On tonight’s episode of The Mentalist, “A Price Above Rubies”, something phenomenal happened: Patrick Jane didn’t have all of the answers. This gave Lisbon plenty of smug satisfaction, especially after he terrified her in the show’s opening scene.
Cho and Lisbon start off The Mentalist in formal wear, making nice at a charity banquet to one of the CBI’s benefactors, Esther Doverton (Dey Young). Jane takes the stage, supposedly to represent the CBI with some magic tricks and mind-reading. After tossing an egg into the air–and invisibility–Jane announces he’s dropping the act in order to “transform [their] consciousness.” He then launches into a speech, about the cruelties and injustices of the world that are going on while they stand around and sip champagne. Lisbon is worried as the room falls silent, but Jane manages to turn the guests’ guilt and discomfort into a show of solidarity and charitable contributions. And then he asks one of the guests to check his pocket–where the egg has presumably turned into a chick.
When Lisbon confesses she was scared about his speech, Jane replies: “Oh please, like I don’t know how to work a fat crowd of suckers.”
Meanwhile, as the suckers are sipping champagne, a thief is robbing the Doverton jewelry store. Mrs. Doverton’s husband Carl interrupts the robbery unexpectedly, and is shot multiple times. Mrs. Doverton gets a call at the banquet that her husband has been shot, and Lisbon and the team are on the case immediately.
Lisbon and Jane interview Mrs. Doverton’s nephews, Tom (Callard Harris) and George (David Monahan). George is surprised that the high security safe was broken into. Jane gets prickly with them, trying to discover if the men are jealous of their aunt’s boyfriend of four years becoming their business partner. They seem uncomfortable and annoyed, but claim that Carl has been a big help to the business.
Van Pelt checks into all the security cameras from the store, lot, and traffic lights. She gets a license plate of the vehicle, and they track it to a criminal safecracker–Doyle Murphy (Michael Sidisin, Jr.). Jane thinks it’s too easy–that robberies so well-executed are rarely done by one man. He suspects that Carl is Doyle’s accomplice, but Lisbon isn’t ready to believe it.
Van Pelt and Rigsby go to find Murphy at a nearby motel. On the way, Rigsby and Van Pelt discuss the secrecy of their relationship. Rigsby thinks Jane knows about them, and Van Pelt feels that maybe it’s not a bad thing for people to know. Rigsby tables the discussion for when they’re not on a job.
They question the motel manager, who says Murphy had a visitor in a cowboy hat and flashy truck earlier that day. Van Pelt and Rigsby go in to the room and find Murphy dead in the closet, gunshot wound to the forehead and the murder weapon resting on his chest. Ballistics show it’s also the gun that killed Carl. There’re no diamonds, no prints.
Jane hypnotizes the motel clerk to get a better description of Murphy’s last visitor. Rigsby and Van Pelt go to pick up the suspect, Donny Culpepper (David Warshofsky). Culpepper claims Murphy was his ex-brother-in law, and that Murphy owed him money for a stint in rehab Culpepper paid for. Culpepper says he went to the motel, but that Murphy wasn’t there.
Lisbon grudgingly confesses to Jane that they’ve discovered Carl has a criminal past and has been living under a pseudonym, dodging $90,000 in alimony he owes his wife. Mrs. Doverton claims to have known all about it, but Jane knows she’s lying. The team also finds store footage of Tom Doverton talking to Murphy, though he denies knowing the man. Jane gets the Dovertons and Culpepper at the same elevator, hoping to see a note of recognition between them. He gets no recognition, but earns a death threat from Culpepper and Lisbon’s ire for letting Culpepper go.
The coroner arrives, handing the team a large diamond she found in Murphy’s abdomen. Jane tries to crush the diamond with a fire extinguisher to prove his hunch that it’s a fake–but it isn’t, and it ricochets around the room and is lost. Jane is sheepish, but happy the diamond didn’t fly out the now cracked window.
Jane surmises that Tom Doverton may have met Murphy in rehab, so they visit the clinic. Jane searches the director’s office while Lisbon distracts him. Jane discovers that George Doverton was actually Murphy’s sponsor during rehab. Jane and Lisbon return to the jewelry store to pick up George, who claims he only lied about knowing Murphy to spare his aunt the embarassment of his addiction. As they’re leaving the jewelry store, George receives a ransom note that claims their aunt has been kidnapped.
The CBI helps the Doverton brothers with the ransom call, instructing George to keep the kidnapper on the line as long as possible so they can trace the call. George does stall him, but when he says he doesn’t have the diamonds, they hear their aunt being shot. Upset, George runs out of the room. Rigsby gets the trace and leaves to pursue the caller. Jane tells Tom to stay put, and he leaves Tom alone with the phone, which soon rings again. Nervously Tom picks up the phone, and it’s the kidnapper, saying he knows Tom has the diamonds.
We then see that the caller is Jane, and he forces Tom into a confession that he helped steal the diamonds and murdered Murphy to keep the loot for himself. Mrs. Doverton is stunned that her nephew is a thief and a murderer. She leaves the CBI office and returns to the hospital to visit her husband Carl, who is coming out of his medically-induced coma. Jane beats her there, interrogating Carl and getting him to vehemently exclaim how much he loves Mrs. Doverton and that she’s the best thing that ever happened to him. It’s Jane’s good deed for the day, as Mrs. Doverton overhears, and knows at least that she doesn’t have to be suspicious of her husband.
Back at CBI headquarters, Rigsby finally finds the lost diamond under a desk. Jane teases both him and Van Pelt with the idea of stealing the diamond, telling them it’s nothing but pressed carbon to him and he wouldn’t tell anyone if they took it. Rigsby and Van Pelt are stunned and a little tempted, and we don’t actually see if they decide to keep it or not. As usual, Jane stirs up trouble.
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PHOTO: Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, Robin Tunney as Teresa Lisbon, The Mentalist, “A Price Above Rubies”, c2009 Primrose Hill Productions, Warner Bros. Television, CBS.