in time.

      • Demigod

        Bradley’s Red John was so creepy; a little goes a long way. It was an awesome end; Patrick sipping his tea was stone cold.

    • lorie

      i erased the season finale before i got to watch it. when will it air again?

      • Edna

        Watch on-line

    • Sedona

      I for one thought the ending was great, but hope the RJ scenario is finished. Patrick needs to get a life, and as long as RJ was around he’d never have one. Now when the dust settles over RJ, they can explore new scenarios for Jane.

  • KM

    Yes, I think that was really Red John. It completed a story arc and frees the series to go in new directions. It would be annoying to viewers if this were a false lead.

    • B.

      Yes please! I think the series has gone far enough to no longer have Red John. Please be Red John!

      • amadeline

        I am so sick of Red John, so I definitely hope it’s the end of him too.

      • S

        Are you stupid!? The story of Red John is what The Mentalist is all about!!! It’s a series wide story!! Without Red John there is no show!!! Also Patrick Jane is Red John… Patrick means Pink(look it up)… Pink and Red… Jane and John… It would be the ultimate twist!!!

      • ph

        I agree. I only started watching the Mentalist this season and am a big fan, except for the stupid RJ arc. It seems like some unplanned, over wrought, over complex, Lost-type-stupid, sometimes serial killer sometimes uber conspiracy bunch of nonesnse. If they bring RJ back next season, I stop watching.

      • Bobby

        The Red John storyline has lost sight of itself. In the pilot Red John is a serial killer that targets women. He paints the red smiley face (his signature) in a visible place and cuts up the women. He is very smart and careful, but not all powerful. He went after Jane because Jane insulted him on TV. How do you get from that to everything else? It all went too far and became too much.
        In the pilot Jane says, “Red John thinks of himself as an artist, a showman, he has a strong sense of theater” and “Red John wouldn’t risk capture just to taunt me.”
        Doesn’t sound like the same Red John of later episodes.

        Why are there no more red smiley faces? That’s Red John’s signature.

        Interestingly, Jane also says to the therapist in the pilot – “You really think I would set you up so nicely and let you pull a loaded gun on me.”

      • @Bobby

        I agree with pretty much everything you just said except the last part. Remember that this was the FIRST time that Jane was a step ahead of him. RJ even mentioned that this was the first time that Jane actually succeded at something against him.
        Other than that, YES! totally agree that they’ve gone way off course with this RJ storyline, which is why I hope that that guy really was him.

      • Bobby

        I just wish Jane had had the good sense to deliver a kill shot after “Red John” fell to the floor. The chance that “Red John” could have survived the shooting is annoying. If you’re going to shoot to kill, do it right. He better be dead.

      • dklsf;a fflkads;j f

        i dont want that to be Red John because that is the most thrilling part of the series. It would be very interesting if that guy was just a decoy and Red John was really somebody else. Why would Red John talk to agent lisbon right in front of Jane? He is smarter than that.

      • Kermonk

        That is your opinion “S” – I think the Red John nonsense has been annoying and distracting from what the Mentalist should be about. Whitford was brilliant, and he can return in flashbacks, but let dead dogs lie dead.

      • Jardona

        I hope Red John is dead too. I agree I am sick of the madness. I didn’t like the character so sickening. I like the mentalist. I agree it’s time for a new foe.

      • Ryan

        I agree NO MORE RJ….! Loved the ending…. Whiteford was Genius in his portrayal of RJ…. Flawless…. I much prefer him as the detective from The Good Guys but hey, we can’t all get what we want… But we wanted RJ dead, thts for sure!!!

      • Katkins

        I am so sick of the Red John story line I was willing to kill the guy myself. Please writers, MOVE ON!
        I also don’t give a rats’ tush about the character’s love/sex lives. More action less heavy breathing!

  • KM

    Blue and I had seem to have had the same thought.

    • steve

      how did RJ know to be there? or why did patrick choose that place.

      • Erin

        Van Pelt’s bugged necklace?

      • Kermonk

        Are none of you watching the show? Are you all on twitter and facebook all the time?
        Red John told him, right there in the episode.
        (Here is a hint: re-dial)

      • tova

        how did he know. did he follow Jane. Was’t there an other episode when someone described how his wife and daughter smelt of shampoo?
        Was the necklace bugged. this can be traced.

