Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Mentalist: Red John Revealed

The Mentalist is your basic crime drama with weekly cases that are solved within the episode and very little glue holding the show together, meaning it's easy to miss a week and still understand the story.  However, the biggest mystery of all is what or rather who caused lead character Patrick Jane to land at the CBI and why.  The answer is the one underlying story within all six seasons, the infamous Red John.  We have watched Patrick chase this nefarious serial killer for years now, gathering bits of information along the way and finally narrowing down the list to seven suspects with the promise of uncovering Red John's identity this season.  Before I jump into the suspects and why or why not I believe they could be this illusive criminal mastermind, I'd like to first go over the basics regarding what we know about Red John, his personality traits as well as his resources that help to shed light on his identity. 


 1. What is the Hero vs. Villain complex? and How can it help identify Red John? 

  • The thing I look for most in the search for Red John is something I learned growing up about the similarities between the hero and the villain in most stories.  While not always the case, we know due to Red John's methods and Lorelei's statement that the two are almost like peas in a pod and as Lorelei puts it "you and him are just alike, so much manipulation.  I'm surprised you didn't become great friends the moment you shook hands".  The philosophy is that in most hero stories the villain shares much in common with the protagonist but at some point in each of their lives a traumatic event or a life-affirming realization causes them to fracture, each choosing a different path.  This relationship is in my mind best portrayed in M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable starring Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis.  The story revolves around Jacksons' brittle character nicknamed "Mr. Glass", due the ease in which his bones break, who sets forth causing huge accidents killing thousands in search of his opposite: a man who doesn't break but is rather strong, resistant and never sick.  Finally one of Mr. Glass' tragedies results in the death of every man, woman and child on a train except one man, Willis' character David, who emerges from the crash unscathed.  He proceeds to get to know David by questioning him, encouraging him to test his powers of perception and strength until David actually uses them to save two children.  However, in the emotional ending when David realizes Mr. Glass caused these huge acts of terror Jackson exclaims "In a comic, you know how you can tell who the arch-villain is going to be? He's the exact opposite of the hero! and most of the time they're friends; like you and me.".  Now how does this relate to The Mentalist's Patrick and Red John?  We see the same type of symmetry with the two.  Both Jane and Red John are witty and cunning, they are able to manipulate and mislead people and they both possess the ability to maintain large groups of followers.  In addition, there is the similarity in Lorelei's comment about the two becoming friends.  Just as Mr. Glass helped David to do good, we also have the fact that by killing Jane's family Red John changed Patrick's course in life from a scam artist to someone who helps people.  I didn't use the word symmetry by accident which brings me to my next point.
  • We know Red John has an affinity to William Blake's Tyger poem.  The first verse which is recited multiple times on the show reads: Tyger! Tyger! burning bright/ In the forests of the night/ What immortal hand or eye/ Could frame thy fearful symmetry?  I take this as a reference to the similarities between Patrick Jane and Red John focusing on the last line "frame thy fearful symmetry".  It is almost as if the two are symmetrical figures of one another, like looking into a mirror the same but also opposites.  We know that Patrick used to use his talents to appear as a god-like figure who had the ability to communicate with loved ones who had passed away.  Red John also uses this skill set to become a kind of messiah to his followers, likely attributing his clairvoyance as a sign that his word is somewhat holy as is his cause and philosophy.  It is very possible that he himself believes what he preaches to his disciples: a skewed view on reality.

