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THE MENTALIST The Complete Fourth Season DVD Review

Warner Home Video
Release date: September 18th, 2012

Simon Baker stars as Patrick Jane, a former television psychic whose world comes tumbling down when he earns the wrath of a serial killer named Red John. John takes his anger out on Jane’s family, killing his wife and daughter. After this tragedy, he uses his extraordinary powers of observation and persuasion to help the CSAC solve crimes. His ultimate goal is to find and catch Red John.

By now, we have learned more about Jane. Prior to being a psychic, he was a carnie (carnival con man) that traveled with the circus and lived on his wits. We learn that his wife also appeared to have come from this life. While folks don’t generally think about it, the carnival life is based on confidence games and trickery. That background allowed Jane to move to a more legal form of the con. Jane’s view towards those around him now makes more sense. This is a person that has, from a young age, been trained to read people and analyze how they can be manipulated.

As season four starts, Jane is in prison for killing the man he thought was Red John. To win his court case, he must convince the jury that the victim was Red John (something Jane no longer belives) and that his quest for vengence was just. It should come as no surprise that he does just that, no chance the show runs with Jane sitting in a prison cell.

The overall quality of the season’s stories are about the same as previous seasons. Most of it is entertaining enough, but on the fluffy side. But like previous seasons, there are glimpse of just how good the show can be. One example is Blinking Red Light, an episode in which Jane is convinced that a local activist is actually the killer he publicly works to find. Unable to actually catch him, Jane goades him, on television, into declaring this killer to be more intelligent and dangerous than Red John. Shortly after, the activist is found brutally murdered. The darker tone of the episode was refreshing and, quite frankly, more interesting that the usual fare.

This season has return appearances by Malcom McDowell and Morena Baccarin as well as an end of season appearance by Emmanuelle Chriqui that suggests she might return for season five.

As with previous seasons, Simon Baker’s performance is the high point of the show. He plays the role with charm even when manipulating those around him. It is that performance that makes the show stand out from the middle of the road procedurals.

Jeremy Lynch