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The Great Red Dragon is the seventh episode of the sixth season of The Mentalist.


Following the shocking events at Jane’s house, the Red John list is narrowed down further, and the CBI’s priority is the remaining suspects.


Backup has arrived at the scene of the explosion from the previous episode. Lisbon goes in to look around and finds a severed foot. She sees Reede Smith and tells him that help is on the way before noticing his tattoo. She points her gun at him and he tries to shoot her. He gets away but Lisbon managed to shoot him in the side. She is about to run after him when she sees Bertram getting up. Lisbon, convinced that Smith is Red John because of the tattoo, lets Bertram go to get help while she goes to Jane, who is unconscious on the ground.

At the hospital, Cho and Lisbon talk the case over. McAllister, Brett Stiles, and Ray Haffner are confirmed to be dead. Meanwhile, Bertram is skulking around the hospital. He picks up some small surgical shears and hides them. He starts going around, looking for Jane. He finds Jane still unconscious. He is about to kill him but immediately pulls the shears back when Lisbon steps in to check on Jane. Bertram tries to order her to lead the hunt for Smith, and she is about to follow orders, reluctantly, when Jane comes to. Bertram makes a hasty exit, saying he will get help.

Lisbon tries to tell him Smith is Red John and he got away, but Jane tells her that Bertram and McAllister had the same tattoo. Lisbon realizes that Bertram was trying to get rid of her so he can kill Jane, and that he has made his escape.

Meanwhile, Rigsby and Van Pelt deduce that Red John carried the bomb on himself, and that it was military grade. Van Pelt theorizes that, since Smith has a gunshot wound, he would go to a crooked doctor because hospitals would report gunshot wounds. They find such a doctor in the area and head out.

Smith is inside getting an impromptu and painful surgery to get the bullet out. A uniform is watching the front. A detective approaches him and they both say, “Tyger, Tyger.” The uniform confirms that Smith is in there and the detective, Oscar Cordero, tells him that two CBI agents are on the way. He tells the uniform to take Smith out back and he will derail Rigsby and Van Pelt.

The uniform takes Smith out back and tells him he will go to a safehouse with all the amenities but Smith knows that is what you say to someone before you execute them. He kneels down and resigns himself to his fate.

When Rigsby and Van Pelt arrive, Cordero tells them that they got the order, already have Smith apprehended out back, and says that they got it from there. At that moment, Rigsby gets a call from Jane to not trust any law enforcement. They ignore Cordero and head out back just in time to pull the uniform off Smith before he fires. Cordero runs after them and a shootout happens between Van Pelt and Cordero while Rigsby tries to subdue the uniform. Smith gets away.

Jane questions the uniform accomplice and interrogates him by reading his facial expressions to Jane’s questions. Jane finds out there is indeed a secret organization of cops and other officials that hands out crimes to be committed. The password is “Tyger tyger" and the tattoo is a membership sign. The uniform was sent by the organization to kill Smith but he doesn’t know about Bertram or Red John because he’s “too low on the totem pole”.

Lisbon and Jane send Cho to look at Brett Partridge’s shoulder for the tattoo since autopsies can be falsified. When Cho uncovers the body to look at the shoulder, we don’t see the face but the shoulder has a large burn where the tattoo might have been.

Bertram gets a ride from Cordero and he goes to his storage facility where there are racks of wine and boxes stored. He opens a box and pulls out stacks of hundreds of dollars to put in his briefcase, along with some passports.

Reede is in another alley, in a very bad condition. He calls Van Pelt and offers to turn himself in for protection. Cordero intercepts the call and Bertram tells him to get there before Rigsby and Van Pelt, and to pretend to be a CBI agent. Cordero pulls up where Smith is and manages to reel the paranoid Smith towards his car, claiming he was sent by CBI. Cordero then pulls a gun on Smith and tells him to get in the trunk, which it is lined for his execution. Smith tries to stall and it works when Cho arrives and starts shooting at Cordero, who gets away.

In interrogation, Smith reveals that 5 years ago, he had an addiction to pain killers and accidentally killed a 12 year old girl on the job. There were witnesses and evidence, but it all went away when he pledged to the secret society of corrupt law enforcement called the Blake Association. That is how they get their members: by recruiting people with things that they need to hide. Lisbon questions how no one has ever figured out such an organization exists. Jane figures out that Robert Kirkland's death was due to Homeland Security's investigation into the Blakes. After wondering if Red John is a member, Smith answers a long standing mystery of how Red John killed his accomplice Rebecca Anderson while she was in police custody. When Anderson was arrested, he got a call from a Blake member asking him to lend his FBI credentials to enter CBI HQ. When he heard Anderson had been poisoned, Smith realized R.J. was a member. Smith is further pushed to reveal if he himself is R.J. but Smith insists he is not Red John and he swears to Jane he didn’t kill his wife and daughter.

