The Mentalist: The Complete First Season

The Mentalist: The Complete First Season
On the surface, the last thing the world needs is another cop show, but The Mentalist manages to stand out from the crowd. In it, Simon Baker plays Patrick Jane, a reformed celebrity psychic who revealed himself as being a fake after his family was murdered by a serial killer called Red John. Determined to catch the killer, he decides to use his incredible powers of observation and mental skills for good and helps the Californian Bureau of Investigation solve their toughest cases while continuing to try and bring Red John to justice. Even though similar shows like Monk and Life had done this before, The Mentalist caught on very quickly and very soon it was a staple in the top ten most watched shows. The entire show lives and dies depending on how you respond to Simon Baker's performance. If you like your shows to have bucket loads of quirk and don't mind Baker's almost surreal approach to working on cases then you'll be hooked, while the reverse is also true. But what The Mentalist does very successfully is put a fresh spin on the stale cop show genre and that alone makes it well worth watching. The other thing that works in the show's favour is the supporting cast, which might not be quite as compelling as Baker but still help compensate for the inevitable episodes that aren't so strong plot-wise amongst the 23 that make up the first season. Robin Tunney is a great foil for Baker, as Teresa Lisbon, a by-the-book agent who learns to put up with his less traditional methods. As the season goes on, the rest of the unit are given more depth and by the mid-point, everything has fallen into place; it deserved to be the most watched new show in the 2008/'09 season. The extra stuff is a real mixed bag. The deleted scenes (or "Lost Evidence") are hardly worth anyone's time, as they were deleted for a reason. However, there are two rather interesting featurettes that help make up for the lack of commentary tracks. "Evidence of a Hit Series" is a fairly typical behind-the-scenes piece with some decent interviews with the show's cast and creators. Better still is "Cracking the Crystal Ball: Mentalist vs. Psychic," which looks at how the police occasionally use psychics to help with cases, and whether or not it's a legitimate method of investigation. It feels too short, at just 18 minutes, as it touches upon the heart of the show's premise. (Warner)