2. What are some of the known Red John characteristics to look for?

  • Red John is highly intelligent and like Patrick able to pick up on the smallest hints.  This trait is one of the aspects that has allowed him to always stay a step ahead of the authorities.
  • He is narcissistic.  Red John feels the need to parade his superiority, such as contacting Patrick to let him know that he didn't have an advantage with the list of suspects, as Red John already knew, as well as using the GPS tracking against them.  In addition he has a flare for the dramatic with his cryptic literary message and marking each of his kills.  He despises others who attempt to copycat his crimes as they are not worthy of marking their kills with his trademark smiley face.
  • We know that he is able to manipulate others and not in the showman's way of predicting what card they will choose.  His followers dedicate their lives to his cause willing to kill and die for him.
  • Jane refers to Red John's followers as disciples, this furthers my thinking that he is narcissistic with a skewed view of reality and possibly even believes that he is doing the work of a god or  higher power.  His followers also act like this as they see him as a messiah.
  • On that note, Red John also has influence over the people his disciples kill.  I think this represents a kind of psychotic therapy by convincing either first time murderers or veteran killers he's picked up to kill a certain person or a certain type of person (like how he persuades Todd Johnson to target cops) as that will help them in their struggles.  Like penance in a church, this is what they must do to release their anger.  This may also connect back to Visualize as they work on techniques to let go of rage or negative emotions.  Red John may be picking all or some of his disciples from Visualize, the ones he recognizes as murderers or who are broken enough that if he mentors them he can turn them into killers.  I believe that at times he may convince certain followers to kill a specific person that will not only help Red John in some way but provide a cathartic release to the disciple. 
  • While we assume that he is powerful or holds an office that allows him to carry some kind of authority, much of his power may come from high-ranking friends who do favors for him or his disciples unaware that they are even helping Red John.  One example is Alexa Shultz who was given updates on the Red John case at the request of Robert Kirkland.  While Kirkland may be Red John or simply a follower, Alexa may not have known she was helping the serial killer and was simply granting a favor for the Department of Homeland Security.  These connected friends or disciples may help Red John obtain the information he needs i.e. he doesn't need to be in the CBI if he has moles within the organization or as I have seen written in various forums that Red John has hacked the CBI mainframe undetected which is not necessarily true as someone inside may have gathered the information for him.
  • He doesn't like to be profiled.  When anyone attempts to claim to understand him he punishes them by death.  The exception is Jane.  I believe he made this exception because he feels Jane is too valuable for death which I go into more in the next section.
  • In the first season finale Jane and Lisbon were getting close as they had discovered Red John's alias, Roy Tagliafaro, as well as Dumar Tanner the son of Red John's first accomplice working under a false name as a Sheriff.  It appeared Red John and Dumar were luring Jane into a trap and Dumar claimed that Red John wanted Jane and that he had plans for him.  In the episode we saw who is perceived to be Red John watching the scene unfold from upstairs via a security monitor calm, drinking a cup of tea.  While Red John and Dumar's plan appeared to have been working, with no obvious tells that Lisbon and Jane were in fact on to the duo attempting to capture Red John, the illusive serial killer still seemed to be a step ahead.  Red John showed patience, restraint and foresight as he never intended on showing his face to Patrick hence the camera feed and he had an escape plan ready as even with the swarm of police and Lisbon interrupting them somehow Red John still managed to evade capture.  I think this gives us a huge insight into his character, similar to Jane's mannerisms he sips tea calmly surveying the situation indicating he is refined and not impulsive as every move is carefully planned and thought through showing he uses his followers to not only collect information before he plans out his moves but also puts them in danger keeping himself removed from the situation.  This is also the case with Lorelei as he uses her to approach Jane.  This fact makes me wonder if Red John could be someone well-known to Jane such as Bertram or Haffner as he appears to keep his distance operating as the one pulling the strings never to be seen by his audience.  On the other hand, Red John's fascination with Jane may have got the better of him, either wanting to study his techniques up close which points in the direction of Bret Stiles or unable to avoid coming face-to-face with the team such as Sheriff McAlister.  Their story plays out like a large chess game, with Red John dangling his queen in front of Jane and while Lisbon doesn't have the foresight the two men possess, often running into the pre-laid trap, Jane like his nemesis, has the ability to see it as the elaborate ruse it is. 

