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'The Mentalist': Does new boss Luther Wainwright have ulterior motives? Star Michael Rady explains

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Michael Rady Mentalist
Sonja Flemming/CBS

On tonight’s Mentalist, new boss man Luther Wainwright (Michael Rady) finds himself in a compromising position. As Patrick Jane (Simon Baker, who also served as tonight’s director) clamors to get his hands into a serial killer case, the FBI also looks to gain control of the situation, leaving newbie Wainwright in a tough spot.

“[He] struggles to do what’s right for the case, of course, but also to try and take the opportunity to use this opportunity to shed some positive attention on the CBI [California Bureau of Investigation] in lieu of all the upheaval that’s been going on from last season and the beginning of this season,” Rady says. “He really wants to take the attention that a serial killer case would bring and use it for a positive effect for the CBI.” His approach to the issue will be a revealing moment for his character, who came on this season to replace Aunjanue Ellis’ Madeleine Hightower as head of the agency. 

“He’ll walk the line between his team at CBI — the people whose back he has — and also to do what’s right for the victim’s families and for the investigation,” says Rady, who previously starred in the CW’s Melrose Place reboot. “You may get a little glimpse of Luther Wainwright’s aspirations and career aspirations. Is he playing into the FBI’s hands a little bit? Is he trying to look good for them? You don’t know but you might get a little [hint], there’s a little something there.” But that’s not to say he’s a bad guy, Rady assures. “He’s definitely just trying to maintain an even keel and be truthful and transparent as he stated in the first episode.”

Being the honest new guy on a show that’s not afraid to shed some character blood is a risky feat. But guest star Rady, who is slated for a few more episodes this season, says he’s taking precautions. “It seems the bosses have a knack for coming up with crazy reasons to leave the show,” Rady jokes. “My prop guy [always] says, ‘Here, carry your gun.’ And if I’m like ‘I don’t know if I have a gun here,’ and he says, ‘Carry your gun. You’re harder to kill if you carry your gun.'”