So, original I hear you cry....it's a US Cop show! I am a fan of American crime shows, I'm sure you all know the type I mean, they are invariably three of four letters long and somewhere in the abbreviation includes the letters 'C' and 'I'. They now exist in a variety of forms and are still as gripping as ever, but sometimes as I watch I do think they are covering the same ground and they do give of a certain sense of deja vu. I have watched often thinking can you really get to much of a good thing......
Whether you're a fan or not of these 'The Mentalist' is a relief from this on so many levels. It follows a team working for the CBI (California Bureau Of Investigation) on homicide cases around the state. The real difference to this show against all others is you are following a team of cops, and not forensic experts, with their star turn being Patrick Jane (Simon Baker). He is a former TV psychic medium who claimed supernatural powers but really just relied on his accute and fantastic powers of observation. This unlikely marriage of Jane to the team follows an event where Serial Killer Red John killed Jane's wife and child and after a breakdown he turns his skill to understanding crime scenes and the suspects they lead him to as he works as a 'consultant' to the team. Red John does appear in the second season most notably in the brilliant season finale.
So if you have ever seen the show you'll know Patrick Jane's ability is only one part of his make-up. He is cocky, arrogant but supremely warm and charming original character who at any moment may simply become disintertested with the direction the case takes and find ice cream, walking in the hills or simply staying in the car a better option than following leads with his fellow agents. He is always unorthodox and it is often his elborate, and rule bending games, that trap the guilty party and makes this show such a different animal from the others that follow police procedure so closely.
Although Baker as Jane is the obvious lead, all the characters are well formed and have charateristics and traites all of their own. Despite the fact that each crime and investigation is almost exclusively episodic you see much more character development in Season 2. The leader of the team Agent Lisbon's hard exterior softens at times, and the will they/won't they relationship of Rigsby and Van Pelt is explored yet again. Agent Cho continues to be the perfect foil to Patrick Jane's super confident manner as the dead pan and down to earth side kick, and the show is entertaining whoever is on screen.
If the question I asked at the start of this review was can you get too much of a good thing with American Crime Shows, whichever your view, The Mentalist is certainly a welcome breathe of fresh air and a real boost to the genre and replaces that feeling of "Deja vu" with a certain "Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi" and is worthy of everyone of the five stars.