The Mentalist has been teasing viewers for years with the identity of Red John, the serial killer who has tormented Patrick Jane, and this week the show took a giant leap closer to finding his identity.
In Sunday’s episode of The Mentalist, titled “Fire and Brimstone,” Jane gathered in his home the five remaining Red John suspects — Bret Stiles (Malcolm McDowell), Ray Haffner (Reed Diamond), Thomas McAllister (Xander Berkeley), Reede Smith (Drew Powell) and Gale Bertram (Michael Gaston).
Jane had been given a clue that the real Red John has a tattoo of three dots on his left arm, and tells the guests that he knows one of them is the killer. But that doesn’t bring him much closer, as it’s revealed that McAllister, Smith, and Bertram all have the tattoo.
“It’s not what you think,” McAllister tells Jane.
The Mentalist came to a violent conclusion, as Jane’s house exploded just as Lisbon was running up the driveway.
It marks the most dramatic turn in the Red John saga, one that just a few weeks ago brought a violent end for Bob Kirkland.
Though fans were left with a cliffhanger in Sunday’s episode, show writer Ken Woodruff shared some clues about Red John with TVGuide.com. Woodruff focused on Bret Stiles, who hinted in the episode that he does not fear an FBI investigation because he is dying.
“I think he’s been one of the strongest Red John suspects since his character’s introduction, and you get to see him I think in a vulnerable way that we haven’t really seen him in before,” Woodruff said. “He’s on the run. He’s trapped by the FBI. He’s forced to live sort of like Julian Assange in this consulate. So maybe what we’re hoping is you think a little bit less of him. You think maybe he is on his way out and not capable, just because you sort of seem to feel a little empathy for him.”
Woodruff said the three men with the same tattoo are connected to the Tiger Tiger conspiracy revealed in the episode “Red Listed.”
But he added another clue — the three dot tattoo may be a red herring, and the two men without the tattoo could still be viable suspects.
“As soon as more than one person has the tattoo, it sort of throws into question the whole theory that Jane’s been operating on up until this moment,” he said. “So I wouldn’t throw it out… just given the nature of our show and how we twist things around, and Red John as a character, how sort of capable and deceitful he’s been able to be all these years. Don’t forget, Jane’s been in the place where he’s been 100 percent positive of Red John before and he was wrong. So I wouldn’t underestimate Red John.”
The Mentalist is expected to wrap up the Red John saga sometime during this season.