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For anyone who thinks this is close to Psych...you're dead wrong. While
both shows take a similar premise, they're so different in many ways.
This show does have a man with the ability to spot minute details, but
he does so much more, he plays mind games with people, reads their
emotions and sets elaborate traps to catch them. Many compare him to
Shawn Spencer of Psych, but I would rather compare him to Sherlock
Holmes, except more tortured. The pilot obviously takes on a more
serious approach than Psych and the dynamics of the show go from cute
and funny to deeply disturbing in seconds.
It takes your one crime per episode procedural drama with a gifted detective and takes it one step further. Patrick Jane is more self effacing, gets into trouble and is a known fraud. But he isn't mean or intentionally rubs people the wrong way like House(also based on Holmes) or Spencer. He is very soothing, warm, instills trust and seems to get along with people pretty well, from the guy who did it to his team. At the same time, he does like to flex his intellect and power over people and loves to play games to get answers (and yet, so charming when he does so). So it's kind of disarming when you begin to see there are some serious issues with this character, he doesn't sleep, doesn't believe in life after death (and is happy that way), and is actually anti-social with the group. There are further reasons as to his psychosis that won't be discussed. Behind those warm baby blues, warm smile and calming presence, there is a man being crushed to death by very weighty issues.
Patrick Jane is a fantastic character, he's obviously brilliant, but a little distant and isn't fond of working with others. As a former faux psychic he seems pretty ready to disable believers. And of course, Simon Baker is a brilliant actor and is the reason I tuned in (I admit I too feared this was a Psych ripoff) and he brings so much depth to this character. When he plays his mind games he always brings a sense of "I know more than you and there is nothing you can do about it." type of amusement and when Red John or death apparates in conversation you see a distant look in his eyes that conveys more than what he actually saying (the psychiatry appointment in the pilot was incredible). He really plays off the layers of Patrick Jane well, pulling some back and when we get a true glimpse, the layers fall back in place. And credit goes to the set-up of Red John as his "nemesis" through a copy cat. He and Jane have a very tense meet up awaiting them, but I can wait for that just to experience the chase and the unraveling history between these two.
Another credit would go to the incredible Robin Tunney (of The Craft and Empire Records) who was reason number two for watching the pilot. She has had very little to work with in the first two episodes (but her role grew from 1 to 2 so I have faith), but she plays the hard nosed detective with a little more prudishness and distance than I would have expected. How much she knows about Jane and how far they go back is a mystery to me and their dynamic is interesting. She doesn't fall into stereotype and has retained a beguiling sense of mystery. I also appreciate the lack of clichéd moments "fraught with sexual tension" between Lisbon and Jane.
And I'd also like to credit Tim Kang- a lovely surprise and I enjoyed his character who really doesn't give a crap about hurting people's feelings or stepping on toes, he just wants to solve the case. Love it and kudos.
My only complaint would be explained in the two above paragraphs briefly. I love Cho and Lisbon and hope to get see more of the team (Van Pelt and Rigsby are really cute as well), but I understand this is called "The Mentalist" and there is still time to slowly introduce Jane's history with the team and more in depth coverage of these characters. I've only seen two episodes and I think what I anticipate will come into fruition.
Overall, this show is well written, well acted, and beautifully shot. I for one have set up a season recording on my DVR and cannot wait for the next episode, yes you can consider me a fan and I hope you head over to CBS.com and give this show a chance. I wish I had more stars to give.
The lead character Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) aka the 'Mentalist' plays
a 'psychic' consultant for a serious crime unit headed by Lisbon
(played Robin Tunney, "Prison Break") along with the rest of the cast,
Cho (Tim Kang "Rambo"), Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti, "OC") and Rigby
(Owain Yeoman "Nine"). But Patrick is no psychic, he relies upon acute
observation and a penchant for playing mind games with the 'suspects'
(and other members of the unit)to solve the case.
The character of Patrick is full of intrigue; he's sexy, funny, smooth but at the same time is tormented by a dark secret of his own doing. The dynamic between him and the rest of the unit is one of great 'hooks' of this show. The conventional law abiding enforcement officers are often at odds with Patrick's eccentric and often risqué way of going about solving crimes. The show plays up to this. The humour and tension between the characters do not appear to be contrived. And of course its always Patrick that comes out on top.
Unlike other crime TV series such as CSI, that depend on sophisticated, often over-the top 'scientific' methodology (CGI effects) to appeal to audiences, the Mentalist brings us back to the good old 'detective's hunch' style of crime-busting. It is a breathe of fresh air in a genre saturated with technical jargon and outlandish plot.
