The Mentalist finally revealed on Sunday the true identity of Red John, leading to a long-awaited confrontation with Patrick Jane and a satisfying conclusion for fans.
For the last few episodes the hunt for the highly sought-after serial killer, the man responsible for killing Jane’s wife and daughter, has heated up. Fans watched as Jane rounded up the remaining suspects and confront them, only to see the plan blow up in his face.
Though there was endless speculation online about he identity of Red John and what seemed like a clear-cut candidate in Gale Bertram, Jane’s boss at CBI, The Mentalist still managed to pull out a shocker on Sunday.
[WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD]
In the episode, viewers saw that Thomas McAllister survived the blast that appeared to kill him, and that the Napa County sheriff was really Red John the entire time.
After learning this, Patrick chased McAllister down. When he finally catches Red John, Patrick has a chance to call the police and end the hunt but decides to take matters into his own hands (literally).
Jane chokes Red John, and as he does asks him to blink once for yes and twice for no. He asked Red John if he was sorry for killing his daughter and wife, which Red John answers with two blinks.
Jane then asked Red John if he was afraid to die — again two blinks. Patrick ends up strangling Red John to death.
Xander Berkeley, who played Thomas McAllister, said the conclusion between Patrick Jane and Red John was perfect.
“It’s such an incredible choice to end it with Red John and Patrick Jane alone, eye-to-eye. It was so personal, so right, that Patrick would strangle him,” Berkeley told TVGuide.com. “The perfect way to go out. So simple, really.”
Berkeley said he came to learn that his character was the real Red John through “osmosis.” Berkeley then went to executive producer Bruno Heller to get more insight on why the sheriff was the real killer the whole time.
“He was very sweet and very flattering, telling me that McAllister had always been one of his favorite characters,” Berkeley said. “He thought the sheriff persona was the perfect mislead — for a sociopath to adopt that kind of career just seemed so extra creepy. But, still, why me? I never saw it coming!”
The Mentalist didn’t end with the death of Red John. The show has now jumped two years into the future, showing the dismantling of CBI’s Sacramento headquarters and the staff scattering.
The timing of the Red John reveal was a bit unusual. While most shows opt to save cliffhangers for season finales, The Mentalist instead delivered in the middle of the season.
But Glenn Geller, executive president of current programming at CBS, said Bruno Heller had it all orchestrated to set up the flash forward.
‘What was so interesting about Bruno’s take is that he wanted to do it in the middle of the season,” Geller said. “I think when the audience sees and understands what the time jump is about, how the character processes what has happened, how the other characters move forward, it’s going to feel very natural.”
With Red John killed, The Mentalist now has a different path the rest of the season, and indeed the entire series. Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti), are confirmed to be leaving the series, and Patrick Jane can now move forward unburdened by his hunt for Red John.