|Bruno Heller, Simon Baker.|
It may seem like the crime of the week, but it's really much more. On this Thursday's episode of CBS's The Mentalist, FBI agent Susan Darcy (Catherine Dent) is back on the scene and conducting an investigation into the murder of a woman whose family has statehouse connections. The foxy Fed will ask Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) for his assistance on the case but not because she really needs his sleuthing. Darcy suspects Jane has not been honest with her about Red John and she wants a chance to observe him in action. TV Guide Magazine spoke with the show's creator, Bruno Heller, about this dicey development. Will Darcy learn Jane's secret — that he didn't really kill Red John? Will this nosey nuisance end up dead?
TV Guide Magazine: This is the first time you've directed an episode of The Mentalist. You also wrote this one. So we're guessing it's a biggie.
Heller: It's a very strong episode that has Susan Darcy intent on finding out exactly what Jane's been up to, which gives us a chance to further develop their relationship. Jane thinks he's the smartest guy in the room, and he's probably right, but he doesn't see Darcy — who is the second smartest one in the room — as a real concern. But, as he will discover, a smart and relentless women with slightly the wrong idea can become a real foe. Jane's greatest sin — his fatal flaw — is arrogance.
TV Guide Magazine: In the last Darcy episode, the Red John plot took another freaky turn with the murder of that morgue attendant — to the point where it doesn't seem Jane is making any headway at all. Is he starting to think he might never triumph over this guy?
Heller: Jane and the audience are coming to the gradual realization that this is a much larger task than it seemed at first. It's like those Amazon tribesmen who throw spears at passing airplanes, then come to realize those planes are the seeds of a much larger civilization that is coming down on them. This isn't Jane against one pathetic loser who is hiding out in a basement somewhere. He's not fighting the Green River Killer. He's fighting Moriarty.
TV Guide Magazine: But he's not getting any closer. Or is he?
Heller: Oh, he's getting closer, all right. But that, too, is a problem. The closer you get to the prize, the more fearful and daunting the denouement can be. Jane is a hunter and a relentless one. Finding that morgue attendant wrapped in plastic didn't discourage him. It was a sign Red John was close. As terrifying as that is, it's also thrilling and keeps him on the hunt. There's an element of delusion here, as there is with all hunters or fishermen. You always think, no matter how many times you fail, that the next time you will succeed. Otherwise you wouldn't keep trying.
TV Guide Magazine: It seems Darcy is really asking for it. Will her inquiring mind land her on Red John's victim list?
Heller: [Laughs] I'm not at liberty to answer that.
TV Guide Magazine: Would she be in Jane's face like this if Red John hadn't secretly taken video of her? This seems more about her than it is about Jane.
Heller: It's very much about Darcy and the questions raised in her previous episode. It's all been percolating in her brain and she concludes that someone is lying here and she thinks it's Jane. If it is Jane, why is he lying and what is he lying about? And what precisely is his relationship with Red John? She puts those pieces together and comes up with an answer that is...dangerous.