The Red Ponies

Season Episode
3 5
First aired October 21, 2010
Written by Eoghan Mahony
Directed by John Showalter
Guest-starring Olesya Rulin, Greg Roman, Jim Beaver, Patrick St. Esprit, Christina Cox, Betsy Rue, Troy Winbush, Ingrid Rogers, Tom Yi, Tara Karsian, Darryl Alan Reed
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Red Carpet Treatment Pink Chanel Suit
The Red Ponies is the fifth episode of Season 3 of The Mentalist


Patrick Jane and the CBI team hit the horse track when a jockey is found murdered and suspects abound.


Relief from the boredom of the night shift comes first in the form of card tricks, and then a dead body. The body of Bill Sutton is in the alleyway, dead of some blunt force trauma. Jane dubs this the Case of the Jilted Jockey, deducing that Sutton is a jockey based on stature and a number of other things, and because he likes the alliteration. Sutton was found to have a note written on a cocktail napkin (“Forgive me”) as well as a ring in his possession. Also entered into evidence: Rigsby’s card, the ace of spades.

Sutton was a jockey for stable owner Cobb Holwell (the eminent Jim Beaver, aka Supernatural‘s Bobby Singer), but only for the past three weeks. Sutton had been out of the riding profession for awhile, but as a friend had known him for years. Jane wanders off and ends up betting Ellis Barnes, another former jockey, and another man that he can choose the top three horses. And then he does.

Cho and Rigsby drop by an apartment complex looking for Linda Lecure, Sutton’s ex-girlfriend. They end up running after another girl who fled when she saw police because she has a bench warrant out for her.

They bring her in and we get their whole sordid story. Sutton was banned from riding, and he had temper issues. One night when they were going out, they got into a fender bender and the guy in the other car was trying to intimidate Sutton when he lashed back — majorly. As in, broken bones and all. She left the next day, and they hadn’t seen each other since. It’s pretty obvious that she’s still in love with him, especially when Cho shows her the note and the ring.

Cobb caught Frank Lockhart, a rival stable owner, lurking around his stable, and they get into it pretty heavily — verbally, that is. They’re interrupted by Sam Starks, Cobb’s new jockey, dealing with an unruly horse, Pollock’s Dream. Pollock’s twin, Castor’s Folly, is the more mild-mannered of the two, and the one that Sam will be riding in the race. Jane gets a call that Sutton caused a pile up in a race a few years ago that caused several injuries — including Ellis Barnes.

There’s a brief scene between Lisbon, Jane, and Sam. She’s shifty, and not at all a very good liar when she says she’s not being threatened. Ultimately this leads to a scene where Lisbon and Jane catch Barnes intimidating Sam verbally, and they make their move to bring him in. Between these two is a scene where Cho and Rigsby go to a mechanic’s garage where a big old red herring is fixing a car and had apparently been in an altercation with Sutton. I don’t know why this scene is here.

Barnes isn’t talking about who paid him to intimidate Sam, until Cho comes in posing as someone from the California Racing Board. Barnes was about to get a smackdown for divulging inside information, unless he cooperated with Lisbon and the investigation. So he spills: it was Frank Lockhart. Lockhart doesn’t make much of an attempt to deny anything, but he does call in a lawyer, and that says a lot in itself.

Meanwhile, after hearing twice about how Grace grew up around horses, Jane takes her to the stables and convinces Sam to let Grace take a ride. Once Grace goes around all properly saddled and everything, Jane puts Grace on Pollock, bareback, and it’s only a couple seconds before Sam freaks and sends them on their merry way — but that’s all right. Jane already has all the information he needs.

On race day, nobody can find Jane — but he puts ten thousand dollars on Castor’s Folly to win, at one hundred to one odds. Holwell freaks out at Jane’s bet, and then seems to go into some kind of self-preservation Blue Screen of Death when he tells him that he switched the twin horses in their stalls — the horse actually preparing to race right now is the much faster Pollock’s Dream. But he reacts fast enough when Jane begins to spout Holwell’s own plan and guilt right back at him, as he does. Sutton wouldn’t go along with the plan to switch up the horses, so Holwell killed him and coerced Sam into it.

And we’re off to the races. In probably what is the highlight of this episode, while Sam races the horse out on the field, the CBI agents all chase after Holwell. They get him, of course, right as Castor and Sam win the race. They find a lug wrench in Holwell’s truck with Sutton’s DNA all over it, but disappointment soon follows: it turns out Jane really can’t read horses. But in order to make Barnes and the other guy think he could, he bet on every three way combination for that first race. Jane, you rascal.


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Season 3 Episodes
Red Sky At Night  · Cackle-bladder Blood  · The Blood On His Hands  · Red Carpet Treatment  · The Red Ponies  · Pink Chanel Suit · Red Hot · Ball of Fire · Red Moon · Jolly Red Elf · Bloodsport · Bloodhounds · Red Alert · Blood for Blood · Red Gold · Red Queen · Bloodstream · The Red Mile · Every Rose Has Its Thorn · Redacted · Like a Redheaded Stepchild · Rhapsody in Red · Strawberries and Cream
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