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Simon Baker's reliable mystery series is as spritely and addictive as ever....
Warner / 946 Minutes / 2012-2013 / Unrated / Street Date: September 17, 2013
Elegant, old-fashioned television drama at its most finessed, The Mentalist is exactly the kind of show "they don't make any more" - a series as unpretentious as it is compulsively likable. Unlike other hour-long dramas that try way too hard to be 'cutting-edge' or 'fresh' (the new Hawaii Five-O, NCIS: LA), The Mentalist is happy as a clam within its own well-worn narrative syntax, which is a trait that lends the show an air of confident, sleek swagger.
For those who have yet to embark upon the trail of this beguiling mystery show, I hasten to dribble any plot points or synopses that might spoil - but there are definitely new twists on our protagonist Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) and his search for the serial killer who killed his wife and kid. Jane's capacities as a 'mentalist' (someone with a nearly preternatural ability to both read and manipulate people) is still a motivating force on the show, but it almost takes a backburner to the greater dramas at hand here, most notably the appearance (and eventual capture) of one Lorelei Martins (Emmanuelle Chriqui), a confidant of Jane's wife's killer who might lead him straight to the mother lode.
There's nothing particularly notable or record-setting about The Mentalist on this Complete Fifth Season compilation - at the end of the day, it's really just another crime drama - but even so, with primetime television continuing its descent into reality-TV tripe, throwback shows like this one are more than welcome. If you're on The Mentalist's wavelength, there's a big possibility you might blow through this TV-on-DVD set in a weekend - if not more rapidly than that.