The way each case is solved is complex, yet very believable, and the magic comes from the sense of wonder at Patrick's mind tricks.
The show however still follows much of the conventional approach to to the crime genre, with the cliché of red-herrings, incompetent officers and a detective on a personal mission, but the charisma of Simon Baker as the lead detective Patrick Jane pulls the show together.
Another drawback is the seemingly lack of character depth in the minor cast members. Lisbon, Cho, Rigby and Van Pelt all play second fiddle to Patrick and look like sidekicks rather than team members. But the show is slowly providing space for their development.
The show is named after the lead protagonist, and he promptly delivers. He is charming yet gritty, nonchalant yet brilliant, careless yet vulnerable. He's warm and cold at the same time, full of contradictions and full of flaws. Simon Baker portrays these subtle shades of Patrick's personality with an ease, and has made this so accessible to the audience.
The Mentalist is one of those tortured anti-heroes the strikes a cord with the audience and we can not wait to unravel Patrick's full story.
I honestly say that the first I heard of this show I thought the
premise was too simple and too recurrent. However I seem to find myself
waiting impatiently for each week's episode and what is Patrick going
to pull this time!
Also, I'm sick and tired of all the comparisons with Psych and House and whatever you may come up with! This show is NOT House, it's NOT Psych, it has a clear identity and is surely not a copycat. Sure it has similar elements: the House-like vibe of the background music and types of situations, or the Psych-like fact that the main character can spot details with one look; but what show these days doesn't? I mean, all CSI variants are the same! Come on...
So I tell you: this is a very good show, it can still pick up some pace (at least I can see that they're taking advantage of the Anime-style fillers) but every episode is fun to watch and grips you to the last minute.
The main character was what surprised me the most though. Despite the fact that being Portuguese I enjoy that the lead detective is called Lisbon, Mr Patrick Jane seemed just another pretty face on TV. However I can now see that I was terribly wrong: it is a great character and is portrayed by a very good actor; the changes between whimsical smiles and disturbing stares are... well disturbingly good!
So watch it, it's worth it and you might learn a thing or two!
I am very interested in the sort of mental tricks that are shown on
this show. Not that I want to be the guy, I'm more interested in why
the human brain works the way it does, and so far the tricks he uses
are well based in reality...as strange as they are.
As much as I like crime dramas, there are so many of them on TV right now. I wish they could have exposed the psychology to viewers in a different format, but on the flip side, I can't suggest a better alternative either for the moment. For choosing an over-used format I take two ratings off a perfect 10. As the last reviewer suggested the plots will have to get strange to be new.
In contrast to the last reviewer, I do like the lead character a lot, probably because I understand more why he does the things he does. Simon Baker does a great job of acting as a Mentalist, from whom is he drawing his inspiration from? They must have a consultant helping the show.
If you want to understand the show better, you may be interested in Derren Brown - Tricks of the Mind videos.
'The Mentalist' is the latest American crime drama to make its way to
British shores and so far, it is proving itself to be a promising show
which will hopefully continue to flourish. The show revolves around
Patrick Jane, a mentalist (someone with a highly developed sense of
observation who can give the illusion that they have psi abilities)
with a haunted past, who uses his unique skills to help the California
Bureau of Investigation solve crimes.
A show of this genre is obviously going to attract comparisons to other shows like 'Medium' (which is ridiculous because Jane is steadfast in his view that he is not psychic and there are no such thing as psychics) or 'Psych'. In the case of the latter, admittedly, there are similarities to be had but 'Psych' is very much drama-lite comedy whereas this show can be dark and is a serious take on having an adviser with such abilities working with law enforcement.
Simon Baker does an excellent job depicting Patrick Jane as a man who, on the surface, is genial, charismatic and arrogant but hides his dark emotional problems that we catch glimpses of as the show progresses. Jane, for all his relaxed persona, is a man who cannot come to terms with his tragic past and is an insomniac with anti-social tendencies and a cynical view of the world around him. He is a truly fascinating character and it will be interesting to see how he continues to develop. The rest of the cast do well but for now their characters take second place to Jane. Female lead character Teresa Lisbon is the leader of the CBI team that Jane liaisons with and is starting to stand up as a character in her own right as well as someone who is beginning to understand the secrets of Jane. However, everyone else still need time to be develop, which is understandable for a show only in its infancy.
In all, 'The Mentalist' continues to excel and seeks to be yet another success from America (so, CBS, please don't cancel it!). It offers a unique insight into crime and the people involved. It also involves tantalising characters who leave the viewers desperate to uncover what makes them tick. Here's looking to a good few seasons to enjoy.
