The February 23, 2012, episode of “The Mentalist” entitled “His Thoughts Were Red” featured a guest appearance by Malcolm McDowell portraying Bret Stiles, the guru of a cult called Visualize. McDowell’s character had appeared in a previous episode as Patrick Jane’s nemesis. This time, Stiles has been framed for the murder of Gabriel Meadows, an anti-cult journalist found dead at his desk from a head wound delivered by a hammer.
Meadows had been writing about Stiles’ cult, including the Visualize College, and was being fed inside information.
When the CBI arrives at the crime scene, the investigation is hampered by the fact that the first policeman responding to the scene, Officer Downs (Jorge-Louis Pallo), is a member of Visualize. He wiped down the crime scene, tampering with evidence destroying potential fingerprints of the true murderer.
There’s certainly plenty of cause to think that Stiles may have murdered Meadows. A previous opponent of Stiles’, Farragut, was murdered. As the line on the show puts it, “He (Stiles) probably did kill Farragut, but there’ll never be any way to prove it.” The fact that Farragut supposedly died in a car accident caused by consuming too much alcohol, when he was a non-drinker, is suspect. Sheriff Elliot Ellsworth who investigated the death of Farragut did not dig too deeply into the death because Stiles provided him access to any number of sweet young female cult members. It is also suspect that Sheriff Ellsworth then mysteriously died in what was reported to be a suicide. Also, some elements of Stiles’ alibi for the night Meadows was killed are shaky. Nevertheless, the crime seems like a frame and, as Stiles tells Jane, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you.”
Other lines from the night’s episode: “Your eyes are the gateway to the truth.” (Stiles to Grace Van Pelt).
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” (Simon Baker’s character, Patrick Jane)
“I wouldn’t want you to mistake me for Red John and shoot me.” (McDowell/Stiles to Simon Baker/Patrick Jane)
“It’s interesting how you managed to manipulate someone else to do your dirty work, getting Red John to kill the San Joaquin killer.” (Stiles to Jane)
The episode was written by Jordan Harper and directed by Charles Beeson. The ending, when it comes, is not very difficult to predict and, as used to happen in old “Perry Mason” episodes, the culprit confesses a bit too readily.