  • susela

    I dunno, the producers said pretty definitively that Jane would be meeting Red John in last night’s episode. Perhaps the arc will have more to do with RJ’s followers—who are they? WHY are they?—and Jane coming to terms with having taken a life. Is vengeance truly satisfying? What happens to a good man who kills?

    However, I think there may be SOME truth in what you say. Jane may be led to doubt whether he’s killed the real RJ, and suffer anguish at possibly killing an innocent. But I don’t think the show will concoct another RJ-Jane showdown; it will turn out, after much doubt and possibly regret, that he did get his man. (But does he really feel any better?)

    • jdjsk lfjdska l

      Jane had the right to get justice for his wife and daughter who were murdered by red john

    • 14k

      Remember Jane shot someone in the first season to sasve lisbon, I don’t think he’ll struggle with the fact he shot the man who killed his wife and daughter. I think this next season will kind of be like the House season when House was almost sent to prison, but he still worked cases. You know before House got way off track… Anyway I think halfway through the season he’ll get exonerated and then they’ll come up with a new villain, but hopefully they’ll stay true to it better than RJ. The whole network cult thing that grew out of it was a little far-fetched. Also, the episodes that concerned RJ Jane seemed almost deranged and consumed whereas in the other episodes he was full of quick wit and humor. I wish they found a villain that would let him stay in the same character.

    • mercury

      i doubt van pelts necklace was bugged that was the whole point for for grace to fall in love with him so creg could get close to her and make his move for high tower knowing van pelt would eventually spill she was the bug without knowing

    • Sedona

      susela, why would he feel guilty about killing some innocent? Even if this guy wasn’t RJ, (I think it is) he is still working for him and not playing with a full deck. Better dead than red….john.

  • Katarzyna

    I was hoping a Hollywood A-list actor would make a special guest appearance and be revealed to be Red John. I am glad that Bradley Whitford was brought in and revealed to be Red John.

    • susela

      He was brilliant!!! Absolutely riveting and pitch-perfect.

      • You Said It

        Whitford was terrific. I kept thinking alternately that it was him and then that it wasn’t him. So glad they ended this arc.

  • Jody

    I don’t think we have seen the last of Red John, unless the producers are planning to make next season the final one. Van Pelt’s fiancee as the mole was no surprise. It would have been more interesting and jarring if it had been just about anyone else.

    • DL

      I was actually expecting Bertram, since he had quoted RJ’s favorite poet in the big Hightower episode earlier this season.

    • I agree with Jody

      I know, I felt like the whole FBI boyfriend thing was only a one season thing to begin with since she’ll most likely end up with Rigsby. When he proposed to her it was clear the writers had some big ending for him to completely destroy any hopes of a wedding and the obvious answer was to have him being RJ’s accomplice. The only surprise to me was I thought they would keep him alive to play a small in other season’s to keep the RJ angle alive, but they seem to have killed off all connections to RJ and wish to be done with him.

    • It aint over

      My thoughts: Red John is dead, but he’s not the real mind behind it all. How could he get all his contacts into place, and charm them into doing his bidding? No, he, too, was having his strings pulled….by MALCOLM MACDOWELL! That’ll be the storyline next year.

      • Ridolph

        I *like* that. Also, any excuse for Malcolm to get more screen time! But more likely it is another bad egg in his staff, leveraging Malcolm’s abilities.

        Or maybe Red John was an acolyte who went off the reservation.

        I hope that they tie up some loose ends next season, as there are a lot of them. Hypnosis alone can’t account for the slavish devotion of his follows unto death.

  • PolyWogg

    I was surprised it wasn’t Bertram, and I’m still not convinced RJ didn’t have two moles. Way back in the Hightower show, Bertram quoted William Blake poetry at the end, suggesting he was the mole. So I figured it was him all the way through, and he is such a caricuture rather than a real character, it was easy to see.

    I’m thinking it was RJ, and the aftermath will be that RJ had a gun, they were facing each other, Patrick walks, with Bertram and CBI taking credit for the end of RJ.

    Season 4 will be about RJ’s minions or introduce a replacement.

    • sunny

      I’m with you, I thought Bertam was the mole as well. Why would they have him recite that poem?

      I also think that next year will be about Red John’s replacement. He’ll probably being looking for revenge.

      I wonder if LaRoche will be back, and if we’ll find out what his terrible secret is.

