The Mentalist Wiki

Red Herring is the fifteenth episode of season two of The Mentalist.


The head of a chef institute, Duesterberg, is introducing several chefs for a competition: Hanna Diez, Hones and Julia St. Jermaine, Adrian Ludo, and Jeffrey Barge. Jeffrey Barge goes to the podium, but he's not doing well. He goes unconscious and blacks out. The CBI arrives because one of the chefs was connected. They talk to Duesterberg. He says he had a brief fight with Jeffry Barnes because Jeffry ordered truffles with his own money, couldn't find them, and asked him to order new ones. Since doing so would cost thousands of dollars, he says no, and they had a fight. He also said that Jeffry isn't usually a fighter, but he's a good chef. Jane checks the truffles, finds they're too salty, and realizes that there was something wrong with Jeffry's taste buds. He has Coroner Steiner check Jeffry's mouth, and finds it discolored.

They find that the poison was ricin. Cho questions the chefs, and finds: Julia called CBI to get them on the case with her connection to her father, a senator. Hones says that everyone there are comrades, and there's no bad blood between anyone. Adrino Ludo didn't really like Jeffry and Hanna Diez hated Jeffry's guts.

Rigsby and Jane check Jeffrey's room, first for poison, then for an alcohol stash because his behavior suggested he had a relapse. Jane finds a bottle of Gin in the toilet tank, and after Rigsby tests it, it comes up positive for ricin.

At the institute, Jane questions the chefs, and finds that Hanna is the guilty party. Rigsby takes her in and Cho talks to her. She admits that she bought Jeffrey gin to get him drunk and make it easier for her to compete against him, but she says she didn't poison Jeffrey.

At the restaurant, Elisa Green, the head chef, and Abigail are at the restaurant. After they talk to them, someone tries to steal Abigail's purse. Lisbon hits the man with a car door, and then Jane takes off his ski mask. It's the victim's brother, Kevin. He says Sean Horlick, a loan shark that Jeffrey owed money to, called and threatened Kevin if he didn’t get money to pay back Jeffrey’s loan, which is why he wanted to steal Abigail’s purse.

At the restaurant, Jane learns Elisa tried to strike up on her own, but couldn't get a liquor license.

Van Pelt and Rigsby go to an herbal shop run by Sean Horlick. He says he did loan Jeffrey money, but wouldn't kill him because he knew Jeffrey could pay him back. He said Jeffrey looked broke, but really he had money. He was staying at a fancy hotel that people can only get into if they had a lot of money. Back the HQ, they use that information to infer that Jeffrey was having an affair with a rich woman, which is at first strange because he and his wife were separated, so his wife wouldn't care. That means that instead, the woman he was having an affair with wanted to keep it secret.

Julia St. Jermaine was the one he was having an affair with. But when they take her in for questioning, she gets really thirsty, just like Jeffrey did before he died, then her vision starts to blur. She's obviously been poisoned too.

Lisbon talks to the attorney general and straightening her desk. Everyone takes that to mean she's extremely stressed out.

Hones says that Abigail had a fight with Jeffrey a few weeks before. They talk to Abigail, and Jane infers from her past looks, her choice of clothing, and her attention to make-up that she's pregnant, first trimester. It's true. And that's what she was fighting with Jeffrey about two weeks prior. Lisbon pleads with her to make things go faster by giving CBI permission to search her house. They search Abigail Bridge's house, and find castor beans in her garage, which are used to make ricin.

Abigail's lawyer denies that Abigail had any knowledge of the castor beans in her garage. But, while Lisbon is talking to her, she gets an urgent call from Jane at the institute, where they are holding a memorial dinner for Julia and Jeffrey. Jane goes into the kitchen, purposefully spills cooking oil on a cooking fire, and then while everyone's distracted, puts some hot spices in one of the other cooking pots.

Duesterberg toasts to Julia and Jeffrey, and then everyone starts in on their soup course. However, they all find it terribly, terribly spicy. Jane reveals that he added some of Julia's favorite spice to the soup. But Elisa seems more distressed than the rest. She says they all need to go to the hospital, or they will die. Everyone except Jane is nervous now, but Jane said he switched the spice that Julia used with a different one, so no one got poisoned, but Elisa has just indicated herself.

Elisa confesses at CBI headquarters. She says that when Jeffrey called her at 2 AM a few days ago, it was to apologize for sabotaging her liquor license. It turns out he used Julia's connection to get Elisa rejected because he wanted her to stay. So Elisa bought castor beans, mixed up ricin, and then went to his room, saying that she forgave him. But she didn't forgive him, and while he went to the washroom, she put poison in his gin. She also dosed Julia's spice with ricin because it was Julia using her connection that got her rejected. Elisa relates a story about life as a chef. She says that one night, she had 40 pounds of half-frozen shrimp to shell, and that after a while, her hands went numb. She realized that without feeling it, she had been cutting her hands shelling the shrimp. But she didn't care, because Jeffrey had a vision for the restaurant, and she had a vision of having a restaurant of her own where she wouldn't have to do the dirty work herself. Her dreams were dashed when she couldn't get her liquor license and couldn't open a new restaurant. Knowing that Jeffrey was the cause of this was something she couldn't forgive.

Afterward, Abigail is angry that Jane planted the beans in her house. Lisbon says it was neglectful of her to let him, and that Jane figured someone else would have to be suspected of murder for the real murderer to let their guard down. Before Abigail leaves, Lisbon tells her that after the fight between Abigail and Jeffrey, Jeffrey got two weeks of treatment for alcoholism, showing he at least cared, and wanted to be with Abigail after she had their baby.

Back in her office, Lisbon takes out a bottle of alcohol, thinks about it a second, then puts it back in the drawer.


Main Cast[]

Recurring Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


  • The Jeffrey Barge character is partly based on real life Chef Gordon Ramsay.
  • Jane fakes poisoning Eliza Green in order to make her confess to her crimes.
Season 2 Episodes
Redemption  · The Scarlet Letter  · Red Badge  · Red Menace  · Red Scare  · Black Gold and Red Blood  · Red Bulls  · His Red Right Hand  · A Price Above Rubies  · Throwing Fire  · Rose-Colored Glasses  · Bleeding Heart  · Redline  · Blood In, Blood Out  · Red Herring  · Code Red  · The Red Box  · Aingavite Baa  · Blood Money  · Red All Over  · 18-5-4  · Red Letter  · Red Sky in the Morning