The Mentalist: Is Red John Working with Visualize?
Robin Tunney, Simon Baker | Photo Credits: Sonja Flemming/CBS
[Warning: This article contains major spoilers about Sunday's episode of The Mentalist. Read at your own risk!]
Jane and Lisbon (Robin Tunney) once again find themselves working a case with one of Jane's seven five Red John suspects. This time, it's the smug Ray Haffner (Reed Diamond), who joins forces with CBI after a prominent member of the Visualize cult (of which Haffner is a member) is murdered. Turns out the victim, a gymnastics champion, was a killer himself — and died as he was trying to cover up murdering a former student with whom he had been having an affair.
By the end of the episode, we learn that Visualize hired a private investigator to become friendly with Cho (Tim Kang) and plant a bug on his desk in CBI. However, Jane figures it out and surreptitiously re-plants the bug on her. But when Visualize's second-in-command, Jason Cooper (Robert Picardo), knows nothing about the bug, Jane realizes that it's actually Red John who hired the PI — who's either working with Red John or is his next victim. It's option 2. Red John (clearly someone the investigator recognizes) goes to her apartment and kills her moments before Jane and Lisbon arrive on the scene. Before she dies, she gives Jane a key clue about Red John: he has a tattoo of three dots on his left shoulder.
TVGuide.com turned to Eoghan Mahoney, who wrote "The Red Tattoo," to weigh in on tonight's episode and the latest developments in the Red John case. Plus: What are his thoughts on those conspiracy theories about Grace Van Pelt's (Amanda Righetti) possible involvement? Read our interview to find out:
This episode teases a connection between Red John and Visualize.
Mahoney: Because [Haffner] is a member of Visualize, by his very presence he also sort of brings the specter, the shadow, of Bret Stiles (Malcolm McDowell) along with him. So you have this effect of, either he's Red John, or is he like John the Baptist, the one who sort of comes before Red John? Is this Red John or is this just this tool of Red John that is showing up to sort of throw Jane off? Who's the puppet master behind it? Is Bret Stiles doing all this to sort of screw with Jane's head even more than he has in the past? And Robert Picardo, who plays Jason Cooper ... does a really nice job. We don't have Malcolm McDowell in this episode, but there's something about Jason, who I think does a really nice version of saying, "There's something coming, and it's making me nervous."
Is Haffner working with CBI a case of "keep your friends close and your enemies closer"?
Mahoney: That's exactly what we [wanted]. I think that's what Jane is sort of confronted with. In the past, certainly when he went up to Napa, it was really an act of Jane saying, "I want to take a case that's going to get me up there so that I can start looking at McAllister.' But in this case, you're investigating a case that's a mysterious case to begin with, and then suddenly there's Ray Haffner in the room. It's this feeling of, are we being watched? Is this case being thrown in front of us so that somebody can be observing and manipulating us? Which is a disconcerting thing for Jane to be confronting, and I think adds to this growing sense of tension and anxiety about what's happening in the world around us.