What’s Wrong with the Mentalist?

Season 4 of the Mentalist has been a disappointment. Here are the chief problems with the season.

Jane is now dominating the episodes

Granted the show has always been about the Mentalist, Patrick Jane, but previously all of the detectives had a part to play in the episodes. This year, Jane is dominating the investigations. All the attention has been on Jane.

The stories involving Kimball Cho, Wayne Rigsby and Grace Van Pelt are scattered and not very deep.
It looks like they’ve been written out of the show.

And where’s Lisbon? She is supposed to be the boss of the group, but now is taking a supporting role in the investigations instead of leading them. Robin Tunney deserves better.

The Supervisors

This year a new supervisor was brought in to handle Lisbon’s team. I don’t have a problem with that, but last year’s supervisors, Madeline Hightower (Aunjanue Ellis) and JJ Laroche (Pruitt Taylor Vince) were very good actors, and were removed from the show. The replacements haven’t been noteworthy. (Partly due to the writers not giving them enough screen time, I’m sure.)

There are no tensions like last season with Lisbon and her supervisors. Granted, you don’t want to keep repeating the same issues. But do we really expect that there are no problems with Lisbon? She was fired after all, and only Jane’s work, sabotaging the work of his new “boss,” allowed Lisbon to return.

Where’s Red John?

The show is about Jane’s dealing with his alter ego, Red John, like Batman having to deal with the Joker. In both of these cases, one could say that the alter ego (Red John and the Joker) know the principals better than they know themselves.

Not enough about what happened to Red John has transpired this season. Very little clues, very little time spent on the problems associated with Red John.

Also, the psychological effects of shooting someone you thought was a murderer (Red John), and was not, should have been a topic investigated by the writers. It wasn’t. We learned that Jane had committed himself to a mental institution, feeling responsible for the death of his family at the hands of Red John. But now? After the killing of the wrong man, nothing? That is out of character.

Also, what about Leslie Hope (Khristina Frye) the other psychic? Nothing about her has transpired this season. Does she have a connection to Red John that Jane hasn’t picked up on?

Yes, Red John made an appearance. Can the writers do something unusual and different about this? Like Red John kidnapping Lisbon or one of the team members, making Jane lose control.

Not Enough Drama

Half way through season 4 the big problem is the drama. After each episode last year, I said to myself…”Excellent episode.” I haven’t had that inclination yet.

So, what is the fix? This could be a transition season. The producer and writers could be setting up something that will be different next season. But in the meantime, the shows have to improve even if they can’t repeat the structure of last season. Let’s hope so.

Ratings: Last Season, season 3: 5/5. This season, so far, half way through season 4: 3/5.

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