The Mentalist, “Blood Money”, opens ominously in Old Town, Sacramento on a darkened street. We see a woman being followed into a shadowy alley by a man in a hooded sweatshirt. Turns out that woman is Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti), and she meant to meet the man in this alley. They talk in circles for a minute, and it’s clear she wants to hire him for something. When “Mr. Black” tells her she’ll have to “say it out loud”, she finally holds up a picture of Rigsby and says she wants him killed.
36 hours earlier: CBI agents Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman), Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney), Van Pelt, and consultant Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) are at the scene of a murder. The victim is ADA Kelly Flower (Rachel Montez Collins). Her nightgown is ripped, but it’s not due to assault, it’s from her crawling across the floor before being shot point blank. When Jane questions the concept of working harder to solve the crimes of their law enforcement coworkers, Lisbon says it’s a deterrent to anyone thinking of trying the same thing. Jane disagrees, saying it’s pure revenge–which he personally has no problem with.
There’s no sign of forced entry to the Flowers’ home. When the husband Jayden (Dwayne L. Barnes) arrives, he breaks down in agony while Jane watches his reactions carefully.
Back at CBI headquarters, Madeleine Hightower (Aunjanue Ellis), Kimball Cho, Van Pelt, and Rigsby meet with ADA Marc Odenthal (Stephen Spinella). He offers to help them go over Flowers’ current cases, and lets them know she was working on the big Hank Draber drug case.
Flash over to the Port of Sacramento, where Van Pelt and Cho arrive to talk to Draber (John Kapelos) and his group of personal henchmen.
Meanwhile, Jane and Lisbon interview Jayden Flower, the distraught husband. He says that he and his wife loved each other, but they had a fight the night she died. He was upset about her long hours for her “career maker” Draber case. He went to the movies to cool off.
While they are talking, one of the contractors working on the Flowers’ home renovations appears to let Jayden know that he’s covered the exposed roof with a tarp. Jane asks the man, Cale Sylvan, a complicated question about flash water heaters. Sylvan answers the question easily. Then Jane points out that Sylvan is standing in the blood stain on the floor. The man steps away, but seems unperturbed. Outside, Jane tells Lisbon that Sylvan’s lack of emotion proves he is a sociopath, and quite possibly a murderer.
Back at the waterfront, Cho and Van Pelt talk to Draber about his possible involvement in killing ADA Flower. Draber’s mother, an elderly wheelchair-bound woman he dismisses as sweet but senile, happily scratches off lottery tickets while they all talk. Draber says he’s not the type who would ever get his hands dirty killing an ADA.
Rigsby does some digging and lets Jane and Lisbon know that Sylvan turns out to have several different identities, all with possible murders attached. It appears Jane is right, that not only is Sylvan a killer, he’s a serial killer. Lisbon puts Cho and Jane on a stakeout, where Cho settles in with a good book–Wuthering Heights. Jane doesn’t just want to sit around, so he gets out of the car and tells Cho he’s going for a walk.
At CBI headquarters, Rigsby and Lisbon go over the photos of Sylvan’s possible victims, and there doesn’t seem to be a connection or typical serial killer pattern. Van Pelt finds a money trail that indicates Sylvan is actually a hit man. Jane wanders in, telling Lisbon only that he’s been “around”. The team finds a website linked to Sylvan that reads “Call Mr. Black for odd jobs”.
We return to the opening scene of “Blood Money”, and now know Van Pelt is working undercover to catch Mr. Black. She offers him $50,000. Jane, Lisbon, and Rigsby are in a nearby van. Jane is coaching Van Pelt through her ear piece, helping her to sell her story. Even when she has a knife to her throat, Jane tells her to taunt him: “Show me, so you can make me afraid…that’s what you like. Show me proof.” Sylvan, aka Mr. Black, relents and shows her a cell phone video of ADA Flowers’ murder. The CBI ambushes the scene, then, and Sylvan is arrested.
Lisbon and Jane arrive at the courthouse to testify on the evidence against Sylvan. Lisbon is nervous, as she doesn’t want Jane anywhere near “Judge Dread”. Her fears are realized. The defense attorney moves to throw out the video of ADA Flower’s murder because it is “inflammatory” and “prejudicial”, and there is some question about the “chain of holding”. Jane starts in about how they’re wasting time, and are just a “cog in a petty fascist regime”. The judge fines Jane $2000 but tells the defense attorney to move along.
