The CBI are called into investigate the murder of a wealthy reclusive heiress (Mariette Hartley) whose charred remains were found in her creepy rundown mansion. Jane (Simon Baker) and Lisbon (Robin Tunney) talk with the victim’s nephew (Michael Gladis) and his wife (Elizabeth Bogush) who explain the woman had become a paranoid shut-in in the last two years, which her doctor (Erick Avari) confirms as the early stages of dementia, and only left the house for weekly sailing trips aboard her boat with a young woman (Vanessa Ray) from the marina who paints a far different picture of the victim.
Finding no clear motive for murder other than the 20 or so relatives all making a claim on the fortune especially given the last-minute changes the victim made to her will before her death, Lisbon and Jane talk with the head (Lex Medlin) of a veteran’s charity which the woman funded who believes the victim’s doctor and nephew were plotting together to take her money and close down the charity. Rigsby (Owain Yeoman), when he isn’t distracted by Van Pelt’s (Amanda Righetti) absence, discovers the doctor was proscribing much more to the victim than sleeping pills and has a rap sheet for fatally over-medicating patients overseas.
Returning to the crime scene Jane discovers a well-known (but completely worthless) medal missing from the woman’s home which a search of the nephew’s art studio turns up along with residue of the accelerant used to destroy the body. Despite the open-and-shut case the team puts together implicating both the doctor and the nephew, Jane is unconvinced at least until Cho (Tim Kang) presents an entirely new picture of the victim that gives the mentalist the final piece of the puzzle and allows the CBI to close the case of a very much alive heiress who attempted to frame both her doctor and nephew for her murder and make off with the all of the charity’s money.
The ending is a nice twist, which is foreshadowed by the extremes taken to destroy the body, and forces Lisbon to admit her error both to Jane and to the victim’s family (much to Jane’s delight). After simmering on the back burner for weeks, the search for Red John heats back up next week with the return of Lorelei (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and hard choices for Jane between the search for the murder of his wife and child and his relationship with Lisbon and the CBI.