Let Patrick Jane read between the lines, and concentrate on the bigger picture: the new season of The Mentalist returns on Friday 22 February, 9pm on Channel 5.
The agents are called to a forest where a teenager has been found beaten to death. The lad was a student at Bright Arch, a high school for troubled youngsters. Theorising that the boy was attacked elsewhere, Jane wanders up a nearby slope. “Somewhere very close by there’s a spot where someone buried him alive,” he says. Sure enough, he leads the agents to a shallow grave where the assailant attempted to bury his victim.
A hand-drawn map found in the school dorm leads Cho and Rigsby to a run-down shack where they are confronted by an unhinged man with a gun. The man, Marshal Winston, is promptly taken in for questioning. He denies knowledge of the murder, but explains that masked children from Bright Arch regularly harass him, hurling paint at his house, shouting abuse and breaking his windows.
Back at the school, Jane speaks to the kids about the attacks on Winston’s property and learns that the masked children are part of a secretive gang known as Z Crew. The group, whose members remain anonymous, is based on a local legend involving a lumberjack called Zachariah who brutally murdered his colleagues. It seems the children in Z Crew are coerced into carrying out acts of vandalism by their mysterious leader. Could the person behind this gang be responsible for the boy’s death?
The agents then catch the school headmaster, Asher MacLean, attempting to flee with one of the students, Cassie. “He wanted her to go before we had a chance to talk to her and find out that she and he were having sexual relations,” says Jane. Could there be any truth behind this seemingly unfounded accusation, or is Jane playing another dangerous mind game? To get to the bottom of the case, the wily consultant sets up an elaborate sting involving a camp fire, a ghost story and a willing volunteer...