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'Mentalist' exclusive: Leslie Hope returns... to steal Jane's heart?

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Even those of us lacking Patrick Jane’s keen observational skills could spot the sparks flying between Simon Baker’s sleuth and Leslie Hope’s psychic, Kristina, when the ex-24 heroine guest starred on The Mentalist last season. Exec producer Bruno Heller certainly picked up on something, because he just invited Hope back for the final two episodes of the season. And this time around, the romantic tension will be much more overt.

“Jane tries to prove once and for all that she is a charlatan,” Heller reveals. “At the same time, [he finds] himself strangely attracted to her.”

Might that attraction lead to a full-fledged romance? “All [the producers] told me was they had some fun stuff for me to do,” says Hope. “I don’t know what their version of ‘fun’ is, but I’m hoping it involves Simon and not wrestling a barracuda in a tank.

“He’s not so hard on the eyes,” she adds of Baker. “I was happy to go flirt around with him for an episode [last season]. There are worse jobs on the planet.”

Whether or not Hope’s Mentalist arc continues into the fall may depend on what transpires with Tangled, the Canadian-produced pilot the actress recently shot. “I’m in this weird holding pattern on that,” she explains of the action-drama, in which she plays big sister to Prison Break‘s Sarah Wayne Callies. “Even if [The Mentalist] wants me back next season, I have to wait and see what’s happening with Tangled.”

What do you think? Is it high time TV’s hottest widower stopped grieving and started getting it on? Would you prefer he hold out for Lisbon? Sound off below!

Photo Credit: Michael Ansell/CBS; Hope: Glenn Harris/PR Photos