10 July 2008

Pilot Watch: The Mentalist

In CBS' The Mentalist, Simon Baker is Patrick Jane, a detective who is known for his “razor sharp skills of observation” while Robin Tunney is Teresa Lisbon, the agent who doesn't exactly appreciate his skills, especially when he sometimes go beyond the boundaries.

Watchin' it or ditchin' it?

I've got to get this out of the way before anything --- I'm not a big fan of crime procedurals anymore because it has this tendency to be very formulaic and predictable....two, ten, thirty episodes down the line, you know what's going to happen. It takes a lot to keep me excited and curious about any new crime series these days.

When I read about The Mentalist, I thought is seemed an awful lot like Criminal Minds. I am slightly off there. It's a little like Criminal Minds and a LOT like Psych, only more somber.

Five years ago, Patrick Jane was working as a talk show psychic when the police hired him as consultant, to help police solve crime cases. Only, he later admits while already a full-fledged detective, that he never has any real powers. He only has sharp observation skills. In the pilot episode, Jane and Lisbon's team of agents try to solve a murder case that may be related to "Red John", a serial killer Jane was hired to track five years ago.

But unlike other crime series, where viewers are fed with explanations as to the how's and why's of the crime, in The Mentalist, viewers, for the most part, will be seeing everything from Jane's point of view...which isn't really going to explain much about the crime right away. But I like that it is this way. We've got to draw our own conclusions first before we see who actually did the crime in the end. When Jane sees a clue, viewers will be left to think about what it means and how it is connected to the case.

In some ways, Patrick Jane is a shade comparable to another police TV character --- Life's Charlie Crews. There are elements in this pilot episode that explains Jane's past. And it appears to be traumatic, something Charlie Crews has also gone through.

While it is a serious drama series, there is also a certain amount of humor in it.

Watchin' it or ditchin' it? I'm still on the fence. I think I'll put this under my "shows to consider" list.

Pinoys though would be happy to see a slightly familiar face in this episode in former noontime TV star, Lana Asanin. She played a small part here, as the TV host interviewing Patrick Jane.

The Mentalist will premiere on CBS in September 2008.