Wayne Rigsby is a fictional character in the American television series, The Mentalist. He is portrayed by Owain Yeoman and is a senior agent of the CBI. He also provides expertise over arson-related cases, having had previous experience in an arson investigation unit. Following the events of White as the Driven Snow, he and his wife, Grace Van Pelt, decided to retire from law enforcement and left the series.
Rigsby often works with Kimball Cho and Grace Van Pelt. He and Cho do the interrogations, along with stakeouts. In Season One, he has a growing crush on Grace which blossomed into a relationship early in Season Two. Jane also discovered that Rigsby was abused by someone at a young age. His suspicions are confirmed when Rigsby meets his father Steve Rigsby again in Like a Redheaded Stepchild. Steve, a former member of the Iron Gods motorcycle gang, earns money by selling untaxed cigarettes. He verbally abuses his son and ends the episode with a small fight with Rigsby. Rigsby mostly dominates the fight towards the end and his father comments that he "Should've used the knife," afterwards.
Despite being a senior agent, he often is quick to follow either agent Lisbon's orders or one of Jane's unconventional plans. Jane also revealed in the pilot that Rigsby has a crush on the newly assigned agent Van Pelt. When on powerful painkillers, due to burns on his arm, he confesses to Van Pelt that he loves her while in a delirious state. Van Pelt nervously explains that agents within the CBI cannot have romantic relationships -- if that happened, the junior agent would be forced to leave. However, Rigsby has lost consciousness by the time she says that.Owain Yeoman has stated in an interview for TV Guide, that if the team was a dysfunctional family, then he would be characterized as being the "overbearing, elder brother."
Personal LifeEditThroughout Season One, Rigsby and Van Pelt were mutually attracted and had a friendship which was often flirtatious, but still platonic. Early in Season Two, however, they became lovers. Because dating colleagues is against the rules at CBI, he and Van Pelt worked very hard to keep their relationship a secret, but without much success. Jane was quickly aware of their status, having noticed both of them smelling like the same bath soap when they arrived at a crime scene. Cho also knew of their relationship, as it was Cho's advice that encouraged Rigsby to confess his feelings, and Lisbon was trying very hard not to notice that they were dating. In the episode Bleeding Heart, Van Pelt and Rigsby decided to go public, revealing their relationship to the whole team. Cho said that he'd known all along, and that their relationship was more or less an open secret at CBI -- "Half the building knows," Cho said. Jane added, "The only person who didn't know is glaring at you right now," referring to Lisbon.
In spite of Rigsby's and Van Pelt's open, unequivocal admission, Lisbon remained in willful denial. She flatly declared that their relationship couldn't be happening because it was against the rules. However, new CBI chief Madeleine Hightower quickly put Lisbon on notice that she knew of the relationship; she knew that Lisbon knew; and if Lisbon didn't do something about it, she would. Soon after that, Hightower called Rigsby, Van Pelt, and Lisbon on the carpet and laid down the law: She ordered Rigsby and Van Pelt to either end their relationship or one of them would have to leave the CBI or transfer to another office. Rigsby elected to put in for a transfer to the San Francisco office while Van Pelt stayed in her job at the main office in Sacramento. In the end, however, Rigsby did not transfer, but stayed at the main office. Rather than allowing Rigsby to transfer, Van Pelt instead chose to break up their relationship, reasoning that if he had transferred he would have ended up resenting her because of it (and the relationship would have ended anyway).
Rigsby appears to still have feelings for Van Pelt, even though she has decidedly moved on emotionally by beginning a new relationship (with an FBI agent) and eventually getting engaged to him.
In Season Four, Rigsby is dating a public defender, Sarah Harrigan, whom he first met in the Season Three episode Every Rose Has Its Thorn. In the season 4 episode "My Bloody Valentine," Rigsby's girlfriend Sarah reveals that she is pregnant. In the episode, "War of the Roses", Rigsby and Sarah start preparing for their impending parenthood. They attend their first Lamaze childbirth class, and Rigsby gets a little queasy and awkward after watching videos of childbirth. He later proposes to Sarah in one of the CBI conference rooms, but she says she doesn't want him to propose to her just because she is pregnant. She also says that Rigsby would be a great father, but they were not ready for marriage yet. In the episode Something's Rotten in Redmund, Sarah gives birth to a baby boy named Benjamin.
In the first few episodes of Season Five, it is unclear whether Rigsby is still with Sarah. Later, however, in episode Blood Feud, it is revealed that they have broken up. Throughout Season 5 the audience becomes aware that his feelings for Van Pelt are still there. In the episode Red Velvet Cupcakes, Rigsby and Van Pelt have to go undercover at a dating hotline, causing them to confront their still existent feelings for each other. That episode ends with Van Pelt going to see Rigsby and them kissing before moving inside. In the season finale Red John's Rules, Rigsby makes it clear that they aren't just having sex, they are in love.
In Season Six episode 3, "Wedding in Red", Rigsby proposes to Van Pelt. She accepts and by the end of the episode they are married and a family along with Rigsby's son, Benjamin. In the episode "My Blue Heaven", set two years later, it is revealed that Van Pelt and Rigsby have had a daughter named Maddy Rigsby.
- According to a character list from the Pilot script, Rigsby was originally named "Wayne Gilzean".
- We learn in Behind the Red Curtain that he likes musicals.
- We learn in In Red Is The New Black that he likes fashion saying, "Come on, beautiful women in nice clothes, what's not to like?"