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Red Lacquer Nail Polish is the fifteenth episode of the fifth season of The Mentalist.


Jane and the team investigate the murder of a well-known elderly heiress whose remains were are found in the living room of her spooky mansion.


The episode begins with Jane and Lisbon arriving at the Vogelsong mansion. Jane states that the mansion needs some repair work. Lisbon tells him that this place gives her the creeps and Jane agrees. They enter the mansion and Rigsby introduces Reggie Brooks, the security guard who called the body in. Reggie tells them that he was doing his rounds, when the doctor called him and told him that the lady from the mansion is not answering his calls. He asked Reggie to check on the lady, Miss Elise Vogelsong. Reggie says that he noticed the burning smell the moment he entered and followed it to the library where he found the body. 

Jane goes to the spot where the body was found, and he finds ashes instead of a body. Forensic Investigator Brett Partridge is on the site with Cho, and he thinks that this is spontaneous human combustion. Jane examines the place and states that this is a murder. He points out there are glass globules in the fireplace and one of the four glasses from the table is missing. This means that there were two people sitting and having drinks and that the person who killed Elise intentionally tried to hide his/her presence by throwing the glass into the fire. Next, Rigsby tells Cho that dispatch did not write down the name of the doctor who called. Cho takes a look at the small bottle containing some of the ashes of Elise. Rigsby states that Jane managed to find something that even the best arsonists in the world wouldn’t have been able to. 

Jane and Lisbon interrogate Elise’s nephew, Curtis Wiley and his wife, Alex. Curtis tells them that his aunt was losing her mind. But two years ago, she stated acting all paranoid and thought that someone was out to get her. She fired all her servants and lived alone in that big mansion. The couple finds it weird that nothing was taken from the house. Jane asks the nephew about his aunt’s doctor. He tells them that he did not know much about his aunt because he had distanced himself from her since the time she started acting up. Before that, he was really close to his aunt, and they went sailing all the time. He tells them that his aunt loved to sail. The wife tells them that there was a girl who used to go with Elise. 

Next, Jane and Lisbon go to the marina and talk to Cayce Robbins, the girl who used to sail with the elderly heiress. She tells them that Elise was sharper than most people she met. Catch says that Elise took a lot of pills, and she did not approve of that. She gets them the bottle and Lisbon checks the name of the doctor on the bottle. They then go to meet Dr. Lance Reinhardt. Lance tells them that Elise was suffering from dementia and that he did not approve of her sailing and spending time with war veterans (as a part of charity). He then tells the duo that the pills he prescribed were mild sleeping aids since a balanced sleep cycle is essential for patients battling dementia. 

He says that he called the security guard to check on the heiress because she wasn’t answering his phone calls. At the precinct, Rigsby tells Lisbon that they did not find much on Curtis and Alex. They are artists and looks like the family money is helping them stay afloat with their business. Cayce’s file has nothing significant other than few parking tickets. Lisbon wants Cho and Rigsby to dig a little deeper on Lance and find out what he did before he moved into California. She also wants them to find out about the guy who ran Vogelson Soldier’s Home. Later, Jane and Lisbon meet Chaplin Johnny Griffin. 

Johnny tells them that Elise was very generous and she had formed a very special bond with Lissie Calhoun, a nurse who served in Vietnam. He says that with Elise gone, he fears that this foundation will be shut down since her family did not approve of it. This organization was funded by the Volgelson trust and was headed by Elise. He tells them that Curtis was out to crush Elise and take everything that belonged to her. Next, Cho enters Lisbon’s office with files of 30 descendants of the Vogelsong family and everyone is contesting a part of the will and blaming the rest. Cho states that the paperwork shows that Curtis also hated his aunt. Next, Jane and Lisbon go to the Impressionist Gallery and talk to Curtis. 

