Red Letter is the twenty-second episode of Season 2 of The Mentalist

Summary[edit | edit source]

Romantic sparks begin to fly when Patrick Jane and supposed psychic Kristina Frye cross paths again during the CBI investigation into the murder of a charismatic head of a non-profit organization that fights human trafficking.

Recap[edit | edit source]

Press and others swarm around the human rights conference, eager to hear Hector Brava, leader of a foundation that works to stop human trafficking. Brava has something exciting to say and someone to expose, and someone is eager to kill him for it. Before he can deliver his speech, he’s found in a back hallway near the staff entrance, brained with a fire extinguisher.

Robbery is immediately ruled out because he had his credit cards and cash still on him, but Jane says this isn’t necessarily so — his speech notes have gone missing. This starts out like any other case the CBI is used to, but then an old frenemy shows up — Kristina Frye, the psychic from season one. Jane is antagonistic, she takes it all in stride, and Lisbon leads the sheriff away so the two can catch up. So it goes about as well as you think it might.

There was a lot of secrecy surrounding this speech. Brava’s wife, Ilsa, knew nothing of the speech’s content (he supposedly did this to protect her), and says that the CBI should talk to Russel Bigelow who did research for Brava. Kristina and Jane show off their respective “powers” — Kristina reassures Ilsa with the memory of cherry blossoms, and Jane gets a saucer chucked at his head when he says she’s very stoic and may not be so upset he’s dead.

Cho and Rigsby have Bigelow, and eventually get him to spill the beans on the speech: Brava had found out the large anti-trafficking coalition they partnered with was actually a front for trafficking, using Brava to destroy their competition. He gives them the name Christopher Lynch, and when they visit Lynch, they are handed yet another name: Tariq Sharif, last seen by Lynch arguing with Brava. The financial records Lynch sends them are clean, but after Cho and Rigsby left, Lynch made one call to a disposable phone and the signal ends at a cell tower in the middle of nowhere.

When Lisbon and Jane catch up to Sharif at the hotel bar, he is already visiting with Kristina Frye. Lisbon insists he take off his sunglasses and he has a shiner — or, as Jane calls it, an owie. This is clearly a man who has been a parent. Sharif got it when Hector punched him, after declaring his affection for Ilsa. He’s not so impressed — he claims there was a young woman he presumed was a prostitute leaving Brava’s suite.

Cho and Rigsby track the only structure within half a mile of the cell tower, a ramshackle building surrounded by fencing and barbed wire. They uncover a bunch of women who were hidden in the back of a truck. Lynch is slapped with about twenty different felony charges. The subject changes quickly when Hightower comments that Jane seems to like Kristina and asks if he’s ever considered dating again. He deflects and gets out of there as quickly as he can.

Kristina follows him to the elevator, though, and goes with him to see Ilsa. She denies that there could have been a woman with Hector, commenting that, “It’s disgusting,” although that hardly seems to preclude the possibility. After an uncomfortable goodbye, Jane goes back to the bar and pulls Lisbon in, and they pose as a couple soliciting one of the ladies in the bar for sex. Way to slip back into the comfort zone, Jane. Instead of continuing down that sordid pathway, they press the bartender (slash pimp!) if he recognizes Tariq — which he doesn’t. But he does recognize Bigelow, who is in the background of the photograph.

They bring in Bigelow again, and in addition to handling Brava’s correspondence and the like, he also procured prostitutes for him — like Claret. Claret and Brava had a standing appointment on Thursdays at his Oakland townhouse where they find a card advertising “Call Carmen.” Then just to make things even more interesting, there seem to be two Carmens: one whose actual name is Sally Alvarez, and another named Carmen Reyes who checked into a cheap motel not far away.

Cho and Rigsby pursued the lead for Sally Alvarez, while Jane chooses to go with Van Pelt for Carmen Reyes. Frye catches up with Jane and Van Pelt at motel directed there by Lisbon. Cho and Rigsby found Alvarez recently killed and Cho calls Van Pelt to tell it. Van Pelt is excited about that because moments before Kristina Frye told them she had communicated with Alvarez and that she has passed on. Van Pelt tells Cho Frye predicted it. Jane snatches the phone from Van Pelt and interrupts her telling Cho not to believe in this nonsense and that "gullible Grace buried the lead" meaning that she missed to tell relevant info that they found real Carmen and that it turns out there really were two different Camens as Jane predicted. To note, that was the second time in series Jane called Van Pelt "gullible." The first was in season 1 episode 16 "Bloodshot" when she was seduced for getting access in team's office by man who wanted to have revenge upon Jane for that in the past Jane confirmed to man's mother that her husband / man's father was unfaithful to her ruining their family and man's happy rich childhood. Van Pelt found it unfair then.

Another twist (bear with me) comes out when Carmen Reyes reveals herself to be Brava’s daughter from an affair twenty years previous. She went to his suite to confront him, but was rebuffed, so she left. CBI comes to the conclusion that Sally had been posing as Carmen — but why?

Kristina and Jane set up a reading to entrap the killer — or at least that’s what Jane tries to do, but Kristina insists to do so would be abusing her gift. Jane says nothing to that, but they continue the reading. Jane pulls out the showmanship and they manage to out Bigelow as the killer — and Kristina makes the statement that his blood will spill before the rising sun.

Bigelow intercepted Carmen’s original letter to Brava, and set up the scam with Sally Alvarez to convince Brava that he slept with his own daughter and then they would blackmail him for it, splitting the money. When the real Carmen showed up, Bigelow panicked, killing Brava and Sally to cover his tracks.

Kristina is ready to leave, and Lisbon points out that her predictions didn’t totally come true — no blood was spilled. Of course at that moment, Carmen rushes Bigelow and punches him. Jane protests, but I’m with Kristina on this one. They begin to part outside, but Jane quickly asks her out for coffee (or tea in his case). She has to take a rain check — but says he should call her.

Alternative interpretation.

Just moments before we have been showed up Carmen approaching Van Pelt who appeared to call her in the office to clarify some details in her statement. That is very unusual and strange, especially because 1) everything is clear and murderer caught successfully and 2) we never seen something similar before and 3) they never showed what Van Pelt and Carmen have talked about. All that is very suspicious and together with facts that Van Pelt is sympathetic towards Frye and has reasons to be a bit resentful with Jane may lead us to plausible conclusion that Carmen invitation was a set-up in order to fulfill the "blood shall spill before sunrise" Kristina's prediction.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Main Cast[edit | edit source]

Recurring Cast[edit | edit source]

Guest Cast[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The murderer of the episode, Russell Bigelow, is likely to be based on Bertrand Russell
  • This episode should not be confused with the season 5 episode with a similar title: "Red Letter Day"
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
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