The Mentalist

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mentalist /'men-tə-list/ noun. Someone who uses mental acuity, hypnosis and/or suggestion. A master manipulator of thoughts and behavior.

Lisbon: I apologize for my colleague...
Jane: No, she doesn’t! I retract that apology.

Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) is a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation, but rather than using knowledge of applied sciences, he uses the knowledge of human behavior. Armed with only the Sherlock Scan, suggestions and hypnosis, Jane often reveals overlooked details to the amusement of his team, when he's not keeping them in the dark for kicks. He used to claim that he was psychic by using these abilities, until he profiles a serial killer named "Red John." Insulted, Red John killed his family and left a note calling him out on this.

Leading the team is Agent Teresa Lisbon who, when not blasting him for breaking protocol (or flirting with him), accepts Jane as very useful for closing cases. Rounding out the team are Agents Kimball Cho, Wayne Rigsby and rookie Grace Van Pelt.

Not to be confused with Psych; they both at first glance appear to be the same show, (which the producers of Psych love to point out) but one's a "Dramedy" whereas The Mentalist is a straight-up drama in the same vein as sister shows CSI and NCIS, though it does still have some comic relief. Psych appears to be the inverse version of the Mentalist. Where Shaun often tells people he's a psychic and people are incredulous, Jane often gets asked if he's a psychic and has to tell them that he's not.


