Recap — The Mentalist 2.15 “Red Herring”

Patrick Jane Simon Baker Kendall Cho Tim Kang The Mentalist Red Herring screencaps images photos pictures recap

Tonight on The Mentalist, “Red Herring”, we begin with a $100,000 Best Chef competition at the Westing Resort. We see Chef Jeffrey Barge in the kitchen with his sous-chef Eliza. Jeffrey is barking out orders as the staff gets his meal presentation in order. Jeff is sweating profusely and drinking a lot of water. When he goes out to the judging panel and audience to discuss his creations, he suddenly collapses. We see his blurry view of the world as people crowd around him, calling for a doctor.

Next up the CBI are at the scene, so we know Jeff didn’t survive. Though it’s not yet determined to be a murder, one of the competing chefs is the daughter of a senator, and several high-powered phone calls means Lisbon is on the case. The team talks first with the event coordinator Duesterberg, who had earlier gotten into a fistfight with the victim. The fight was over missing truffles, a $1000 ingredient Jeff had paid for himself and wanted Duesterberg to replace. Duesterberg referred to Jeff as a “genius” and said the fight was “an accident”.

Scoffing at the genius remark, Jane takes a bite of the dead chef’s work and proclaims it too salty. He checks with the coroner, who’s examining the body, and gets him to look inside the victim’s mouth. There are definite signs of poison. “Bad tasting food, bad taste buds,” Jane explains.

Rigsby, who had also been eating the event food, looks ill as he puts his plate down. Chef Jeff died from ricin poisoning, however, which takes several hours to manifest. Lisbon orders the team to look into what Jeff may have eaten before the competition and check for the poison.

Cho talks with the other chefs in the competition, trying to find out who may have wanted Jeff dead. The chefs start to turn on one another, and eventually Cho discovers that Chef Ludo stole Jeff’s pricey truffles. “I didn’t steal them,” Ludo protests. “I rescued them from a terrible fate.”

Lisbon and Jane talk with the victim’s wife, Abigail. Turns out the two have been separated for some time, and she claims not to have seen him for months, due to his drinking problem. The victim’s brother Kevin interrupts the interview to tell the detectives that Abigail is a scheming liar. He says that Jeffrey had started a program and been sober for 2 weeks. Jane surmises that Kevin is angry because Abigail inherited the business and the money.

Abigail then confesses that Jeff called her at 12:30am to apologize, but she didn’t listen and hung up.

We next join Rigsby and Jane in Jeff’s hotel room at the site of the contest, and it looks like it’s been ransacked. Rigsby thinks someone’s been looking for something, but Jane guesses that Jeff did it himself. He notes the closed drawers and the punched mirror and thinks Jeff had a bout of self-loathing. Coupled with his recent aggressive behavior at work and then tearful calls to his wife, Jane thinks it indicates a relapse. He checks the apartment for hidden alcohol and discovers a bottle of gin in the toilet tank. Rigsby tests it and finds it positive for ricin.

The team gathers the chefs together and Jane accuses Ludo of spiking the gin. He protests, and then Jane calls out the tattooed chef Hannah. Apparently she looked the most relieved when he accused Ludo. Under interrogation, Hannah confesses that she bought the gin in an effort to get Jeff drunk, so he would lose the competition. She insists that she didn’t have anything to do with the poison.

At the office, Van Pelt lets Lisbon know that Abigail’s story holds up, that Jeff called her and she hung up. Jeff made another call, however, to his restaurant and it lasted an hour. Lisbon and Jane go to the restaurant and talk to Abigail and sous-chef Eliza. Eliza says the call was to her, to talk about changing the menu for the competition. When Jane asks if the late night call was a problem, she says no, that she loves being dedicated to the work. Abigail then gives Eliza the restaurant money to make the bank deposits.

Jane steals the keys from Lisbon on the way out, insisting it’s his turn to drive. He teases her about her trepidation, and she snarks back that she’s counting on the airbags. Just as they get into the car, a masked thief purse-snatches Eliza and takes off down the street. Lisbon opens her car door at just the right time to knock him out of commission. She unmasks him and discovers it’s Jeff’s brother Kevin.

Back in the interrogation room, Kevin tells Lisbon he has information as long as he gets a deal to save him from prosecution. Lisbon tells him he should be ashamed for not helping with the investigation into his own brother’s death and it’s “no deal”. Kevin mans up and reveals that he set his cash-poor brother up with a loan shark named Sean Horlick. When his brother was murdered, Horlick threatened Kevin with the same fate if he didn’t pay up the loan. In desperation, Kevin stile the money from Abigail, which he felt was owed to him anyway.

