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Russet Potatoes is the eighteenth episode of season one of The Mentalist. It aired on March 31st 2009 in the US and July 23rd 2009 in the UK.


Downtown Sacramento, Cali. A man in a suit drags an unwieldy something down the street, talking to himself.

The team waits in line to go through security at their office. The man enters the door. He was dragging a woman's body wrapped in a blanket.

Lisbon and Cho draw their guns and get him in handcuffs. Jane inspects. The man's pulse is slow and he's not on drugs. Mr. Resnick announces he just dragged the body three blocks. He says it's a gift: a bag of potatoes.

Jane peers at the man and announces that he's hypnotized.

Later, Rigsby doesn't buy it. He thinks the man was lying.

Cho talks to Carl Resnik, asking who told him to bring a bag of potatoes to the cops. Carl doesn't remember. Cho shows him the photo of the dead woman. Carl sees potatoes.

Rigsby thinks he's crazy. But Jane is sure he's hypnotized. He mentions that no one can be forced to do anything against their nature when hypnotized. So either Carl was talked into it, or the hypnotist killed the woman and framed Carl.

Lisbon asks if Jane can unhypnotize him, but he says it's nearly impossible without knowing the trigger. Easier to find the hypnotist and ask them. Carl has no record. He's a straight arrow, follows the law. Jane says that makes him the perfect candidate, soft and malleable.

The victim is a school teacher, Mary Beth, 26-years-old.

Lisbon and Rigsby talk to her sister, Lindsay. She just returned from a trip to San Francisco. Mary Beth was a teacher, but got her a job as an assistant. Lindsay's an event planner for Neuro Linguistic Programming. Jane pops up: "'Sneaky Ways to Influence People' doesn't sound quite as catchy."

Jane recognizes the name Dr. Royston Daniel, whom she works for.

Cho tells Carl that Mary Beth is dead. He knew her from the center, where he took classes.

Jane wants to take Carl to the Dr. as bait. They do. Rigsby thinks it's a scam, but Carl says it can better your life.

Lisbon and Jane walk in to hear an older man addressing the auditorium. A younger man walks out and taps him on the arm. The older man comes out of his trance. The younger man introduces himself as Daniel. Everyone, including Jane, cheers.

Jane walks down to the edge of the stage and interrupts Daniel saying that his boat is on fire. He doesn't have a boat. Well then, Jane says, your assistant is dead. He watches for a reaction.

Daniel leaves with them, turning the seminar over to his associate Rick, who is markedly less charismatic than Daniel.

Out in the hallway, Daniel doesn't recognize Carl.

Rigsby talks to Daniel and a few moments later, as is his wont, Jane interrupts. Rigsby tells Daniel about Carl's potato-believing trance. He recognizes it's a powerful trance.

He extols the virtues of his work and Lindsay interrupts with some paperwork for him. Daniel walks over to her, surprised she's at work, and tells her she doesn't need to be there. She should go home and "take care of you." She apologizes meekly and repeatedly, saying it was a bad idea to come in. She shuffles out.

Rick continues the seminar, building steam and getting the crowd into it. He walks to the back of the auditorium and sees Carl there, and is surprised. He asks him what he's doing there and Carl asks him what Rick wants him to do. And then Rick runs. Lisbon chases, catches and cuffs him.

Cho interrogates Rick, who denies hypnotizing Mary Beth or Carl. Cho tries to offer him the "diminished capacity" drunk defense. He says he asked Mary Beth out yesterday. She said no way in hell. He says he'd had a lot to drink and then blacked out at 1 a.m. He woke up at 5 a.m. in her living room over her body, holding a smoking gun.

Lisbon joins Carl and Rigsby. Lisbon sits and crosses her leg. Rigsby does the same. When she runs her hand through her hair, he does the same. She busts him. It's called "modeling," some step in the NLP process. She laughs him off and leaves. Rigsby isn't buying it. Carl snaps, hits the table and says he will.

The team celebrates with pizza for a closed case. Jane isn't partaking. Something about Rick's story bugs him. Why would a drunk guy be standing over a dead body and not lilting?

Lindsay shows up for her sister's things. Jane asks if she believes Rick killed her sister. She actually doesn't. She asks if Rick said how he got to their apartment. Her sister really, really disliked him and wouldn't have let him in. Mary Beth was really security conscious since she and Daniel got mugged in Maui. She just now mentions that Mary Beth and Daniel were dating for six months.

"And, voila," says Jane.

They wonder why Daniel lied. Rigsby asks Lindsay more about her sister's relationship with Daniel.

