Tag Archives: Simon Baker

DVD: The Mentalist- The Complete First Season

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Available on DVD as of September 22, 2009

The Mentalist Season One was one of CBS Networks most successful series of the 2008-2009 television season with the pilot episode garnering a 15.6 million rating on its premiere and and 7.8 million for its encore airing three days later. It is also one of CBS’s more quirky and intelligent crime dramas. The Mentalist, created by Bruno Heller, is an adaptation of a premise as old as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes: a man with the uncanny mental abilities to notice seemingly insignificant details or the smallest of clues and draw information from them that helps in the process of profiling and capturing criminals.

In this incarnation viewers were presented with Patrick Jane (played by Simon Baker), a man who, up until five years ago, spent his life in the celebrity spotlight as a world-renowned “psychic”. It was then that Jane’s showboating need for the spotlight drew the attention of a cunning and enigmatic serial killer known only as Red John. After being mocked by the “psychic” on a national talk show, Red John retaliated by killing Jane’s wife and daughter. With his world shattered by this ruthless act of revenge, Patrick Jane admitted he feigned being psychic and began using his real abilities as a Mentalist to join the California Bureau of Investigation as a police consultant. While he works on solving other crimes as well in a manner that is found by those around him to be a bit eccentric but highly perceptive, his main drive is his relentless need to capture Red John: something that Jane is willing to sacrifice anything including his own life to do.

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TELEVISION REVIEW: The Mentalist – The Housewife and the Million Dollars!

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The second season premiere of The Mentalist [CBS, Thursdays, 10/9C] gets to a quick start when CIB consultant Patrick Jane [Simon Baker] solves a murder in a department store in a matter of minutes. That the murderer causes a quarter of a million dollars in damages when he tries to flee – and the Sacramento Police file a complaint – but it’s all the same to Jane, who’s been as Agent Lisbon [Robin Tunney] pits it, running hot ever since he and Lisbon’s team narrowly missed capturing Red John [the serial killer who slew Jane’s wife and child to teach him a lesson] in the first season finale.

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Television: The Mentalist: Simon Baker Sees Stuff You Don’t!

Have you ever wondered what the series Psych would be like if it had been played as a drama? It might well have looked like The Mentalist [CBS, Tuesdays, 9/8C], a series about Patrick Jane, a former fraud television psychic who makes a major career change after a performance on a talk show takes a nasty turn.

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The premiere finds Jane, who is now working for the California Bureau of Investigation, solving a murder in the opening minutes by simply, as he puts it, “paying attention.” His methods, being somewhat unorthodox, his boss, Teresa Lisbon [Robin Tunney], suspends him – but a new set of murders appears to strike home to him and he goes over her head to get back on the case.

Judging by the premiere, The Mentalist is one of those shows that seem like it’s going to go one way and then, BAM! It’s snuck up on you and grabbed you by the throat! Unlike Psych, which places the humor upfront, The Mentalist seems like it’s going to be deadly earnest – and mostly, it is – but at key moments, shrewdly placed bits of gallows humor serve to both emphasize the drama and relieve the carefully built up tension.

David Nutter, a true king of the pilots [Millennium, Roswell, Dark Angel, Smallville, and Without a Trace, among them], really has a handle on Bruno Heller’s [Touching Evil, Rome] excellent script. Some of the key moments are [deliberately] predictable in order to set up the ones that aren’t – and he draws series defining performances from an ensemble that also includes Owain Yeoman [Kitchen Confidential, The Nine], Amanda Righetti [The O.C., Reunion] and Tim Kang [Third Watch, Rambo].

The Mentalist may be the series that gives Simon Baker the hit his talent and charisma deserve – and with its NCIS lead-in, it’s positioned well. The fact that it’s a police show – if not exactly a procedural – means that it takes a different tone than NCIS, but its quality should hold that show’s audience.