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"Redwood" is the fifth episode of season one of The Mentalist. It aired on October 28th, 2008 in the US and April 23rd, 2009 in the UK.


Jane tries to trick killer

Jane tries to trick the killer.

The CBI team is summoned to Redwood Point where two young women, Nicole Gilbert and Kara Palmer, have gone missing in the wee hours of the morning. The two women were last seen in Sullivan's, the local tavern, around 1 a.m. Sheriff Nelson, of Redwood Point, explains that their car was found abandoned; he believes they are dealing with a homicide. While leading the CBI team to the crime scene, he informs them that he only has four rangers and could use some help. Lisbon makes it clear that if CBI is involved in the case, they will be running the case and the Sheriff and his rangers will be assisting the CBI team. With the jurisdictional posturing complete, the CBI team gets to work.

The girls were celebrating Nicole's engagement party. Patrick looks into the car and notices a blood stained MP3 player plugged in, as well as a purse with Earth Pure make-up tubes, jars and compacts dumped out. Lisbon attempts to start the car but it fails to turn over. Cho notices different tire tracks driving away from the girls' car. They mark the track so they can get a mold. One of the rangers has a tracking dog that is sniffing around excitedly. The deputy can't understand why the dog is unable to find a trail. Patrick asks simply if they had looked under the car. They are embarrassed to admit they hadn't. When they finally look, they find Kara Palmer dead. A search party is assembled to find Nicole Gilbert.

As they search, Lisbon gets some background information on the girls. Kara is described as a sweet girl who was liked by all. She belonged to a church going family and never got into trouble. Nicole had a difficult family situation and got into a trouble now and then. She was into drugs occasionally and had a few minor problems with the law. Sheriff describes her as more of a troubled soul than a bad person. Her mother died when she was seven,and her father was too self-involved to properly nurture a child. He is now in prison on drug related charges. Kara's parents gave Nicole the only stability she had in her life. Nicole and Kara were good friends. A group of volunteers approach, one of whom seems to have a few misconceptions about the case.

Sufficiently chastened, Kyle and his group head out to search for Nicole Gilbert. Lisbon asked the Sheriff if he thought Nicole could have committed such a crime. He explained that Nicole seemed to be getting her life in order but he just didn't know if she could have done it.

Mrs. Palmer serves tea to Rigsby and Van Pelt while Mr. Palmer rejects the possibility that Nicole could have hurt Kara. It is obvious that the Palmers loved her like a daughter. They learn that Jason O'Toole, Nicole's fiancé, caused a little tension because Kara didn't like him at all. Kara didn't think Jason could be trusted. Kara didn't have a boyfriend.

Out in the woods, the search for Nicole had come to a stand still. Patrick looks around and tells the Sheriff that he thinks Nicole is either being held captive or she is dead. He explains that they have walked about five miles from the abandoned vehicle. Nicole had no shoes on, she was drunk and it was dark; she couldn't have covered that distance in her condition. Patrick's unconventional methods of garnering information, startles the Sheriff. Patrick asks him to call off the search and summon the search party together so that he can speak to them.

Lisbon defends Patrick's techniques, suggesting that the perpetrator of a crime often returns to the crime scene to assist the police in some way. Although the Sheriff says he will vouch for everyone in the search party, a shadow of doubt passes over his face and he agrees to assemble the group.

Meanwhile, Rigsby and Cho flash their badges at Jason O'Toole. He is initially hostile and unwilling to speak to the detectives but needless to say, he eventually acquiesces. When questioned, he tells them that he was just about to go back into the woods to search for Nicole. Regarding the night before, Jason tells them that Kara drove Nicole home after the party because he was too drunk to drive. He explains that he was passed out all night on the floor of the tavern. He tells the agents that the whole party was videoed so they could see that he was telling the truth. Jason denies that Kara didn't like him.

While unsuccessfully attempting to flush out a killer who may be in the search party, the Sheriff gets a call stating that Nicole Gilbert has appeared. The scene moves to a convenience store where a bloody, knife-wielding Nicole is shoving food into her mouth.


Nicole Gilbert is recovering

At the hospital, the doctor briefs the detectives on Nicole's condition. She had a serious blow to the head, which has caused a moderate concussion. There are various degrees of abrasions to her body with minor bruising as well. She was also suffering from mild hypothermia. The doctor explains that physically she will recover quickly but her mental state is more fragile. She is in deep shock and has no memory of her ordeal. The Sheriff suggests that her amnesia is a little too convenient. He declares that the minute she recovers physically, he is taking her into custody and charging her with the murder of Kara Palmer. Lisbon reminds the Sheriff that the CBI is lead on the investigation and that she will decide when to file charges, which will occur when all the facts are in. Lisbon asks if Nicole is well enough to be questioned. The doctor agrees to a short interview but insists that they treat her delicately. She hasn't yet been told that Kara is dead as they did not want to upset her unduly.

