Posted: 09/22/2009


The Mentalist Season 1 On DVD


by Laura Tucker

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The Mentalist is hands down the best of the best of last year’s new TV season. It crept into pop culture quickly, being mentioned in other TV shows, and made star Simon Baker a household name. Luckily for fans they aren’t waiting around for multiple seasons to come out before they start releasing it on DVD. The first season is out on DVD this week, just days before the second season premieres on CBS. It’s smart planning, considering they’re on a new night this season, and this will allow others to get caught up and/or get introduced to it .

Baker stars as Patrick Jane, the “mentalist” in question. He’s not a psychic, though, so don’t confuse him with one. In fact, Jane denounces psychics. He used to be a very flashy psychic on TV, but after the death of his family by the serial murderer Red John, Jane became a private investigator, using the skills he learned being a psychic to help the California Bureau of Investigation solve their crimes, and to also hopefully solve the Red John case somewhere along the way.

It’s hard to tell how to even classify Jane. While he denounces psychics, he does mind tricks that are either unexplainable or that meet up with what we think of a psychic doing. It’s just enough to keep us wondering, and we’re not the only ones. His coworkers in the CBI wonder as well. Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) is the agent in charge over at the Bureau, and she seems to be the one with the biggest question mark over Jane’s methods, but she begrudgingly admits he gets the job done, and the two work very closely together on cases, to the point it seems there may be some romantic chemistry.

There also seems to be some romantic chemistry between Agents Wayne Rigsby and Grace Van Pelt (Owain Yeoman and Amanda Righetti). Grace seems to be the most impressed with Jane’s tactics and methods, and seems to sometimes almost flirt with him, while Rigsby flirts with her. In an episode where Grace acts as a decoy for a serial killer that targets redheads, Agent Van Pelt is nearly beside himself looking at her all dolled up. Once it seems someone may be taking the bait with her, he can’t just wait in the truck. He attacks and possibly blows the cover.

The most dynamic of the team, other than Jane, is definitely Agent Kimball Cho (Tim Kang). To say he takes a no-nonsense approach is an understatement. He plays the straight man to Jane’s loose style. Yet, Agent Cho can still throw out the jokes, and in his deadpan style, it makes them even more funny. A well-connected husband of the deceased wants to know who the CBI is investigating and promises Agent Cho if he doesn’t tell him, he can find out with just one phone call. Cho fires back, “That’s impressive. The best I can do with one phone call is a pizza.”

The one interesting thing that the DVD set shows, that wasn’t really noticeable by watching the episodes throughout the season, is the naming theme. Each episode has the word “red” in the title, “Red Hair and Silver Tape,” “Ladies In Red,” “Red-Handed,” etc., except, for a select few, such as “Crimson Casanova,” Scarlett Fever,” “Bloodshot,” etc. I wasn’t able to figure out if this was purposeful or not by watching the episodes, but wouldn’t have even known there was a difference just watching them on TV, as I don’t tend to notice episode titles then. What will be interesting to note now will be what the second season episodes are named.

One particular episode title really got my interest, and that’s “Russet Potatoes.” It’s not that hard to figure how “Red Hair and Silver Tape,” “Crimson Casanova,” and certainly “Bloodshot” fit into murder investigations, but “Russet Potatoes?” How in the heck does that fit in? It turns out a man has been hypnotized to think the dead body he’s lugging around is really a sack of potatoes. And that’s typical of The Mentalist, serious, but just enough fun thrown in there.

I didn’t always catch The Mentalist before, as it was on against some of my favorite shows, and I could only DVR so many at a time. However, this season it has moved to 10 PM EST on Thursdays. I just happen to have an empty slot there after ER left the airwaves. And now after getting reconnected with all the episodes from the DVD set, I’m primed and ready for it.

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack, and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, and is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints. She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at

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