3. Why has Red John developed such a connection with Jane?

  • I believe that the hero vs. villain complex connects to Red John's fascination with Jane.  Red John is easily able to manipulate many people but I believe he sees Jane as a unique challenge.  As Moriarty is to Sherlock Holmes, Red John is to Jane; a worthy adversary and if he is able to convert Jane that would be the ultimate achievement.  I think we see this first when Red John murders Jane's family rather than Jane himself after Patrick appeared on television claiming to understand Red John.  Before this Patrick was nothing more than a conman, by killing Jane's loved ones Red John in essence altered Patrick's course in life, he became a better person, helping law enforcement rather than scamming people out of their money.  I think Red John may use this to show Patrick how he really helped him to find a worthy path thus manipulating him into joining Red John's cause.  It's possible that Red John doesn't see himself as a villain but as a savior which is why his followers so easily view him as a messiah.  He has reached out to Jane in the past and when it was clear Jane wasn't ready Red John took a step back.  Now with only six suspects remaining Red John knows it's time for his endgame with his final goal to either force Patrick to see things from his perspective or show his dominance by ultimately killing Patrick, Lisbon or the whole team.

4. What does Sophie's evaluation of Red John tell us?

  • He complains of severe acrophobia.  While Lisbon and Jane take this to be a clue as to Red John's identity paying very close attention to Sheriff McAllister's avoidance of heights, as it was something Red John told Sophie it may or may not be true.  He needed a reason to visit the shrink and just as his name was fake, this could be a faux complaint to get him in the door.  Even Sophie notes that while she believes he fears something it may or may not be heights.  This is the type of clue you must take with a grain of salt, it may be an accurate characteristic of Red John or it may be nothing more than subterfuge.
  • He has no living family but many friends.  I think that this is a big clue into Red John's psyche as he has killed both Jane's family and Lorelei's sister.  He may view having loved ones as a weakness and feels it is necessary to cut ties.  This is common in many cults, to separate yourself from friends and family outside the group, however in Red John's philosophy this means death.  While Lisbon and Jane are just friends, when Red John offers his friendship to Patrick he asks Jane to murder her to prove he is committed.  Though Red John has many friends, he has proved that when necessary he will kill them without a second thought making them useful allies but at the same time completely dispensable.
  • He is a good whistler.  This is a clue that has only been identified with Ray Haffner as we have not had the opportunity to hear the others' whistling skills.
  • His self-presentation is pleasant but there are hints in his behavior of a damaged and narcissistic personality.  As far as this goes, it could really be any of the men as a psychiatrist may pick up on small ticks not obvious to the layman.  However, I think that Bret Stiles, Gale Bertram and Robert Kirkland all show this type of mentality, a false sense of calm while it's clear other feelings are brewing inside.
  • He says he deals with conflict and adversary easily, but Sophie is not convinced about this.  Bertram does seem to deal with issues well however, as a politician this may simply be a face he puts on.  Stiles also doesn't seem to be bothered by conflict as when accused of multiple crimes he portrays a serene sense rather than scrambling to clear his name.  Kirkland, Haffner, Partridge and McAllister clearly show their dismay and anger on the outside lowering my suspicions of them.  
With all of that history and Red John psychology out of the way, let's jump right into the suspects, their traits and why or why not they may be The Mentalist's greatest villain the elusive Red John.

