The Mentalist season two opener, “Redemption”, begins with Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) and Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) arriving at a crime scene in a department store. The police officer briefing them thanks them for helping the homicide department out on their case load, and then proceeds to mock Jane for “that ESP crap”.
Of course Jane always takes any criticism as a challenge. The officer shows them the body of a 34 year old man, and tells him that store security was able to gather up all of the people in the area at the time of the murder. Jane kneels down by the body, literally sniffing around the crime scene. Asked tauntingly by the officer if the victim told him whodunit, Jane replies with a list of facts about the victim–including that he was a ladies man, went after moneyed cougars with moderate success, and played the guitar–not well. Jane decides his “non-creative job in a creative field” was not worth killing over, that the crime was probably romantic, and he asks to see the suspects.
Follow the link if you’re looking for the quick and dirty “Redemption” mini recap.
On their way down the escalator to the furniture department, Lisbon warns Jane to take it down a notch–or three. Jane agrees, but we know he won’t. It’s clear he’s confident and in a hurry to get this over with. Jane announces to the witnesses that the murderer could be among them, and that he’ll find out who it is. He dismisses two witnesses as being innocent, though Lisbon quickly tells them they need to stick around for a statement. Jane goes around the room asking questions, including a store employee named Neil. When asked what his biggest mistake was, he answers, “My first marriage.”
After a few more typical Jane questions from nowhere and bizarre banter with the suspects, Jane invites the ire of a woman in business clothing, Mandy, who has a “very important husband”. In his usual confrontational way, Jane calls her “Mrs. Grumpy and Entitled”, tells her that her diet pills are messing with her head, and that her husband’s Modesto clout means nothing in the big city of Sacramento. When the police officer starts to intervene, Lisbon stops him, and Jane announces that Mandy will lead them to the murder weapon.
Happy that Jane will end up looking like an idiot, Mandy humors Jane and allows him to take hold of her wrists and start leading her around the room. Viewers should remember that Jane pulled a similar trick on agent Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) in the previous season of The Mentalist. This time, however, Jane’s not only watching Mandy’s reactions, he’s watching those of the other suspects. Everyone follows Jane and Mandy around the room, and are startled when Jane finds a box of heavy crystal glassware–one piece which is covered in blood.
A horrified and stunned Mandy protests her innocence, and to everyone’s surprise, Jane agrees that she is. He explains to the skeptical officer that he used Mandy as a decoy, to lure the real killer into giving directional cues. He reveals Neil, the man with the bad marriage, as the murderer. Neil protests, but Jane launches into his guess about the scenario–that his second wife cheated with the victim, but he forgave her. Then the victim came in and taunted Neil and made him feel small–at this point Neil takes off running, and the police attempt to catch him.
Lisbon chastises Jane as displays fall and glass scatters and Neil eludes the police. Jane shrugs and says the case is closed, but he looks mildly surprised and makes a quick getaway when they hear shots fired and screams erupting from the chase.
So Jane starts The Mentalist “Redemption” off with a bang. Or several bangs. But in the next scene, Jane’s confidence takes a hit in the CBI boss Minnelli’s office. It’s clear they’re being chastised for Jane’s usual lack of decorum in their latest case. Jane defends himself by saying they were in a hurry to get back to the Red John case. This opens the door for Minnelli to tell Jane and Lisbon that they’ve been running “too hot” on the Red John case and that Jane is headed for a “terminal screw-up”. He also accuses Lisbon of being grateful to Jane for saving her life, and therefore cutting him too much slack.
Enter Agent Sam Bosco, who Minnelli announces is taking over the Red John case. Lisbon and Jane protest, and Lisbon asks that her team be allowed to finish what they started. Bosco, who Lisbon has worked with previously, tells her bluntly that they’re not even close to solving it and a fresh pair of eyes is needed. He tells Jane that the pain of losing his wife and child is clouding his judgment. Jane is for once at a loss for words, and he quietly leaves the office. Lisbon soon follows.
Lisbon tells her CBI team that they’ve lost the Red John case. She quickly quiets their protests and tells them that it’s her fault, that they’ve grown “slack and unprofessional.” She feels it’s time to earn back the trust they’ve lost. Jane, on the other hand, starts packing up his belongings. When Lisbon angrily asks if he’s leaving, Jane says if he can’t use the office to seek personal revenge, there’s not a lot there for him. He dejectedly states that their jobs don’t do anyone any good, that they don’t make the world better, and what’s the point? He feels he’s done more good as a psychic.
The team is upset, and Lisbon is disgusted. She tells Jane better leave, so he can go back to being a fraud and they can go back to their useless jobs. Jane starts to backpedal, saying he was talking more about himself, but Van Pelt gets a call about a job. With a few angry backward glances, the team abandons Jane in the office.
