Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Mentalist Insider's Blog: Violets

This week's Insider's Blog, about episode 6x16 "Violets" is written by Jordan Harper, Writer of the episode.
When I was assigned to write episode 616 of The Mentalist, I started with one very simple idea. I had just finished writing “The Great Red Dragon,” which was our show at its darkest, so for this one I wanted to do an episode where our characters had fun and Robin Tunney wore a pretty dress. In fact, in the episode she wears two pretty dresses, and a lot of the other characters get new clothes as well, so I more than reached my goal. (our costume designer Amanda Friedland deserves a special shout-out for this episode).
That simple idea quickly grew into the idea of a long con, art heists and Jane and Lisbon going undercover as a couple. I quickly knew I would have to break the conventions of a normal Mentalist episode, where the identity of the killer is a mystery until the end. Instead, we meet the bad guys very quickly in order to give Jane and the team more time to mess with their minds. Also, in most episodes Jane’s trick isn’t fully revealed to the audience until the killer is caught, but this time we played the con cards-up.
While Jane and Lisbon working together is the center of the episode, the rest of the team really shines as well. Cho, Abbott and Fischer get to show new sides of their characters, and I was particularly impressed with Joe Adler as Wiley, who gets to serve as the narrator of the long con.
But my favorite part of the episode to shoot was the exciting art heist that opens the episode. I love a good heist film, and director J Miller Tobin did a great job of giving the scene some thrilling moments. The days on set when you get to watch while an SUV is driven through a plate-glass wall and men with masks and machine guns jump out, and it all is happening because of things you typed … those are the days its good to be a TV writer.
While on the surface the episode is a fun stand-alone, it also introduces a subplot that will play out for the rest of the season: Lisbon meets Marcus Pike (played by the great Pedro Pascal), who is immediately taken by Lisbon. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say this about Pike: his best character trait is one that Jane may be lacking when it comes to Lisbon, and I think it’s that trait is what makes Pike appeal to Lisbon. But of course this episode is the beginning of this story, not the end of it. So stay tuned …

 Written by
Writer Jordan Harper

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