Lisbon questions Nicole, careful not to upset her. The last thing she remembers is leaving the party with Kara. She doesn't remember anything bad happening. She asks where Kara is. To Lisbon's chagrin and against the Doctor's advice, Patrick tells Nicole that Kara is dead.

Although Teresa quietly tries to stop Patrick, he continues to draw out Nicole's memory of that evening. There is a flash back of Kara and Nicole driving down the road. He asks Nicole why they stopped the car. She tells Patrick that she was feeling sick. She got out of the car and threw up. A man approached her in the dark. She couldn't see who he was because it was dark out but she could hear a loud rushing sound, like the sound of water. Patrick continues to prod her but as she gets more upset the doctor rushes in and stops the questioning. The Sheriff is adamant that Nicole is lying to them, but Patrick believes that she is telling the truth. He explains that what she experienced is too horrible to remember. He tells the Sheriff he doesn't think she killed Kara. He asks them what would her motive be to kill her best friend? He believes that Nicole is a victim. Sheriff Nelson is unconvinced. Patrick posits that she was covered in blood even though it rained hard that night so she must have been held indoors somewhere. She was probably being held captive near some running water. Lisbon calls Rigsby and gets him to find all the cabins and sheds near the river. She also asks him to get Grace to set up the video of the party taken in the tavern.

Back at the station, the CBI team examines the video. Patrick notices that Jason is filming Kara as much as he is filming his fiancée, Nicole. There doesn't seem to be any discord between the two women. Teresa notices a rough looking guy watching the girls and their antics. They match his face to their database and get a hit. It is Rulon Farnes who is a truck driver for Earthly Pure Cosmetics, the brand of cosmetics found in Kara's car. Patrick leaves the rest of the team behind and goes for a walk.

Patrick finds his way back to the hospital and waits for Nicole to waken. Patrick asks her bluntly if she killed Kara. Nicole says she doesn't know but doesn't think she did. There is a commotion in the hallway as Jason encounters the officers who prevent him from seeing his fiancée. Nicole seems more upset now and Patrick asks her why but she can't remember anything.

Rigsby and Cho barge into the men's washroom in Sullivan's Tavern and ask to speak to Farnes about Kara Palmer. He resists and the detectives struggle to subdue the big man until Van Pelt enters and kicks him solidly between the legs. He is then easily cuffed and taken to the station.

Patrick is still sitting at Nicole's bedside while she sleeps. He hears a piano playing "Fur Elise" outside her hospital room and gets up to investigate. He flashes back to his wife and child playing their piano. His phone interrupts his reverie.

Farnes turns out to be a sleazy guy who propositioned Kara Palmer. She denied his request but he is deluded enough to think no meant yes. Farnes continued to flirt with her and gave her some free cosmetics. He explains that that is as far as it went. Through the course of conversation, Patrick notes that Farnes is embarrassed to admit he is 245 lbs. While he is prattling on, Patrick sneaks Kara's MP3 player out of the evidence bags. He leaves the group and begins listening to the MP3 player. Van Pelt, Teresa, Rigsby and Cho continue the interview but realize even though Farnes has no alibi, they have not proof to link him to the crime. Rigsby suggests they let Patrick finish talking to him. To their astonishment, when asked, Patrick tells them to let Farnes go. He reminds them that he was embarrassed about his weight; he explains further that a man without guile is innocent. That is when Lisbon notices he is listening to Kara's MP3 player. She chastises him for touching the evidence and insists he put it back. Needless to say, a sleight of hand places the MP3 player right back in Patrick's pocket. Since they have no evidence to hold Farnes, they release him but agree to keep him under surveillance. While Rigsby and Lisbon stake out the bar Farnes goes to, she hears a swooshing sound of the cars nearby and posits that it may have been the sound of traffic Nicole heard, not water. They arrange a new search for cabins located near the highway.

