Did we like it?
We’re not crazy about The Mentalist but it’s the sort of slick, converyor-belted US crime drama – number one in the ratings there – that’s good enough to watch if there’s nothing better on.
What was good about it?
• We quite like the premise – what if Derren Brown had become a detective. The Brown figure is Patrick Jane, played by blue-eyed, slightly craggy blonde bombshell Simon Baker, who gradually became more appealing as the opening episode wore on, even if his colleagues in the California Bureau of Investigations struggle to take a shine to him.
• The Red John case – a killer who uses the blood of his victims to paint a smiley face at the scene of the crime – provided a good enough storyline.
• The parody of US daytime talkshows in which the hosts behave like boisterous puppies around the guest.
What was bad about it?
• The team that Patrick is a member of features the usual mix that one gets in these dramas – the driven female, wisecracking guy, joke-target guy etc. They all end up as one-note characters and are quite forgettable.
• If Patrick can solve every case immediately using his powers of observation, the series may struggle to remain interesting. He seems infallible, unlike his nearest British equivalent, Robson Green’s Tony Hill in Wire In The Blood.