Next we see the CBI team split, with Cho taking his own car while Van Pelt, Lisbon, and Rigsby take the SUV. Rigsby tells Lisbon that they need Jane. Lisbon counters they even if they close less cases, the ones they do will be done right. The back door of the SUV opens and Jane slips into the car, saying he’ll do one more case. Asserting her authority, Lisbon tells him to do up his seatbelt.
The team proceeds to an apartment building where a Jane Doe has been found murdered. Van Pelt, Lisbon, and Jane look over the crime scene. The woman has been hit with a stun gun and suffocated. The apartment has been thoroughly tossed, so Jane surmises that they didn’t find what they were looking for. Van Pelt thinks it might have been a romantic crime, but Jane disagrees–though he compliments her reasoning.
Jane feels she’s a guilty housewife hiding out. Using a family picture he found on the wall, he asks Van Pelt to do an Internet search on first the child’s high school trophy and then match the surnames with “disappearance”. To Lisbon’s disgruntled surprise, Van Pelt’s search turns up a Monica Dunninger, who supposedly embezzled $1 million from her employer.
As the team loads into the SUV to pursue this latest lead, Jane and Lisbon get into a spat over his typical mysterious way of solving crimes that leaves her in the dark. Jane puts his foot in his mouth for the second time that day, when he asserts that he’s only helping out because they’ll be “lost without him.” Lisbon gets into the SUV and they speed off, leaving Jane behind at the apartment building.
Cho pulls up in his own car next to Jane. With his usual deadpan delivery, he asks what Jane said to the team. Jane of course describes it as an overreaction. He gets into the car and tells Cho they need to find a house for sale. Cho decides not to bother asking, and simply takes Jane to the nearest house with a Realtor sign out front.
Jane approaches the house, knocks to make sure no one is home, then looks through the piled up mail. He finds the homeowner’s name, “Miles Thorsen”. He uses an envelope to write a note on the door: “Monica, call me–Miles”, plus a phone number. Jane of course refuses to tell Cho what he’s up to, and asks Cho to stop by a fresh strawberry stand across the street.
When they join the CBI team at the victim Monica’s home, Jane offers the strawberries as a peace offering. As they all take one, Jane pulls Lisbon aside and apologizes to her. He asks if he can rejoin the team, not because he thinks the work is worthwhile, but because “I have nothing else to do.” The intensity and vulnerability in his response gets to Lisbon, and she agrees to take him back, provided he acts a little more professional. To her surprise, Jane hugs her enthusiastically, and then cheerfully offers her another strawberry as they go into the house to interview Monica’s family.
From Monica’s angry daughter Kessie (Stacie Rippy), the team learns that son Ansel had cancer that has been cured, though he’s still weak. Kessie tells them that her mother coped with the illness by using painkillers and a lover–Bodhi Andros. The father defends his wife, saying she was a “beautiful soul” that got beaten down by life. Kessie doesn’t buy it, but says the irony is that the hospital only helped her brother because of their mother’s story in the news. The hospital helped Ansel for free.
As Lisbon and Jane leave, Jane asks each of the family members if they know Miles Thorsen (the owner of the house he and Cho visited). The family looks mystified, and reply in the negative. When Lisbon asks Jane about Thorsen, he explains that he’s casting a “wide, invisible net” that will trap the killer. Lisbon is exasperated that he’s being mysterious, and snaps at Van Pelt when she seems reluctant to do a financial background check on the family.
Cho and Rigsby head off to interview yoga instructor Bodhi Andros, while Lisbon takes Jane back to headquarters for a meeting with Bosco. Andros hides poorly from Cho and Rigsby, who flush him out at gunpoint. Before finding him, Rigsby prods Cho about his supposed gang history and juvenile record. Cho doesn’t divulge much, saying that Rigsby keeps his own secrets, too.
Back at department headquarters, Jane meets with Agent Bosco to offer his knowledge of the Red John case and hopefully be kept in the loop in return. Bosco coldly tells Jane that he’s a “clown, a party entertainer”, and that he won’t give him any information on leads in the case: “I wouldn’t tell you where the bathroom was if your ass was on fire.” Asked if he comprehends the situation, Jane smoothly says “I understand you. It may take you some time to understand me.” He’s got that scary look in his eye, and we know Jane’s not going to let this just slide.
Jane and Lisbon then head to the Jaffe Printing Company, victim Monica Dunninger’s workplace. Lisbon is amused by how dismally Jane’s meeting with Bosco went, though she knows Jane isn’t. She’s less amused when Jane tells her “If you sit long enough by the riverbank, eventually you’ll see the bodies of your enemies float by.”