During their investigation, the team finds out that Eliza the sous-chef tried to strike out on her own, but that her liquor license application was denied. Jeff graciously took her back when her business plan failed. They also discover that Jeff wasn’t taking a salary from his restaurant because there wasn’t enough money to go around.

Cho and Jane visit Horlick’s medicinal pot shop, where Horlick says his threatening conversation with Kevin was a “big misunderstanding”. He tells them that it made no sense to off someone who owed him money. He says that he knew Jeff had the money because he kept seeing Jeff at the expensive Ritz hotel, paying cash.

The team surmises that Jeff was having an affair, and since he was separated, there would be no need for him to hide the hotel stays by paying cash. Therefore, he must be seeing a married woman. Jane guesses it is Julia, one of the chefs in the competition with Jeff. Jane noticed that she and her chef husband were out of synch in the kitchen, which was telling about their personal life. Julia confesses to the affair, but says Jeff ended it the night before he died. She says she’s not sorry because he was a drunk. She asks for water, then we see the blurried vision just like Jeff had, and she collapses to the ground.

Lisbon gets a furious call from the attorney general, now that a senator’s daughter has died on their watch. Cho and Rigsby go to talk to the husband, Arliss, who inherits her money and doesn’t seem broken up by her death at all. Arliss points them back to Abigail, who supposedly had a big fight with Jeff at a grocery store just a couple weeks ago.

Lisbon and Jane to to interview Abigail again. Jane notices the photos of Abigail on the wall, and how she doesn’t look quite as she did before. He guesses that she’s pregnant, and she admits it. It’s Jeff’s child, and he didn’t react well to the news, which is what the argument was about. Lisbon tells Abigail they have to search her home.

As the search is conducted, Jane sits comfortabl in his chair. When castor beans, the source of ricin, are discovered, Jane doesn’t seem all that convinced. The team then learns that Julia was poisoned with ricin in the hot pepper she always sprinkled on her food–food that Jane almost ate during his kitchen investigations, before Duesterberg interrupted him.

Jane gets Lisbon away from her interrogation of Abigail, and takes her back to the hotel for a memorial service the chefs and Duesterberg have put together for Jeff and Julia. Jane noses around the kitchen, and intentionally starts a burner fire so that he can slip hot pepper into the soup. Once seated at the table, Jane watches as the guests fan their mouths over the hot soup that they swear wasn’t prepared that way. Jane confesses that he put some of Julia’s famous hot pepper in the soup. Eliza starts choking and looking terrified, and when they tell her she’ll be denied medical care for 48 hours, she panics and tells the truth about the poison in the pepper.

The other guests are relieved when Jane assures them he didn’t use the poisoned pepper, and Eliza is furious. Back at the CBI headquarters, Eliza shows no remorse. Lisbon guesses that Jeff didn’t want to lose Eliza as sous-chef, so he got Julia to use her government connections and squash Eliza’s liquor license application. The 2am phone call to Eliza was a confession from Jeff, as he tried to make amends. “Like I was gonna let that go,” Eliza says coldly, detailing how she went to Jeff’s apartment and poisoned his liquor–and then poisoned Julia’s pepper.

Next we see Abigail confronting Lisbon about the planted castor beans. Lisbon says that it was Jane’s way of luring out the real suspect, and though his hunch was correct, she was sorry for what Abigail went through. Abigail says she appreciates Lisbon’s honesty, and to tell Jane he was “a mean, irresponsible sadist”. Lisbon agrees that she will. Just before Abigail leaves, Lisbon calls her back. She tells Abigail that Jeff entered rehab right after he found out about the baby, and that he broke up with Julia. She says she understands it’s hard living with an alcoholic, but she wanted Abigail to know it seemed like Jeff was trying to make a go of it with her again. Abigail is grateful, and thanks Lisbon.

Lisbon seems affected by this conversation, and though Jane tries to get her to talk about what’s bothering her, she refuses. She does repeat Abigail’s “sadist” description and Jane calls it “pretty accurate”. He gets up and leaves Lisbon’s office, and then we see her go over and open her bottom desk drawer. There’s a bottle of liquor inside with a glass. She takes them out, struggles with the decision to drink, then puts the liquor back in the drawer.

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Watch The Mentalist on Thursday nights at 10/9c.

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