Patrick goes to the hospital again, this time with clothes for Nicole. He sneaks her out of the hospital and takes her along the same route she and Kara drove the night of the kidnapping. He begins to play the music they were listening to that night. Nicole begins to remember that Kara had told her that she shouldn't marry Jason because he wasn't good enough for her. Nicole protested but Kara told her she had been seeing Jason behind her back. Although Nicole resists recalling that night, Patrick promises her he will keep her safe. She remembers having an argument with Kara and getting out of the car to be sick. A man drove up and punched her to the ground. Kara got out of the car to help Nicole but the man stabbed her to death. The man carried her to his truck. They drove along a bumpy road for a short time.


Kyle is caught

In the meantime, Lisbon is searching cabins with Kyle, one of the rangers on the earlier search party. Sheriff Nelson calls Lisbon livid that Patrick has taken Nicole from the hospital. She calls Patrick to find out what is going on. Patrick is still with Nicole on the path. She is recalling the events of that night so he ignores her call. She remembers that she was in an old shed. She tried to get out but the door was locked. As she gets more and more upset, Jane calms her and helps her to refocus. In her memory, she opened the door and in walked Deputy Kyle (although she doesn't seem to know his name). Kyle tries to rape her but she escapes. In reality, Deputy Kyle is with Lisbon searching an abandoned shed. Lisbon doesn't realize what danger she is in. When Patrick finally returns Lisbon's call, he tells her that Nicole has finally remembered everything. He describes the man as being about thirty years old, tall and well built and wears glasses, which certainly excludes Farnes. The description is a too general to connect Kyle to the crime. As Patrick drives Nicole back to the hospital, he asks her to try to remember anything else about the night no matter how insignificant it seems. She remembered smelling pineapples. Patrick calls Lisbon back immediately with the information. She begins to chastise him for keeping Nicole until she remembers seeing a pineapple air freshener hanging in Kyle's truck. She attempts to cover by giving Patrick instructions to relay to the team and finishes by giving him her exact location. Teresa leaves her phone on so Patrick can hear what is being said. She tries to calm the situation and slowly draws her weapon but Kyle realizes what is going on and begins to draw his weapon as well. As they shoot, both drop to the ground and turn off their flashlights for cover. She whispers to Patrick and finds out that Rigsby is on the way. They distract Kyle by shoving phone to the middle of the floor as a decoy, allowing Lisbon to escape the shed. When he rushes out, Lisbon and Rigsby take him from behind.

As the CBI team leaves town, Kara's father and Nicole thank Patrick and Lisbon for their team's efforts in finding Kara's killer.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Production Notes[]

Series Continuity[]

  • In a flashback triggered by an old woman in the hospital playing Beethoven's Fur Elise, it is revealed that Jane's wife used to help her daughter play the piano.

Character Revelations[]

  • Jane is skeptical of medical doctor's authority.
  • Rigsby is willing to eat ketchup packets when out of food on stakeouts.

Jane's Methods Used[]

  • A modified Projective Test Question (Psychological Cognitive Testing) - "Of those who are in the search party who is the first person you'd suspect of being a sexual predator...?  There!  Who was the first person that popped into your mind?"
  • Group Truth Reaction - "Everyone raise their right hand... I want the person who murdered Kara Palmer to lower their right hand."
  • Walking Recollection / Memory stimulation- In the hospital, Jane walks through the suppressed traumatic events with the victim to help her remember more details.  Also when he takes the second victim out of the hospital and to the crime scene.
  • Cold Reading, "Cara told you a terrible secret didn't she?"
  • Cat-and-mouse.  Jane steals the police offer's hat (in charge of monitoring the woman in the hospital) and runs off, losing him, in time to come back and take the girl out of the hospital.
  • Red-Cape of a Bull - Lisbon tosses her phone away from her and Jane speaks from it to draw the shooter's attention away from Lisbon while she escapes.


  • Over the Police Radio a 10-28 was issued for Nicole Gilbert. APCO code for a 10-28 is "vehicle registration information"


  • The song that closes the opening scene in this episode has an elongated introduction.
  • Two pictures of Bald Eagles sit above Rigsby's desk at the CBI office.
Season 1 Episodes
Pilot  · Red Hair and Silver Tape  · Red Tide  · Ladies in Red  · Redwood  · Red Handed  · Seeing Red  · The Thin Red Line  · Flame Red  · Red Brick and Ivy  · Red John's Friends  · Red Rum  · Paint It Red  · Crimson Casanova  · Scarlett Fever  · Bloodshot  · Carnelian, Inc.  · Russet Potatoes  · A Dozen Red Roses  · Red Sauce  · Miss Red  · Blood Brothers  · Red John's Footsteps