Tropes used in The Mentalist include:
  • Abusive Parent: Lisbon's father. Jane's probably qualifies too, at least for emotional abuse.
  • Actually a Doombot: Jane kills a man who claims to be Red John in the Season 3 finale. In the Season 4 premiere, it turns out the man was merely one of Red John's accomplices.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Also Lisbon's father. She is thus hard on other alcoholic parents she meets.
  • Always Save the Girl: Jane claims that he will always save Lisbon, which is one part incredibly sweet coming from wildly untruthful and dangerously unpredictable flirt-machine Jane and one part hilarious, because Lisbon could kick Jane's ass. She is always the one who shoots/catches/kicks the shit out of the bad guy, often saving Jane in the process.
    • Of course, in the Season One finale "Red John's Footsteps," Jane does save Lisbon at the cost of killing the one man who could have led him to Red John (even after declaring that he would rather die himself than let Red John continue to live free).
  • Artistic License Religion: The portrayal of Wicca on the episode "Red Rum" was a source of much outrage to actual Wiccans and Neo-Pagans. In their eyes, the "Wiccan priestess" on the show was pretentious, irresponsible, and utterly immoral. It goes without saying that while every religion abhors murder, using magic (considered a sacred gift from the God and Goddess) to murder someone is beyond blasphemy. The characters consider the religion of Wicca and the practice of witchcraft as interchangeable (though this mistake is made in real life too) and have very dismissive opinions on it. Rigsby even goes so far as calling it an "alternative lifestyle like Star Trek or yoga."
    • Although it could be seen that the "priestess" was an attention-seeking girl with no understanding of the faith she claimed to follow, viewers were not shown any contrast to this image, which is essential in portraying something that most viewers know little to nothing about. For the curious, we here at TV Tropes have a comprehensive page on Wicca. "The pentacle" is a symbol of "black magic and human sacrifice" indeed... Not that any other contemporary portrayal of Wicca (or even Islam and other large but less American religions) in crime shows is any better. If someone who isn't Christian shows up, there's a good chance they'll be weird or suspicious enough to be a murder suspect.
    • Not that they typically get Christianity right, either. Most depictions of any religion in fictional works tend to be some version of Crystal Dragon Jesus for whatever religion is being portrayed.
  • Asshole Victim: Tons, the worst being the victim of "Red Carpet Treatment", who had brutally raped and murdered a woman in the past and had every intention of doing the same to an ex-girlfriend of his.
  • The Atoner: Jane, whenever a case brings him into contact with someone that he scammed back in his psychic con artist days.
  • Attention Whore: Jane should have known better than badmouthing a serial killer in a nationwide TV show...
    • After the murder of his wife and daughter, he does know better. In fact, he berates Kristina Frye with Out of Character agitation when he sees her calling out to Red John on TV.
    • He even knows better than that. In "Blinking Red Light", knowing that the serial killer in the episode is an Attention Whore himself, Jane tricks him to do exactly what Jane had done in the past: badmouthing Red John in TV. In the next scene, that killer winds up gruesomely murdered, Red John-style.
  • Batman Gambit: Jane is very good at pulling these off. In the episode "Red Sauce", he deliberately enraged a retired mafia boss and called him on the phone. Once the mafia boss started yelling and threatening Jane, he handed the phone to the murder suspect. The suspect, thinking these threats were aimed at her, and afraid of the approaching mafia hitman (actually Rigsby in disguise, told by Jane what clothes to wear), confessed to the murder.
    • Another example from the episode "Black Gold and Red Blood": Jane, despite being imprisoned, would like to ask victim's brother-in-law Ronny some questions regarding the case. After learning agent Rigsby is on his way to question Ronny, Jane calls Rigsby and tells him of his strong feeling that Ronny will be hostile and aggressive towards him. Next, he calls Ronny, identifies himself as agent Rigsby, and taunts him with his alleged homosexuality and him being ex-marine. So, when real agent Rigsby arrives, Ronny punches him in rage. He ends up in the same prison as Jane, so Jane is now able to ask his questions.
      • Which grows even more complex and awesome when Jane reveals he wanted to talk to the guy visiting Ronny. Good may be an understatement.
    • When Jayne is forced to work with another team, he quickly notices that one agent is self conscious about his height and the team lead is a strong believer in surveillance. He uses this knowledge to trick and sabotage them.
    • Season 4 "Blinking Red Light". Jane basically pits off Red John and the Monster of the Week against each other. How? By belittling the attention-hungry monster in comparison of Red John, he tricks the monster to badmouth Red John in TV (like Jane had done in the past), which causes the pissed off Red John (who doesn't tolerate public slander) to kill that monster as retaliation. With this gambit, Jane manages to both kill the monster and force Red John to resurface.
      • Seems to be a case of Out-Gambitted. Red John never cared a whit that anyone thought he was dead and probably knew that Jane thought he was manipulating him; Red John has taken the opportunity to mess with Jane further by stalking the FBI agent investigating the murder and, later, killing the morgue assistant who let Jane bring Red John's blind ex-girlfriend confirm that the fake-Red John Jane killed was not Red John (confused yet?) and dumping the body in his blind ex's house for the police to find. He has taken to directly taunting Jane via webcam and other means too, and the FBI agent he is stalking rightly suspects Jane covered up the fact that Red John was still alive so Jane might go to jail for his convoluted scheming.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: When trespassing, Jane easily convinced the police that he was the homeowner and that the true homeowner was the trespasser, or at least seriously confused them. This is by no means an isolated incident.
  • Becoming the Mask: The undercover Dirty Cop who kills a fellow undercover narc in "Pink Top". The cop is tired of shitty pay and thankless work, therefore joins the drug dealers. In fact, Jane realizes that the police officer is truly dirty when he notices that the cop no longer bothers to change out of undercover clothes upon getting back to HQ.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Patrick Jane and Kristina Frye.
  • Big Bad: Red John, whoever he really is. He's the only consistent villain and he has his own Myth Arc.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In "Pretty Red Balloons", when an AK-armed killer pins down both Cho and Rigsby and then holds Lisbon at kill-shot, it's up to Van Pelt to save the night.
  • Big Damn Villains: Red John himself comes to Jane's rescue in the Season 2 finale.
  • Big Eater: Rigsby.
    • Averted increasingly. His constant snacking during cases and stakeouts seems to fade almost entirely by season two. This is possibly due to actor Owain Yeoman becoming a vegetarian in Real Life.
    • Jane qualifies as well, he seems to take every opportunity to eat. Starting from the pilot where he casually goes to the kitchen and makes a sandwich before questioning the mother of the murder victim.
      • Jane also makes tea whenever possible, usually when talking to a suspect and sometimes after illegally entering.
  • Blind Driving: Happens twice, both times by Jane. The first time he is temporarily blind and guided by Grace in the passenger seat, while the second time he is blindfolded and guided by the unconscious reactions of Walter Mashburn in the passenger seat. Surprisingly, he fares much better in the latter case. Considering in the latter case he totaled a half million dollar car, you can imagine how badly the first went.
  • Bluffing the Murderer: Pretty common tactics by Jane.
  • Bluff the Eavesdropper: Used in the Season 3 finale to give one of the CBI employees who might be Red John's spies the room number of a person they were hiding. The person is actually somewhere else, and the room number is a trick to reveal who is Red John's spy.
  • Bondage Is Bad: In "Red Rover, Red Rover", Jane calls out the victim's co-worker for being into "whips and latex". Well, he also handcuffed a coworker and BURIED HIM ALIVE, so... a subversion?
  • Boring Invincible Hero: Patrick Jane. Out of all the wild, insane statements and hunches he makes, he's never been wrong. EVER.
    • Also Cho seems to always be right and know things he has no way of knowing. But compared to Patrick it doesn't seem so obvious.
  • Break the Cutie: The entire reason Jane joined CBI.
    • Van Pelt's fiance, FBI Special Agent O'Laughlin, turned out to be The Mole for Red John in the Season 3 finale, and she was forced to shoot him dead. In Season 4, Van Pelt has shown a definite personality change into a version of Knight in Sour Armor.
  • Briar Patching: In Season 3, when Jane is captured by Rachel and ends up tied to a pole in the same room with a dead man, he begs her to remove the corpse because he supposedly can't stand the stench. Her reaction was to move the corpse closer to him, which is exactly what he wanted (so he could search the dead man's pockets).
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Jane. Sometimes veering into Crazy Awesome, as his bizarre manner frequently puts people around him off their game.
  • The Butler Did It: In Season 3's "The Red Mile", Jane gleefully exclaims this, while running around nearly beside himself with excitement. Though the butler was driving the car to Jane's prearranged trap, it was actually the rich mother-in-law that did it.
  • Calling Card: "Red John" leaves a smiley face painted in blood at every murder. In the first episode, the location where one was painted disproved that "Red John" was the murderer. Led to some slight Memetic Mutation online, particularly on Facebook.
