Season 1 - Episode 1: Pilot

Episode 1: Pilot

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The CBI agents are called to a smart house in Palm Springs where a physician called Dr Gregory Tannen and a married woman called Alison Randolph have been murdered. The dead man's colleague, Dr Linus Wagner, identifies the bodies. Early signs, including a smiley face painted on the wall in blood, suggest that the crime is the work of a notorious serial killer known as Red John. Despite currently being suspended from duty owing to some controversial tactics in a previous case that cost a suspect his life, Patrick tags along.

As a homicide detective gives the agents a tour of the crime scene, Patrick interrupts. "This isn't Red John," he says. "Red John has a strong sense of theatre." Patrick's hypothesis is that the real serial killer always ensured that the face on the wall was the first thing that anyone saw - whereas this killer placed the woman's body at the centre of the scene. Having delivered his verdict, Patrick leaves.

After looking back at Red John's previous crimes, senior agent Teresa Lisbon reluctantly agrees with Patrick and invites him to join the investigation. "You might be right about this case," she admits. She thinks that the murders could be the work of a copycat. Meanwhile, agents Wayne Rigsby and Kimball Cho go to see the dead woman's husband, Price Randolph, who found the bodies with his brother, Tag. The agents suspect that Price might have killed his wife and Dr Tannen upon discovering that they were having an affair. However, that theory is discounted when it emerges that Tannen was gay.

Once the agents have retired to their hotel for the night, Patrick is disturbed by a package being slipped under his door. He opens the envelope to find a letter signed with Red John's distinctive smiley face and beginning with the words: 'Greetings old friend - it's been a while'. Patrick raises the alarm and races down the corridor, but is too late to catch the mysterious postman. However, Patrick is insistent that the letter is not the work of the serial killer. "Red John wouldn't risk capture just to taunt me," he says.

Back at the agents' temporary HQ, Wayne comes in with a positive lead. Analysis of the letter shows that the blood used to draw the face is Alison Randolph's, suggesting that the person who posted the package also killed Alison. But the envelope contained a hair that does not belong to the victim. "Guess who it does belong to," says Wayne. In fact, the hair is belongs to Tag Randolph, who is promptly arrested.

During questioning, Tag denies murder but confesses that he and Alison were having an affair. He then accuses his brother, Price, of killing his wife and framing him for murder as an act of revenge. Could Alison's death be the result of a dispute between two brothers in love with the same woman?

Once again, Patrick has other ideas and goes off on his own to explore them. Under the pretence of needing medication to help him sleep, he visits Dr Wagner, the man who identified the bodies. Patrick seems to suspect that Wagner murdered his colleague, and then made a spectacle of killing Alison to draw attention away from him. "Why do magicians have beautiful girl assistants?" he asks the doctor, rhetorically. "Because they're reliable distracters of attention. People will look at a beautiful girl for a long time before they look where they should be looking," is Patrick's own response. But without any solid evidence or a clear motive, is the mentalist barking up the wrong tree?

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