'The Mentalist's' Robin Tunney and Bruno Heller on the 'Real, Traditional Happy Ending'

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Simon Baker and Robin Tunney in 'The Mentalist'
Simon Baker and Robin Tunney in 'The Mentalist'

The Mentalist's finale won't frustratingly fade to black like The Sopranos, and it won't end with the entire cast in jail like Seinfeld. The series will end like it came in: With a mix of suspense and humor. Plus, a wedding that some people have been waiting seven seasons for.

Yahoo TV spoke to series star Robin Tunney and Mentalist creator Bruno Heller about the ending of the show. Since production wrapped back in December, they've had some time to unwind and reflect, and for Tunney, the fact that The Mentalist is ending still doesn't feel real. Since they normally have a 12-week hiatus between seasons, it still feels to her like she's just on vacation and will be back to work next month. The show's grueling, non-stop 14-hour days take their toll, so for now, she's content with the luxury of "not waking up when it's dark." As to whether or not the show should have been canceled, Heller is diplomatic: "It was time for that phase of our lives to be over."

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What he'll miss the most, he says, are the people. "We’re very much a family after all this time. Me and Simon [Baker] and Robin and Chris [Long, executive producer] and all the other people that worked on it... I was just saying to Robin, I wanted to have her over to the house because I'm so used to seeing her all the time. It's like suddenly, your family is gone."

That is, of course, the key to the show's ultimate success: Fans view the cast as members of their family, which makes the finale a sort of family reunion. Owain Yeoman and Amanda Righetti are returning and there may be other familiar faces, though don't expect many. "We wanted to make it organic to the drama," explains Heller, though Tunney laments, "I would've liked to have seen Bosco [Terry Kinney] back from the dead from Season 2. He was a great guy." On getting the old team back, she says, "It was so fun to play those scenes with all of us together because they were just genuine feelings. So happy to see them and catching up and that feeling of joy — it was really fun to shoot, and it comes across."

The wedding scene from the series finale of 'The Mentalist'
The wedding scene from the series finale of 'The Mentalist'

There was never any doubt that the season would end any other way than with the wedding of Jane and Lisbon. Even though Simon Baker has joked in the past that he was hoping it would end in a bloodbath — not for nothing (Heller calls Tunney "a ray of sunshine" who offsets his and Baker's "dark sensibility") — but that type of violent ending was never in the cards. "Once the romance was born," says Heller, "it seemed like it would be cheating the audience a little if we didn't take it to the consummation of that. The real, traditional happy ending."

Jane and Lisbon weren't intended to get together when the show started back in 2008. "Over the years, it became clear Teresa was the happy ending that Jane needed and wanted and should be striving towards," explains Heller. "And that's very specific to the fact that that's what Robin brought to the character. She made him love her. Nothing more clever than that, really. TV is a very honest medium, so if you have a lovable person, eventually characters around are going to fall in love with that character — and that's what happened."

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So what's next for the cast? Tunney's still enjoying her time off, while Baker is already hard at work scouting locations in Australia for an upcoming directorial effort. Although, it may not be all work. Jokes Heller, "As I understand, Australia is mostly beaches and bars." So how about casting Tunney and Baker on Heller's current project, Gotham? "Robin would definitely be the Catwoman, but only in those moments when she was on the side of virtue as she occasionally was. She wold be the good Julie Newmar," muses Heller. "Simon would be the Joker. Or King Tut if he keeps putting on weight."

The series finale of The Mentalist airs Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. on CBS.