  • Catch Phrase: She doesn't say it a hell of a lot, but Van Pelt developed a fondness for saying "eureka" once she learned what it means.
  • Celibate Hero: Jane has been disinterested in relationships ever since the death of his wife. He is, however, a terrible flirt.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Jane does this to the team in the first episode of the second season.
  • Charity Ball: There's one to raise funds for the CBI.
  • The Charmer: Jane. Jesus God. He is the absolute epitome of this trope. Also: Jane.
  • Check, Please!: After he kills an accomplice of Red John's, Jane asks one for his tea.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The corrupt doctor in "Pilot" gives vital information for the CBI to rescue Jane in Season Three's "Ball of Fire".
  • Chekhov's Gun: An actual gun is used as one in "Red Brick and Ivy".
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Literally. Bosco's secretary Rebecca turns out to be an operative for Red John.
    • There are two guards who are approaching Jane at the end of Strawberry and Cream. One of them has camera focused on him, for no more than two seconds. That guard takes away Red John's accomplice's gun and phone, effectively putting Jane on the murder of an unarmed man.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Rigsby background as an arson investigator is first mentioned in "Flame Red". It comes in handy investigating a firefighter's murder in "Red Fugue".
  • The Chessmaster: Jane frequently gets murderers to incriminate themselves this way. Sometimes he even lets his coworkers in on the plan.
    • Red John too, who "has no allies, only pawns." At least two serial killers have a connection to him, and he had a mole in the CBI. He also spies on them via their own security cameras. He also has some kind of connection with the cult Visualize, which directed CBI to one of his abducted victims.
  • Church of Happyology: Visualize. Led by Malcom McDowell. It uses straight-up violence in addition to legal harassment. They also have some kind of link with Red John.
  • Class Reunion: The subject of an entire episode in Season Two, where the Alpha Bitch and Jerk Jock pulled off one of the worst high school pranks ever. Jane singled out the suspect by having Rigsby pretend to be the victim of that prank. The episode also provided a Crowning Moment of Funny: Jane accidentally talking the all-grown-up nerd into a brawl with the Jerk Jock and his posse.
  • Collapsed Mid-Speech: A chef does this.
  • Complexity Addiction: If the killer in "Jolly Red Elf" had just left the victim dead on his couch, the death would most likely have been passed off as accidental alcohol poisoning. Instead, she forced him to put on his Santa costume and pushed him off the roof of the building, drawing a huge amount of attention to the death - which still might have been passed off as a drunken accident if she hadn't also planted a suicide note, which the police took all of five minutes to confirm wasn't in the victim's handwriting.
  • Con Men Hate Guns: Jane doesn't usually carry a weapon, and mostly avoids physical violence altogether, but he seems to have a particular dislike of firearms. Being held at gunpoint upsets him visibly more than it does the other characters (who in fairness, are cops, and thus have an excuse for being unusually composed), and he handles guns very, very carefully when he handles them at all. This makes the few times he does use them in Season One, saving Lisbon's life, and in Season Three, in an attempt to exact his vengeance on Red John a bit more shocking.
  • Cool Car : Jane's vintage Citroen DS.
  • Cowboy Cop: The whole team at times, but special mention goes to Jane and Cho. Jane isn't even a cop and somehow manages to always get away with blatant disregard for any rules, and Cho, who's proven just as eager as Jane to step over boundaries is an extremely interesting variation of the trope... really, how often is the Cowboy Cop also The Stoic?
    • Cho in "Blood In, Blood Out": "Mr. Reed, I apologize for accusing you of several crimes which I knew you had not committed. And for assaulting you. Repeatedly."
  • Crazy Prepared: In one episode, it is revealed that Jane routinely checks the shoe bottoms of people in wheelchairs for the off chance that they are faking it. He says that the events of the episode was the first time it payed off.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: There was one in "Code Red" regarding Lisbon and Jane's relationship before the series started, that Lisbon knew Jane would never swear on his child's grave, "not for anything". And "Every Rose has its Thorn" had Jane comment that he and Lisbon have known each other for seven years (although not that they have been working together that long).
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The only ones that don't have this haven't had much of their past revealed.
    • Jane had a morally-ambiguous and insensitive father and his own showboating got his wife and daughter murdered. Big surprise, he's been having some issues ever since.
    • Lisbon had an alcoholic father who, after the death of her mother, committed suicide and left her to care for her siblings. Though not before spending years having blackouts where he beat the crap out of them. She notably has major trust issues.
    • Cho apparently grew up on the shady side of the law, exposed to a lot of gang violence. He's very secretive, so we're not sure on the specifics.
    • Rigsby's father was a biker, which apparently didn't work out so well, as he really hates bikers.
    • Van Pelt grew up in a small town and was judged and held back based on her appearance and gender as a kid. This did not combine well with her ambition, and for a while she had trouble taking her focus off her work.
  • Dead Man's Chest: In "Redline", the killer stuffs the body into the trunk of a sports car when security shows up unexpectedly. The killer is unable to retrieve the body and the car ends up on the showroom floor.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lisbon, whether reacting to Jane's antics or Tasering a violent suspect. Cho as well, with emphasis on the 'deadpan'.
    • Jane slips into this when his sympathy runs out.
  • Death by Origin Story: Patrick Jane's wife and their daughter.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Lisbon. She's a lot more lenient with her team than she used to be, Jane and his wacky schemes in particular.
  • Disorganized Outline Speech: A suspect uses one in proclaiming his innocence.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Lisbon's team sometimes treats themselves to donuts (and pizza) as a reward for the successful closure of a case.
    • Jane tends to subtly mock other cops through donuts.
      • Hell, he once gives Bosco's unit a box full of doughnut as a symbol of truce, claiming that he quits pursuing Red John case. Once he is out of office, Bosco orders his men to throw the doughnut away. Unknown to the unit, Jane has secretly placed an eavesdropper at that time.
  • Dope Slap: Van Pelt gives one to Rigsby in "Red Bulls" for not wearing a bulletproof vest... while she's lying on a gurney after getting shot in her bulletproof vest.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: This is the dying act of O'Laughlin to spite Grace.
  • Driving Question: Who is Red John?
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Luther Wainwright.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Bosco.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Red John does NOT tolerate "poor imitations" of his work, and is even kind enough to spare the life of the patsy the main perpetrators of the plot blackmailed into it (with his mother's life no less) with merely a shot to the leg.
    • In the Season 4 episode "Pink Champagne on Ice", a woman who is planning to rob a casino kills her accomplice, finding him too evil as he laughs about killing the room-mate of the girl he kidnapped as a hostage. The woman, Trish, is prepared to kill the hostage and two people who can recognize her despite them giving her the money. She says she would have felt terrible about it though.
  • Everybody Lives: In "Ruby Slippers", the body in the burnt-up car was already dead to begin with and the supposed victim underwent a transformation.
  • Everyone Can See It: Everyone can see that Bosco is in love with Lisbon, apart from her.
    • Everyone can plainly see the sexual tension between Rigsby and Van Pelt as well (even the Attorney General of California, according to Lisbon). When they start secretly dating everyone catches on immediately... except for Lisbon.
  • Evil Plan: Red John's plans to thwart the CBI nearly always involve these.
    • The evilest one, in Season 3 finale. by sending an accomplice who pretends to be him to meet Jane, Red John essentially gives Jane damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't options. One, Jane kills the accomplice, but ends up in prison. Or, Jane doesn't kill the accomplice, but rots himself by the guilt of missing his best shot at (what he thought) Red John. Thankfully, Jane survives the battle, and the war goes on.
  • The Faceless: Red John, naturally. First time, he is shown from behind. Second time, he is seen wearing a mask.
    • The producers have promised Red John will finally be seen in Season 3 finale... but season four reveals it was only another accomplice.
  • Fair Cop: The whole cast.
    • Except for Jane. He's a consultant.
    • Lampshaded by Jane in "Red Capret Treatment" when he appears on Karen Cross's TV show and refers to Rigsby and Lisbon as "conveniently telogenic" cops.
  • Fan Service: Rigsby is seen wet and shirtless and then dry in a small t-shirt in "Blood Brothers".
    • Also, any time Cho wears a short-sleeved shirt.
    • Let's not forget Stacie Leah Rippy, even though her appearance was only for 1 episode as (obscure) character Kessie Dunningar (?).
    • Also in the same vein (i.e. Fan Service, but the Germans Love David Hasselhoff principle also applies here): Wendy Bruin and Amy Farrington who appeared as Sonya Mitchell in the episode "Red Gold".
    • The dead undercover narc in "Pink Top". That epically short skirt, tight dress, and big breasts...
  • Fan Service Pack: In the first season, Lisbon was rather frumpy. With Season 2, she got the usual upgrades - new hair, better clothes, high heels and she ain't frumpy no more!
