Who Is Red John? The Mentalist's Suspects Point To An Answer

By Mack Rawden 2013-11-12 11:35:17 discussion comments
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If episode titles and cursory plot descriptions are any indication, we seem to be two weeks ago from finally knowing the identity of The Mentalist serial killer Red John. Whether Jane will straight up murder the bastard, kill him in self-defense or have him arrested is unclear at this point, but regardless, the clock is ticking until we finally have answers to the primary question that was first posed during the pilot: who murdered our main character’s family?

At the end of Season 5, Jane was able to whittle the possible RJs down significantly thanks to the big reveal that he’s met the serial killer before. That, coupled with all of the clues he’s compiled over the years, narrowed the suspect pool to seven names, all of which have been investigated to some extent this season. Thanks to murders and some complicated issues with tattoos, the list now stands at three, though there’s always the possibility of misdirection.

Over the years, I’ve watched every single episode of The Mentalist, read more than my share of wild Internet theories (Van Pelt?), examined creator Bruno Heller’s quotes on the subject and actively tried to follow along with the investigation. In truth, I have no idea who the hell Red John is yet, but there are certain candidates I like a whole lot better than others. So, without further ado, here is my list of Red John suspects, followed by my ultimate prediction on the final page.

Gale Bertram
As director of the CBI, Bertram has the law enforcement contacts and the power to be Red John. He also has the three dots on his arm that signify he’s a part of the shady police conspiracy organization the serial killer is allegedly intermixed with. He’s also old enough to have committed the Visualize Barn Murders all the way back in 1988, though he would have been a bit old for his first kill at 26. Beyond that, we’ve known for years that he hasn’t really trusted Patrick Jane and has readily kept others informed of his comings and goings, especially as related to the Red John investigation. He’s also an excellent whistler and is a big fan of William Blake, who, of course, wrote “Tyger, Tyger”.

It seems a bit odd, however, that Jane could have worked so closely with Bertram for so many years without figuring out his boss’ real identity. He eats and sleeps the case. Beyond that, we know Red John is willing to manipulate situations to bring himself closer to Jane, but it’s hard to imagine he willingly lost at poker for years in order to potentially give himself a chance to play cards with our hero once. I can’t imagine he’s the type of guy that would enjoy losing week after week. Plus, Red John has always been described as of average height before, and Bertram is 6 feet, 3 inches tall.
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