"The Mentalist" Red Moon (TV Episode 2010) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Smalltown Vineland sheriff Mullery's deputies Nelson Capel and Lance Connor and Mullery's cousin EMT Todd Johnson's fiancée Keeley Farlowe were all found killed, though in different ways, in the same olive plantation where Todd lived with her and her wheelchair-ridden uncle Joe Hunnicker. 'Clairvoyant' Ellis Mars warns the murderer will strike again. Keeley's former admirer, trucker Gregor Hobart, possibly last to see her, seems amused but says he defended her against horny cook Rusty Moore, who has scratched. The bullet links the case to several other monthly cop killings. After a button points to the fire department, where only B. Kitchen didn't report for duty on the killing night, the sheriff is fatally shot and Mars claims credibility, volunteering 'psychic help', concluding a werewolf attack. Patrick set a successful trap but ends up feeling burnt.

  • Patrick Jane accepts the help of a local astrologer, Ellis Mars, to solve the puzzling case of a triple homicide that involves two policemen and the fiancé of an EMT worker.

  • CBI connects a small-town triple homicide to a cop killer, and a "psychic" who offers to help with the case suggests that the killer's actions are based on the moon cycle.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Walking through an orchard, Jane comes upon a deer and quietly calls for Lisbon. The deer checks them out and keeps going. So do they, coming upon a charred out car.

    The local sheriff tells them the victim is 15 year deputy Nelson Capel. He answered a 911 call from a local girl named Kiely who gave her as location there before the line went dead. The other victim is deputy Lance Carlow, whose throat was cut. Kiely's body is nearby, the sheriff's nephew Todd was her fiancé.

    Jane thinks the three different methods of killing are odd and the bodies were arranged. He thinks they're dealing with a complicated maniac. Jane says he wants the case. Todd says he's going to kill whoever did it.

    Sheriff's Office, Vineland, Cal.

    Van Pelt sets up as deputies give her the stink eye. A man asks to speak with whoever's in charge of the murder investigation.

    Lisbon and Jane go to see Kiely's granddad Joe Hunter, who greets them with a shotgun. He's in a wheelchair and on veteran's disability. There are empty booze bottles in the trash. Deputy Todd lives there, too. Kiely's parents were killed in a drunk driving accident five years ago.

    Todd has calmed down and says he'll leave the investigation to them. Lisbon says that's good, revenge doesn't work. Jane begs to differ.

    Todd talked to her an hour before she died, asking her to get beer and chips for his monthly card game with his uncle. He blames himself for not picking her up.

    Cho and Rigsby talk to her coworkers at a diner, who say she was nice and trusting. She biked home. A waitress mentions a "big ol' greasy fella" named Greg who drives a truck with an orange on it.

    Driving the road Kiely would have biked to get home, Lisbon asks Jane about his revenge crack. He says it's odd for her to argue since she's been helping him seek revenge the last few years. She claims it's different because she's in control of the situation, when the day comes she'll stop Jane from doing anything foolish. He tells her the reality will be different and he'll exact revenge.

    Back at the station, the man who came by earlier, Ellis Mars, is still waiting in the lobby. He says he has information that the killer will strike again, which attributes to "his gift."

    Jane and Lisbon blow him off, but he tells Jane he can tell he's been visited by great tragedy. He leaves his card. At the motel later, Jane contemplates Ellis's card. He thinks of Red John and the tiger poem he recited.

    Cho and Rigsby track down Greg Hobart, the guy who drives the truck with the orange on it. Back in interrogation, he admits he asked her out. He says he talked to her as she was unlocking her bike after work, she was upset. She said the cook at the diner was hassling her. He describes the way she road off into the full moon seeming like a bad omen.

    Lisbon interviews the cook Rusty in full view of the entire sheriff's office. She makes him show her his arms, which have scratches on them. The sheriff suggests Lisbon go get a latte or check her email and leave Rusty alone with them. She announces they're taking him back to Sacramento.

    Back at CBI, Todd is waiting for Rusty and tackles him to the floor. Cho chicken wings him into submission.

    Later, Jane argues to Hightower that they shouldn't charge Todd for assault. Jane says he can talk Todd out of revenge.

    Jane takes Todd up into his attic aerie, and tells Todd he just tried to kill an innocent man. Todd vows again to kill whoever killed his fiancé. Jane tells Todd he'll deny he ever said this but if he really wants revenge he has to be dishonest, devious and cold.

    Cut to Todd apologizing to Hightower, who lets him go.

    Grace reports that one of the deputies was killed with the same gun used in the Howard and Ortiz murders recently, both law enforcement killed on the side of the road one month apart.

    Jane is intrigued by the idea of a serial cop killer. They have no forensics.

