The Mentalist’s Red John suspect list narrows, and it had better pay off


The fifth season finale of ‘The Mentalist’ presented us with seven men suspected as being Red John, and the producers better damn well make sure it’s one of them. Or — yes, I’ll say it again — Patrick Jane himself.


Remember back when at least some of us thought Red John had finally been confronted and killed, at the end of season three? It was Bradley Whitford who played the supposed Red John then, and I know of at least one person who was upset that we were fooled into thinking the Red John saga was over. Me … I never bought it. The Mentalist flows very well on its own as a crime-of-the-week procedural, but the Red John aspect never stuck out to me as being a crime that would be solved and forgotten. In fact, many fans already know that creator Bruno Heller has said that Red John was a series-long story arc. Did the Bradley Whitford rip-off trick many fans into thinking Jane had gotten his man? Probably. This time, though, the punch better connect.

This time … the punch better connect.

Though we were presented with seven suspects for Red John, I doubt any of them are a surprise. Previous to perhaps halfway through this past season, I would have put LaRoche on that list, but his changing relationship with Jane and the reveal of what was in the Tupperware box all but ruled him out. I’ll admit I’m happy to see two of my top suspects are on that list — Brett Partridge and Gale Bertram — (I love that actor didn’t even know he was a suspect until I pointed it out to him!) but I am STILL holding out that Patrick Jane is the prime suspect.**

I’d say I get maybe 60% flack for continuing to support the Patrick Jane as Red John theory. There were a couple of instances in this episode in particular that really tried to throw us. For example, the writers of this episode clearly wanted us to see right where Patrick Jane was throughout the past 24 hours or so. He heads downstairs to take a nap, which lasts throughout the rest of that day and through the night. There was no other purpose for that scene than to prove to us — or at least attempt to prove to us — that there was no way Patrick Jane carried out the previous night’s homicide. To me that only serves to prove the writers are attempting to cover up the truth. What? No, I do not wear a tin foil hat!

What? No, I do not wear a tin foil hat!

So, how did Jane carry out the murder? The same way “he” carried out the rest of them — he had his followers do it. These followers do his work for him, with precision. They are brainwashed into not only doing exactly what they’re supposed to do, but to not even recognize that Patrick Jane is the very person they’re following. In fact, the theory I’m holding onto is that Patrick Jane himself doesn’t know he’s Red John — it’s a split-personality disorder.

What put an even bigger target on Patrick Jane’s back is the fact that Red John is now being touted as possibly having “powers” to read into his mind, to pull out happy thoughts he’d never told anyone before. Well, Patrick Jane knows about it. Why is this split-personality of Jane’s — Red John — playing with him? Likely it’s because he actually wants help. In the end, he’d be found out and get the help he needs.

The hunt through this list of seven suspects could very well last several seasons, but, in the end, there MUST be payoff. If The Mentalist show-runners don’t pull Red John from this list of seven (er, eight) to be the one Red John, I might not be the only one more than disappointed. It worked once for season three — it won’t work again.

** UPDATE: I hereby cease my ranting on about Patrick Jane being Red John. I’ll trust that Heller’s telling the truth, and that we can once and for all rule him out. You’re welcome.

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Photo Credit: CBS

7 Comments on “The Mentalist’s Red John suspect list narrows, and it had better pay off

  1. Love the theory, except for the split personnality thing… seems a little too generic…

    Come on ! you could have avoided the big spoiler on the front page… (i m talking about the article’s picture…)

  2. I think Patrick is still in the mental institution and the whole show is not really happening. It’s all in Patrick’s mind as he tries to work out his mental and emotional reactions to the murder of his wife and child. Hence, the “mentalist”.

  3. I too have thought Patrick demons are deep seeded

  4. wow theres no way the writers would ever make jane red john if they did it would be a big middle finger to the fans. i believe its someone from janes list.

  5. Since i just finished the first season….i don’t know much about the main suspects. But my guess is Sheriff McAllister,Bret Stiles or Ray Haffner. ( judging from the pictures and the very short bio on

    Bertram is someone who would work for RJ, Kirkland is a fantatic,Partridge is a wannabe and Smith really not my ideal serialkiller.

    Also sorry,that your theory wasn’t right. ;)

    • …ok,now Kirkland is also high up on my list of suspects ;D