For this week's The Mentalist Insider's Blog, Writer Rebecca Cutter tells us more about her episode "Red Listed".
And then there were five.
Episode 604 (“Red Listed”) ends with the demise of mysterious Homeland Security Agent Robert Kirkland. It also answers several lingering questions about Kirkland: Why did he kill Jason Lennon (ep 518)? Why did he break into Jane’s office (ep 519)? And finally, why was he in the limousine (ep 506)?
“Red Listed” differs from a typical Mentalist episode in that it doesn’t have what we (somewhat callously) refer to as a “murder of the week.” Those episodes have a structure and a rhythm that, although certainly not easy to write, are at least familiar to me. But for “Red Listed,” I was tasked with writing a purely serialized episode, a link in the Red John chain. In many ways it was like writing a different show. Although challenging, it was also super exciting (and something of an honor) to contribute to the Red John mythology and bring the show one step closer to the final reveal.
Because the episode picks up so many threads from seasons past, the cast of characters were almost entirely returnees – we didn’t need a single casting session. As a result, the episode plays like a greatest hits album – nothing but the best! From the reappearance of creepy Richard Haibach (played by William Mapother) to the powerful return of Madeleine Hightower (Aunjanue Ellis), it was a delight to see these familiar and talented faces. In particular, Kevin Corrigan gave a big, juicy, delicious performance as Agent Kirkland, and the seemingly dense FBI Agent Reede Smith is revealed to be a cold-hearted killer in a chilling performance by Drew Powell. Watch him closely.
On a personal note, I am particularly fond of this episode because the first day of shooting marked the start of my maternity leave, and the last day of shooting, September 3rd, corresponded with the birth of my daughter. Because I was on leave, my fellow writers took turns watching set for me while I stayed at home and ate bon-bons (or something like that!). Being something of a control freak, it was difficult to sit back and let everyone else do the work… but the upside was that I was able to watch the first cut of the episode with “fresh eyes.” I was delighted (but not surprised) to see that veteran Mentalist director Eric Laneuville did an amazing job as always.
Okay, baby is crying, gotta go! I hope you enjoyed the episode as much as I did.
Story Editor Rebecca Cutter