      • debs

        Don’t forget, Cho quoted part of the poem, too

      • Heidi

        I actually thought if it were anyone in the show as a regular it would be Cho after he knew the poem as well. Then I realized that its a famous poem from a famous author and is a poem about good vs evil and how there can be a confusion of who is whom over time….that would be one which would strike a police officer and be memorable to cerebral people in the field. So, not so much of a surprise or ‘red flag’.

      • Travis

        Don’t forget that Cho is a well-read man. I don’t doubt that he read the poem in one of the many books he reads during stakeouts.

    • Please no RJ

      I hope not, if Bertram is a mole then that would mean that in the episodes not concerning the main storyline, aka 75% of the episodes from hear on out, that Jane and Lisbon and such would treat Bertram as a friend and loyal member of CBI however in the other episodes they will talk about how they’ve been constantly looking for ways to oust him, creating a whole fallacy. I hope they create a new angle outside of RJ, but it concerns one of the characters already involved in the story.

  • Silent E

    I’m with ya’ll. I like the closure, not too bothered by the rest of the mythology. It could get too convoluted if they just keep weaving. It is a bit of a sell out to the RJ character to not continue with the conspiracies, but I think enough is enough. There should be some fall-out from all this, just not a series encompassing ball of wax. there should be some new direction for all the characters, as well.

  • Julie

    I think it was the real RJ as well. I really think it would be an insult to the intelligence of the fans to try to pull a fake-out. Perhaps on Psych (the humorous, goofy and lighthearted version) where it would be almost expected. Not on here.

    I was impressed with the interview with Simon Baker where he mentioned that they had to push this through since the network was unsure. I’m glad they did. The sugar-coating and molly coddling from the networks has become tedious. No wonder we tend to love shows on cable networks.

    I think it would be more fascinating to explore the trial of Patrick Jane. Public opinion of him – which will most likely be positive. Most of us don’t condemn parents who kill their child’s murderer. Don’t forget RJ’s actions were heinous against many, not just Jane. After the trial, it will be exciting and intriguing to see Jane cope with the loss of his family and his mission that has sustained him all this time. Just my really long two cents.

    • Heidi

      I don’t see the trial being that entertaining. He will plead guilty and accept his sentence.
      I agree that the grief process will really begin now and I look forward to him finally able to let his guard down and do that work.

  • kryp

    Only people who are not completely invested in the show would be annoyed by this so called “fake out”. Go ahead and leave and stop cluttering up the messages boards with your whining. Patrick Jane’s whole raison d’etre are the murders of his family by Red John. There is no other direction to go. I applaud the writers for this feint. A masterful chess match with Red John free to operate with everyone thinking him dead. Whitford was not the real Red John.

    • Silent E

      Take a look, kryp–most of the comments here so far are from people who want the arc to come to some sort of conclusion. We are not whining, we just want something different out of this than you do. You seem to be the dissenting opinion so far here, but I’m not going to tell YOU to quit cluttering up the boards. All opinions should be welcome. Intelligent people don’t mind reasoned, rational argument!

      • kryp

        Agreed, except your argument is hardly reasoned. You just want things all wrapped up nice and tidy. You think for a change. There is no proof whatsoever that PJ killed the real RJ. No pictures, no finferprints, nothing to identify him. This guy made a claim with no name and could have easily been fed details on the slayings of PJ’s wife and daughter. I think Jeff is on to something when he said that will be the focus of next season. If you can’t hang in there for a well written who done it, then watch something less taxing on your minds, like The View.

      • MDC

        kryp, who exactly would have fed him the details of how Patrick’s wife and daugher smelled? Because it would not have been the same after they died so it couldn’t have been police reports or accounts. Geez.

        Sometimes the best thing about a well written intelligent show is the ability to wrap up a complex story before it gets too stale and ridiculous so that you can open the door for new ones. If you think the writiers are that good you should have enough faith in them to know they can do more down a different path and they don’t need to rely on the same arc for four seasons. Of course season four will have to deal with the fallout but that doesn’t mean it needs to be of the lame “that wasn’t the real Red John” vein.

    • Nerwen Aldarion

      Exactly! This RJ didn’t say anything that the real RJ couldn’t have told him. I feel like this show is so invested in finding RJ, so much so that each episode title has something to do with red, it would just be disappointing if this was really the end of it.