Let's begin with Bret Stiles, head of Visualize, a massive self-realization center with thousands of members that has a cult-like mentality.  When Stiles first appeared, I turned to my husband and said "that's Red John".  My reasoning was simple, he fit the heroes vs. villains theory to a tee, along with possessing all of the qualities known to Red John.  Stiles is intelligent, patient and has been able to use similar techniques as Jane to convert masses of people who will do anything for him as we have seen with Red John.  In addition, Visualize has members in all forms of government and law enforcement agencies as well as vast amounts of money allowing for Red John to build his network of disciples and moles.  Stiles also plays like a politician with close friends in high places all qualities that would be useful to Red John.  Along these lines Stiles began as a kind of nemesis to Patrick as he uses Jane's old forms of manipulation to convert people to Visualize as well as receive large donations from his benefactors, but over the years Stiles and Jane have become closer as Jane occasionally confides in Stiles as his view of the man changed (once claiming he wouldn't hurt a fly) and reached out to him for help in breaking Lorelei out of prison.  If Stiles is Red John, it plays out as almost a long con in which he has slowly begun to convert Jane into recognizing he's not the monster Jane first viewed him as.  However, Visualize's mantra to control rage or negative emotions may provide more backing for my theory or blow it apart.  Here's why: killing multiple people seems like it stems from negative emotions however, Red John is a patient killer and part of his philosophy may be a skewed version of right versus wrong.  He may view what he is doing as somehow righting wrongs committed against himself or his disciples, such as slaying false prophets and copycat killers.
While Bret Stiles is the head and founder of Visualize, I don't believe the cult is synonymous with Red John followers.  More likely is the idea that Visualize provides Red John access to a vast amount of vulnerable people whom he can pluck members who are either useful to him or are easy converts for his ways.  An example of this is Lorelei, who Patrick says that by murdering her sister Red John made her a victim thus more susceptible to his philosophy in which she easily adapted his ways.  On the topic of Lorelei, we know that Red John wanted her and Jane to connect as he sent her to aid Jane and attempt to convert him.  The fact that Stiles' is the one who ultimately helped Jane reconnect with Lorelei by aiding in her escape from prison is highly suspicious in my opinion.  While one could argue that she was no longer under Red John's control at that point I have my doubts as if Patrick was able to locate her Red John surely could have found her as well with his network of inside people and kill her as Jane predicted.  The fact that he didn't leads me to believe that until her discovery that Red John may have killed her sister and she went rogue, she was still working for the manipulative killer and Bret Stiles involvement gives further traction to the idea that he is in fact Red John.  In addition, after Lorelei and Jane parted ways Red John had no problem locating her when neither Jane nor the police could and ultimately killed her giving further proof of his abilities to locate someone when he pleases.  I believe that it was not by any magic that Red John was able to deduce the list of suspects Jane had narrowed down, but rather by intensive questioning to uncover what exactly Lorelei had told Jane thus producing the same seven suspects.  The only dilemma I face now is that Stiles seems much too obvious of a choice and after searching for Red John for seven seasons and I believe the writers want it to be a huge surprise.  Nevertheless, Stiles has the power, the money, the devoted followers and the personality to be Jane's biggest nemesis and remains a plausible suspect as the elusive Red John.

