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.
Jane discovers that Rigsby was abused by someone at a young age. His suspicions are confirmed when we meet his father Steve Rigsby in Like a Redheaded Stepchild. Steve is a former member of the Iron Gods motorcycle gang, earns money by selling untaxed cigarettes. He verbally abuses his son and spent multiple years in prison for robbery, drug dealing, assault and manslaughter throughout Rigsby's childhood. His mother's name is never mentioned, nor is her cause of death. Rigsby does show, however, that he loved her and has taken after her personality rather than that of his father's.
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.
Rigsby often works with Kimball Cho and Grace Van Pelt. He and Cho do the interrogations, along with stakeouts. He is, however, most often paired with Cho to go out in the field. He is also his best friend. In season 2 episode 8, "His Red Right Hand", we learn that him and Cho (Chigsby) have been nicknamed "Bert and Ernie" by Bosco and his team. With Rigsby being Bert and Cho being Ernie.
He is frequently trying to imitate Jane in his antics and way of life, such as trying to hypnotize a suspect and failing. He also seems to be more daring than Cho in some ways, such as when he runs into a burning house to save someone and in the process receives second-degree burns on his arm. He has also shown moments of immaturity towards his coworkers, showing his sense of humor.
He does not miss a chance when the opportunity to eat prompts. Even in a crime scene, he intended to steal one of the cupcakes left in the kitchen.
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."
Throughout Season One, Rigsby has a huge crush on Van Pelt, yet she indicated no interest in him and their relationship was a strictly platonic friendship with only some flirtation. Cho continuously berated Rigsby for his crush and continuously encouraged Rigsby to confess his feelings.
In the Pilot, Jane comments that Rigsby is attracted to her and wants to ask her to his hotel room; this leads to an awkward moment between them in the elevator, yet nothing happens.
In episode 9, "Flame Red", while drugged, he tells her that “Grace is such a pretty name” and that he is in love with her. Grace is quite disturbed by this revelation and tells him she does not want to risk her job and has worked too hard to get where she is to jeopardize it. He does not hear her response has he has fallen asleep; and it is not mentioned again so it can be assumed that he forgot he said it.
In episode 16, "Bloodshot". Rigsby is jealous of a man that Grace is seen kissing. He is upset but wants her to be happy, so he merely warns him not to hurt Grace. The man, Dan Hollenbeck, then tries to kill Rigsby in the bathroom. At the end of the episode, after Hollenbeck is taken down, Grace runs into the washroom to find Rigsby receiving assistance from an EMT. Relieved that he is all right, she embraces him and apologizes. In the heat of the moment, they almost share a kiss but are interrupted by a janitor. The moment has passed and the awkwardness returns.
In episode 18, "Russet Potatoes", Rigsby is hypnotized and Jane tells him to close his eyes and think about what he most wants to be doing right now. Jane tells him to open his eyes and do it. Rigsby laughs. Grace starts to walk away, but Rigsby grabs her and kisses her deeply. She lets him. She then demands Rigsby be unhypnotized. Then he says he has to leave and won't listen to anyone who tells him to stay, except for Grace.
For the first couple of episodes, Rigsby is still shown to show an attraction to Grace but is too scared to do anything. Throughout the season they develop a relationship.
In episode 5, "Red Scare" while investigating the house of the victim, he goes to say something to Grace but changes his mind so starts to walk away but he stops her. He says, “I love you. I’ve loved you from the first moment I met you. Screw the rules. Screw the CBI. I need you. Unless you stop me, I’m going to kiss you now.” Just as they are about to kiss, a trap door opens and Jane sticks his head.
Later, he begins to bring up his profession of love but Grace tells him it’s just not the right time. However, at the end of the episode, he and Grace are gathering eating utensils for post case pizza until she stops, grabs Rigsby’s arm, and draws him into an office. When the door closes, she pulls him into her arms and kisses him. They kiss several times and she tells him that she’s going to head out to go home, he needs to wait 5 minutes and then meet her at her car. She kisses him once more and they both head into the office to have post-case pizza.
In the next episode, "Black Gold and Red Blood", Grace and Rigsby seem to be dating and greet each other happily at a crime scene; however, Rigsby reveals to her that he thinks that Jane may know about their relationship.
Later, in episode 7, "Red Bulls", he and Grace argue about him not wearing a bulletproof vest to canvass an apartment building. Grace is then shot multiple times in the chest while questioning a young woman but survives with a bulletproof vest on. While she is loaded onto an ambulance, Rigsby states he loves her. She slaps Rigsby, telling him he should wear a bulletproof vest next time.
