Since 2008, Simon Baker has been portraying Patrick Jane, the amateur detective with extraordinary powers of perception on CBS police procedural The Mentalist. As the show enters its fifth season tonight at 10:00 pm Eastern, here are a few tips and teases of what to expect this year. Some spoilers may follow, so continue reading at your own risk!
As part of The Mentalist's move from Thursdays to Sundays, creator/showrunner Bruno Heller is using the opportunity to start fresh. Acting as a sort of origin story, the 100th episode early in the new season will explore Patrick Jane's first experience working as a special consultant for the fictional California Bureau of Investigation. In next week's episode, Jane will encounter a young woman (Dove Cameron) who claims to be his daughter, although it may not necessarily be true. Not only would Season 5 mark a good time for new viewers to join the story, it should also attract fans who may have given up during the show's lighter and more accessible fourth season.
Another hook designed to draw lapsed fans back into the fold is the promise that the series will move forward with Jane's quest to track down Red John, the mysterious serial killer who murdered his wife and child. After easing up on the ongoing quest last season, Heller claims that they make "one giant leap" toward discovering the killer's identity. This will be aided by the return of Lorelei Martins (Emmanuelle Chriqui), a cocktail waitress and Red John disciple whom the murderer sent to meet and seduce Jane in Season 4. "Jane is going to start working on her, and she is the key that will open the door to finding out who Red John is, where he is and how to get to him," Heller explains. Despite the fact that Patrick and Lorelei are now adversaries, their interactions will still have a romantic edge.
Also on Red John's trail, a trio of FBI agents—portrayed by Polly Walker (Rome), Ivan Sergei (Jack & Jill, Gravity), and Drew Powell (Southland, Straw Dogs)—will be working with the CBI squad and occasionally clashing with them. Joining the cast of returning characters this season is a list including Cho's informant-turned-girlfriend-turned-ex Summer (Samaire Armstrong), religious cult leader Brett Stiles (Malcolm McDowell), CBI agent JJ LaRoche (Pruitt Taylor Vince), and retired CBI head Virgil Minelli (Gregory Itzin).
Could one of these names turn out to be the identity of the elusive Red John?