      It think it would torture Jane to find out he didn’t actually kill the real one, as well as forcing him to finally see his need for revenge has consequences. Jane already is a hard case to sell when it comes to court, mix in the shooting and it will be pretty darn hard to convince a jury to take his ways of getting a confession seriously. It would be so easy now for some of those criminals that he put away to get their convictions overturned because of this action.

      But there is still so much storytelling to be had with RJ, including the fact that in the first season the message on the wall said “He is Man”…or was it “He is Many” Is it possible that there is more than one Red John? Now that would be interesting. And if there are more than one Red John, did Jane REALLY kill the one who murdered his family. So much story telling to be done yet, Red John isn’t over, I’m certain of it.

      • M

        …or in the first season message the “He is man” could have been spaced incorrectly, where is should have actually read “Heisman”. Leaving us to believe that RJ was a Heisman trophy winner. Now other facts we have are that RJ is also probably as old or older than Patrick, because with all of his connections he is obviously well established within the world. The most likely candidate, with a past record of violent offenses, would be instead of RJ, OJ, as in OJ Simpson. So from the evidence we can deduce that OJ Simpson is in fact Red John.

      • kryp

        MDC, the real Red John of course fed the faux RJ the details. Is that a serious question?

      • kryp

        MDC, you and the other lemmings are hilarious. Complex thought? Did you have to look that up to talk about it? You can’t see any of the possible scenarios with Red John, so you are easily bored by a continuing story arc. It’s obvious you aren’t used to exercising your brain, thus, you need to be led on a leash to a short and sweet resolution.

    • Kermonk

      That’s just your opinion. People can love the show and dislike the red john stuff. Red John is dead, anything else would be jumping the shark.

    • Thomas R

      I disagree. His whole reason for being there was Red John. And I think with Red John dead, assuming Jane somehow goes free, he will maybe quit. I just think it won’t be permanent. I think he has genuinely come to like these people and the work he does with them. And also seeing as he doesn’t want his old line of work, phony psychic, I think it just makes sense for him to continue working with the CBI. It’s the best use of his skill outside con-artistry.

    • RaeJeanne

      Well, I think it was Red John. And Patrick believes it. Maybe the courts won’t, and that will be the focus next season, Jane proving it is Red John to make his case more viable. I don’t think he will claim self defense either, unless it is mental self defense. Red John wasn’t going to kill him, but he most definitely would kill others. Red John enjoyed Jane in pain, but like many “geniouses” he was growing bored with it all and wanted to do something else.

  • King

    It’s been three seasons, and I hope they put the RJ storyline to rest. It’s time to move on with new plots and character development. To keep on RJ would be just too old.

    • susela


    • chase

      I agree–The only thing that mars this great show is the RJ story line. Enough already.

    • Lyn

      Yes, please! Jane surely won’t lose his endearing inner angst right away, and meanwhile, there’s always another bad guy.

  • Anthoyn

    I’d like to think he is dead. It is a plot line that has spanned its time and it is time to move on. Kill Red John and the love interests of the cast and move forward with something else. Season 4 will probably pivot on Patrick being in jail for the first couple episodes and then he will be out. Maybe a couple preplanned Red John events set in motion before he died, but that should be about it. I think that plot is dead.

    • Doctor Clu

      This sounds reasonable to me. I would like to see the “vengence is hollow” angle. And in truth after last night, I was glad he got Red John, I was glad that Patrick didn’t wuss out, but wow, left with that hollow feel of “Hurray?” And in truth, there is no joy in vengence. Sometimes there is no joy in justice. The family is still dead, and who was the killer to you before he did his deed? No one. So in the end you are left with no goal, and a few less family members. Perhaps Patrick will continue, if allowed, to help the police if nothing else to give him something to occupy his mind.

      • BDY

        I doubt Jane will spend much time in jail at all to be honest. The police will have evidence connecting Red John, or whomever he turns out to be, to a person who not only killed two cops but injured a third. He was also armed so not only did Jane kill a cop killer most definitely but he also possibly killed many others including a child if he is Red John. I don’t think he’ll be long in prison at all.

  • CW

    It’s much better for shows to be able to close the book on story chapters. We all remember shows like The Fugitive, and Gilligan’s Island, where the basic premise of the show could never be realized. It made for a frustrating viewing experience.

    But, even worse, is writers taking a cathartic episode like this past one, and invalidating it with a new thought up storyline, bringing back the bad guy, telling us we can never believe anything. Then we will never emotionally invest again, and sooner than later, quit watching the show.

