Monday, December 9, 2013

The Mentalist Insider's Blog - Green Thumb

Well, it should come as no surprise by now that after five and a half seasons, we're re-booting The Mentalist. Three episodes ago, the CBI was shut down. Two episodes ago, Patrick Jane obtained his long-awaited revenge on Red John. And last episode, we found Jane hiding from authorities on a tropical island. What viewers may not be aware of is that while those three episodes were shooting, our production designer, Mike Novotny, was hard at work dismantling the old CBI standing set and building a shiny, new, and permanent FBI set. 
That new set was revealed this week in "Green Thumb". In essence, the episode was like writing a series pilot. A new universe is introduced, a new team of personalities set in motion (with some familiar pieces intact), and a new world of stories begins. We didn't want to see Jane consulting for the CBI without Red John out there, because that's the reason Jane joined the CBI in the first place. Working for the FBI gives Jane access to bigger stories with higher stakes and loftier figures to poke at -- which is ultimately the fun of The Mentalist. For the first time we can now enjoy Jane without the weight of his family's murder hanging over his head. 
In addition to introducing all the new elements, the storytelling in "Green Thumb" was challenging because we wanted to set the FBI paradigm in motion, but we didn't want to throw too many changes at viewers at once. So we gave Jane a murder to solve this week, which mixes the old with the new. In fact, most of the stories this season will continue to revolve around a dead body on the floor, but the cases will often have national implications. 
What was the most rewarding part of this episode for me was watching the transformation of Lisbon. Last week's episode was focused on the FBI finding Jane and extracting him to the United States. Jane arguably has a strong reason to join the FBI -- it will keep him out of jail for murder. But Lisbon now has an established home and career, so what's in it for her to upend her life? In many ways, this is Lisbon's episode and it's great watching Robin Tunney play a character who's no longer the boss. The new sides of her character feel revelatory and fresh, and that, after all, was the goal of the re-boot. 
Hope you enjoy. 
Written by
Producer Daniel Cerone

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