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Red In Tooth And Claw is the fourteenth episode of the fifth season of The Mentalist.


The team delves into the surprisingly cut-throat world of academics in a case involving a graduate student at a natural history museum.


The episode begins with Lisbon playing poker at the trattoria with Bertram, Judge Manchester and Aileen. She has to leave the game early after receiving a message about a murder case that CBI has caught. She arrives at the crime scene, a natural history museum, to find Jane is already there. He tells her he knows she's been playing poker regularly. Papadakis, the dean of the university and museum caretaker, arrives and tells them the victim, a graduate student named Linda, has been missing for some time. He takes them to meet another student named Greg, the one who found what he thinks is her body inside a tank full of flesh-eating insects used by the students to remove the flesh from specimens. The sight of the body causes Lisbon to faint.

Later, Lisbon sends Rigsby the picture of the ring on the skeleton's finger, which he confirms matches one worn by Linda. She also tells him that there is a scientific instrument in the tank which could be the murder weapon. Rigsby tells Lisbon that Linda has been missing for a few weeks and people thought that she was out camping and doing research, but noticed her car was still on campus and realized that she was missing. Jane and Lisbon meet Sonia Kidd, Linda’s adviser. Sonia tells them that Linda was doing research on the diet of the northern flicker, a kind of woodpecker. Sonia tells them that Linda had no enemies, and that the department is like one big family. Jane tells her that he needs to interview some of the students, as well as visit the gift shop.

Rigsby and Cho find Megan Parker, a classmate of Linda's in the same doctoral program, inside the crime scene retrieving a textbook. She tells them that Linda received the $100,000 dean's fellowship that year. Rigsby finds a bag full of brown sugar in Linda’s desk drawer. Megan says that she does not know much about Linda’s personal life, but knows she had a boyfriend. Lisbon talks to Professor Paul Friedman and Linda’s classmates, who tell Lisbon that Linda broke up with her boyfriend, a police officer named Ray Moran, a week before she disappeared.

Van Pelt tells Lisbon that she has been accepted into White Hat, an advanced computer security training program, and Lisbon says she'll ask Bertram about a stipend request so Van Pelt can travel to Los Angeles to attend, but Bertram, preoccupied, upset, and mad with his losing streak in the poker games, turns her down.

Cho and Jane go to meet Ray Moran, who is investigating a store robbery. Jane solves the case in two minutes by proving that the clerk on duty stole the money and lied about the robbery, freeing up Moran for an interview. Moran tells them that he got an anonymous e-mail with a link to a profile for Linda on a dating website. He confronted Linda, who denied creating it, and they had a fight that resulted in their breaking up. Van Pelt investigates and discovers that the same e-mail address that the message to Moran came from was used to set up the dating site profile, meaning it was faked to break them up.

Lisbon tells Jane that Bertram is mad and being stingy about money because he is losing in poker. Jane goes through the dating profile and makes a list of the unique terms used, and he and the team interview students in the program until they find one using many of the terms in the profile - Megan Parker. Rigsby interrogates Megan and Megan admits that she was the one who created it out of jealousy in an attempt to hurt Linda, who was excelling in the program and had a handsome boyfriend too. 

Jane gives Bertram advice on bluffing in poker to improve his odds of beating Judge Manchester. He then talks to Sonia and asks her to organize a seminar on memory and have the whole graduate program attend. Sonia realizes that there is an ulterior motive. He then asks her about the name of the woodpecker’s diet Linda was working on. Rigsby and Cho go to the museum and distract the students who have come on a tour with one of the live tarantulas on display so Jane can steal a moth specimen from a museum display. 

At the seminar, Jane has several taxidermized animals set up on a table behind him, including the moth from the museum. He claims that all the animals came from Linda's office and that he will memorize what order they are in using mnemonic devices. When a student expresses skepticism, he writes down a prediction on a piece of paper and gives it to her to hold. Jane then asks Paul Friedman to rearrange the animals to prove he has not memorized the layout ahead of time. Jane then takes a look at the animals and tells the class the order in which they are arranged in the form of a story, but when he gets to where the moth should be, it is missing. He has the student read the note he handed her, which states that Paul has the moth in his pocket. This is a California jade moth, which Paul claims to have discovered, leading Sonia to realize that Linda was the one who really discovered the moth after noticing one of her woodpecker subjects feeding one, and Paul, under pressure to perform in the program, killed her to claim her discovery for himself. Jane then admits that the moth on the table was “borrowed” from the museum.

Sonia comes to the CBI offices to thank Jane and he suggests he rename the moth after Linda. Sonia tries to flirt with Jane but notices his wedding ring and laments that "all the good ones are taken."

Bertram beats Judge Manchester at poker, improving his mood and leading him to approve the stipend for Van Pelt to go to White Hat. She departs for LA the next day, with Rigsby lamenting to Cho that it would have been nice to say goodbye, and Cho calls him a coward for hiding his feelings for Van Pelt for so long. Jane, fearing he has "upset the ecology" of the poker game, challenges Lisbon to a game of poker to help her improve.






Season 5 Episodes
The Crimson Ticket  · Devil's Cherry  · Not One Red Cent  · Blood Feud  · Red Dawn  · Cherry Picked  · If It Bleeds, It Leads · Red Sails In The Sunset · Black Cherry · Panama Red · Days of Wine and Roses · Little Red Corvette · The Red Barn · Red In Tooth And Claw · Red Lacquer Nail Polish · There Will Be Blood · Red, White and Blue · Behind The Red Curtain · Red Letter Day · Red Velvet Cupcakes · Red and Itchy · Red John's Rules