THE MENTALIST: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Former mentalist Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) continues to use his powers of perception and persuasion to aid the California Bureau of Investigation to solve murders and other crimes. All the while, Jane continues to search for the serial killer Red John, who murdered his wife and daughter. In this season, Jane gets the closest he has ever come to Red John, putting a new friend in harm’s way.
WHAT I LIKED
I’m not wild about police procedurals, which is why I have never gotten into the dozens of shows that have been produced over the years. Nothing against “Law and Order” or “CSI,” but your standard detective story about people solving a crime is just something that’s been done to death, if you’ll pardon the pun. However, if a procedural can inject something unique or at least a little different into the mix, I can really get into the show.
“The Mentalist” does exactly that. Set to the backdrop of a relatively standard police procedural, the show adds the wild card of Patrick Jane, who can think circles around everyone on the team… and most often the criminals as well. Simon Baker is brilliant in the role, bringing a level of empathy to the role that you don’t often see on television. You really get behind him, even when he’s manipulating the system for his own gains.
This season played out better than the first, in which I had guessed the killer in almost every episode before the first commercial break. Here, the writing isn’t as formulaic, and when the show delves into the background and mythology of the characters – that is to say when we get closer to Red John – it just makes things more interesting.
Plus, there are some nice developments in the other characters, mainly with the relationship between Rigsby and Van Pelt and the introduction of a new commander for the unit.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The biggest strength to “The Mentalist” is also its biggest weakness at times. When Jane takes a secondary role, I quickly lose interest. I understand the desire to develop the other characters in the show, but this works against “The Mentalist” because Baker’s portrayal of Jane is so deliciously necessary to the series’ dynamic.
Oh, and there might be a bear trap the writers set which I am seeing from a mile away. I can’t say anything more, but it is about Red John, and when they finally reveal that killer’s real identity, I’ll let you know if I actually am the smartest person in the room.
The special features to this and the first season of “The Mentalist” are much like the show itself. They’re pretty standard in what they present, but they also offer some really clever elements that you don’t see elsewhere. The standard features include ‘Lost Evidence” (which is Mentalist-speak for deleted scenes) on five episodes.
To help shake things up, there are two decent sized spots that feature real-life mentalist Luke Jermay. In “Mentalism: A Subliminal Art,” Jermay demonstrates his techniques and how he uses subliminal messages and the power of suggestion to control people. “The Art of the Mentalist with Chris Long” features executive producer Chris Long chats with Jermay to deconstruct the season two premiere.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who like a wild card factor in their police procedurals.