The Mentalist-Best & Most Underrated of the Police Procedurals

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Knight Templar, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    Forget the vastly overrated CSI franchise.

    Forget the nearly dead Law & Order franchise.

    Forget the various other police procedurals.

    The Mentalist beats them all.

    Why? Because The Mentalist has a protagonist that is an unapologetic sociopath (Patrick Jane). granted, Jane has plenty of reasons to be an uncaring, unfeeling sociopath. His bragging on television about his role as a psychic (he knew he was a con man actually) led directly to the serial killer Red John murdering his wife and daughter.

    But he is still a sociopath. He is the kind of man who bluntly tells parents that their children are "dead" or "probably dead". He tells children that one of their friends or family members have been murdered because "children heal faster". He makes an entire large group of people believe they have been exposed to a deadly virus and have only hours to live. He buries a man alive to get a confession.

    Patrick Jane is so eminently watchable not only because he is a sympathetic sociopath with a mean and cruel sense of humor but because deep down, he is a bully in the finest "Dirty Harry" mode.

    Jane doesn't use violence usually (though he has gunned down three people, including one cold blooded murder). In fact he often shrinks from violence quite cowardly.

    But he bullies with his mind. Shamelessly lying and playing cruel mind games on people. Turning them against each other. Having no qualms about setting people violently against each other.

    And he is utterly unconcerned (and sometimes amused) at the chaos he causes.

    Jane does all this knowing that he is untouchable. He has been told flat out that he can do anything "short of murder" and get away with it.. Ironically, within a season of being told that Jane (through jury nullification) gets away with cold blooded murder.

    Watch The Mentalist.
     
  2. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    I like Patrick Jane a great deal, but the police procedural nature of the show didn't hold my interest, so I dropped it after two seasons. I've tuned in for season finales and premieres though, and I wouldn't mind revisiting a few other episodes I've missed.
     
  3. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    It has gotten better. Especially with Red John's evolving attitude toward Patrick Jane. Regarding him less and less like a rival and a threat and more like a wayward son.

    The thing that has become clear is that Red John would not be much of a threat if it were not for the fact that he seems to have the ability to attract a number of disciples and followers. Including many within the law enforcement community.

    Red John (though appearing onscreen only twice) seems to be very much a "Charles Manson for the new millennium" with the big difference being that Red Johns "disciples" rarely actually meet with him. His appeal to them seems based on the idea that they are joining some kind of dangerous and exciting secret club.
     
  4. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Is this about that show that's a copy of Psyche?
     
  5. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    Not a copy of Psych by any means. Vastly different in tone. Darker in spades.

    Psych is written and acted largely for the humor. The Mentalist has its funny moments but it is a horrendously cynical show.
     
  6. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You're reaching, it's a copy of psych.

    Why else would they say on Psych that they're exactly the same as Mentalist?

    It's canon.
     
  7. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    That is an in joke.
     
  8. CorporalClegg

    CorporalClegg Admiral Admiral

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    Which is only funny because it's true.
     
  9. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    wikipedia says otherwise.
     
  10. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The show lost me when Patrick killed Red John and then at the start of the next season it was "oh no you didn't" - I never tuned in again.
     
  11. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I mean holly shit, how can you waste Bradley Whitford like that!!??

    Of course Bradley's ghost could haunt Patrick. after which Jayne would have to accept that there must be true spiritualists out there, and it as only he who was a dirty con man.
     
  12. Venardhi

    Venardhi Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Don't forget that they then went right back to episodic light-hearted murder-of-the-week plots pretty much like nothing happened. The show should have moved towards more House-like semi-serialization a long time ago. Jayne is a fantastic character and Baker is brilliant, but there just isn't much there otherwise.
     
  13. Josan

    Josan Commodore Commodore

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    The missus and I watched the first three seasons in a matter of weeks but by the time we caught up to the fourth season the appeal had gone. Baker is a great actor, he's perfect for the role in my view, but the show just doesn't hold my interest any more.
     
