Disney+ Crime Procedural Sends A Con Artist After A Serial Killer

By Robert Scucci | Published

If you’re looking for a new crime procedural to tide you over while you wonder if Mindhunter will ever get picked up for a third season (don’t hold your breath), The Mentalist is the series that you need to check out in the meantime. Through Simon Baker’s Patrick Jane, The Mentalist takes a deep dive into criminal profiling, using his supposed psychic powers to drive the narrative. Across seven seasons, Patrick’s superior investigative skills are apparent despite his questionable methods, and his abilities are instrumental in hunting down and apprehending a prolific serial killer known as Red John.

The Mentalist

The Mentalist centers on Patrick Jane, a former con artist who had a relatively successful career pretending to be a psychic medium. Though Patrick admits that there is no such thing as psychics, his skill set relies on the usual tricks that psychic personalities typically possess, like cold reading, hypnosis, and picking pockets. Through the use of context clues and his own expertise in human psychology, Patrick’s innate ability to solve mysteries catches the attention of the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI), who hire him as a consultant.

Tracking Down A Serial Killer

The central conflict in The Mentalist involves a serial killer named Red John, who Patrick once claimed to have successfully profiled while making a television appearance. Red John, who is angered by Patrick’s claims, murders his wife and daughter for being called out on broadcast television, making the ongoing investigation all the more personal. While Patrick spends time helping the authorities solving a variety of cases, his primary motive is tracking down Red John, as well as a number of copycat killers who are following in his footsteps.

As the series progresses, a romantic relationship between Patrick and his superior, Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney), develops and allows for a substantial amount of character development outside of the CBI’s ongoing investigations.

Compared To USA Network’s Psych

Upon its release, CBS’s The Mentalist was likened to Psych, which premiered on the USA Network two years prior. While both series celebrate a similar character archetype, the former is a dark crime procedural while the latter functions primarily as a comedy. It’s worth noting, however, that both series involve a crime-fighting protagonist whose talents are mistaken for clairvoyance.

Similarities aside, The Mentalist and Psych are both solid shows in their own right, and use similar premises to tell wildly different stories within the worlds they establish. Parallel thought is always a common occurrence when it comes to crime procedurals (and any other genre for that matter), so if you’ve already watched Psych, you may still want to check out The Mentalist to see how a similar protagonist operates through a more dramatic narrative.

Simon Baker Is The Highlight Of The Mentalist

While critics point out that The Mentalist doesn’t necessarily have an original premise, Simon Baker was praised for his portrayal of a con artist who ultimately uses his intimidating understanding of human psychology for all the right reasons. The series has an overall critical score of 81 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with season 4 perfecting the formula and celebrating a perfect 100 percent on the online review aggregator.

Where To Stream The Mentalist

The Mentalist will surely curb your appetite for a compelling crime drama, and may very well be the next series you want to binge from start to finish. You can currently stream the entire series on the Hulu section of Disney+. If you need a break from the CSI and NCIS franchises, or simply want a new series to throw into the mix, The Mentalist will not disappoint.