Because colleagues dating within the same unit is against the rules at CBI, they work 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 seemed to know of their relationship, and Lisbon was trying very hard not to notice that they were dating.
In episode 12, Bleeding Heart, they decide 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. Lisbon initially says she will take action and report their relationship to the head of the CBI.
In episode 13, "Redline", Lisbon changes her mind about taking action. She decides to allow them to hide the relationship and deny that she knew anything about it. She tells them both that they shouldn't stare at each other, hold hands, or kiss on the job. Surprisingly, the two take it surprisingly well and accept the restrictions without complaint. Unknown to Lisbon, this trial has stretched their relationship thin, and Rigsby and Grace are at risk of breaking up.
In episode 18, "Aingavite Baa", the new head of the CBI, Madeleine Hightower, discovers Grace’s relationship with Rigsby and informs Lisbon about it, although Lisbon pretends that she didn't know. However, Madeleine 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 to her office and laid down the law: she orders 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. Grace, however, broke up with Rigsby because she didn't want him to leave the unit. She also reasoned that if he had taken the transfer to preserve their relationship, he would have ended up resenting her and the relationship would have ended anyway. Rigsby pleads with her to talk it through but she says she knows herself and walks away, leaving him heartbroken. She is later seen walking into the elevator at the office, crying and sobbing.
In the third season, Van Pelt dates FBI agent Craig O'Laughlin, much to Rigsby's displeasure. He still has some feelings for her, but they have been able to re-establish a professional working relationship. Grace and O'laughlin get engaged in episode 14 "Blood for Blood" which upsets Rigsby greatly.
In episode 18, "The Red Mile", O'laughlin joins him and Grace to go talk with a suspect. It ends with a shoot-out, during which Grace's gun gets jammed and O’Loughlin does nothing, so Rigsby saves her. He is shown to be angry with O'laughlin for being a coward and not saving Grace.
In episode 21, "Like a Redheaded Stepchild" we first meet Rigsby's father, Steve Rigsby. Steve is shown to be manipulative and abusive towards Rigsby, who makes it clear he wants nothing to do with him. The episode ends with them physically fighting, a fight in which Rigsby wins, gettting his father to the ground. Before he can do any lasting damage, he offers him a hand up. His father accepts, but he reflects, “I should have used the knife.” At the beginning of the episode Grace invites Rigsby to the wedding, but by the end of the episode he ends up refusing the invitation. He states he still loves her and cannot watch her marry another man, giving her a loving kiss on the forehead. However, he helps them get the area they want for their wedding
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 episode 12, "My Bloody Valentine," Sarah reveals that she is pregnant.
In episode 15, "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 episode 20, Something's Rotten in Redmund, Sarah gives birth to a baby boy named Benjamin off-screen.
In the season finale, "The Crimson Hat", Rigsby fakes his death as part of the ploy to capture Red John. His death is broadcasted on the news, and Rigsby was unable to tell Sarah what was going on as it happened too quickly and would be too dangerous. Rigsby comments on how mad Sarah is going to be at him.
In Season Five, it is unclear whether Rigsby is still with Sarah. At the beginning of episode 4, Blood Feud, Rigsby is at his apartment with Ben when officers come to arrest him. La Roche reappears and tells him that if he feels Rigsby is lying to him he could go down for murder. Rigsby's father was found to have been in the vehicle with a murder victim and was hit. Even after surgery there was still a bullet pellet lodged close to his heart and he would have to give up his vices (drinking, smoking, strenuous activity) in order to live. Instead, his father leaves against medical advice and goes to a bar to have a drink. Rigsby goes to join him and they have a conversation where he shows him a picture of Ben and then reveals that he and Sarah have broken up due to the events that happened in the season 4 finale. This is shown to be the last conversation that Rigsby has with his father, as when his father stands up, he collapses and dies in his arms. When Rigsby returns to work Grace gives him a hug, and Cho and Jane tell him not to go after the person responsible for his father's death as Ben should not have to have a father in prison like he did. Ultimately, Rigsby does get to kill the man responsible. At the end of the episode, LaRoche finishes his report. He tells Jane and Lisbon that the report will say that Rigsby acted appropriately and is cleared. But he knows that Jane arranged an act of legal revenge for Rigsby; it just can't be proven. LaRoche tells Lisbon that she was wrong to call Rigsby, but Jane takes the responsibility. The episode ends with Rigsby at home, cradling his son while in tears.
Throughout the season the audience becomes aware that his feelings for Van Pelt are still there. In episode 14, "Red in Tooth and Claw" Grace leaves to go to a computer-intensive course in L.A. Throughout her leave, Rigsby is shown to still have very strong feelings for her. Cho, however, comments that she is very much over him and has been for years. Cho encourages him to go on dating sites.
