The Mentalist Reaction: Simon Baker and Bruno Heller on The End Of Red John

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So…there you have it. The Red John saga of The Mentalist is over.

Like, really over.

If you watched The Mentalist Season 6 Episode 8 - and if you didn’t, stop reading this NOW or else you’re going to be spoiled big time - you know Gale Bertram was actually NOT the man Patrick Jane has been hunting since the series premiere.

Instead, it was a character we thought died in the explosion in Jane’s house in The Mentalist Season 6 Episode 6: Sheriff Thomas McAllister, played by Xander Berkeley.

In a conference call last week, creator Bruno Heller and star Simon Baker jumped on the phone with the press to talk about the end of the storyline and what we can expect moving forward on the series.

On the Scene

Baker, who has been inside the skin of Patrick Jane for five and a half years, said he definitely had some strong feelings going into this conclusion.

“For me, I did feel the sense of pressure because we’d been kind of working towards this for a number of years and it was something that had pushed the character from the very beginning in 2008," he said. "I just felt I’ve got to somehow live up to that in that one moment.”

And while Jane could have killed McAllister in a number of ways, Baker explained why the manner in which it played out was the best route: “I felt like to pull a trigger is just pulling the trigger and the gun does the killing but to actually grapple with someone and kill them with your hands is far more intimate.”

Heller gave Baker props for the way the final Red John scene went down.

“I should say that how that last scene between the two of them went was very much written and directed by Simon," he said. "The emotion that he brought to that and the feeling and with all that pressure and with all the story that’s gone by and all the baggage…it’s hard but good to watch, I think.”

The executive producer, who also penned the seminal episode, commented that he didn’t know exactly when the identity of Red John came to him: “It just kind of emerged over the last couple of years. There were always three or four possibilities and it just happened, really. It seemed like the natural, correct choice.”

Undoubtedly, the character of Jane is going to go through some big changes now that Red John is out of his life for good. But how personal was the end of the storyline for Baker?

Said the actor: “It’s been really strange because whatever happens in the course of a series, there’s reasons and things that you sign on to that show for and there’s very important elements to the character that you make a connection with immediately and a lot of those things were laid to rest in this episode so it did feel incredibly personal to me.”

Baker added that “the challenge and the most difficult part of working on this show [has been] playing this tragic character that has a very raw and unprotected emotional side to him but has this whimsical, tap-dancery thing going on with a kind of sense of humor and bravada.

"To dance between the two tones of the show has always been very challenging for me and complicated. I get very, very protective of the personal stuff with that character  so, yes, things like the tea cup and all of that and, obviously, how we kill him and all that sort of stuff, Bruno knows that I’m going to be waiting outside the door to weigh in on all that stuff.”

As for that harrowing final scene where Jane takes McAllister’s life with his bare hands, Baker explained: “The character had made a decision that he was going to kill Red John from the first time we ever saw him and so he made that decision and in his head that was going to happen. What we didn’t know was how he was going to react and whether or not he could go through with it and in what fashion.”

As an actor getting to this scene, Baker said, “to me, that was just jumping off a cliff, really, and jumping off a cliff to the point where it’s like [Jane’s] got what he wants and what he’s wanted for so long…

"You’ve got to try to be there and be alive in the moment but going forward from there when you achieve your objective, then what happens? A lot of the time you focus so much energy on trying to achieve your objective but you don’t really consider how it’s going leave you standing afterwards. And my favorite part of that is the transition out of this. Now, okay, that’s done. What do I have to live for and where do I go from here? Was it that gratifying for Jane?

"There’s all of those questions and I think we sort of deal with that in a lot of ways in the next episode afterwards.”

Moving forward, Heller and Baker teased what is to come on the rest of The Mentalist Season 6.

“What this fresh version of the show is about is what happens afterward in a very real sense,” Heller previewd. “Jane is a happier person, a weight has been taken off his shoulders and, in that, a weight has been taken off the show. It’s going to be the same show to some degree but it’s going to be a show with less darkness at the edges and more freedom to roam and Jane has more freedom and more sense of possibility and liberty.”

And, because we’re all dying to know, when asked if Jane may now have a love life Heller would only say: “He might.”

Are you excited to see what’s coming next on The Mentalist? Or do you think the show is going to miss having Red John drive so much story?

The Mentalist airs at 10/9c every Sunday on CBS. 

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of Follow him on Twitter.


