The Patrick Jane that was thought to be gone forever is making a comeback tonight.
For The Mentalist‘s midseason finale, executive producer and writer Daniel Cerone says they wanted to give fans a chance to see the Patrick Jane of the past — with a twist. “We always thought it’d be fun to see the old Patrick Jane. You know, the psychic hookster in a shiny suit, but the only real way to do that would be a flashback episode, and those types of episodes generally turn out to be disappointing.” Instead, he says, they opted to bring the old Jane into the present, and give the characters a chance to “experience first-hand who Jane really was before his wife and daughter were murdered.”
In the episode, Jane finds himself afflicted with dissociative fugue, a form of amnesia. “Fugues are usually precipitated by a stressful event. So in that way, we brought Jane out of the past,” Cerone says. “So what we’ll witness is who Jane was before the death of his family. He was a wilder, more untamed character, you know who was a lot of fun but not the most trustworthy guy.” But in that lies a predicament for Jane’s newfound friends. “Patrick Jane is arguably a tortured soul. His wife and daughter were murdered by a serial killer, who he’s been obsessively hunting ever since but you strip those memories away you have this charming con man without a care in the world. So is the compassionate act to just to let him go, let him live in ignorance of Red John and the family he lost?” he says. “I mean, why make him remember and live that pain all over again? That’s sort of a interesting dilemma that we end up presenting our team with.”
Speaking of Red John, while he won’t pop up in this episode, Cerone says, “There is a nice hand off that occurs because ‘Fugue in Red’ is episode 410 [it] kind of summarizes or resets who Red John is in Patrick Jane’s life and [the next new episode on Jan. 12] basically picks up that baton and runs with it. It does kick off the second half of the season as this FBI case intensifies.” While the show has backed off the Red John storyline for much of the first half, Cerone says to waiting fans, “It will definitely ramp up, and become deeper toward the end of the season more than the middle part. But we do have a nice build.”