The Mentalist Wiki

The Thin Red Line is the eight episode of season one of The Mentalist. It aired on November 25th 2008 in the US and May 14th 2009 in the UK.


The seedy Davis Motor Inn with its dirty swimming pool is the scene of the murder of two people. Officer Sam Blakely, a rookie cop of the Davis Police Department, arrives on the scene first and discovers the grisly scene.

When the CBI team arrives, they learn that the victims are a young female, Patrice Madigan, the girlfriend of the young male, Joseph Purcell, who was about to be the star witness in an upcoming drug trial, California vs. Carass. It is the Attorney General's favorite narcotics case and the CBI boss tells them that the investigation of their murders is to be taken very seriously. Teresa expresses surprise that there was no police protection provided for such an important witness. Without Purcell's testimony, Carass walks away from all charges. Rick Carass is a major player in the meth business in Davis and Purcell was one of his minions. The boss explains that the Davis P.D was in charge of Purcell's protection until he disappeared a few weeks ago.

Jane, Lisbon and Van Pelt examine the disarray in the room looking for clues. Patrick notices an empty baby bottle on the floor and car keys in the hand of the female victim. He grabs the keys and leaves the hotel room. He presses the remote and discovers her car. In the car, he finds Patrice Madigan's beautiful baby girl. Social services are called.

The CBI team meets Detectives Dale Blakely and Steve Presiado who are Davis P.D. cops. Patrick establishes that the officer who responded initially to the call was a Blakely and Detective Blakely confirms that it is his son. As always, jurisdictional issues cause friction and the Detectives seem less than thrilled to be working with CBI on the case. Blakely attempts to assert the Davis P.D.'s control over the case by suggesting that they are more than liaisons between the two law enforcement agencies. He explains that they have been chasing Rick Carass for a long time and they are not going to stop until they get him. Lisbon responds to the Detective's rather aggressive assertion with aplomb and begins to hand out assignments. Van Pelt heads out to check the video cameras in the liquor store across from the motel. Patrick questions Blakely as to how he allowed Purcell to disappear. Lisbon attempts to deflect Patrick's rather impolitic challenge by suggesting 'things happen'. Presiado is unable to contain his contempt. Blakely calms him and they begin to walk away when Lisbon asks him why he is so sure that Carass is responsible for the murders. She suggests that Purcell probably had a lot of enemies. Patrick argues that perhaps Patrice Madigan was the target of the murder. Teresa tells them that retracing Madigan's steps may be the place to start the investigation because she had been in the motel room for only a moment when the shooter arrived, suggesting that perhaps she was followed. The Detectives reassert their belief that Rick Carass was the hit man; they walk off obviously confident that they were in charge of the investigation and the direction it was to take. As they walk off, Lisbon chastises Patrick for his lack of diplomacy when dealing with the detectives. Patrick dismisses her complaint and shows her a magazine he found in Madigan's car. The magazine has a mailing address on it for Lacy Wells. They now know their next stop.

Lisbon and Jane enter a trailer park. When they knock on a trailer door, a rather hard woman in her mid-forties answers. In her kitchen, Lacy Wells confirms that Patrice Madigan and her baby Kaylee lived there and had been for a few months, since Joe was arrested. She was visibly upset by the news that Madigan was murdered; she had known Madigan for about two years. She tells them that Joe had called her around midnight to bring him some food; he was too paranoid to go out himself. Patrick asks her why she would take Kaylee out at that time of night. Lacy sheepishly explains that she had been drinking and Patrice didn't want to leave the baby with her. Patrice was a good mom. Lacy tells them that she always had money when she needed it. She was busted on a drug charge and was able to come up with $10,000 in bail and later the drug charge was dropped. Lacy didn't know where she got the money; she seemed to have a secret benefactor. Lacy described him as tall, skinny, dark hair and he drove a blue car. Rigsby calls with information on the whereabouts of Carass. He asks Lisbon if he should call Blakely and Presiado. Lisbon tells Rigsby to get an entry team to the site but tells them not to go in till the team assembles. She okays the call to Blakely and Presiado.