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Whatever Red John does to Kristina, it makes her think that she is actually dead.
  • Filler: Anything that's not related to Red John Myth Arc or Rigsby-Van Pelt relationship, it is.
  • Financial Abuse: Jane's father, Alex. While traveling the carnival circuit, dear ol' dad took all of a $10,000 payday (that Patrick brought in by selling a con) and gave Patrick a mere pittance while he gambled the rest away with poker buddies.
  • Five-Man Band: With Jane as The Hero, Lisbon as The Lancer, Cho as The Smart Guy, Rigsby as The Big Guy, and Van Pelt as The Chick.
  • Fixing the Game: Jane starts out cheating using his psychic powers, later he just plain cheats.
  • A Fool for a Client: Jane represents himself in the trial mentioned below.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Jane is brought to trial for murdering Red John in Season 4 premiere. He is found not guilty. Surprise.
  • Friend to All Children: Jane loves children, possibly due to losing his daughter. Lisbon also seems to have a major soft spot.
    • Lisbon actively uses this against Jane in the premiere of the program's third season, bilking him into working on a case he didn't want to work by introducing him to the victim's daughter, who's about the same age Jane's daughter would have been were she alive. It works, and Jane's impressed, but he also tries to make her feel guilty about it for the rest of the episode and says that he's going to have his revenge.
  • Fun with Subtitles: In "Red Sauce" from the first season, the CBI has reason to suspect one Sonny Battaglia, a well-connected gangster type. Van Pelt mentions that he lives in Palm Desert and Jane, with notable interest, asks "Palm Desert, California?" Lisbon, realizing what he's thinking, immediately replies "No." "Palm Desert's not in California?" asks Jane. "No, you can't sneak off and try to talk to Sonny Battaglia!" replies Lisbon. Jane gives a giggle and says that he thought that she meant that Palm Desert wasn't in California. "It is in California, right?" The scene changes and a subtitle at the bottom of the screen reads "Palm Desert". There is a delay of about two to three seconds and then "California" appears underneath that.
  • Genre Savvy: In "Strawberries and Cream", Jane makes a presumptuous remark about how the situation will turn out. This is the norm for him throughout the entire series - Jane being extraordinarily Genre Savvy at any time of day - but since this is the third season finale, of course the con of the episode is being played with much higher stakes. Accordingly, the tension of the moment is high and instead of just rolling her eyes like usual, Lisbon points out how arrogant Jane is being. "Pleeeeease don't say that, nothing is foolproof. ...And stop being so confident! It makes me nervous." Those who have seen spoilers for Season Four know that Lisbon had the right idea. Within five minutes of the season four premiere, Jane will be in jail for homicide, and there will be no evidence of Red John's cellphone (with the call to O'Laughlin) or his gun. Acting extra confident in the season finale with the villain Red John who has proved time and again he's immensely more clever than Jane was not Jane's brightest move, but Lisbon got it.
  • Good Cop, Bad Cop: In "Red Gold", Jane tells Hightower, who is out in the field instead of Lisbon, that she can be "Bad Cop".
  • Guile Hero: Our friend Patrick Jane pretty much embodies this.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: The killer in "Red Alert", when confessing the details of his second murder, which he committed because the victim had stumbled across evidence that had the potential to reveal his attempt to frame someone else for his first murder, notes that "she said that she hadn't told anyone else [about the evidence], so I met her at her home [and killed her]."
  • He Cleans Up Nicely Kimball Cho! No business like Cho business!
  • Heroic BSOD: Jane, after coming home to discover the grisly scene of his family's murder. The episode "Red Brick and Ivy" reveals that the BSOD was what sent Jane off to a padded room for a while.
    • Jane undergoes brief BSODs when he unexpectedly sees the dead bodies in "His Red Right Hand" and "Aingavite Baa". It is possible Jane needs to mentally prepare himself before seeing a dead body, or seeing multiple dead bodies triggers flashbacks of finding his family.
  • Heroic Sociopath: The new boss in "Ring Around the Rosie" (who has a degree in criminal psychology) diagnosed Jane as a Clinical Psychopath using an antisocial personality detector test
  • Hero Insurance: When the new chief rolls in, Jane gets explicit Hero Insurance. "You're golden for anything less than murder." Lisbon, however, does not get the same protection, and Jane is told very specifically that if he breaks the law, she's taking the fall for it.
  • Hero with an F In Good: Aside from performing good deeds, Jane fails to follow most of the typical practices of 'good' people.
  • Holding the Floor: If it wasn't for this trope, Jane would be deader than dead.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Averted by Patrick. Whenever he has discussed religion, the afterlife, or whatever - mainly with Van Pelt - it appears that he thinks that atheism is a more reasonable position, rather than being angry at God for letting his family die or anything like that.
    • The one time he softened his position on this was when he visited his wife's grave with his estranged brother-in-law. The brother-in-law asks if he thinks she can see them. Barely audible, he mutters, "Maybe."
  • Hollywood California: Averted. The crime-solving team is part of the California Bureau of Investigation, and so its cases tend to focus on smaller cities in California where the local law enforcement are less prepared to deal with exceptional crimes.
    • However, one of those smaller cities, Citrus Heights, was shown as a rural mountain town. Citrus Heights is a flat, overdeveloped suburb in the middle of the Sacramento Valley.
  • Hollywood Law: A few examples.
    • In one episode, a hitman- a psychopathic, sadistic hitman who had been killing for years, no less- is released on the technicality that Jane uncovered the evidence leading to his arrest by illegally breaking into his apartment, thus forcing the judge to declare all subsequent evidence Fruit of the Poisonous Tree. This would never work in Real Life and would at worse have led to a new trial, if that; the evidence itself included video tape of the murder, a confession, and entrapment of him being hired by Van Pelt to kill somebody. Such a sociopath would never be released so easily.
      • Justified in a sense. At that point, still halfway of the episode, the judge remains one of the possible hitman contractors, so the writers don't want to clinch the real culprit right away.
    • In another, Noah Bennet is arrested for killing his wife's murderer, but so is another man- the latter had beat him with blunt object after trying to warn the guy to stay away from his girlfriend, unsuccessfully; Noah, having pulled strings to arrange this guys release on fake new DNA evidence just so he could kill him himself, discovered the body and shot it repeatedly in a rage, as he arrived there to commit the murder. Both were let off because it was unclear who actually killed him, if the other guy had or had merely knocked him out before Bennet arrived and shot the body. The fact that Bennet could have been busted for Conspiracy Murder, and Attempted Murder (which might have got the other guy too) slips the mind of the prosecuting attorney.
      • Well, given that the murdered is a Complete Monster and both guys could confirm it, they might have jury-proof case.
    • The Season 4 premiere takes the cake though; Jane has murdered a man he believed to be Red John, and he is let off because he convinces everyone that the man was Red John. In fact, this and later episodes frequently say that if the guy wasn't Red John Jane is going to prison for the murder. In Real Life whether or not the man was Red John should be irrelevant- Jane committed murder, and admits to it, with numerous witnesses to the crime. He should go to jail regardless.
      • The only possible way out is if he was found temporarily insane thanks to confronting the man he believed to be his wife and daughter's killer, but that is unlikely since he was illegally carrying an unlicensed gun (specifically to kill Red John), and had announced repeatedly to colleagues and others that he was hunting Red John not to arrest but to kill him. On the flip-side, the question of whether or not the man was Red John should have been irrelevant- the issue would be whether Jane thought he was with fair reason, and he can reasonably (and truthfully) claim that the man he killed both pretended to be Red John and knew things only Red John would have, and was an accomplice posing as him, which means there was fair reason.
  • How Many Fingers?: Used by Lisbon on a female suspect in "Red Herring". The suspect had been poisoned and was definitely in no condition to to tell Lisbon how many fingers she was holding up. She perished shortly afterward.
    • Jane was knocked out by a baseball in "Throwing Fire". when he woke up, Cho held up three fingers and asked him how many. He answered six.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Jane in "Red All Over", after he finds an excuse to say "Stop the presses".
    • Jane again in "The Red Mile" when he's able to say excitedly that "The butler did it".
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Episode titles either include "Red", synonyms for red ("Crimson Casanova"), or objects that are themselves red in color ("A Price Above Rubies"). One episode name is a string of three numbers, 18-5-4, which at first seems to be breaking this, until you realize that 18, 5 and 4, when replaced by the letter at that point in the alphabet, spells Red.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Whenever Van Pelt gets new boyfriend, Rigsby takes few minutes to explain some things to him.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Jane has a lot of fun with his abilities while catching criminals, but when he talks to Lisbon about Rigsby and Van Pelt's relationship...