In episode 15, "Red Lacquer Nail Polish", Rigsby is trying to get over Grace and so he is spending a lot of time on the dating websites. Cho tells him that he needs to pay some attention to work. Cho points out at an arrest warrant that is lying on the desk, unnoticed by Rigsby. Later on, Cho approaches him and tells him there are multiple complaints of a man on a dating website claiming to be a CBI agent and then never showing up to the dates. Rigsby goes to talk to the women, of which there are five, and we see that they all resemble Grace.
In episode 19, "Red Letter Day", he buys Grace a welcome back Orchid. Lisbon, Jane, and Cho all comment on him buying it for her, guessing it without him saying anything. Rigsby tells Cho the ball is now in her court. At the end of the episode, Rigsby is about to tell her how he feels when someone she met at the conference shows up to take her out on a date.
In episode 20, "Red Velvet Cupcakes", Rigsby admits to feeling weird since she's been back and that he thought about her while she was gone. During the episode, she and Rigsby pose as a couple with relationship issues for a radio show. On the show, they actually talk about their real issues and she admits that she likes who he is now and that he is a dad. And he admits that he feels the same way about her that he's always felt since the day he met her. At the end of the episode, Grace shows up at his place and starts kissing him. Their relationship has continued since.
In the season finale Red John's Rules, Rigsby tells Cho that he and Grace are back together. Cho tells him that he knows, he has always known. Rigsby also makes it clear that they aren't just having sex, they are in love. To which, Cho also replies that he knows.
In episode 3, "Wedding in Red", she and Rigsby wake up and we get to see Grace having a good relationship with Benjamin. They discuss the fact that the policy of dating within the office has changed and they are now allowed to date publicly. Grace also mentions that this means office couples could even get married. Throughout the episode, Rigsby realizes that she wants to get married and determines whether or not he wants to marry her. Grace later admits in an interview that she holds onto the wedding dress she bought for her wedding to O'laughlin in order to hold onto hope; which Rigsby overhears. To create a distraction in order to catch the killer, Rigsby proposes while talking about hope and Grace happily says yes. The last scene of the episode is their wedding; Grace wears the dress, Lisbon and Cho witness, and Jane looks on from behind a door, crying.
In episode 4, “Red Listed”, Rigsby admits to Cho that he and Grace haven’t had sex in 3 days (since the wedding). Stating that they passed out the first night, and then they have had Ben with them for the past two days while Sarah is away. At the end of the episode, Grace dresses up in lingerie and a trench coat to surprise Rigsby at the office. She tells him she got a babysitter and the honeymoon suite at a hotel for the night. She also reassures him that she hasn’t lost sexual interest in him (as Cho made him fear she had). As they rush off to the elevator and start making out, the janitor interrupts them. Awkward!
In episodes 12 and 13 he and the team deal with their phones being bugged and someone coming after and murdering former CBI agents. Grace and Rigsby help out by looking into the bugs on the technical side and coordinating with LaRoche and Ardiles (both of whom are later murdered) to help figure out what is going on. During this time Rigsby is anxious to get back out into the field. It is clear that he misses being an agent.
In episode 14, “Grey Water”, an unknown masked intruder shoots at Rigsby while he is holding Maddy, he rushes into the pantry to hide out from the shooter. Grace then comes in and fires her gun before he can do anything causing the intruder to flee. They then join the team at the FBI office in Austin where they are hired as consultants in the case. At the end of the episode, Rigsby calls Grace to let her know he went out for a beer and will be home late. We then see an unknown masked intruder in Grace's hotel room approaching the sleeping Grace.
Episode 15, “White as the Driven Snow”, is the last appearance that Grace and Rigsby make as main characters. Rigsby comes back from the bar and sees the motel door open and rushes in to find that Grace is missing. It is revealed that Richard Haibach, along with his sister, as the criminal masterminds who have been bugging the team and who killed LaRoche and Ardiles. Haibach and his sister kidnap Grace and the team fight to find and save her. Rigsby is shown to be very protective over Grace, physically fighting with Haibach and even abducting him to lead him to Grace. When they find her, Haibach's sister surprises him and shoots him in the chest and then Haibach shoots him with his own gun. After the traumatizing event, both Rigsby and Grace decide to retire to civilian life.
- According to a character list from the Pilot script, Rigsby was originally named "Wayne Gilzean".
- He used to be a biker himself according to season 2 episode "Red Menace"
- We learn in Behind the Red Curtain that he likes musicals saying "what's not to like?"
- 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?
- In "Grey Water", Rigsby reveals that he and Grace always thought Jane and Lisbon would get together.