The ‘Red John’ mystery has loomed over The Mentalist for years now, it was Jane’s whole reasoning for becoming a consultant with the CBI. In the fifth season finale Red John strikes again, this time dealing a personal blow to Jane’s past.
He killed a woman of which he had a fond happy memory of from his days as a carny. The case stayed very run of the mill. A crime scene is investigated, Jane deduces something at the scene and this leads him on one of his own tangents trying to follow it up.
However, Jane bumps into people from his past, most recognisable is Shaun Barlow played by Michael Hogan (known for Battlestar Galactica and more recently his stint on Teen Wolf). The case is put to rest through one of Jane’s elaborate plans which included informing the suspects that the baby had turned up to then tell them he lied and lie again in front of the true suspect in an effort to garner an address.
A simple case solved by any standards, or is it? Jane is handed a small brown envelope by the killer, Miriam Gottlieb, who also happens to have worked with Red John and was asked to pass it on.
A short while later Jane shows the DVD, which was inside the envelope, to Lisbon along with the list of seven suspects he had narrowed it down to. The video is of Lorelei Martins who is again passing a message onto Jane. In the video she claims that Red John has always been ahead of Jane in several ways, and, to prove it she lists the possible Red Johns.
The list matched up exactly with what Jane had, basically confirming it is one of them:
- Bret Stiles (the leader of the Visualize church)
- Gale Bertram (the current director of the CBI)
- Ray Haffner (a supervising agent at the CBI and at one point Jane’s boss)
- Reede Smith (a FBI agent appearing only in the season 5 premiere)
- Robert Kirkland (a Homeland Security agent)
- Sheriff Thomas McAllister (appearing in the second episode of the first season)
- Brett Partridge (forensic investigator working for CBI)
Personally I have always believed it to be Brett Partridge ever since the series premiere because he just looked odd and out of place at the Red John crime scene. Also it seems like he’s been at every single crime scene where a Red John murder has taken place, admiring his own handiwork maybe?
Red John also made Lorelei tell Jane that he would kill more often now that Jane is getting close up until the point where Jane catches Red John or where Red John catches Jane.
Hopefully season six will keep narrowing down the suspect and more of the cases will be Red John adjacent, leading to either a reveal of his actual identity or his capture.
(There’s even a ‘Who is Red John’ website with theories of who it could be: http://www.whoisredjohn.com)