Lisbon: Okay, I am not jealous and resentful. That is nonsense.
Jane: Yet you recall my exact words. There's no shame in it. I feel that way too sometimes. Why does everyone else get to have a normal life?

  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Happens in "Red Badge", though they already knew who the killer was and it took an elaborate setup just to make him slip. A minor case showed up in "Seeing Red", but the killer already confessed anyway.
  • Important Haircut: Inverted. Flashbacks to Jane's days as a Phony Psychic, such as the episode "Pretty Red Balloon", has his hair straighter and shorter.
  • Instant Seduction: Analyzed in "Crimson Casanova".
  • Interdisciplinary Sleuth: Jane.
  • Internal Affairs: Season 3 has as a recurring character Agent JJ LaRoche of the Professional Standards Unit, the agent assigned to investigate the murder of a prisoner in CBI custody.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Lisbon says this to Cho and Rigsby, when she thinks she is exposed to deadly virus strain in "Code Red". Jane fools the entire facility and has alerted Cho and Rigsby to catch the bad guy beforehand.
  • It's Personal: Patrick Jane was really only interested in helping authorities catch Red John for the extra fame it would bring him... until Red John murdered his wife and daughter.
    • Also, do not invade Kimball Cho's house and assault his girlfriend. Don't be so stupid! That'll get you killed!
    • Also-also, do not try to frame Lisbon for murder. That'll get your ass thrown into jail, and Patrick Jane will snark at you.
  • Jail Bait Wait: A guy in Red Tide made this a regular practice.
  • Jerkass: Admit it. Jane is an epic asshole.
  • Job Title
  • Kangaroo Court: In "Bloodstream", Jane drops in on a hospital meeting involving organ donations and starts talking about kangaroo courts, being careful not to actually refer to the meeting as one. But when the head honcho tries to imply that he's suggesting that their meeting is kangaroo court, he pounces on it.
  • Karma Houdini: The dating service woman head (who's also played by |Anna) hints at the possibility of the Jury letting her off scot-free in regards to her husband's murder because her accomplice that was going to testify against her was unstable. Subverted in a later episode when we discover that they didn't and she's in jail, then Double Subverted when she escapes and flees to a tropical paradise.
  • Kick the Dog: Jane, we know you don't get along with Bosco, but unplugging his morphine so he'll wake up and talk? Geez Louise.
    • In fact, this pushes Lisbon to finally give Jane a proper, and very much deserved, What the Hell, Hero?.
    • He does it again when, in trying to catch a killer who used a bioweapon to murder someone, he tricked an entire complex full of people into believing that they've been exposed to it. Again, Lisbon is furious.
  • Last-Name Basis
    • Averted increasingly often as the team gets closer. Of course, Van Pelt was called 'Grace' from the start and Bosco and Lisbon were already familiar. It's just bizarre that Jane refuses to call Minelli anything but 'Virgil', though.
    • Lisbon even used this to try to trick a killer once when he was alone with him. Talking on the phone, she asked Jane to tell Rigsby that 'Teresa needs his help'. She added, 'Oh, me?' to further drive the point. It didn't work.
  • Leitmotif: You can tell when Rigsby and Van Pelt are going to have a romantic and/or sexually tense scene, because they have a special theme that always plays. To a lesser degree, there's a small variety of playful music accompanying Jane's mind screwing.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Unable to prove the identity of a serial killer and knowing more will die if he fails to act, Jane goes on a talk show with the killer and goads him into mocking the "deceased" Red John. The episode ended with the serial killer dead at the hands of the mocked.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Jane only seems to own three-piece suits. He does, however, get the occasional temporary change.
    • Same for Van Pelt, who always seems to dress a la Myka from Warehouse 13 - but not quite the same.
  • Living Lie Detector: Among Jane's list of powers. Lisbon still had to take a polygraph, though, presumably due to Jane's bias.
  • The Lost Lenore: Patrick's Wife.
  • Mad Artist: The killers in "Red Sky in the Morning" (Season 2 Episode 23).
  • Magician Detective
  • Mind Rape: When Red John is done with Christina Frye, she only responds when Jane calls upon her 'departed spirit' as though performing a seance.
  • Mind Screw: Patrick Jane's favored method of catching the killers... as well as pranking his colleagues.
  • The Mole: Craig O'Laughlin, Van Pelt's new Fiance.
    • Also, there is Bosco's secretary Rebecca from Season 2.
  • Moment Killer: Jane has a classic moment where he interrupts an Anguished Declaration of Love from Rigsby to Van Pelt. AGH!
    • He has all-around awful timing, occasionally cheerfully breaking into a very dramatic moment.
    • Van Pelt has a remarkable tendency to interrupt tense moments as well, but she doesn't contrast the mood as starkly and seems to understand that she's done this.
  • Monster Clown: In "18-5-4", (R-E-D) the victim's fear of clowns was used to give him a particularly traumatic death. By his own wife, no less.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Jane, Cho, and Rigsby all qualify.
  • Mugging the Monster: Jane and the boys attempt to steal a painting off a psychotic Russian Mafia lord. Of course it works, it's Patrick Jane natch!
  • Myopic Architecture: In one episode, the Victim of the Week was killed via exposure to a deadly virus kept in a high security vault accessed by retina scan - which didn't work right and would let in anybody who presented their eye for scanning.
  • Myth Arc: Jane's manhunt toward Red John. The titles of all episodes always include the word of "red", red objects, red shades, or anything anyhow related to "red" to represent the fact that Red John is still the main villain of the series.
    • Will They or Won't They? between Van Pelt and Rigsby also qualifies. It has been three seasons and their relationship are still not resolved.
      • YMMV about that last one ; they already have, after all, and broke up, but there's still tension.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The promos for the Season 2 finale said we would finally meet Red John. We... saw his shoes.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Karen Cross of "Red Carpet Treatment" is a stand-in for Nancy Grace.
  • No Except Yes: Jane likes to use this one to brush off his antics.

