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Carnelian, Inc. is the seventeenth episode of season one of The Mentalist. It aired on March 24th 2009 in the US and July 16th 2009 in the UK.


Lisbon comes in with an email that was sent to the governor and attorney general's office, promising an "arrogant and greedy" person will meet their death at coordinates in the middle of the Mojave desert at a specified time. They're on it because somebody leaked it and the governor wants them on it personally. Jane's pysched. The desert is beautiful this time of year. They take a picnic, but Van Pelt stays behind to answer phones.

Using the GPS, they reach the spot with 15 seconds to go. Time's up and Lisbon wants to leave. Jane suggests they wait. He has sandwiches.

They hear a dull roar and then a thud as a body falls from the sky.

The victim is David Whittaker, a VP of human resources for Carnelian Inc. They're on an outdoor adventure retreat. A parachute guy tells them the chute was messed with. He checked it himself last night and it was fine, but the chutes were kept in an unlocked hangar overnight.

Randall Faulk, the CEO of the private equity firm, rubs Lisbon the wrong way as he tries to leave without her permission. After asserting her authority, she lets him go.

Van Pelt calls Lisbon, giving her bad news about something on TV. They head to Faulk's.

The TV is reporting a message from the same person, "Joe Q. Public," claiming they've proved their strength and they'll do it again unless Carnelian makes a public apology. But Faulk doesn't want to cancel the company retreat. He says this is the moment to show resolve. Jane tells the assembled team that the killer didn't care which "arrogant and greedy" person among them was killed. They offer up their list of registered malcontents, anyone who ever complained or sued. Van Pelt checks it against the list of employees at the airfield.

Lee Skelling is on both lists. Rigsby and Cho pick him up, and his young son pulls a shotgun on them. His dad talks him down as he's hauled away.

Cho reads a letter that Skelling sent to Carnelian two years ago, calling them names and accusing them of stealing. He made fan ducts for airliners and came up with an idea that saved his company money, but he didn't get his promised $50,000 bonus because Carnelian bought the company and denied it. He tried suing but got nowhere.

Jane and Lisbon come for Skelling's wife, Jessie. Jane tells her they'll prove her husband is innocent if he is.

At the office, Cho asks for Skelling's alibi. He was at work last night and had access to the hanger, but he denies he did anything to the chute. He says he didn't know the Carnelian people were there. He was in the Army rangers and he'd sooner chop off a man's head and pee down his neck than kill a man by messing with his chute.

Jessie believes her husband is innocent because he told her so. Jane presses her on why she can be so sure. She removes her wig to reveal her mostly bald head. She's dying and he wouldn't lie to someone who's dying, or risk leaving their kids alone.

Jane talks to Lee, who says when he was at the aerospace company his wife had better health care. If he'd kept his mouth shut he'd still have his job and she'd be getting treatment. He says he'd kill them if he could get away with it. But everybody knows you can't kill rich people.

Lisbon jokes that she can read Jane's mind. He thinks Skelling is innocent. Lisbon orders him released.

Jane wants to go back and talk to the Carnelian executives. He wants to throw a cat among the pigeons. Except that he has no idea what he'll find, so it'll be a blind cat.

Off they go. Jane notices an old ranch hand with the executives, gathered in a barn. Jane starts asking questions, accusing a woman named Joyce of being a seething ball of angry resentment while Mike Spruell secretly thinks Faulk is a buffoon. He asks if anyone resents the sexual relationship between Faulk and Nadia Sobell. Faulk tells Sobell to keep quiet. Lisbon decides it's time to go.

Lisbon and Jane stop at a fruit stand and discuss the benefits of corporate retreats. She says he could benefit, maybe learn trust. For instance, she doesn't trust him. Think how often he's lied to her and misled her. He suggests a trust fall. Then he reassures her until she agrees to flop. He catches her, as promised.

They make the three-hour drive back.

At the office, Van Pelt gets another message from Joe Q Public, promising "the king of the rats" will meet his demise.

Jane turns around. He thinks someone's planted a bomb to kill Faulk. Cut to Faulk, dozing atop a bomb ticking down from 20 minutes.

Jane and Lisbon walk into Faulk's bedroom and wake him up. Jane finds it immediately and Lisbon has to warn him not to gloat. They get him out of bed safely. As the clock ticks down...nothing happens.