We know that Brett Partridge isn't the nefarious killer as he was murdered this season in a Red John plot to draw out Lisbon and boast his superiority to Jane once again by showing him that the team wouldn't be able to trick him while simultaneously proving that he could hurt the person closest to Jane as he did to Patrick's wife and daughter so many years ago.  Partridge was a CBI forensic analysis that we have seen Jane bump heads with many times.  While it seems from my research that he was a favorite amongst viewers as Red John, I never shared this opinion as he had little respect for Jane's tactics and we know that Red John is not only similar to Jane but uses the same type of "mentalist" tricks to sway followers to his cause.  Partridge was the crime scene tech that disagreed when Jane instantly called out a copycat-killing in Red John's name.  To me this showed that he wasn't nearly as observant as Jane and I never would have thought he'd make it to the final list.  This happened again in a case where Partridge claimed spontaneous combustion was the cause of death whereas Jane recognized it as a murder instantly noting the two glasses on the table implying the victim had a guest.  Partridge always seemed antagonistic towards Jane, not at all manipulative and often far behind against Jane's skills not at all like the master serial-killer who could have become great friends with Jane the moment they shook hands.  As we now know Partridge isn't Red John, I'd like to make a few comments regarding his death and what it means.
As soon as Lisbon began a trace on the seven suspects' phones Jane predicted Red John would not only know but use this knowledge to trick the team.  When a distress call came in with Partridge's phone at the same location Lisbon rushed to find out what was going on.  Earlier in the episode the team had had a falling out with Sacramento PD and I believe Red John knew this thus when Lisbon called for backup they would not rush to her aid giving him time to complete his plan as well anticipating Lisbon's curiosity would get the best of her and she would come to check it out.  All this knowledge confirms Red John has a good deal of connections and likely multiple followers inside each branch of law enforcement updating him with everything going on with Jane and his team.  I feel like Partridge was the low-hanging fruit, the least plausible suspect thus killing him gave Red John the ability to make his point while at the same time not giving away his identity.  Back when he reached out a hand to Jane and via Lorelei invited Jane to be his friend Red John insisted Patrick kill Lisbon as a gesture of good faith.  This shows me a pattern as Red John also killed Lorelei's sister which Jane explained was Red John's way of making her a victim that Red John could then rescue.  The same was true for Jane, instead of murdering him as Red John has done to others who claim to know him or copycat his work, he murdered his family making Jane a victim as well as changing the course of his life from conman to do-gooder.  In this episode Red John didn't murder Lisbon but rather marked his presence with his smiley-face signature atop Lisbon's face.  I believe that there are two reasons that could explain why he did this.  The first is that Red John has developed feelings or cares for Lisbon, which points to a few select suspects on the list.  The second is that part of Red John's philosophy requires you give up your earthy ties, similar to love being a weakness rather than a strength.  As when Red John first liberated Patrick and changed the course of his life, he did him a favor as Red John saw high potential in him, but now Patrick has become close to Lisbon making her a weakness and for Patrick to overcome his vengeance towards Red John and transform that rage into potential it must be Patrick who kills her.  However at the same time Red John wanted to show Patrick that the past could in fact happen again and he had the chance to kill the person Jane cares about the most, but did not proving his superiority, that he still had the power to hurt Jane, while simultaneously showing mercy by refraining.      

Gale Bertram has been the head of the CBI and Lisbon's supervisor for some time now.  When first introduced as well as throughout his time on The Mentalist I have viewed him as a dopey, clueless leader.  However, he is a bureaucrat and a politician meaning that he must possess skills in manipulation as well as the ability to maintain a good poker face to have kept the position for so long.  While I never saw him as a plausible suspect as Red John, especially after he was cleared in the season three finale, the idea of the elusive mastermind and Bertram being one makes me consider the possibility of a completely different ending to Jane and Red John's journey.  Rather than the idea of Red John attempting to convert Patrick to his philosophy as a friend, if it is in fact Bertram I could easily picture him morphing into a genuinely psychopathic villain with his asinine simile transforming like the Cheshire cat into a truly evil figure.  Bertram was thought to be one of Red John's moles previously when Hightower was framed and wanted by the CBI.  Jane informed the CBI that he knew where she was and would get her to come in and give a statement but purposely leaked her fake whereabouts to the suspects in a ruse and gave them each a different floor of a hotel so when Red John's assassin came to murder Hightower they would be able to identify the mole depending on which floor they entered.  As Bertram was one of the suspects, but cleared as the mole, if he is in fact Red John, he would have easily caught onto Jane's scheme as the hotel room leaked to him differed from the room given to Red John's mole.  By having the assassin enter Bertram's room and scale down to the actual moles room, Red John may very well have been playing a psychological game with Jane.  There are a few other Red John hints surrounding Bertram for example, he insisted that Jane continue to consult for the CBI even when the rest of the team was disbanded and Lisbon was fired, possibly wanting him to stay close in order to monitor any traction he made in the Red John case.  Another strange clue was Bertram awkwardly quoting William Blake in a scene, the same author as the Tyger poem.  This could merely be a coincidence as love of literature stretches across the population and isn't a trait only shared by murders.  On the other hand, Bertram has shown many traits opposite Red John such as the ability to be gracefully defeated when outsmarted in the past as Lisbon used the media to force Bertram's hand on one occasion and Jane used the cover-up Bertram created in cahoots with Alexa Shultz to threaten Bertram into attempting to keep Lorelei in CBI custody.  Red John is narcissistic and doesn't seem like the type to bow out when beat, so I see these actions as clues that Bertram is in fact not Red John.  Although Bertram does have ties to Alexa Shultz, an FBI agent whom early on asked Bertram's predecessor Virgil Minelli to keep her informed on the CBI's progress with the Red John case, it seems as if any head of the CBI would.  If Bertram is Red John his connection to Shultz may imply that she is one of his followers or friends and prior to having a high post in the CBI where he has the power to monitor the case himself he needed the then CBI head to keep him informed on the case.  Overall, Bertram seems more interested in maintaining his image and climbing the political ladder and has allowed Jane to manipulate him due to this.  He doesn't appear to be very witty and certainly not two steps ahead at every turn.  Bertram's position gives him power and the ability to make connections with other high ranking government officials meaning he can ask them for favors without revealing himself as Red John or necessarily converting them to his followers.  While he doesn't have the qualities that Red John seems to possess, he isn't charismatic nor does he appear to have similar traits as Jane, I still could imagine him as the nefarious murder which doesn't sit well with me.  As I mentioned before, if Gale Bertram is Red John I imagine chaos and possibly death or near death experiences to hit the team as he wouldn't be the friendly nemesis who wants Jane to convert to his side but rather an evil mastermind who plans on blowing the team apart.    

