After Jane (Simon Baker) solves a murder in a matter of minutes, but also gets a Sacramento police officer shot in the process, Bertram (Michael Gaston) sends both The Mentalist and Lisbon (Robin Tunney) far out of town to investigate the murder of a Los Angeles real estate developer up near the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. Given that Bertram is one of their remaining seven Red John suspects, Lisbon has to wonder whether or not this latest assignment is nothing more than Red John forcing the pair out of town to begin his latest murder spree. Of course when another of their suspects is assigned to the same case, they have to assume that Parkridge (Jack Plotnick) also might have ulterior motives for working the case.
Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and Cho (Tim Kang) interview the relieved widow (Lauren Stamile) and son (Trent Ford) of the dead real estate developer as well as the dead man’s shady Mexican business partner (Guri Weinberg) each of whom had motive for wanting the man dead. Jane has all the suspects brought out to diner near the crime scene and with a little showmanship, a bible verse, and a self-proclaimed psychic waitress (Josie Davis), where he unmasks the killers and the real motive for the murder.
Against Jane’s wishes, Lisbon shares the list of seven names with Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) who she orders to install a GPS bug on each of the men’s cell phones. Of course Van Pelt isn’t able to keep the names to herself, and by the end of the episode every member of the team knows all seven of the Red John suspects. The episode ends with one of the suspects being crossed off the list by Red John himself, who also lures Lisbon to the crime scene as well.
Although I doubt we’ll see one name crossed off the list every week, the season premiere does narrow the field by one suspect as well put extra strain on the CBI team whose leader has been taken by the serial killer responsible for the murder of Jane’s wife and daughter. The mystery of the week gives us the typical red herrings before Jane’s stunt reveals the true killer (although his unwillingness to leave the diner to question other suspects was a big giveaway).