Van Pelt goes to pick up Daniel. He pesters her for information, but she isn't talking. He thinks he has her figured out, a tough, pretty girl. He guesses that she's from a small town and ambitious but doesn't let anybody see it. Van Pelt stares at him. "Mr. Daniel, no offense, but I've been working with Jane for nine months now. If you want to get under my skin, you're going to have to up your game."

In the interrogation room, Daniel denies he and Mary Beth were dating. They went to Paris a while ago, but on business. Jane thinks he's lying because he doesn't break eye contact.

Rigbsy asks to give it a try. Then he goes in and bounces Daniel's face off the desk, breaking his nose.

Out in the hall, Lisbon demands his badge and gun, asking if he knows what he's done. Jane stares at him. Oh dear. He's hypnotized.

The team sits around Rigsby, who denies he's hypnotized. He says he was just questioned the guy. Jane tells Lisbon that Rigsby does have a brutal streak, so it's not entirely out of the question he could be hypnotized to hurt a suspect. He tells her that deeply hypnotized subjects are very susceptible to suggestion and have little inhibition. Jane tells him to close his eyes and think about what he most wants to be doing right now. Jane tells him to open his eyes and do it. Rigsby laughs. Van Pelt starts to walk away, but Rigsby grabs her and kisses her deeply. She lets him. Oh yea, he's hypnotized.

Then he says he has to leave. Rigsby won't listen to anyone who tells him to stay, except Van Pelt.

So Rick really was hypnotized. They try to figure out who could have done it. Why would Daniel order Rigsby to smack his face into the table? Jane thinks that was a side effect of a the deep hypnotic command.

Lisbon and Cho go to the courthouse. She's peeved Rick is out on bail on reduced charges, but she tries to get him to come with them to stay safe.

Rick gets in a cab. Cho reports that Rick didn't post his own bond. The center did.

Jane takes Rigsby and Van Pelt to the playground, where Rigsby should feel safe.

Jane's going to try to break the trance. He gets Rigsby to watch the motion of kids on a swing set. As Rigsby zonks out, Jane guesses hypnotic triggers. It could be a word, touch or sight. Rigsby starts to get upset and runs off. Jane says he's in too deep. If Van Pelt tries to stop him, he might hurt her. They let him go.

Rigsby walks into the center's empty auditorium. He finds Daniel - tied to his chair with Lindsay holding a gun on him.

Flashback to when Rigsby went to ask Lindsay about her sister and Dr. Daniel. She hypnotized him.

Back in Daniel's office, he tries to get Rigsby to listen but Lindsay tapes his mouth shut. She yells at him for having ignored her. She loved him and thought if she got Mary Beth out of the way, he might notice her. They drag Daniel, tied to the chair, up onto the roof. Rigsby asks if she was in S.F. when her sister was killed. Yes, but she took a rental car, drove down, killed her sister and hypnotized Rick and Carl. She tells Rigsby that Daniel hurt her. He punches Daniel. She says she needs his protection.

And then Jane joins them on the roof. He put a tracking device on Rigsby in the park and followed it. Lindsay points out she has the gun. Jane has Lisbon, who pops out, gun drawn. Then Lindsay calls for Rick, who also appears out of the shadows with a gun drawn.

Jane tells Lisbon to listen to Lindsay and put down her gun. He's impressed with her. She says she wasn't the sparkling, vivacious one, Mary Beth was. Until she met Dr. Daniel and she realized she was good at getting people to do things. Jane, with his hands up, talks to her calmly, pointing out all the people there have to die. That's not control, that's madness. She's having a nervous breakdown and needs help, he says.

She mentions the nice sound of the ocean and tells Rigsby to take Jane for a swim. There is no ocean. It's over the side of the building to concrete. Rigsby gets Jane to the edge and both Lindsay and Jane try to get him to listen to them. Jane distracts Rigsby by suggesting there's a shark below. He sees Lindsay start to tap Rigsby on the shoulder and realizes that's the trigger. He taps Rigsby first and he snaps out of it. Lisbon takes the distraction as an opportunity to disarm Rick. Rigsby cuffs Lindsay as Jane tells him he was in a trance state. He doesn't believe it.

Back at the office, they razz Rigsby. But Lisbon says he's cleared for assaulting Dr. Daniel. He doesn't remember anything from when he was hypnotized. Van Pelt assures him he was perfectly normal. She walks out and Cho and Lisbon think he remembers but is faking. Jane says it'll come to him. He touches him on the shoulder.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


  • On the official Season 1 DVD menu, the title of this episode is misspelled as "Russett Potatoes."
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