As Rigsby and Cho prepare for the raid on Carass' hideout, Blakely and Presiado drive up, guns loaded and ready to rush in. Rigsby reminds them that it is a joint operation and that they need to wait until the whole team is available. He tries to stop them but they are undeterred. Lisbon and Patrick arrive at that moment. Lisbon moves quickly in with the team and Patrick remains by the cars. A short time later, Patrick sees Carass running towards the fence. He nonchalantly moves a cement block against the fence gate. When Carass speeds towards the gate, he is knocked flat when the blocked gate refuses to open. Blakely and Presiado insist that it is their collar but Lisbon tells them to back off. The CBI team walks away with Carass in their custody.

Lisbon and Cho conduct the interrogation of Carass while Patrick sits in the viewing room watching. Carass sits calmly, working very hard to give the impression that he is unconcerned about his current circumstances. He denies his involvement in the murder but he doesn't deny he had motive. He admits that Purcell's death was a major development in his impending drug case. He also admits that he threatened Purcell and would have killed him if he had found him. He gives them a solid alibi for the time of the murder and tells them he they have no case. His insouciance dissipates rapidly when Lisbon threatens to turn him over to the Davis P.D. detectives and he immediately asks for his lawyer. Patrick watches this scene learning a little more about a possible suspect.

The team meets over fast food to discuss the case. Rigsby has confirmed Carass' alibi with the waitress at the Tavern. Although he has an alibi, Rigsby points out that Carass has people who murder for him. Patrick informs them that he doesn't think that Carass murdered Purcell and Madigan because it wasn't his style. He explains that Carass didn't have the patience to sit and watch and then follow Madigan to Purcell. If he had found Madigan, he argues that Carass would have beaten her up until she told him what he wanted to know. He reminds them that Madigan could be the focus of the murder. She was a beautiful woman with a lot of money and no means of support and somehow was able to make a very serious drug charge disappear. Her boyfriend was skinny, dark haired, drove a blue car. Presiado was a hot-tempered cop who carried a .38. Cho suggests they talk to him but Lisbon is the voice of reason and diplomacy. She tells them to check out the facts before they decide to implicate a cop in a murder. She asks them to find out why the drug charge disappeared and to see if Lacy can identify a picture of Presiado before they make any accusations.

Later, Lisbon, Rigsby and Cho approach Presiado and Blakely. They ask to speak privately with Presiado but he reacts with hostility at the veiled accusations. Lisbon informs him that Lacy Wells had identified his picture. Finally, he consents to go with the CBI team.

In the interrogation room, Lisbon sits with Presiado when Patrick enters with a sandwich on a plate. He greets them with a smile. He shakes Presiado's hand and while he does it, he grabs his wrist. Presiado grabs his arm away and glares at him. Lisbon begins the interview. She tells him that they know he was giving her money and that drug charge disappeared and evidence was lost. Presiado admits to nothing. Teresa tells him that they could do a full investigation but didn't want to get some good cops involved in the situation. Presiado seems interested in what she has to say. She suggests they were having a sexual relationship and that he was jealous that Joe was spending time with his woman. Presiado denies any emotional involvement. Patrick offers him the rest of his sandwich and hands him the plate. Presiado is confused by the offer and takes the plate from Patrick. For the second time, Patrick touches his wrist. Again, Presiado pulls away angrily. Lisbon asks him where he was at the time of the murder and he tells her he was at Blakely's house sleeping on the couch. Lisbon asks for his weapon so ballistics can check it out. When Presiado hands his weapon to Lisbon, Patrick grabs his wrist for and third time. Presiado, once again, grabs his hand away and threatens Patrick with bodily harm if he does it again.

