I'm a latecomer to the Mentalist party. I'm a reverse hipster sometimes. I start liking things after the big hype dies out, instead of before. (Same thing happened to me with Doctor Who.)
I've seen it pass before on television and sometimes I let it play because I wanted to see the show that played after it. Of course, barging into a show halfway hardly does it any credit. I didn't really know what was going on, so I dismissed it until later.
Some time ago, when I didn't know which series to watch, I asked via Facebook and my friends came up with some interesting suggestions, among which, The Mentalist.
So off to the Media Market we went and got the first season. After a few episodes you got a good sense of who the main character is, Patrick Jane.
Ex-carny, ex-con-artist who's wife and daughter were killed by the infamous serial killer Red John. This was after a television appearance where Jane claimed to have psychic insight into the killer's mind. When he came back, he found his wife and daughter murdered with a bloody smiley on the wall. Red John's signature.
After a spell in a mental asylum, Jane gets involved with the CBI, California Bureau of Investigation. He helps them solve murder cases in exchange for information about Red John. He keeps close tabs on the investigation and this storyline is the main theme for well into the sixth season.
The search came to an end in the middle of the 6th season which is still airing. We get to know who he is and I have to admit, it left a hole at first. Things changed quickly and I admit taking a longer break from the Mentalist. (I don't handle change too well)
Earlier this week my husband and I decided to watch the rest of the episodes. After getting used to the initial changes we spent time watching at the edge of our seats and having a lot of laughs too.
The new characters just work and this show deserves another chance.
I don't pretend to know anything about how tv ratings work and what makes a show viable for more runs. (My first guess? Money, but here's me hoping there is at least a little more to it.)
A lot of tension got relieved once we knew who Red John was and at first it left a gaping hole. It must be difficult to find another way to approach this series. I mean, Jane's sole purpose in life just got fulfilled. All characters needed to find themselves again, decide what to do with their lives.
At first the new direction was met with some skepticism, but it works. It just does. Especially the last episode proved this to us. Season 6, episode 16, Violets.
You can meet the newer characters in a different light and the energy between the new team members is just right. If you haven't seen the episode yet, please stop reading if you don't wish to be spoiled.
So the episode starts with a big Art heist. While trying to protect a certain painting with sentimental value, a man gets shot by the robbers. In order to catch the killer, Jane and the FBI team tackle things a little differently this time around.
Jane sets up an unusually elaborate con to trap the killer. It's hilarious, it's exciting and it had the freshness of the first season. Give this show another chance, it this episode I saw so much potential!
Plus characters in fancy dress! What's not to like ;)