Jane: The message the aide brought in made [the Mayor] nervous. So I took it.
Lisbon: You're stealing now?
Jane: Well, let's just call it purloining.

  • Non-Idle Rich: It can be assumed Patrick Jane made a lot of money during his years as a psychic. At the end of "Blood Money," he only looks slightly put out at having to pay $16,000 in court fines. He still wants to go to the range with Lisbon and shoot something.
    • This is certainly not the first time it's been hinted that Jane has some serious riches. In an episode in the first season, he won $250,000 at blackjack by memorizing cards and blew a large amount (if not all) of it on expensive gifts for the team. Later, he won $300,000 in poker and donated that to pay for the operation of the mother of one people who had been investigated in the case.
      • Not to mention that when the team rejected his expensive gifts of jewellery, instead of taking them back and getting a refund or selling them on, he put them into a donations bin for a charity store.
    • In Season Three, Jane doesn't blink at dropping a total of $15,000 on horse racing. The first bet of $5k netted him only a few hundred dollars in return, but he got the satisfaction of besting a man who'd been rude to him. The payoff was worth it.
    • The Season 4 premiere hints at his financial limits; Jane needs to get his hands on a million dollars, and while he does, he has to play high-stakes poker to get it, so presumably he's either not a millionaire or is, but not so much of one that he can just casually throw that kind of money around.
  • Non Sequitur Thud: Jane, after getting whacked in the head with a baseball. Played for Drama in that his comment just before losing consciousness references a flashback to his own troubled childhood.
    • On the flip side, just after gaining it, he insists he's fine, brushing off the How Many Fingers? question with 'six'.
  • Noodle Implements: Red John manages to Mind Rape Kristina Frye into believing she's a ghost by only using a paintbrush, really bright lights and empty rooms.
  • Noodle Incident: In the Season Three episode "Cackle-Bladder Blood":

Jane: (after getting slapped by an old friend he hasn't seen in years) AHH. What was that for?
Sam: Detroit.
Jane: Oh, yeah. Fair enough.

    • Also, pretty much the main focus of the episode "Redemption" (Season 2 Episode 1). The cause of why the woman was accused of stealing a million dollars from her employer was both a Noodle Incident and a Riddle for the Ages within the episode. The actual Noodle Incident was integral to the plot.
  • Not Me This Time: In one episode, a serial abductor/killer known as the balloon killer was suspected of kidnapping a child. However, after shooting him, he implies (and Jane confirms via phone and a note) that he's innocent.
  • Not So Different: Jane and Red John, according to one of Red John's flunkies.

Rebecca: You're very much like him, you know, the way you look at people and see right through them. That is just spooky.

  • Not So Stoic: Cho wasn't as collected as usual in "Blood In, Blood Out".
  • Obfuscating Disability: Stuart Hanson, the wheelchair-bound man in "Miss Red".
    • Also Tommy Olds, the retarded handyman in "Flame Red".
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The killer in the episode "Flame Red" uses this trope to exact revenge on the murderers of his friend and fool everybody, until Jane exposes him.
    • Jane uses this when it suits him, as well; it helps him get away with more.
    • Annabelle Draber in "Blood Money" (Season 2 Episode 19), the wheelchair-bound elderly mother and the real brains behind the operation of drug smuggler Hank Draber, uses obfuscating senility and Obfuscating Disability.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Everyone to Jane.

Jane: Doctors always want to believe they're the smartest person in the room - while of course that's me.

  • Painting the Fourth Wall: In the first-season episode "Redwood", Jane uses a tossed cell phone to distract a killer. He claims it was an original idea, but Lisbon says that she's seen it tons of times "on TV". Jane's response? "TV's one thing, but where have you seen it in real life?"
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish: In the episode "Ladies in Red" (Season 1 Episode 4), Patrick is certain a missing businessman is still in his house. He picks up a number pad and runs through the "Top Ten" passwords to open a panic room/vault. After noticing a picture of a sailboat, he uses the number on the boat's sail. The vault opens, revealing the businessman's dead body.
    • Later in "Red Moon", Van Pelt asks the Wi-Fi code for the sheriff's office. It's 1234.
  • Phony Psychic: Played with. Jane used to be one, until "Red John" paid a visit to his family. Now he decries all "psychics" as phonies. That doesn't stop people from asking if he has Psychic Powers. Especially Van Pelt.
  • Photographic Memory: Jane shows this skill while pointing out clues. In "Red Handed", he explains to Van Pelt that information can be placed in different location in his "memory palace", which he sees as the carnival where he grew up. Jane attempts to teach Rigsby the "memory palace" trick in "Rose Colored Glasses". "Red All Over" has Jane remembering a room well enough to tell Lisbon where to look for a hidden bomb... over the phone.
  • Psycho Lesbian: In "Rhapsody With Red", subverted with one of the suspects who had a one-sided crush with the victim and even had the murder weapon in her trunk. But Patrick quickly deduced that she was innocent and was genuinely sad over her death. Turns out it was the male Stalker with a Crush who killed her so his female love interest would get a higher seat in the orchestra.
  • Put on a Bus: Whatever happened to Kristina Frye?
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Virgil Minelli delivers a Crowning Moment of Awesome of one to the standard "How are you feeling" reporter question:

Minelli: You know, for 8 years, I've put up with the idiotic questions of the media, and I've never said squat. But today, I must tell you Meredith, you've really set a new standard in horse's-assery. You people have no...concept...of what we do. We go into dark, horrible places, alone and afraid. And we do it with no money, broken down vehicles, with computers that have more viruses than a $10 whore. How? Good people. And I lost 3 good people today, and a fourth is in critical condition. And you ask me how I'm feeling? I'm feeling sad, you moron. Any other questions? (silence) Okay then, good day to you. Lisbon, carry on

.

  • Red Herring: In the episode "Bleeding Heart", Lisbon told her team to look into someone, but Jane said not to bother because it was a red herring. Van Pelt asked what this meant, to which Lisbon responded "A red herring is what you look into regardless of what Jane tells you." There was also a second season episode titled "Red Herring".
    • About midway through the third season, in the episode where Hightower is framed and Jane helps her escape, Director Bertram quotes a William Blake poem. Savvy viewers will recognize this as a hallmark of Red John and his followers. Fast-forward to the season finale, and it turns out that Bertram isn't Red John's inside man after all.
  • Red Wire Blue Wire: Lisbon is in a house with a bomb. Jane (on the phone) helps her find the bomb, but says to just get out of there - he's not going to play Red Wire Blue Wire with her. She only has seconds so she simply pulls out all the wires, which works.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Pretty much Jane's MO. He does things the cops couldn't possibly get away with, and he avoids punishment (other than the tongue-lashings) simply by being too unpredictable to catch ahead of time.
    • On occasion, he does face minor consequences, like getting punched. Most of the time though, when he does something wrong, Lisbon takes the heat; it's been acknowledged that Lisbon will lose her job, not Jane.
  • Repeat What You Just Said
  • Revenge: Jane's whole purpose for working with the CBI. Sam Bosco asks Jane to avenge him before dying:

Sam Bosco: Do me a favor. When you catch him, don't arrest him. Kill the son of a bitch.
Jane: That's the plan.