Jane’s next plan of action is to reveal that Bertram is the serial killer Red John to the press, organized by Brenda Shettrick’s replacement.

Van Pelt, Rigsby, and Cho are looking through Bertram’s storage facility and find a hidden flash drive. Van Pelt decrypts it to find a single file that is full of strange symbols.

Bertram is the only patron at a bar and asks the bartender for rocks for his scotch. The bartender sees the news report on the TV behind Bertram and comments that the guy they are looking for looks a lot like him. Bertram pauses, looks at the TV, and sees his face with the words SERIAL KILLER. He grabs the scotch bottle and bashes it over the bartender’s head. He gets the broken bottle and stabs the bartender repeatedly, splattering blood all over him. He makes a call to Cordero.

The death of the bartender has narrowed the area for the CBI team to where Bertram could be. They have closed off the highways. They find a house that was owned by Bertram’s aunt and figure that’s the only place he could be. The team and backup surrounds the house. A SWAT team pulls up and Cho verifies their credibility since he checked for the tattoos. However, a lot more SWAT vans pull up, from other districts. Jane recognizes the ploy and commands everyone to stay, but a SWAT member gets into a car and manages to drive off without anyone noticing in the chaos. In the car, Bertram takes off his SWAT disguise and he and Cordero makes plans to go eat.

The following morning at CBI, Cho reports that Bertram's clothes were found. They figure one of his cronies (Cordero) had a SWAT uniform waiting and that Bertram called in all the other SWAT units.

Suddenly, FBI Agent Dennis Abbott comes in with his team of agents to take over everything. Since the director of CBI was a serial killer, all of CBI is compromised. Lisbon reminds him that FBI agents are in the organization as well, and Abbott replies that is why he was sent from the Austin division, to clean the mess up. FBI techs start arriving and taking all the computers and furniture out, clearing out the CBI headquarters. Jane comes in, confused. A man moving the couch passes some coins found down the back of the cushions to Jane. Abbott comes by and introduces himself. Jane presses that they have a killer to catch, but Abbott smiles and says it is their problem now. A tech rushes by and knocks Jane’s empty teacup and it shatters on the floor. There’s a pause and Jane just says that was his favorite cup. He sighs, gives Abbott a pat on the elbow, says to him; see you in the papers and gives him the tea dish before leaving.

Lisbon races after him and asks what they should do next, suggesting they decode the list Van Pelt found. Jane says no and that it is out of their hands. Lisbon cannot believe he is quitting and Jane says he is just letting go. As the elevator doors close on him, he gives Lisbon a sad smile and says sorry.

The last scene shows Jane entering a church and looking at the holy depictions on the stained glass. He walks towards the pewter and sits in a pew, looking as if he is waiting for something.


Main Cast[]

Recurring Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


Jane - Do not trust anyone in law enforcement. Anyone at all.

Lisbon - A secret society of dirty cops.

Jane - And Red John's a member.

Jane - Too low on the Totem Pole.

Jane - See you in the funny papers.

Jane - That was my favourite cup.


  • A character who appeared a long time ago will return in this episode, from sometime around or in Season 2.
  • "The Great Red Dragon" is a series of paintings by William Blake, decipting parts of the book of revelation.
  • Rockmond Dunbar makes his first appearance as FBI agent Dennis Abbott in this episode.
  • This marks the final episode for those casted as CBI members. However, John Troy Donovan and Karl Sonnenberg as Ron and Karl return in the series finale, "White Orchids", to witness Jane and Lisbon's wedding, respectively.
  • During Smith's interrogation a very good whistler passes by, and Smith, as he hears it, turns his head looking at the distorted figure of the whistler and asks Jane and Lisbon if they can keep him safe. Considering the fact that Sophie Miller said on Red John, who was using the fake name "Jay Roth": "[...] In the waiting room, he sat calmly in one place, needing no distraction. Though I note, he is an excellent whistler[...]", it is possible he is the man seen walking by the interrogation room is R.J. himself.
Season 6 Episodes
The Desert Rose  · Black-Winged Redbird  · Wedding in Red  · Red Listed  · The Red Tattoo  · Fire and Brimstone  · The Great Red Dragon  · Red John  · My Blue Heaven  · Green Thumb  · White Lines  · Golden Hammer  · Black Helicopters  · Grey Water  · White as the Driven Snow  · Violets  · Silver Wings of Time  · Forest Green  · Brown Eyed Girls  · Il Tavolo Bianco  · Black Hearts  · Blue Bird