Ray Haffner was a former FBI agent working in the Organized Crime division who became Jane's supervisor at the CBI after Lisbon and her team were disbanded.  While Jane easily manipulated Ray and his team, Haffner did show some intelligence while attempting to keep Jane in check but ultimately failed as Patrick was able to get the former gang back together, thus it seems unlikely that this is the criminal mastermind we are searching for.  However, there is the possibility that Red John in fact wanted Lisbon and Jane working together casting the slightest bit of doubt that if Haffner is in fact Red John he failed on purpose.  Haffner then left the CBI and started up his own private security firm which he attempted to recruit Lisbon to as well which seems to blow apart the idea that if he is Red John that he wanted her to work with Jane.  Yet, at the same time this may have been a test that could have served two purposes.  First to see how strong the bond between Lisbon and Jane was as Haffner offered her a position with more money and power yet she refused.  Or second, as I spoke of above in Brett Partridge's section Red John may have developed feelings for Lisbon and if Haffner is Red John this could be him acting on those feelings or even attempting to see if he could separate Lisbon from Patrick without it resulting in her death as whether or not Red John has feelings for Lisbon it seems clear Haffner has grown fond of her.  If he is the infamous Red John, the security firm would give him the freedom he needed to continue his work as he had already created a vast network of moles and friends planted inside the CBI, FBI and other law enforcement and government agencies, similar to Bret Stiles' trip to set up another Visualize camp in Jakarta that seems to coincide with Red John's hiatus.  On the topic of Stiles, Haffner is a self-proclaimed member of Visualize.  This could mean three things; either he is easily manipulated meaning he's not Red John or rather that Haffner uses the Visualize network that contains vast amounts of people who can be influenced into crossing over into Red John disciples.  The third option is possibly both.  Haffner says that he joined Visualize when he was a teenager going through issues, he may have been more susceptible to the cult then and has learned and adopted their techniques to become Red John.  While at the FBI Haffner specialized in wiretaps and surveillance an asset that would immensely help Red John whether Haffner is the omniscient serial killer or perhaps one of his disciples.  Although Red John seems fixed on Jane, Haffner appears to have no tolerance for Jane's nonsense and is much more interested in agent Lisbon.  As I hypothesized above, this may be a clue as Red John did not kill Lisbon when he had the chance, perhaps because, like Haffner, he has grown fond of her or simply because Red John and Haffner are the same.  However, his interest in Lisbon may be a means to an end as she has become the person Jane is closet to after the murder of his family thus by becoming close to her he also has a foothold on someone Jane holds dear able to reek the most havoc on Jane's life.  He is also a good whistler as Sophie pointed out in her description of Red John.  Haffner's temper in addition to his total impatience and dislike of Patrick sway me away from the idea that he is in fact Red John.  Overall, I still don't believe that Haffner is cunning, manipulative, patient or connected enough to be the mysterious mastermind behind it all, but I'm not ruling him out. 