The next day, a bomb guy tells them one wire was out of place, but it was serious stuff. It was made by an expert and made with army ordnance.

Lisbon and Jane visit the Skelling house, where Jessie tells them her husband took off because he knew how it would look. Jane guesses he's in the mountains, and his wife says he has a gun for hunting. Lisbon wishes she hadn't let him go, but Jane still insists he's innocent.

Faulk makes a public statement saying Carnelian will weather the storm. Their stock is down 15 percent and falling. Jane wonders if anyone might have shorted the stock. Van Pelt checks the stock logs. She finds an account that made trades mirroring the time line of the murders. It traces back to N.S. Holdings - Nadia Sobell.

Cho and Van Pelt check back in on the Carnelians. All but one are out playing paint ball war games.

Nadia nails De Shaun with paint and then is immediately hit herself: with real bullets.

The team reconvenes at the barn. Skelling was last sighted in the area. Lisbon still thinks it could be him. She thinks they look pretty dumb now that their main suspect was just killed.

Jane thinks they won't be hearing from "Joe Q Public" again. He notes that Whittaker's death was random, but Sobell's wasn't. He's not sure what that means yet, though.

Lisbon and Jane leave to talk to Faulk and De Shaun. Jane's carrying something in a bag. When Lisbon asks what it is, he first says a picnic, but then a bomb. No, really.

As they're all talking, the old ranch hand, Jake, tells them the cars are ready. Faulk decides he has to make a public apology, saying that staying was the wrong idea and that Carnelian is going to be reborn as an ethical company. Joyce thinks it's brilliant. Jane agrees.

Rigsby tells Jane and Lisbon that the bullet that killed Sobell matches back a shooting competition from years ago won by Jake the ranch hand.

Jane is only mildly surprised and goes through the motions of insisting to Faulk that forensics doesn't lie and that this very specific bullet must mean he did it. Faulk insist Jake is "salt of the earth" and he's known him for six years.

Jane says maybe Faulk can help. He wants Faulk to talk to him. Lisbon isn't comfortable with the idea, but he suggests she wait outside with her gun drawn.

Jane talks to Jake, asking why he killed them all. Faulk asks Jake why? What'd he ever do to him? Jane continues insisting that Jake must have done it, even producing the bomb he accuses Jake of making. Jake doesn't recognize it, but Faulk gets twitchy. Then when Jane turns it on and it starts counting, Faulk swoops in to disarm it. "Aha, as they say," says Jane. But Faulk insists he just guessed. So Jane arms it again and again Faulk shuts it down.

It's just armed with Play-doh now, Jane says. And Faulk made it to throw suspicion off himself.

Faulk says Jane has no legal proof. Jane doesn't necessarily disagree. He just likes to know that he's right. Lisbon then places Faulk in cuffs behind his back and arrests him.

At the station, Jane tells Faulk that he knew it was him the minute the bomb under the bed failed to go off. Whittaker's death was a camouflage to disguise Sobell's death. That's who he needed dead.

Cho produces an affidavit from Sobell's lawyer saying that she was negotiating to join their competitor, and filing and sexual harassment suit against him while shorting the stock.

Still, Jane compliments Faulk on the "genius" of Joe Q. Public and then rebranding the company. Everybody loves a comeback.

Jane suggests a deal. Manslaughter for Whittaker, no charges on the bomb, and they won't go after the death penalty. Faulk asks in exchange for what.

Cut to the Skellings opening a check from Faulk for $500,000.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


  • A carnelian is a deep-red variety of the gemstone chalcedony. So by naming both the company and the episode "Carnelian, Inc.", the tradition of referencing red (or some variation of red) remains.
Season 1 Episodes
Pilot  · Red Hair and Silver Tape  · Red Tide  · Ladies in Red  · Redwood  · Red Handed  · Seeing Red  · The Thin Red Line  · Flame Red  · Red Brick and Ivy  · Red John's Friends  · Red Rum  · Paint It Red  · Crimson Casanova  · Scarlett Fever  · Bloodshot  · Carnelian, Inc.  · Russet Potatoes  · A Dozen Red Roses  · Red Sauce  · Miss Red  · Blood Brothers  · Red John's Footsteps