The Mentalist: Season 1 Episode 1: "Pilot"

Admittedly, one of the first things that endeared me to this fantastic mystery show is the fact that Mrs. Tolliver's teapot is the same one I use in my kitchen. When Patrick Jane was introduced through his conversation with her after the murder of her daughter, we began to learn about Jane's compelling character. Within the first 6 minutes, the show bore witness to the high stakes of the character's interactions when he provided the mental scaffold for Mrs. Tolliver to murder her guilty husband after a quiet cup of tea.

Who better to inhabit such a complex and at once singularly focused character than Simon Baker? We get another dose of the actor who starred in the unique romantic comedy 'Sex and Death 101.' In The Mentalist, however, Baker stepped into a significantly more compelling role and became a weekly relationship we love to visit. In addition to Patrick Jane, Robin Tunney as Lisbon, a detective with the California Bureau of Investigations, served as the complement to Jane with her ethical counterpoint to his skilled button and boundary pushing. The home setting of the show is Sacramento. Lisbon's team of three other officers--Cho, Rigsby, and Van Pelt--provided more great characterization. This episode did a great job introducing and building the team relationships.

Also, the long-term series plot was set up. It features the evil Red John, the intractable and brilliant (and unseen) character who murdered Jane's family and motivated him to work as a consultant with law enforcement. Red John's killer signature, a bloody happy face, was a memorable image as the pilot episode follows Jane's thoughts and actions, which volley from tragic to mischievous. You'll find yourself pouring a cup of tea and tuning in eagerly to each episode after enjoying the pilot, and its creative plot twists.


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