    I, for one, hope the real RJ is dead. There are plenty more bad guys out there.

    • kryp

      Seriously? Dude, if you were frustrated by Gilligan’s Island, no wonder you’re stressed by The Mentalist. What you people don’t seem to be able to grasp is that Red John isn’t just a story arc, it’s the focus of the show. No RJ, no Patrick Jane. What’s left for him? Watch reruns of Murder She wrote if you have to have every mystery solved in 60 minutes.

      • MDC

        The point is that when you stick to one single premise and that premise can’t be solved without the show ending, it gets frustrating to viewers. There is only so long you can wait for the people to get off the island or for the couple to get together or for the murderer to be found before it becomes stale and boring. Patrick Jane is the focus of the show not Red John. And while Red John was his motivation, he is a more complex character than that. Patrick Jane will not be the one human incapable of growth in three years. It isn’t at all possible that he would want to continue to use his skills to help the police since RJ is gone? That’s lame reasoning. He didn’t go to the police and say “let me use your resources to find Red John” the police asked him to help them and had the added bonus of providing help to resolve the Red John issue. If you need a show to have the exact same focus throughout its run it seems to be you that is incapable of complex thought.

      • MDC

        Oops – “seems tob yout that is . . .” – stayed up way too late last night watching this off DVR.

      • Silent E

        This. All of this!

      • MDC

        shoot – and I did it again. You all know what I meant. I need caffeine and a nap.

      • lostsocks

        I agree with Kryp that the show revolves around this storyline. I don’t think it’s a cop-out to have this be a fake Red John: if anything it plays perfectly into the ongoing plot of who is a step ahead of whom. It seems clear to me that this fake one could have been fed the information about Jane’s family by the real one. There is absolutely no reason to believe the real Red John is dead, but plenty of reasons to doubt it.

      • CW

        Well, let’s see. Jack Bauer seemed to tackle insurmountable tasks and evil as hell villains, each and every year. And somehow, they were able to ‘wrap it up’ after each 24 epsisodes. That’s a formula that does work.

        kryp, Sorry you’re having so much time wrapping you mind around this. My suggestion is check out old reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard– those boys never get caught and the story stays the same all the way through. That should satisfy you’re craving for a stuck storyline.

      • Kermonk

        In your opinion. A lot of us just see red john as a stupid gimick which needed to end. As has been said there is plenty of story fodder left in his wake.

      • mad scientist

        If that wuz indeed a fake red john and not as patrick thought, then Il sh*t in my pants! the LAST thing we need right now is a lame reason such as that just to keep the series alive. And moronic comments such as that from lostsocks helps these absurd suggestions along. If that warnt the real red john, then mentalist will become just as lame as prison break, heroes, and most other series which end up NEVER getting to the point. I wont stand for that!!!!

  • Jorg Lueke

    I want to know how he doesn’t get convicted of murder now. But having him in prison for the rest of the life of the series would be lame. Maybe he’ll get a pardon

    • Nixenkind

      That´s what I´m brooding right now- they can´t keep him in prison, but how can they have him walk free after this?
      This will kill me slowly over the summer…

      • Tapati

        RJ had a gun and Jane can say RJ was reaching for it. They were so close together other witnesses won’t be sure. It’s good that RJ brought a gun and had shown it to Jane previously. The PTSD is also a great addition, the hyper-alertness of a PTSD sufferer combined with even the slightest movement of someone with a gun will make the shooting quite believable and excusable. It helps that RJ is so heinous in character and previous actions.

      • alex

        uhm…he has a full TEAM of agents ready to testify to many of the details involved. there is a gun on red john…you add in red john’s past in KILLING people, and jane has a darn good defense case.

      • Rachel

        White Collar, anybody? Different kind of crime. Same possibilities.

    • cattyfan

      Easily. He was face to face with a man who was holding a gun on him. With a good lawyer, Jane won’t be convicted of anything.

    • S

      Remember how he escaped from prison in that one episode? Patrick Jane on the RUN!!!

      • bsamstag

        On the Run? Oooo! The Fugitive reborn as Patrick Jane. And, was Red John really the One-armed Man?

    • MDC

      One good lawyer + public support + law enforcement support + eliminating bad law enforcement + eliminating a serial killer + someone facing him with a gun = self defense or justifiable homicide.

    • Jerry

      Self defense.