Reede Smith is another member of law enforcement working for the FBI out of California.  He only appears in one episode prior to this season making it difficult to assess his personality.  While many have noticed that the letters in his name can be rearranged to spell out "the red is me", I don't think this is really any kind of damning evidence.  As we have seen before in companies owned by Red John or with aliases he often likes to play around with anagrams and word meanings like this, however I highly doubt his true identity would contain a play on words unless he changed his birth-given name.  On that topic, the FBI does extensive background checks and a change of name would likely send up a red flag, pardon the pun, making it difficult for him to become an agent.  The importance of Smith being in the season five premiere episode is that it focuses on the struggle for custody of Lorelei Martins between the CBI and FBI.  However, as I have stated before Red John wanted Lorelei and Jane to get together and while Jane is sure Red John will kill her if she is in FBI custody he doesn't leaning me towards the idea that he still viewed her as an asset because if Jane was able to locate her within the FBI system, surely Red John with all of his resources and FBI friends would have been able to as well.  Overall, Reede doesn't seem to fit the criteria for Red John in anyway, he isn't particularly witty, manipulative or any match against Jane's methods.  He holds a low level post at the FBI which means he doesn't possess much power or the ability to make connections with high ranking members of other agencies.  If Reede Smith is involved with Red John, it would likely be as one of his friends in the FBI but not the mysterious murderer himself.   

Robert Kirkland works for the Department of Homeland Security and is known to be Friends with FBI agent Alexa Shultz as well as connections within other agencies, likely because when someone shows up saying the DHS is interested they comply.  His ongoing interest in Red John along with his mystique make him a probable candidate for the illustrious serial killer but I think he might have ulterior motives driving him.  Kirkland is first introduced in the 100th episode a flash-back episode showing how Jane first became involved with the CBI and began his investigation in Red John via the CBI's files.  It was a small tidbit occurring at the end of the episode when Agent Shultz spoke with the then head of the CBI Virgil Minelli and asked for an update on the Red John case.  Following her conversation she tells Kirkland that it's "done" meaning she will be getting updates on the case from the CBI in which he replies "Thank You".  To me it seems as if they both may be Red John-devotees as with Kirkland's position in the DHS he could have easily made the call as he has since played the same card and weaseled his way into investigations.  On the other hand, Kirkland could be Red John but not ready to introduce himself to the CBI so early in the game.  Shultz also informs Minelli that his new consultant Patrick Jane has been in an insane asylum the past year, planting a seed of uncertainty to Jane's new boss.  Shultz seemed much more manipulative than Kirkland in the episode however, Kirkland was using her like a pawn as we know Red John frequently does.  What concerns me most about Kirkland is that he seems much more interested in Lorelei Martins than Red John.  He inserts himself into the search for Lorelei after Bret Stiles aids in her release from prison.  As Red John sent Lorelei to Jane in the first place, it's a guessing game as to whether she is still under his control at that point.  While Jane thought Red John would have her killed, she managed to survive her prison term and if Jane was able to locate her it seems as if Red John with his vast network of friends and followers would've been able to find and kill her had that been his intention.  Instead Kirkland seems to be behind in the game and when Lorelei does go off grid in search of her sister's murderer and discovers John Lennon as a part of the conspiracy, Kirkland approaches Lennon in his hospital and asks Lennon if he recognizes him, Lennon denies but Kirkland injects air into his IV killing him all the same.  This all points to Kirkland being one of Red John's disciples, likely involved with Lorelei and her sister, who is attempting to cover his tracks as he doesn't want to be taken down with Red John.  While at first he helped the serial killer gain updates about the case, possibly because Red John knew Kirkland was involved with the death of Lorelei's sister, he always seems two steps behind Jane chasing Lorelei and tying up loose ends which tells me he is not the mastermind we seek.  In addition, when the two first encountered Jane asked "do I know you" and Kirkland replied "no, but I know you" which didn't seem like an introduction in which they'd instantly become friends but rather like a cop to a suspect as he had been following Jane and his work.  Kirkland carries an air of mystique making him a good candidate, he doesn't strike me as a master manipulator but simply a man with something to hide.

