The Mentalist follows the work of self-confessed fraudulent medium Patrick Jane who uses his skills in ‘reading’ people to help solve crime.
The medium (played by Simon Baker) enjoyed a successful career and was famous for his abilities – which he later declared were fake on TV to ruin his reputation and career.
The result was that Patrick was then free to help the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and while not a police officer, he has become a vital member of the team.
He uses his observational skills to read evidence and emotions, though there is an underlying storyline about why Patrick has pursued this course of action.
Though the name of the show isn’t meant to be derogatory – it is meant to mean someone who is a ‘master manipulator of thoughts and behaviour’.
It transpires that at the height of his fame, Patrick appeared on TV to declare that his paranormal abilities had helped the police to profile a serial killer known as ‘Red John’ and that his capture was imminent.
Red John, however, was watching the programme and upset at the announcement, punishes Patrick by killing his wife and daughter.
The result is that Patrick is living a life in deep remorse and really hunting down Red John to exact his own revenge and helping the police on the way by solving cases which may involve Red John or his copycats.
While regularly denying psychic abilities, Patrick’s own skills in cold reading and hypnosis, along with his highly refined observational skills, show an insight into human behaviour and psyche.
The Mentalist is essentially a police investigative show with a twist, and Patrick is a driven character as well as being a committed tea drinker who drives a classic Citroen DS car.
Despite his unusual behaviour and unorthodox approach to life, he forms close relationships within the team and the show explores how a genial man cam reveal a darker side – especially when he is closing on Red John.
Broadcast on Channel 5 there are some episodes repeated on 5*.