Gale Bertram was the director of the CBI and a member of the Blake Association. He became the prime Red John suspect after Reede Smith was arrested, and the others were all presumed dead. In his final appearance in "Red John", he reveals that he is indeed not Red John. In retrospect, he is Red John's final victim, even though he was killed by his accomplice, Oscar Cordero.
Summary[edit | edit source]
His first and foremost concern is about the CBI's public image, and his own. His desire to protect his career and public standing has made him an easy target for Patrick Jane's machinations. He deals with the media and oversees Lisbon's team. During Hightower's tenure as Lisbon's boss, the team did not directly report to Bertram. He always liked Patrick Jane. However, Bertram doesn't trust him and he believes that Jane is a disturbed and dangerous individual. But he is highly pragmatic and respects Jane's ability to close cases.
In Red Sky At Night, we meet Gale Bertram. At first, he seems in favor of Jane and his unethical tactics, but when Jane suspects him as the culprit in a murder/kidnapping investigation, things then become uneasy between the two. Throughout the season, audiences become suspicious of Bertram.
In Red Queen, he is summoned by the CBI when they seemingly make a break in the Todd Johnson investigation. After Madeleine Hightower is framed as Todd Johnson's killer, he seems relieved and then recites a verse from William Blake's "Cradle Song." This implies that he has connections to Red John.
In Strawberries and Cream, he is revealed to be on J.J. LaRoche's final suspects list for Todd Johnson's murder. He informs the intel about Hightower's location to Red John as well as Craig O'Laughlin. Jane and the CBI immediately believe him to be Red John's CBI mole after a plan to reveal the real mole goes wrong. When Jane uses him as bait to lure out the real Red John, and he seemingly doesn't arrive, Jane rapidly deduces that Bertram isn't the mole. The mole turns out to be Craig O'Laughlin. Bertram leaves Jane frustrated and swearing vengeance for duping him.
In Scarlet Ribbons, Bertram, still angry at Jane, hires Oscar Ardiles to set a very high bail for Jane's release, and to keep him "locked up for as long as possible." Bertram suspends Lisbon and her team as a result of the events of Strawberries and Cream. When the jury goes in favor of Jane's story, and he is subsequently released, this enfuriates Bertram even more and worsens the already troubled relationship between Bertram and Jane.
In Little Red Book, Bertram hires Ray Haffner and his team to replace Lisbon and her team, despite reinstating Jane. Jane, with the help of his "ex-team', manage to get Ray Haffner and his team fired, and manage to get Lisbon reinstated as their boss. Bertram tells Jane that his urgent need for Jane's skills are precisely balanced with his desire to fire him. Jane tells Bertram that if he doesn't re-hire Lisbon, he will no longer work for the CBI. Then Bertram reinstates her.
In The Crimson Ticket, Bertram helps cover up the scandal which occured in The Crimson Hat, when FBI Agent Susan Darcy kills Luther Wainwright. He also helps Jane keep Lorelei Martins in CBI custody, as opposed to being taken by the FBI, in which Jane suspected that Red John had an accomplice high up in their ranks. Although Bertram's involvement proves to be helpful, Lorelei escapes.
In Not One Red Cent and Red In Tooth And Claw, he is shown to be a member of a Law Enforcement Poker group. Although not a very good player, and lets that anger get in the way of helping his team, Jane helps him improve his game.
In There Will Be Blood, he is shown to be affiliated with Bob Kirkland. When Lorelei Martins resurfaces, he provides CBI's resources to Homeland Security. This proved to be suspicious, given at the time Bob Kirkland was strongly suspected of being Red John. This connection is never quite clarified.
In Red John's Rules, although not appearing in the episode, he is revealed to be one of the "Final Red John Suspects."
In The Desert Rose, after having been revealed to be a Red John suspect, Jane and Lisbon make sure to not act abnormal around him, in order not to tip him off. He sends Jane and Lisbon on an out of town case after Jane causes the death of a baseball player/killer. In Jane's opinion, Bertram's ulterior motive for doing if he was Red John was to get them out of town so he could make his next move.
In Black-Winged Redbird, he is shown to be in a meeting with two other suspects, Reede Smith and Sheriff Thomas McAllister. The reason for this meeting is revealed in a future episode. Jane bursts in and reveals that Red John made a mistake, in the hopes that if Red John was there, he would feel intimidated by Jane's progress.
In Fire and Brimstone, Jane gathers the remaining Red John suspects at his house in Malibu. When he reveals that he knows Red John has a tattoo of three dots on his left shoulder, he orders them all to show their bare left shoulder. Bertram, Reede Smith, and Thomas McAllister all have the tattoo, indicating that they are all involved in some sort of cult, group, or conspiracy. Jane orders the three to the other side of the room. When Lisbon shows up, the building explodes.
In The Great Red Dragon, with Haffner, Stiles, and McAllister presumably killed by the explosion, he and Reede Smith are the last Red John suspects. Bertram later approaches an unconscious Jane with a scalpel, but is forced to stop when Lisbon approaches. He orders her to get after Smith and leaves. He is later seen Oscar Cordero, a member of Blake Association. He orders Oscar Cordero to kill the injured Reede Smith. When this fails, he gathers a large amount of money and flees. With all the other Red John suspects seemingly eliminated, Jane automatically deduces it's Bertram and announces it at a press conference. Meanwhile, Bertram is drinking in a bar. When the bartender sees Bertram's photo on the news, Bertram smashes a bottle against his head and stabs him to death with it. He then calls someone from the association and says he needs a ride. Later, he is cornered in a house in the area owned by an aunt of his. Lisbon's team moves in to arrest him quietly, but the association has already called in several different SWAT teams from different counties, allowing Bertram to disguise himself as a member of one of them and slip away in a car driven by Cordero.
In Red John, Bertram calls Jane and arranges a meeting at a cemetery chapel - a spot chosen by Jane which carries some significance, as Jane's wife and daughter are buried there. After Oscar Cordero frisks Jane, Bertram tells him that he is only a "humble footsoldier" in the Blake Association while Red John is high up in the organization, and that he had been given orders to arrange the meeting so that Red John could 'tie up a loose end.' He tells Cordero to shoot Jane. Unfortunately, he is the loose end, and Cordero shoots him in the chest, killing him. Thomas McAllister is then revealed as Red John.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
Suspect to be Red John[edit | edit source]
In the episode where Hightower is framed as the killer of Todd Johnson (Season 3, episode 16), Bertram, in a strange scene with Lisbon and J.J. LaRoche, quotes the poem "Cradle Song" by William Blake: "And when thy little heart doth wake / Then the dreadful night shall break." (LaRoche was the one who identified it as Blake.) Red John quoted a different poem, "Tyger Tyger" by William Blake, to Jane when he rescued him from being killed by deranged college kids who were killing people Red John- style. On his deathbead in a hospital burn unit, Todd Johnson's last words were the title of that poem. Also, Bertram is a really good whistler. In "Fire and brimstone", after Jane tells Bertram that he needs his help, we see the director of CBI whistling pretty good.
Cultural references[edit | edit source]
Bertram R. Forer was a scientist that experimented The Barnum Effect for the first time (also known as Forer Effect), which is related to cold reading (the ability to gain information about someone without that person realizing that they are actually giving the information themselves) which is what Jane often does and a skill that Red John must be very good at. It might be a coincidence, but it can also be something that Bruno Heller wants the viewers to think about. In a previous interview Heller stated that Red John likes the cold, a statement that has been often interpreted for cold weather, but there is a possibility that cold in the sentence is related to cold reading instead.
Appearances[edit | edit source]