    The only thing in common is the monthly cycle and gun. Cho suggests Kiely was just bait. Jane reads Greg's transcript about Kiely riding toward the moon and they realizes they were looking in the wrong direction.

    Cut to law enforcement checking fields and finding her bike. The sheriff says there's a make-out spot down the road, but nothing else. Rigsby finds a button from a fire fighter's coat.

    Cho talks to the local fire chief, asking for names of people not working. He says one guy didn't show up yesterday but he's not that kind of guy. He calls out Ben Kitchen. His face is burned all around his eyes. He says it was a bbq accident.

    Cho talks to him later. He says he was home. The sheriff checks in and Lisbon updates him. He says he's on the way in, but then a shot blasts through his car window and hits him in the head. Lisbon hears it.

    Later, they think the same gun was used on the sheriff. Jane thinks the sheriff was killed because he had discovered something.

    Mars comes by again, essentially with an I-told-you-so. Jane pointedly mentions Lisbon was on the phone with the sheriff when he was killed. Mars puts his hand on Jane's shoulder and goes wide-eyed, asking Jane to let him help him.

    Jane busts him, asking if he's trying to hypnotize him. But he lets him back. Jane wants to run to the store then says they should take him to Kiely's place.

    Jane runs off then Mars goes through the "revelation" of discovering Lisbon was on the phone with the sheriff when he died, earning the new sheriff's respect.

    Out at Kiely's place, Mars goes through the motions of searching the house. Lisbon watches and Jane tells her it's about to be worth it, saying the mark of a good psychic is the ability to improvise. He finds a wolf's tooth and says he thinks the killer left it there.

    Cut to Mars holding a press conference, saying he thinks the killer believes he's a werewolf, following the cycles of the moon.

    Watching, Lisbon thinks she knows what Jane is up to, but he doubts it. Jane rips out one of Lisbon's hairs and goes to talk to Mars, leading him think the serial killer is going to return to the scene of the crime that night.

    Then Jane tells the new sheriff someone who thinks he's a wolf will return to the scene of his kill. He says he'll put some men up there.

    Cut to Mars walking around in the grove with night vision goggles on. He's blinded by headlights and he runs, thinking it's the killer. It's the police. He's running down the road when Jane drives by and picks him up.

    Mars says he was waiting for the killer but he saw him and chased him. Jane tells him it was the police and now they'll think he's the killer. He freaks Mars out, suggesting an angry cop might seek revenge. Jane assures him he'll fix it.

    Jane leaves Todd a message, telling him to meet him at the sheriff's. Jane wakes Lisbon up, telling her he has "an excellent play" in motion.

    They arrive at the sheriff's office to find all the deputies a flutter and the sheriff calling in road blocks. He tells Todd they found Mars creeping around the crime scene and he left his car, which had a long black (Lisbon) hair in the back.

    Todd doesn't think it makes any sense. Jane tells him to meet him outside.

    Jane tells Todd to get in his car and drives him to a seedy motel, where he takes out a gun. He gives it to Todd and tells him Mars is in room 21 and to "consider it a gift from a brother in arms."

    Todd thinks he's messing with him, so Jane takes him into the room, where he finds Mars on the bed. Todd has the gun. Jane tries to egg him on, telling him he found Kiely's blond hair in his car. Todd tells Jane he doesn't understand why he'd frame an innocent man and try to get him to shoot him.

    Jane says he's right and tells Mars to go.

    Alone in the room, Jane tells Todd there's only one way he could have known Mars was innocent. He calls him a garden variety psychopath and asks him what turned him on to cops. Todd is sweet and polite and denies it.

    Jane accuses him of killing Kiely because she was getting to clingy; he killed the sheriff because he recognized the button as his.

    Jane tells him the cycle wasn't about the moon, it was the once a month when his uncle gets his VA check and goes on a binge, blacking out and giving him an alibi.

    Todd calls Jane clever, saying he underestimated him. He says there's a reason for everything he's done. He raises the gun at Jane and fires, but nothing happens. No firing pin. Todd pulls out his knife, at which point Jane calls for Cho and Rigsby, who come in and arrest him.

    Waiting in lock up, Todd says he'll talk, but only to Jane. He says he has a secret only Jane will understand.

    Lisbon tries to convince Jane to talk, but he's not eager to stare back into the abyss.

    Jane goes down to the holding cell, where he finds Todd ablaze from head to foot. Jane is seriously shaken.

    Later in the hospital, Lisbon says there's going to be an investigation. They think it was revenge for Howard's death. The doctor's don't expect Todd to regain consciousness.

    Jane sits at his bedside. Todd wakes up. He says "tiger, tiger," then dies. Jane reels.

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