After Presiado leaves, Patrick explains that Presiado's pulse rate was rapid and thready indicating dishonesty. Patrick felt there was something not quite right about his story. Lisbon decides that she will go talk to Detective Blakely and keep him busy while Patrick goes to talk to his wife, Katherine.

When Patrick knocks on the door, Sam Blakely, the son answers the door. He tries to send Patrick away as it isn't a good time for his mother but she comes to the door. She is surprised that Patrick wants to talk to her and she invites him in. When Patrick asks Sam to speak to his mother alone, he refuses but his mother urges him to leave. Patrick asks her to confirm Presiado's alibi and she tells him that he was indeed sleeping on her couch that night. When told that he admitted to having an affair with Madigan, she laughs and says that that wasn't possible. Patrick finally gets her to reveal that Presiado couldn't have been having an affair with Madigan because he was impotent. When asked why Presiado would admit to an affair he wasn't having, she suggested that he was protecting his ego or perhaps someone else. At that moment, a startled look of realization appears on her face. Sam enters the room and asks Patrick what he has told his mother. Katherine now suspects her husband and son were keeping secrets about an affair Dale was having. They rush out of the house as Dale Blakely drives up. Katherine is obviously upset and begins accusing her husband of infidelity. He tries to quiet her and tells her he will explain when they get into the house. When Patrick calls to the senior Blakely, he punches him in the nose. Lisbon rushes into the house as Patrick stands holding his nose.

Back at the office, Van Pelt and Rigsby lead Detective Blakely into the interview room. Needless to say, the CBI boss is not pleased with the PR and political nightmare this development will create but Lisbon pleads a rather convincing case. Once again, Patrick observes, this time with Lisbon while Cho conducts the interrogation. Asked about his relationship with Patrice Madigan, Blakely admits only to helping her out. Cho asks him where the money he was giving to Madigan came from. He asks him if he was involved in drugs to get the money. Blakely gets very angry and demands a lawyer. Cho gets up to get him a lawyer.

Sam Blakely comes down to the office. He angrily defends his father's innocence and is surprised when Patrick tells him that they know his father didn't commit the murders. They show him what the security cameras at the liquor store had recorded. It showed one of Carass' men, Q-tip following Madigan into the hotel. They explain that although Q-tip was dispatched to kill Purcell, he got there too late. Carass says that Madigan and Purcell were dead when Q-tip arrived. He did, however, see the real killer. They explain that a deal was made with Carass if he gets Q-tip to give up the murderer. They don't believe Carass but they are going to set a trap. They set up a meeting and they are going to arrest Q-tip and interrogate him until he tells the whole truth. They ask Sam speak to his chief so that the Davis P.D. is kept at bay. The trap is set.

Later that night, the CBI team stakes out the meeting place. They feed Sam false information making him think that they are unable to make it to the meeting place before Q-tip leaves. Sam approaches the car and shoots through the driver-side window. He sees that he has shot a dummy and realizes that he has been set up. He is arrested and taken to the office for further questioning.

Sam refuses to give any information. They tell him that the security tape was edited to set the trap. Cho brings Detective Blakely to his son's interrogation; he tells his son to tell the truth. Sam tells them that he suspected his father was having an affair and he went to the motel to find out the truth. When he entered the room, he saw Purcell and Madigan. Purcell drew his gun and began firing so Sam returned fire. Sam panicked and left. As he was driving away, dispatch sent him back to the crime scene. Dale admits that Patrice was his daughter. Her mother was dying and called him four years ago to tell him about her. He hadn't told his wife until now because he didn't want to hurt her.

At the Blakely residence, Dale and Katherine go about their lives devastated by the events of the past few days. Patrick knocks on their door. Katherine reluctantly opens the door to him. Patrick stands there with Kaylee in his arms. With a bright smile, he places Kaylee in Katherine's arms explaining that they are Kaylee's grandparents and all she has in the world. Katherine and Dale, although stunned, take the baby. Patrick leave their home with the hope that this innocent child can mend their broken home.


Main Cast[]

Recurring Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

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