"The Mentalist" Red Scare (TV Episode 2009) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Smalltown Deputy Nick Fisher asks CBI to investigate how Alan Foster (43) was killed despite the advanced alarm in the mansion he renovated on site while his wife Lillian remained in their San Francisco home. His hand clasps a B-button, referring to Walter Beckworth, the house's builder 80 years ago, said to haunt it since he was pushed to his death from the very same window. His granddaughter Victoria Abner sold it to Foster, unable to pay her taxes, but calls him a thief. Construction site thief Jeb Haas says he saw Lillian on the murder night. Jane finds the ghost tricks. Rumor has it the house contains a treasure.

  • An architect is killed in the old mansion he recently bought, and the investigation reveals rumors of a haunted house and hidden treasure, as well as the angry descendants of the original owner.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • 'Twas a dark and storm-free night and a nerdy looking dude heard a noise outside. He looked up from his drafting table as the lights flickered and he saw something that made his eyes go wide.

    And then he was dead.

    Deputy Fisher welcomes CBI to his murder scene. The victim is Alan Foster, a 43 year old architect who was rehabbing the house. He's lying in a bloody pool on the outside patio, like he jumped. The house was locked when the deputy got there.

    The deputy says Foster was a nice guy and Jane immediately calls him on it, saying he resented him because he was rich and snooty.

    Jane notices something in Foster's hand -- a brass button with the letter "B." Jane thinks Fisher recognizes it. He thinks it might be for "Beckworth," the original owner of the house who died 80 years ago. People say he haunts the place.

    Cho says the alarm company reports it was armed all night and no one came or went. Foster was alone in the house.


    Later, Rigsby is distressed because Van Pelt is volunteering at a soup kitchen and likes a guy there. Cho doesn't want to hear it.

    They think the killer found a hole in the security system.

    Back at CBI HQ Cho and Lisbon talk to Lillian Foster, who says her husband believed you should spend a month in a house before you change it, so she was at their home in San Francisco.

    She says Victoria Abner, a "hippie dippy woman" who lives in town resented Foster for buying the place. She sold it to them because she couldn't afford the taxes, but was angry about it a week after they closed.

    Jane interrupts to tell Lisbon that Walter Beckworth was killed in 1928 in a fight over a woman -- he was thrown out the same window Foster was thrown out of.

    Jane barges in to ask the widow if her husband saw or heard anything weird at the mansion. She says he heard groans at night and sometimes it looked like things were being moved.

    Cho goes to interview Victoria Abner. Jane reminds him to ask about ghosts. Lisbon vetoes the idea.

    Van Pelt and Rigsby find no evidence of forced entry at the house, but around back in the storage area there's a padlock that's been cut open. All the power tools are missing.

    Jane visits a local historian to ask about Beckworth.

    Victoria Abner (Frances Fisher) tells Cho that Foster stole the house from her. Her straight-laced nephew comes home. Victoria gets distracted, admiring Cho's aura. She thought Foster was going to preserve it, but he wanted to "gut" it.

    Jane calls Cho and tells him Beckworth was deeply into spiritualism and held seances. He goads Cho into asking Victoria about the ghost. She nonchalantly says there is one - it's her grandfather and he used to visit her when she was young.

    The local historian also tells Jane about a rumored treasure in the house. Victoria says it was a fraud.

    Jane also learns Beckworth earned his money as a successful bootlegger. The historian says he never met Foster but as he's leaving Jane jovially calls him a "deceitful old bag of bones."

    Back around the front of the house, Rigsby and VP find the door open and hear a noise upstairs. The lights flicker, there's a ghostly chuckle and the patio doors blow closed, just like they did with Foster. But when they re-open the ghostly apparition they see is Jane.

    He shows them a secret panel that makes the lights flicker, conducts sound throughout the house and a sheet of glass that casts a reflection like ghost.

    It's old stuff, that Beckworth had built to entertain his guests. But it's been used recently.

    Jane tells them that because he was a bootlegger, the house is riddled with secret passages. Jane opens a dark and scary staircase. He tells Rigsby and VP he'll meet them where ever it comes out outside.

    In town, Lisbon finds a guy named Jeb, who the deputy ID'd as the local thief.

    In the dark passageway, Rigsby and VP navigate by flashlight until they find a stocked dusty wine cellar.