I really like the show and it's actors. It stars a man who had a career acting as a psychic who was just pretending for the money. He made the mistake of catching the attention of a serial killer who retaliated by killing his family. He recovered from a breakdown and now works as a consultant to help the bureau catch the "bad guy" by using those same intuitive, observant skills and really listening to what people do and don't say. Simon Baker plays quite a multifaceted character that goes from playful to serious, whichever is called for and does it very well. The Mentalist has a good blend of being neither too dark like Criminal Minds or too lightweight like Psych, shows which I also watch.
"The Mentalist" is very similar to "Psych" in that the lead character
is trained to spot minute details, and through these observations he
solves crimes. Where Shawn Spencer of "Psych" pretends to be a psychic
private investigator while assisting the Santa Barbara police, Patrick
Jane is a person who used to pretend to be a psychic (to achieve fame
and wealth), but is now using his abilities as a private investigator
to help the police. His motivation for assisting the police is made
apparent in the pilot episode.
It is from here that the two premises diverge. "Psych" uses its premise to present a brilliant comedy where the interactions between the characters place the overall mystery and its solving in a secondary role (clues are highlighted on the screen to assist the viewer, for example). "The Mentalist" goes in the direction of the CSI-type crime drama. The story is serious and the clues are intentionally obscure for the viewer. Perhaps the most humorous element of the pilot is the veiled reference to USA's Adrian Monk of "Monk." A crime scene investigator with obvious anti-social behaviors wanders about the room making hand gestures while describing the minutia of the crime scene (a la Adrian Monk).
Is "The Mentalist" a good series and worth watching? If you like crime dramas, then certainly. If you would like a dramatic interpretation of "Psych," then the show is for you. If you are angered by a show borrowing themes and premises from your favorite show, then probably not. After all, Shawn Spencer is simply another character in a long list of characters with exceptional observational abilities (Sherlock Holmes and Columbo are but two which come to mind).
The mentalist is no doubt not an original concept, and yes, it might be somehow related to Psych. The show does distinguish itself from Psych with its new and unrelated material. The series literally takes you on a ride as one feels involved in the investigations with every episode. The haters of the show should ease up. This is good old detective work, which relies on careful crime scene observation and a bit of suspect manipulation, as oppose to the science ridden crime dramas which bombard our television sets every evening. No disrespect to C.S.I. One more thing that struck me, has anyone else noticed the number of 24 alumni appearing on the show?? Up until episode 7, we have had 4 alumni, Steve Culp, Xander Berkeley,Gregory Itzin and Leslie Hope. I wonder who is coming up next........ Catch the show for its wit and fun, if not.....check it out to see if Jack Bauer shows up to help The Mentalist.....
I've only seen about four of five episodes of this show and I liked it,
but as others have said, it follows a rather familiar vein. Trying not
to compare it to anything else though, I found it to be enjoyable at
face value. The lead character is likable and keeps the interrogations
and methods of discovery light and conversational which is nice. I like
that his part isn't really dark and sinister, which was an avenue
obviously available to the writers given the main character's back
I liked the charisma between Baker and Robin Tunney and I like that his character doesn't take himself to seriously. Yes, the writers do ask you to suspend your belief occasionally and to get viewership the writers have had to make the stories bizarre and convoluted, which isn't necessarily a problem, it just makes it look like they've got heat from network people to make it edgy when it could be more mind-bending instead.
It's a fun show that can be watched at leisure and enjoyed without a serious dedication to it, which can be nice in an age of shows with year-long story arcs. If you miss one, you're not totally out of loop. If you've got an hour to spare, give it a shot. It's enjoyable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I really enjoyed the pilot episode of this fast-paced show. The acting is very good; actually the lead actor, Simon Baker, is great. He is mesmerizing whenever he's in a scene. The premise is that Patrick Jane (Baker) is a former fake psychic whose family was murdered by a serial killer, Red Jack. Partically as atonement for having pretended to have psychic abilities, Jane is now on the side of the good guys. He is often called upon to help police solve crimes, not with any psychic abilities, but with his unusual and highly attuned powers of observation. The serial killer,Red Jack, is still on the loose several years later. In the pilot, another Red-Jack-like murder has just taken place. Only Jane realizes that the killer is a copycat and not the real Red Jack. Through his uncanny abilities and keen sense of observation and reading people, Jane is able to identify the real killer. The show has a great supporting cast and is smartly directed and shot. But the real pull and the big star is Simon Baker. He is simply great as the mentalist. He shows just the right amount of angst and humanity that has you pulling for him and feeling the pain and sorrow of his family's death, even though it occurred 5 years ago. He carries this show on his very capable shoulders.
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