The Mentalist: Season 1

This is the only new season show I picked up during the 2008-9 season and it’s a healthy addition to my collection of procedurals. It’s a lot like NCIS in tone, with smart dialogue, intelligent characters and a lightness and freedom from rules that isn’t often found in CSIs. The fun that Jayne has investigating crimes is contagious and it’s interesting to see the different levels of acceptance the surrounding characters have of his actions. It’s not really an ensemble show at all and Simon Baker carries the show admirably, playing the different personas nicely.

The only point the show falls down is in the supposed darker undertones. The lead character is supposed to have lost his wife and young child to a seriel killer whom he’s vowed to take his revenge on. To be honest I found that bit difficult to believe, early episodes make more references to his troubled sleeping and time in a mental institution, but he just generally seems too happy and too playful with the investigations to be seem like a vengeful obsessed bereaved father. It felt a little too much like two characters switching back and forth and didn’t sit well with the otherwise bright and cheerful sense of the show.

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