  14. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I've watched a few episodes and found it incredibly dull. The character may be interesting, but the other characters and the plots are just the same, predictable, unchallengeing drivel designed by the network to appeal it's retiree target-audience.

    No thank you.

    After having seen Wire in the Blood, Luther, Cracker and Whitechapel, trying to watch crap like this is sheer torture.
     
  15. Aragorn

    Aragorn Admiral Admiral

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    The show is still entertaining but it has gotten quite repetitive. The formula is the same -- Jane figures out the killer early on, doesn't tell anyone, tricks the killer into giving him or herself up but doesn't let anyone on his team in on it. The rest of the team gets short-changed a lot.

    The one episode where they couldn't get a perp to confess because Jane wasn't around and then Jane shows up at the last minute and immediately tricks him was insulting.

    They've also taken the whole cult of Red John to an almost supernatural level with everything they're able to achieve.
     
  16. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Jane is a semireformed criminal, not a sociopath. He does have people he cares about, which includes occasionally relative strangers. He has a crude populist streak and likes to use his manipulative abilities to humiliate people he doesn't like, which usually include the overbearing rich. And the merely pompous can get the same treatment. However, the underdogs and outcasts he encounters do not. He has no intention of abiding by the law and common morality vis a vis Red John, and has a fixed determination to murder him in revenge, which is a permanent underlying tension with Teresa Lisbon, the romantic interest. And his semireformation does not extend to taking the laws very seriously, which is why he habitually excludes the team from the loop. He takes justice seriously, by his peculiar standards, another way in which he is decidedly not a sociopath.

    The show often suffers from the mentalist using the power of script, but all character-based shows have this tendency. The show is indeed character-based. It's based on the appeal of seeing the mentalist character do his thing. As an antihero, though, suffering a la Tony Hill in Wire in the Blood isn't his character's thing. Indeed, an antihero winning is part of the show's hidden edge.

    There is actually a fairly varied diet of hooks, plots, premises, characters and tone to the stand-alone plots. Not so much in what Jane does but in what the guest stars do and how the regulars interact. If one episode involves a recurring character euthanasing himself or another involves a transvestite troop hiding an abused young man, you've got variety. Even if both have Jane knowing who the killer was, keeping from the team and revealing the killer with a flourish. But odd as it always seems, there are those who simply will not care about any but the regular characters in whom they have invested.

    As to that, there are actually the usual open-ended serial storylines. And as usual they suck. Red John does indeed have supernatural powers, exercised commonly in killing the CBI supervisors. What a curious hobby, for anyone. Grace van Pelt has turned into an abusive cop; Kimball Cho has fallen for a junky hooker and nobly renounced her; Wayne Grigsby has becomes a father who doesn't love the mother. All these storyline suck. Jane/Lisbon is UST, because. All the character development storylines, like most character development storylines, suck.

    Baker's performance is terrific, but he makes it look easy. Plus the trendies who only go for the dark and gritty can't see past the veil of normality.
     
  17. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No, just the badly-written ones.
     
  18. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    The thing about Red John and him having so many followers in law enforcement is not that far out though.

    It is a well known fact that most serial killers have a fascination with police procedures and the culture of law enforcement. I've read that many serial killers actually make a practice of hanging out at bars, diners, and other places frequented by police in their off hours.
     
  19. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've no idea what happened to the show this season but there was a long stretch of horribly boring episodes. Red John is about 10 steps ahead of Patrick Jane and that is really getting tiresome. They really need to wrap up the Red John arc this season as it's dragging the show down.
     
  20. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Didn't you learn jack from Unbreakable.

    Oppositional forces.

    Not long after he finally kills Red John, Pat is going to stick a gun in his mouth and pull the trigger.

    His wife and child are dead.

    And Johns beating heart is the only thing stopping him from joining them.

    Oh.

    Wouldn't it be kooky if we find out in the last episode that Pat really can see and talk to the dead, and that the whole time his wife has been screaming in incomprehensible pain 5 feet away from him the whole time?