For a show that is in its sixth season, it’s amazing just how much stuff that “The Mentalist” has been forced to contend with this year. Not only was the show constantly delayed, shoved around, and even at one point preempted thanks to NFL football, but it became a guessing game for DVR users who were not able to watch the show live. Add to that the big reveal of Red John and moving forward into what is almost a brand-new show with some of the new characters, and there were so many ways in which to get it wrong.
When it comes to that Red John story, where Thomas McAllister was revealed to be the name behind the murder of Jane’s whole family, fan reaction was mixed. Personally, it was a somewhat-stronger story than most of the media was giving them credit for. It almost had a nice cinematic vibe to it in now forcing us to get some sort of hollow explanation as to why McAllister did what it did. There was not going to be a satisfying reason beyond “the man is a psychopath,” and the show was right to not really offer anything at all.
As a matter of fact, the only thing that we would have loved to see more of is Patrick’s life immediately after the murder of Red John happened, since there were some fascinating things that were completely glossed over before we found him living the life of a beach bum. The premise of “My Blue Heaven” was fun enough, even if the entire “Kim Fischer is an agent” story was obvious to everyone but the supposed smartest guy in the room.
We’re only two episodes in to the reboot, and that’s why it is so hard to judge. But while we’re happy to see Jane and Lisbon back together, we’re still not sold on the Kim character, and we worry that we’re not going to have another sort of long-term mystery like Red John that is worth pondering about. When it comes to that, it was almost all about the investigation rather than the reveal.
But we like “The Mentalist” season 6 overall. We had to change the format of this particular Midseason Report Card compared to what we typically do, but that is largely because we’re almost looking at two different shows here molded into one. Some things that were great about the first part of the season (the intensity) just don’t apply to the second part. The major common thread is that Jane is still a captivating character, and while we wish the show was permanently less serialized, this is one of the better CBS crime dramas on the schedule. Just imagine that it wouldn’t feel like such a ratings pain in the backside if it actually aired at 10:00 p.m. Eastern every week. Grade: B.