    Cho talks to Jeb, telling him they found the stolen tools in his truck. He wants a deal for info. Then Cho throws tax evasion threats at him since he hasn't filed since 2002. Jeb says he saw Lillian Foster in a black BMW sitting in a car in the woods when he was stealing. Cho tells him not to worry about the tax thing, he was lying.

    Back in the tunnel, Rigsby's flashlight goes out and VP gets the heebie jeebies when she feels something on her leg. Suddenly they're standing close to each other in the dark. Rigsby starts to say something but stops himself. Then he blurts out that he loves her and has from the moment he saw her. He says unless she stops him he's going to kiss her. She doesn't stop him -- but Jane popping open the other side of the secret passageway does.

    Moment ruined.

    Lisbon and Cho wait outside the Foster's house to pick up Lillian. They see Victoria and her nephew coming out. The widow is mad they're there. Victoria wants the house back and Lillian tells her she'll burn it down before that happens. Next thing you know, they're tussling on the lawn.

    Cho and Lisbon break it up.

    Back at CBI HQ, Lillian says Victoria wanted to rent the mansion back from her. She admits she was at the mansion the night of the murder. She thought he was cheating again. He had an affair a year ago. She waited to catch him in the act, but no one showed up. A gas receipt will prove when she left.

    Cho chats with the nephew, who turns out to be a paralegal not a lawyer.

    Rigsby interrupts Cho to tell him he confessed his love to Grace. When he tells Cho she hasn't responded, Cho tells him to tell her again.

    Jane and Lisbon talk to Victoria. He doesn't believe she wanted the mansion for sentimental reasons. He thinks the treasure is real. She sticks to the story until Lisbon says she'll be a suspect if they find out she's lying.

    So she asks Jane how he is with riddles. Like a cat with a canary.

    Back to the local historian, who tells them he found the clue in some papers he bought at an estate sale a few weeks ago. Beckworth wrote: "If fortune is what you seek sincere, then the only place to look is here." He says he told Victoria and admits to Jane that they agreed to split it.

    Jane asks to see the letter. Here is spelled "hear." Off to the mansion they go.

    Jane assembles the usual suspects: Jeb, Deputy Fisher, Victoria, her nephew, the historian and Cho and Lisbon.

    Victoria suggests "hear" might refer to a musical instrument. They open up a grand piano. It plays flat. Jane pokes around underneath until he finds a box. He opens it to reveal "Beckworth's fortune" (which we don't get to see until after the break).

    It's empty. But wait! There's a false bottom, with another clue inside: "To find fortune and riches one doesn't need help, all one must do is look to oneself."

    Lisbon thinks it's a waste of time and shuts it down over his protestations. She says they'll set up surveillance and when Jane argues, she says "bite me." With everyone gone, she asks if that last bit was too much. It works, she sold it.

    Rigsby and Van Pelt sit in a car for the most awkward stakeout ever. She finally says it's "not the right time." Outside, someone with a flashlight enters using the secret passageway. It's the nephew who goes straight for a mirror.

    He shatters it and Lisbon and Jane turn on the lights behind him. Busted.

    He laments not getting any of the Beckworth fortune. His cousin told him about the haunting equipment. He says he just wanted to scare Foster away.

    Flash back to the nephew trying to haunt him but Foster figuring out the ruse. Then the nephew whacks him on the head and remembered the ghost stories and threw him out the window.

    As Lisbon cuffs him, he asks Jane what was in the box when he first opened it. Jane takes out a tiny key. But Lisbon says he's just messing around.

    Lillian finds Jane at CBI. She tells him she learned about his family. She wants to know if he thinks the dead know how those they left behind feel, how much they wish things could be different. He says no.

    The team dives into "case closed pizza" as Rigsby and Van Pelt awkwardly navigate around each other in the break room. Finally, she walks over and takes him by the hand, leading him into a dark interview room. And then the kissing starts.

    She tells him she's going to leave soon and he should wait five and meet her at her car. They nonchalantly head back to pizza, where Jane is pouring wine, and catches their heighten states.

    Cho asks again about the key. As they hold their glasses, Jane says Beckworth was a collector and accumulated the finest of something, now worth tens of millions of dollars. They all take a sip.

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