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The Red Tattoo is the fifth episode of the sixth season of The Mentalist.


When a publicly popular member of Visualize is mysteriously killed, Jane investigates in the hopes that the case will provide a clue that will lead him to Red John.


The scene opens with a nervous looking man running into an elevator at a hotel while clutching a paper bag. He quickly tries to close the elevator doors but a father and son crowd in before it closes. When they reached their floor, the nervous man rushes out, bowling past the son which angers the father. The father after a moment’s pause rushes after the man who quickly shuffles into a room and slams the door closed in the father’s face. The irate father heads back to get security. While the head of security knocks on the door he hears what sounds like a struggle. This prompts the security officer to immediately open up the room, only to see the man already stabbed, bleeding, and dying. The dying man lets out a final gasp "He stabbed me" before slumping to the ground.

Jane and the CBI are immediately called and we cut to the man's room where Ray Haffner and Jason Cooper appear, saying that the victim, Chad Parkman, was a member of Visualize. Cooper says that since the man was a member, they will be part of the investigation. When Lisbon starts questioning the two and trying to reject their involvement, the two pull out a letter from the Lt. Governor that grants explicit permission for Visualize to join the investigation. Lisbon has no choice but to let Haffner tag along. On their way out Jane and Haffner chat in the elevator.

We cut to a gym where we learn that the deceased was a gymnastics coach. Jane and Cho chat with a father of one of the girls the deceased was coaching. The father says that Parkman is an excellent coach and despite the vigorous training he’s never felt worried about leaving his daughter alone with the coach. A blonde woman then approaches Cho, asking about the gym . The manager of the gym comes over and interrupts. Cho and Jane identify themselves as CBI officers to the manager and Jane leaves with the manager to speak in private. Meanwhile the woman continues to question Cho by asking what happened, with Cho just replying that it was a murder and when the woman asks more questions, Cho just directs her to a gym employee for gym pricing.

Nearby the hotel, the other CBI team members discover a male dead from gunshot wounds in a car. The deceased, later identified as Devin Frost a former employee of the gym, has a bloody knife on the passenger seat. The team surmises that the knife could’ve been used to stab Parkman. In adddition, the team also recovered a homemade silencer in the car while the gun used with the silencer to murder Frost was recovered in an alley between the hotel and the car. The knife in the car has been identified to have Parkman’s blood and Frost’s fingerprints on it. Presumably due to the homemade nature of the silencer, witnesses have also heard the gunshots that presumably killed Frost. The witness testimonies suggest that both men were murdered at approximately the same time. The deceased in the car was far enough from the hotel to leave the team stumped on how he could have been in the hotel room to stab coach Parkman and end up back in the car in such a short amount of time.

Back at the office, Jane is chatting with Lisbon when he notices the woman from the gym leaving with Cho. The woman had come in asking for Cho and Van Pelt had directed her to Cho’s desk to wait until he came back. Upon returning Cho had agreed to go out for coffee with the woman. After hearing from Van Pelt that the girl had sat in Cho's chair, Jane goes to Cho's desk and fishes out a bug planted by the woman. He asks Van Pelt where Cho was heading and follows after the two. When Jane catches up with Cho and the lady at the coffee shop, he confronts the lady with the bug. The woman gives up on her pretence and reveals she is a private investigator named Kira Tinsley hired by Visualize. She reaches for the bug but Jane fumbles and drops the object he was holding into her coffee, infuriating the woman who claims that the bug was worth $300 and storms off. When Cho suggests tailing after Tinsley, Jane reveals he had actually put the bug in Tinsley's bag. Cho upturns the coffee to reveal what had actually fallen into the coffee was simply a coin.

Later that day, Jane asks Lisbon to gather Cooper and Haffner at the hotel room and asks her to bring him a rubber gym exercise band. Before Jane heads up to the hotel room, he tells Cho and Rigsby to stand guard in the alley where the gun had been found.

Jane arrives upstairs to meet Cooper, Haffner, and the hotel security. Jane starts his explanation of events by stating that Parkman and Frost were gay. He starts to elaborate on the events leading up to Parkman’s death and why no one saw the person that killed Parkman at the hotel. It turns out the deceased in the car, Frost, had been in a relationship with his coach, Parkman, starting while Frost was still a minor. This steady relationship and the earlier revelation also explained why the coach had a reputation of treating his female students with propriety.

Frost hadn’t been doing well financially, having lost his job at the gym, so he tried to file for wrongful termination. The suit was ironically quashed by Visualize. Seeking an alternative, Frost approached Parkman, asking Parkman lend him some money but since they’d already broken up Parkman wanted nothing to do with him. In desperation, Frost threatened to out Parkman as being gay as well as reveal their former relationship that started with Frost being a minor. Such a revelation had the potential of ruining his former coach and lover, branding the coach with the reputation of a child molester.

The coach acquiesced to give Frost the money. However, instead of bringing the money in a paper bag as instructed, what Parkman brought was a gun and a makeshift soda bottle suppressor inside that bag. Despite the silencer’s poor construction it worked surprisingly well and no one heard the gunshots. What Parkman didn't account for was that Frost had a knife and when he shot Frost, he also received what appeared to be a minor stab wound to the chest in return. This error was why Parkman was in such a rush to head back to his hotel room. The final reveal has Jane using the rubber exercise band as a makeshift slingshot to show that it was possible for Parkman to attempt to hide evidence by launching the gun used to murder Frost out of the hotel room window. The gunshot the witnesses had heard was actually a negligent discharge from the firearm as it hit the ground after being launched.

Jane shows this by launching an apple to the alley where Cho and Rigsby are stationed. Back to the deceased Parkman, when he was stretching the band he had underestimated the severity of his wound. While straining to pull his makeshift slingshot, his aorta which had unknowingly been nicked by Frost’s stab ruptured from his efforts. The final irony is that what caused Parkman to try this fatal attempt to hide the gun in the first place was the hotel security officer knocking on his room door. The odd noise that caused the security officer to open up the room was the sound of the gun being launched. When Parkman said, "He stabbed me", he said that in shock in realization that Frost had actually fatally wounded him.

At the CBI office, Cooper is leaving and tells Jane he hopes they won't meet again. Jane asks him why he tried to bug the CBI office, but Cooper denies having done so. Jane realises that he is telling the truth and that Tinsley may have been sent by Red John or will become his next victim. The team tracks her down and are still listening in through the bug in her bag. They realise an assailant has entered her home. Meanwhile Lisbon and Jane are on their way to her home, as well as a SAC PD patrol car, but they arrive too late, and find a badly wounded Tinsley on the floor. With her dying breath, she manages to tell Jane that Red John has a tattoo on his left arm.


Main Cast[]

Recurring Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


  • When Patrick tells Lisbon what Kira Tinsley told him, he says "that's my leverage". Beth Riesgraf, who played Kira Tinsley in the episode, is best known for her portrayal of Parker on the TNT television series Leverage.
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