Even if they scrulled it up in the end by hurring the events and accelerating the action, it was and it will sure be an amazing and deeply show. Honestly, i feel so bad about the fact that it's almost over, it was so exciting and misteriously....and even cruel( I mean, the Red John's murders and dark secrets). I still have some regrets about the way some characters ended up and yes, I have to say that Red John's identity...really sucks :)...just a f*cking sheriff, actually dissappointing.
But it' still a great show and even if we have a lots of questions, I'm sure just some of them will be answeres because this is what a good show does, it gives you the chance to think yourself about some problems and creat your personal answer about them and obviously, about (or what we think it could be) the BIG FINAL OF THE SHOW.


really five stars
im really worried after the last episode which some people liked and most didnt like how the show is gonna go because i feel like alot of people might stop watching im not one i will carry on watching but they need to do something big because if the rest of the season is gonna be like what we saw in the promo for next episode i think i might strugle to watch he one thing tough that would keep me watching is if we get answers which we wont


I am glad the whole Red John storyline is over, but now I am anxious to see what happens to CBI. I say that because we have found out that there are thousands of corrupt law enforcement people in California. If the CBI team get back together, who can they trust???

@ Judy Kay

It was spoiled in TV guide what was going to happen........... SPOILER... Anything related to RJ is now over unless fans somehow get Hellers attention and he fills in some of the holes he made (which I doubt). It will start two years later and probably just say that there has been a "cleaning of the Law enforcement" and nothing else will be explained. The CBI is no more and the actors playing Rigsby/Van Pelt will no longer be in the show. We will have a new team. The only members of the old team will be Jane/Lisbon and Cho. We get a couple of "newbies" I think one is Abbott ?? and that women walking on the beach with Jane??? Maybe, someone who has read the article can give more details.


I don't believe we will get any answers. I think the whole story of Rj is over. The writer/creator/actors have said so themselves. THIS, is why most are so upset over the "RedJohn" episode. No answers were given. Some people believe we will get them "down the road" but I don't think we will. I don't even think there will be "Jisbon" for those who want that pairing. I think this is the last season for this show and frankly the whole thing has been a big let down. Especially in the way they have taken the Jane character. Having him run, abandon the team, chasing down and murdering RJ and showing no regard to anyone is too much for me. I think it would have been better if CBI/Jane had worked as a team and that RJ/minions had went down in a great show down between the two in a hail of bullets. lol


Tiger, tiger ... :)


How did Red John know who was on the list?


Somehow it is not really satisfying that THIS was Red john. I cant say why, but it seams to me that it feels like a trap door for the whole story. Season 5 wasn´t fish or meat and this END looks the same. The start of season 6 and the last 7 episodes have been exciting - but also a little like in a rush to come to an end. And what is supposed to come now? After this? I don´t think the rest of the story will fill up more episodes. It simply cant just switch in a romance series with Jane an Lisbon as a love couple? Hmm... Thats why I think this was not the End of it, and this was not Red John.


i think patrick left red john unconcious and the gun in hand. fbi or who ever will find red john as he is coming out of conciousness and red john will use gun as a defense and fbi will kill him. now, patrick is off the hook.


Fortunately this is just a TV show and not Life, so it doesn't put me in any big moral conundrums. Bruno Heller goes down as the most overrated and overpaid creator of a show. He took everybody's interest in the intriguing Red John story and all the fun dark details all the way to the bank for 5+ years and then blew off the fact that they didn't actually HAVE a Red John story--a total middle finger to his audience. Well again, this just being a silly TV show, it's not hard to decide not to waste my time lining Bruno Heller's pockets only to be dismissed. The Mentalist has jumped the shark and maybe I'll check in a couple more times, but probably not. There are much, much better shows out there that have good writing teams, and many good actors--not just one. Bye bye Jane. But by the way, kudos to Xander Berkeley for filling shoes that would be hard for any actor, given the expectations. I think he deserved more screen time as Red John.


There are a lot of unanswered questions that I hope the writers focus on now. For example, Bertram truly didn't know who RJ was - so that opens up a Pandora's box of possibilities. RJ's network was vast, and compartmentalized: how is the FBI going to determine who's good and who's rotten to the core? That's a huge job. Then of course, we have to deal with the aftermath: does Jane get away with killing RJ? Notice that he put the gun in RJ's hand afterward: to what end? Are investigators supposed to believe that RJ shot himself and then was later strangled to death? Lots of questions......

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