The two then move on to interview the owner of the company, Rhonda Jaffe, and the finance director, Greg Humphrey. Lisbon and Jane are mildly surprised when Mrs. Jaffe seems very calm about the embezzlement, saying she finds the whole thing “sad” and that she’s more sorry about the loss of trust than the money.
Mr. Humphrey tells them that Monica was an assistant office manager, in charge of the petty cash. He says he’s not sure how she had the brains to pull off the embezzlement, and that they’re not even sure exactly how she did it because her hard drive is fried and her accounts book missing. Jane asks both Jaffe and Humphrey about Miles Thorsen, who of course they’ve never heard of.
Cho interviews the yoga instructor, trying very hard to keep his eyerolls in check as Bodhi reveals himself to be a self-centered moron. He tells Cho he was in fear for his life after Monica’s murder, figuring either the jealous husband killed her, or a mysterious “business partner” she told him about. With an air of “what the hell, why not?”, Cho asks Bodhi if he knows Miles Thorsen.
Van Pelt then interviews Monica’s daughter Kessie, who she discovered had recently started paying family bills in cash. Kessie confesses that her mother phoned her about a month after the disappearance, asking about Ansel, and saying she wanted to help. Kessie hung up on her, but Monica sent $5000 a month after that, which she kept because they needed the money. She never told her father about it.
In the next room, Lisbon tells Jane she thinks Kessie could be the killer, due to the money and her anger towards her mother. Jane says he doesn’t think so, but he’s not sure who did it. Lisbon tells him he’s distracted, and too focused on the Red John case. He guesses that she’s happy to have handed the case off. She tells him they were getting too close, and that Bosco is a good agent. Jane taunts her about repeating what her shrink said, which she doesn’t deny. He tells her he’ll think about shifting focus, but she grumpily calls him a liar. She orders him to go through the box of Monica’s belongings and see if there’s anything important in it.
Jane then asks Rigsby and Cho if they want to go to Miles Thorsen’s empty house and catch the killer. They both accompany him, but Rigsby is unhappy when it becomes clear this mission wasn’t Lisbon-approved. Cho is curious enough to go along with Jane’s rule-bending as they break into the house and lie in wait to see who comes through the door. Jane explains that whoever the killer is will be wondering who Miles Thorsen is, and when they look him up they’ll discover he lives right near Monica Dunninger. They’ll think maybe he has what they’re looking for, and will come to find it.
As Rigsby protests, Jane starts looking through Monica’s box of belongings, and wonders aloud why she would have a book about the history of the fax machine. Then he seems to have an epiphany and sends Rigsby to the library, but doesn’t tell him why–“as punishment for being a wuss”. Rigsby leaves in a huff.
Cho starts to get more frustrated as time wears on, and their “fishing expedition” doesn’t seem to be panning out. He’s even more upset when another Realtor arrives to show the house, and gets Cho’s name from his badge before hurriedly leaving with his clients. Just as Cho is worrying about the repercussions, the door opens again, and it’s Mrs. Jaffe–Monica’s boss.
She tells them she won’t speak without a lawyer, but Jane tells her it’s okay, he knows everything anyway. He guesses that she stole the million dollars from her own company, to pay a gambling debt or other problem. When Monica discovered what she’d done, she bribed Monica into taking the blame–paying her a monthly wage and getting Ansel into the best cancer treatment program available. But when Ansel was cured, she realized that Monica wouldn’t have any reason to stay silent any longer, so she had to shut her up permanently.
Jaffe says it’s all fiction, and that they have no proof. Jane is excited about this part, and calls Rigsby at the library. Rigsby’s already figured out that Monica swapped the fax machine book for evidence–he goes to the shelf and finds the accounts book from Jaffe’s company and a DVD.
Lisbon plays the DVD for Monica’s family. It’s Monica herself, explaining that everything in the account book is true, and how she cut a deal with Jaffe to get Ansel the best care possible. She hoped it would make up for the other hurtful things she had done, and she tells her family that she loves them. Kessie breaks down, as it’s apparent that so many of the hateful things she thought about her mother weren’t true. The whole family is numb, and we can see that Ansel realizes his mother gave up her life for his.
Lisbon compliments Van Pelt on a job well done. In the distance, Jane is on his favorite leather couch, making a phone call to administration. Pretending to be Agent Bosco, he asks how he can go about changing his in-house access pass code. There’s a hint of a smile on his lips as he waits on hold. We knew he wasn’t going to let Bosco get away with the Red John case.
PHOTOS: Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, Robin Tunney as Agent Teresa Lisbon, Amanda Righetti as Agent Grace Van Pelt, Jordan David as Ansel Dunninger; The Mentalist “Redemption” screencaps, c2009 Primrose Hill Productions, Warner Bros. Television, CBS.