Curtis tells them that he sued his aunt because she was making wrong decisions and that people were taking advantage of her mental condition. He says that Elise gave away the Songbird, her sailing boat to her sailing companion, Cayce and it is worth a quarter million. He also says that the expenditures of the Soldier’s Home were astronomical and so he had to make a decision. They then talk to Cayce and Cayce tells them that she got a call saying that Elise’s will is declared invalid. She also states that Elise left her seat to the Chaplin of the foundation and if her will is invalid, it would mean that the Chaplin doesn’t get the seat. Cayce tells them that Elise wasn’t crazy and it was the medications that were causing the problem. 

She says that there were a lot more than what she showed them. Later, Rigsby tells Lisbon that Lance is wanted in a homicide case in a death due to over prescribing pain meds. She tells Rigsby to confront Lance. Cho is at the Soldier’s Home and he talks to Johnny. Johnny tells them that last week, Elise was with Lissie and Curtis and Lance arrived to talk to Elise. Jane tells Lisbon that they need to go back to the crime scene because he thinks he might have missed something. Cho goes to Lissie’s apartment and finds some pills. The landlord tells Cho that Lissie used to drink a lot. He finds it weird that she went to see a friend and never returned. 

At the mansion, Jane points out to Lisbon that two objects are missing. At the precinct, Rigsby is trying to get over Grace and so he is spending a lot of time on the dating website. Cho tells him that he needs to pay some attention to work. Cho points out at Lance’s arrest warrant that is lying on the desk, unnoticed by Rigsby. Rigsby rushes to arrest Lance and finds that Lance is trying to shred some prescriptions that he wrote for Elise that were responsible for worsening her condition. Rigsby arrests him. Later, Cho and Rigsby tell Lisbon that they found the stolen object, the priceless Vogelson medal. They tell her that it is actually worth nothing. 

During the interrogation, Lance tells Rigsby that Elise made him prescribe those extra pills to her. Elise found out about his past and was blackmailing him. He also says that he voided her will because he felt that Elise was losing her mind. Cho has some leads on a lawsuit that Elise was about to win against Curtis. Lisbon tells Cho to get a search warrant for Curtis’s home, business, car and personal things. At the gallery, Cho recovers the stolen medal and they arrest Curtis. Rigsby is interrogating Curtis in the presence of his lawyer. Rigsby tells the lawyer that they found the medal and that the doily in which it was wrapped, has traces of the substance that was used to put Elise on fire. 

Jane feels that something doesn’t seem right about the whole thing. Cho arrives and tells them that he managed to speak to the Judge who presided over the lawsuit and he learns that Elise had emptied her accounts and the Soldier’s Home was bankrupt and that Curtis was clearly going to win the case and Elise Vogelson was going to jail. Lisbon is shocked to learn that Elise was a liar and a cheat. They think that if Curtis would have waited for a week, he could have got all that he wanted. Lisbon tells Jane that they could ask Cayce to come and pick up Elise’s ashes and scatter them into the sea as per Elise’s wishes. Jane tells her that he would like to do it. Jane arrives at the boat and tells Cayce that he would like to sail with her. 

He then takes the marine flare and throws it in the lower deck. He hears a cough and pulls out the person hiding under the deck. It is Elise Vogelson and she is carrying a small suitcase with her. They place her under arrest. At the precinct, Cayce agrees to testify against Elise when she learns from Cho that Elise was planning to kill her. Elise tells Lisbon that this was her money and she did not want Curtis telling her how to use it. She admits that killing Lissie was rather unfortunate but she had to do it. Elise spiked Lissie’s drink and then set her on fire. She then placed the medal in Curtis’s gallery. Case closed. Next, Alex thanks Jane for his help. Jane asks Curtis to keep the Soldier’s Home and Curtis promises that he will. Curtis and Alex leave. Jane gets back to pursuing Red John.


Main Cast[]

Recurring Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


  • Brett Partridge, played by Jack Plotnick, is listed among the show's guest stars. This marks Partridge's first appearance since the season 2 finale, "Red Sky in the Morning." Partridge shows once again that he is still the only one with the ability to get on Patrick's nerves as Patrick ends up calling him a ghoul again (mirroring their interaction in the first episode of the first season) as Patrick leaves the room in disgust.
  • This is the first episode of the series in which Grace Van Pelt does not appear (due to Amanda Righetti's pregnancy).
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