    • Revenge has been a recurring theme in the series. Besides Jane's hunt for Red John, there have been several vengeance killings investigated by the CBI. How the person feels about it afterwards varies - at least one person says it was worth it; another says it doesn't help because her daughter is still dead - but Jane always asks.
  • Riddle for the Ages: This, and a Noodle Incident, was the whole focus for the episode "Redemption" (Season 2 Episode 1). It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Room Full of Crazy: The Red John copycat killer in the second season finale.
  • Running Gag: Jane loves to point out that he's not actually a cop, just a consultant.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Any number of times.
    • One particularly notable example was "Red John's Friends". Jane is told that he's not allowed to pursue a particular lead regarding Red John because it would piss off some important people, so he chooses to quit. Lisbon and her team are advised it's hands-off, but decide to help him anyway. Minelli threatens to suspend them all, but then decides to look the other way by saying that he's leaving on a personal matter and that they'd better have things wrapped up before he gets back.
    • It's also deconstructed when a competent defense attorney uses Jane's usual behavior to get an ironclad case against a serial killer thrown out in court since due process had been violated.
    • In "Blood for Blood", a child confesses to Lisbon and Jane that she killed her father, partly in self-defense (after he turned a gun on her) and partly because he killed her mother. Lisbon wants to take her to Juvenile, but Jane says that if they do that, she'll just get lost in the system, likely spending months if not years in foster care and getting punished. Lisbon points out that they are part of that system, which is good people that are doing the best they can. Jane, naturally, is not persuaded. Lisbon takes the girl to Juvenile anyway, Jane in tow, but when she gets there, she simply stands for several seconds before the guy at the desk tells her to hurry it up because they're very busy. She dithers a bit longer and then tells him to keep up the good work before leaving with the girl. Jane tells the guy at the desk that he's just witnessed a beautiful thing.
  • Serial Killer: "Red John". Unusually, he is able to find, and manipulate, other serial killers. He's technically retired in that most of his last victims are to cover his tracks, or to avenge an insult, whereas he began as someone who targeted women seemingly for kicks; a dramatic change of M.O.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Patrick Jane.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Lisbon, who is often overshadowed by the gorgeous Van Pelt, has one of these moments at a society fundraiser that she's been ordered to go to because the CBI is broke. Jane, UST-ee/unrequited love/co-worker seems not to notice, but then he is Patrick Jane, and probably thought he could screw with her in some way by not mentioning it. Made awesomer by the fact that when she gets called away to a crime scene, she just sticks her regular leather jacket over the top and looks eccentric and beautiful.
  • Sherlock Scan: Essentially Jane's MO.
  • Shipper on Deck: Cho developed a tendency to bug and encourage Rigsby about Van Pelt whenever the two were alone. Jane has also had a couple of shipper moments.
  • Ship Tease: Here we go. First, there's Rigsby and Van Pelt, who seem to be the Official Couple, and do get together, with somewhat disastrous results. Then there's Lisbon and Bosco, which, while canon as all hell, is almost universally hated by the fans. The crowner is Lisbon and Jane, which has included some fairly un-platonic touching, an anguished declaration of caring, which was heartbreaking, at least two Undercover As Lovers gambits, and one slow dance. Yuh-huh. Slow dance. Of course you're just co-workers. How on earth would anyone think otherwise?
    • Then there's "The Crimson Hat", which just plain oozes Jisbon shipage. In addition to the little scene at the church where Lisbon pointedly exclaims how much she hates Jane (with her usual amount of "Can't Live with Them Can't Live Without Them" affection), there's Jane's "Good luck, Teresa. I love you." right before he fakes shooting her multiple times. Of course, when Lisbon asks him what he meant by that, Patrick feigns forgetfulness and asks what he said, because he was a little hyped up at the time and can't remember. Then after she saves him from Red John's girl and goon, they're holding hands. Really, writers? Really? You just love to yank the shippers' chains, don't you?
  • Shout-Out: Rigsby snatches a girl's microphone out of her hand and takes over, at one point stating "I'mma let you finish." Now, where have we seen that before?
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: Watching Patrick Jane in action has made his colleagues less awed by others doing a Sherlock Scan.

Dr. Daniel: You're ambitious, more than you let anyone see. A girl from nowheresville, desperate to make it big, but you're worried that you'll always be smalltown, smalltime, you haven't got what it takes, and that's why you're so shut down to everything but this job.
Van Pelt: Dr. Daniel, no offense, but I've been working with Patrick Jane for nine months now. You wanna get under my skin, you're gonna have to up your game.

  • Silent Conversation: The last words Bosco has to Jane are seen but not heard by Lisbon and the audience.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Happens, of all people, to Cho.
  • Sleepyhead: Patrick Jane loves to nap.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Patrick Jane is clear example of this trope, as episode "18-5-4" demonstrates.
    • To show off Patrick's amazing memory skills, they play without a board, instead just telling each other what moves they make.
  • The Sociopath: It's a crime show so this is to be expected but of particular interest is during one episode they have friendly chat about the titular character meeting the criteria for antisocial personality disorder.
    • That said, only about 3 of the 7 or 20-odd points (depending on which checklist they used) of the criteria are mentioned, and he is incorrectly scored on the "Glibness / Superficial Charm" bit- he might fit that, but its the "superficial" part that's important, not the "charm" part, and the fact that Jane is willing to use his charm to manipulate others is mitigated by the fact that he is also simply charming by nature.
  • The Sponsor: In the episode "Jolly Red Elf", the bizarre death of a Santa-suit clad alcoholic lead Jane to seek out his AA sponsor, who was later revealed to have been in love with the victim.
  • Stepping Out for a Quick Cup of Coffee: Minelli pulls this one in "Red John's Friends" (see Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right above).
  • Stock Phrase: Two in one line by Jane. "'Stop the presses!' I Always Wanted to Say That."
  • The Stoic: Cho. We're not sure if he's actually capable of facial expressions.
    • To be fair to Cho, in the first seven episodes or so he actually smiled. For some reason his ability to emote has been severely reduced over the seasons.
    • He's finally called out for that in "Pink Tops". A witness isn't intimidated by Cho's attitude and demands some courtesy if she is to talk with him. At the end of the episode, when Cho finally defrosts on her, she is willing to become an informant.
  • Stylistic Suck: In "Red Sky in the Morning", Patrick points out that apart from the real-life murders, the killers' film was just a corny slasher. Red John shared the same opinion.
  • Swiper, No Swiping: One of Patrick Jane's stock-in-trade tools. It doesn't really work on its own, but is useful when applied properly in combination with some of his other tactics.
  • Temporary Blindness: Jane in "Bloodshot".
  • That One Case: Red John again.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted, just barely. Patrick Jane did need to be institutionalized after his wife and daughter were murdered, and it took him months to become functional again, but it seems to be largely without followup, even when his methods go to the illegal. After Jane shoots Tanner, who had a gun, to save Lisbon, they both have to go therapy. Lisbon goes to about six sessions with Dr. Carmen, but Jane only has one.