      People don’t ask too many questions when a serial-killer carrying a gun is blown away

      • Alex

        I hope that’s what happens!

    • tony

      He is not going to prison! He just killed the most wanted serial murderer in the country! All the evidence is there. Red John did have a gun on his body. They have RJ’s cell phone, which links him to O’Laughlin. patrick Jane will not be in prison next season.

    • Caroline

      PTSD – the guy murdered his wife and daughter and has been taunting him for years,I bet they don’t even try and prosecute.

    • Heidi

      I think he may get manslaughter or something of that nature. And, I think after an initial period of a starling/lector type situation where Lisbon visits him in prison and he assists in that way, he will not be viewed as a menace to society and could go to a minimum security situation quickly. I’d bet that eventually Jane will get out via overcrowding or upon FBI/CVI request, letting him be on house arrest.
      The prosecutors cannot decline to prosecute in a case such as this. He could go to a mental health facility I suppose.

      We shall see.


      Lots of interesting ideas here. You RJ is alive theorists are working too hard to keep the show from growing. It limits the show to not close this chapter. If you think the show is all about RJ, You don’t have to look any farther than the title to realize you’re wrong. Sonoen else said it first, but the episodes that are NOT about RJ have often been more enjoyable than the others where RJ and Revenge are the driving plotlines.
      RJ can be dead and the story can move on. Logic says he is probably dead. There will be lots of clean up and spin-offs which is ground they couldn’t cover as long as Patrick is still looking for RJ. And of course we’ll get some flashback stuff for those of you who really wanted to see RJ in action. RJ dead gives them a lot more fresh story material if he is gone. Don’t think they’ll waste too much time getting Patrick out of Jail, He works for the police, knew they just connected the informant’s phone back to RJ sitting across from him, and they have both phones as evidence. Looks like a clear cut case they don’t need a mentalist for. No real jury would convict him. So sit back & enjoy, there’s lots of fun ahead.

  • BJ

    Thought; writers don’t waste a thing….the necklace O’Laughlin ripped from Van Pelt’s neck as he was dying means something. What do you all think it means? Clearly he really wouldn’t give her anything from his mother/grandmother since he had not intention of marriage.

    • Bree

      I noticed that too, and thought they seemed to put a lot of emphasis on O’Laughlin giving her the necklace as well. I thought that it was possibly bugged, and my husband thought it held a tracking device, but neither of those theories ever really panned out. So who knows?

    • Elizabeth

      The minute he put the necklace on her, I was certain it was bugged.

    • MDC

      I just assumed it meant he didn’t really love her but was using her. Now that the cat was out of the bag, he was taking it back as a final f you.

      • Sag3d

        I agree, it seemed like one last attempt to mess with her mind. Maybe Van Pelt will be really messed up in season 4, and this was a tell of sorts.

      • Heidi

        I’m sure she’ll be messed up, yes, and I think it could be interesting as well if her team criticizes her and/or she is suspended for the lapse in judgement in telling O’Loughlin right away about him being a suspect and filling him in on all the details of the mission, where Hightower was, bringing him with her, etc.

    • debs

      I’ve suspected that O’Laughlin was the mole ever since he”froze” when he was supposed to be covering Van Pelt in that gunfight. I was afraid that the necklace contained some kind of explosive and that RJ was going to use it to force CBI into some action at some point in the story.

    • Jessica

      I believe the necklace is a bug. Otherwise, how else would RJ know where to be with the sting operation with bertram. He also talks about how Craig told him it was all a trap. There’s no way Craig would have specifically known that without listening to private conversations. We also know that Van Pelt specifically steered clear of him until they were on their way to the cabin.

    • Erin

      I figured it was bugged too. Thats how he knew Patrick was where he was and O’Laughlin ripping it off was him showing that he somewhat deep down cared for her, one very small act of kindness before he died.

    • Tapati

      I also believed the necklace was bugged and it explained how RJ knew about the different rooms assigned to different suspects. Van Pelt had not spoken to O’Laughlin at that point but RJ knew all about it.

    • BJ

      Thank you all for your comments! I think I need to watch the finale again, as I must have missed a few things…..like RJ knowing about the different rooms. Thanks all for posting!

      • tova

        i agree. lots of holes. and every time a suspect was given the address, they were on the phone straight away

    • Kermonk

      You don’t know that he wasn’t intending marriage.

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