Sheriff McAllister is the suspect that baffles me the most.  He appears in one episode, prior to this season, as the credulous sheriff of Napa county who is perplexed by Jane's "clairvoyance" as Jane proceeds to beat him at rock, paper, scissors repeatedly.  He doesn't appear to have much influence outside of Napa county, he doesn't seem to have the capability to woe dozens of loyal followers nor are his wits anything close to what we would expect of Red John.  While this may be a ruse, as Red John could camouflage his superior intelligence when first coming face-to-face with Patrick, this sheriff doesn't possess any of the qualities of a high-functioning serial killer with a devout group of disciples.  Since we haven't seen very much of him, it's hard to obtain any further insight into his personality.  In an episode this season we saw him refuse to climb a ladder which adds suspicion for Jane and Lisbon as the psychiatrist's notes claimed who they believe to be Red John is acrophobic.  However, since they have narrowed down the suspects to six people the group has observed everyone with heightened suspicion so I don't put much stock into McAllister's refusal to ascend the ladder.  I wrote this before watching the entire episode and low and behold Sheriff McAllister proved he's not in fact acrophobic so I guess I'm on the right track!  Basically, the Sheriff doesn't seem to share traits with Patrick nor does he appear to possess much intellect or the ability to manipulate people as Red John has.  His position lends some power, but not much and I really cannot see how he could be the infamous serial killer.  There is a possibility, as with most names on the list, that he is a disciple of Red John but in all honesty he simply comes off as the banal sheriff and nothing more.

The suspects that stand out most to me are Bret Stiles and Gale Bertram, both men have ties to politics, possess power and are in the position to make high ranking friends within various agencies, Stiles is known to be a mass-manipulator while Bertram excels at spinning stories and covering-up mistakes in order to maintain his image.  However, the two men couldn't be more different as I stated before Stiles appears to be attempting to win Jane over while if Bertram is discovered to be Red John it would be a huge mark against the CBI whom he works effortlessly to maintain it's good name.  The other top suspects are Ray Haffner and Robert Kirkland as they both possess a bit of mystique as if they are hiding something, unfortunately neither man seems to have the wits to match Jane as Red John does.  On many of the tidbits above I mentioned that the suspects could be disciples or friends of Red John whether it be their interest in the case, their positions in law enforcement or their past acts or comments it appears they have some ulterior motives which is a great move by the writers as it gives them enough mystery to be a plausible suspect but not enough of Red John's characteristics to be the mastermind himself.  While I feel good about my knowledge of The Mentalist, this is all based on memories from the last five years.  Thus I will be going back and watching the episodes with the six suspects as well as all the pertinent Red John episodes and updating this post.  In addition, as we learn new clues from this season I will make the necessary adjustments so be sure to check back!  I'd love to hear your thoughts so feel free to comment below and I reply to all my comments so let's get a dialogue going!  Thanks for reading and I look forward to how the search for the infamous Red John continues.  Enjoy! 


  1. What a great look at the Red John list, I enjoy the show but had forgot a lot of details. I really look forward to any more posts you make

    1. Isn't it funny how the one we suspect the least turns out to be the one we should suspect the most?