Lisbon: You signed off on him after one session.
Dr. Carmen: He has good mental health.
Lisbon: Now I want to see your license to practice.
Dr. Carmen: Ha ha.

    • This is possibly because Dr. Carmen needed to focus on Lisbon because he planned to frame her for murder. This, understandably, does not make Lisbon any warmer toward therapy.
    • Van Pelt is is seen in therapy after she kills her fiance.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Craig O'Laughlin was shot with extreme prejudice by both Van Pelt and Hightower.
  • There Should Be a Law: Lisbon and Van Pelt take certain not-quite-crimes - like being creepy - very seriously.
  • To Absent Friends: The team gathers at CBI for rounds of tequila after Sam Bosco's death.
  • To the Pain: Jane - "When I find Red John, I will cut him open and watch him die slowly."
    • That episode included an Aesop about revenge. Jane, after saying that, tells not one, but two people how revenge doesn't lead anywhere after things turn out badly due to it. Then he admits that he thinks what he said is a load of bull and hasn't changed his mind at all.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Jane and his tea.
  • Trailers Always Lie:
    • Trailer for second season finale promises that Jane will meet Red John. We see Red John's feet.
    • Trailer for third season finale promises the same thing. Season Four premiere cops that out; the guy Jane kills is only an accomplice.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Rigsby was forced to do this, but it was taken back once they realized he was hypnotized. So did Lisbon when she failed her polygraph test.
    • The whole team went unregulated for an episode for breaking protocol. Minelli looked the other way because it was a Red John case.
  • Two Shots From Behind the Bar: In one episode, Rigsby's father (an ex-con) is "helping" on a case, and goes into a Bad Guy Bar. Moments later, several people run out. Rigsby enters and finds his father with a shiv pointed at some guy's throat and the bartender with a shotgun pointed at Rigsby Sr.
  • Ubermensch: Jane. He recognizes no restrictions in his quest for Red John. He considers this more important than (common) morality. The following lays his philosophy out (Jane has been arrested by Bosco, and Lisbon has come to see him):

Lisbon: Look, I hope we can get you out of this mess. But it's also true that I do hope that you learn a lesson from this. There are real boundaries in life. These are real prison walls.
Jane: Only in your mind, Lisbon. Only in your mind.

  • Ultimate Job Security: Jane has this. In fact, he's so valuable to the CBI that if his antics ever go too far, it's Lisbon whose job will be in trouble.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Rigsby and Van Pelt had one in the pilot after Jane teased them for the very obvious Unresolved Sexual Tension between them.
  • Undercover As Lovers: Jane and both the women on the team. In Season One, it was Van Pelt (he was the professor who seduced her and made her his fiancee), and in Season Two, it was Lisbon (which had the Jisbon shippers practically exploding when he said "I love you"). This is Patrick Jane, however - a certain baseline of dickery needs to be respected. Also in Season Two, Jane coaxes Lisbon into posing as his lover so they can get a hooker to join them upstairs, all as part of a plan to question the pimp, of course.
  • Unreliable Voiceover: Used to chilling effect in "Red Alert". The murderer confesses, but says that the victim drove him to it: she led him on, lured him to her house, rejected him, and then threatened to expose him. The flashback we see while he's talking, however, tells a different story. Lisbon is not fooled.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension, Will They or Won't They?: Rigsby/Van Pelt. Oh, god.
    • They do eventually get together, but thanks to the work restrictions break up again.
    • It's present between Jane and Lisbon too, albeit subtle and overshadowed by the whole Rigsby/Van Pelt thing. He's not above teasing her about it. And although the actors have both said it won't happen, we still get scenes like the one in "Rose-Coloured Glasses", where they slow-dance. Sheesh.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Most of the CBI, but particularly Jane himself, ironically. Lampshaded in "Red John's Friends" by Lisbon. "You think you're playing him and he thinks he's playing you. One of you is wrong."
  • Villainous Rescue: Red John saves Jane from his copycat killer in the second season finale.
  • Wham! Episode:
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After the Season 3 finale, what happens to Special Agent Hightower? Is her name ever cleared? And although Jane states that O'Laughlin is "a known accomplice of Red John", how can he prove that when the only ones who know are Hightower (who is a murder suspect) and Lisbon's team (who found out while conducting an off-the-record investigation)?
    • The team just explain the trail of thought that led Jane to believe they were looking for a Red John accomplice; combined with the fact that he was La Roche's short list of suspects, that they can link the assassin at the hotel to the info they gave him (with video evidence), and the fact that he killed two cops, makes the case pretty tight. They don't even have to prove he was an ally of Red John, really; the fact that he was a ruthless murderer and was a viable suspect should be enough, especially since fleeing from justice was just faked by Jane.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Lisbon does this to Jane more than just a few times.
    • At the end of "Red Rover, Red Rover", CBI Director Wainright suspends Jane for psychologically torturing a confession out of the Killer of the Week. When Jane mouths off, Wainright fires him.
      • Which naturally turns out to be the setup for another Batman Gambit to catch Red John. And RJ sees it coming.
  • Wicked Cultured: Red John listens to Bach and quotes William Blake's poetry.
  • Widower Hero: Patrick Jane, straight up.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Jane and Lisbon, arguably. They dance around it (and, on one occasion, with each other), and certainly Lisbon has straight-up admitted that she cares about him, but Jane is still hugely damaged and mourning his wife. Doesn't stop the shippers...
  • Witness Protection: The victim in "Red Sauce" was in a witness protection scheme.
  • The Wonka: Jane.
  • Worthy Opponent: Red John considers Jane to be one.
    • Jane couldn't give a shit. But he certainly respects La Roche, the Internal Affairs officer and his foil, very highly. Not that he likes La Roche, though.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: In "Strawberries and Cream", Red John sadistically describes to Jane how the latter's wife and daughter smelled as they were murdered. Season Four reveals this was only an accomplice, though.