As the defense attorney questions Lisbon, she asks if the sting operation was the first time that she saw the video. Lisbon says yes. The attorney asks if Lisbon sent anyone into Sylvan’s home to look for evidence without a warrant. Surprised, Lisbon says no–and then she’s shocked when she’s told that Jane’s fingerprints were found on a mug inside Sylvan’s home.
Lisbon and the ADA huddle up with Jane, who says he went by Sylvan’s home, found the door open, and went inside to check for an intruder. The ADA tells the judge, and then says that Jane is a consultant, and not an agent, and so the CBI is not responsible. The judge considers the evidence “tainted” and “fruit of the poisonous tree”. The video is thrown out, and the case dismissed. The victim’s husband, Jayden, is furious that his wife’s killer is going free.
ADA Odenthal meets with Lisbon and Jane afterwards. Lisbon and Odenthal are furious, and Jane is as irreverent as always. He tells Odenthal the other attorney won because she was a better liar. When Odenthal starts waving the gun from evidence around, Jane asks him to be careful. Odenthal quickly slides open the chamber and tells them it’s obviously not loaded. He tells Jane that when he’s DA, Jane won’t be allowed near a courtroom.
Back in Hightower’s office, Jane tries to defend himself and protect Lisbon. He says he didn’t tell her he was going to Sylvan’s, so that she wouldn’t be complicit. Hightower says Lisbon is still responsible for her team, and she gives Lisbon a 5-day suspension. For once, Jane looks actually remorseful, trying to say “I’m sorry” as Lisbon abruptly leaves the office. When he turns back to Hightower, she’s completely calm. “Lisbon needs some time off,” Hightower says. “It will do her good.”
Jane wanders back into the main CBI office, where Lisbon is giving her team instructions for what to do while she’s gone. “It’s chilly in here,” Jane says, noticing the angry looks everyone’s giving him. He tries to keep it light with Lisbon, telling her “It’s five days off from me.” She’s not listening. She tells Cho that he’s in charge.
Jane ropes Cho into his plan for Sylvan, telling him “we have to take risks”. He gets Cho to stake out a coffee shop where “coffee geek” Sylvan is likely to show up. Cho reminds Jane that they’re not to talk to Sylvan without his lawyer. “I”m just going to run into him in the coffee line,” Jane says, once again bending the rules to fit his motive. When Sylvan does arrive, Jane greets him in the line. He puts his hand on Sylvan’s shoulder, and appears to be trying to hypnotize him to confess. Sylvan doesn’t fall for it.
Back at their table, Jane confesses to Cho that he was really using a distraction to search Sylvan’s pockets. He presents a handful of “a button, fluff, and sand”. Jane realizes it’s not as impressive as he’d hoped. “You’re walking home,” Cho deadpans.
Back at CBI headquarters, Cho, Rigsby and Van Pelt are working on Sylvan’s financials. They wonder about the $2000 he’s been withdrawing monthly, since it’s not rent for the home he’s been living in. They realize it could be for a “murder house” where he does all of his dirty work. Van Pelt sees a bag for Abs Gym in the murder video, but there are too many locations to check out. Cho remembers the sand Jane found in Sylvan’s pocket and they check for a location near the river. Cho tells them to get a search warrant once they find an address.
We next get a shot of Sylvan sitting in a house, watching TV while there’s a man strapped to a table in the room behind him. He then gets up and decides to get to work. He’s about to plunge a knife in the man’s chest when the house is raided. Cho, Rigsby, and Van Pelt take down Sylvan while officers secure the house. The victim is all right, aside from the trauma of almost being killed.
As they’re urging Sylvan to give up who hired him to kill ADA Flower, Rigsby sees a laser light centered on Cho’s chest. He yells for Cho to get down, grabs him, and they hit the ground. The sniper kills Sylvan with one shot.
Later we see teams digging up all the bodies on Sylvan’s property. The CBI learns that the shot that killed Sylvan was from two football fields away–not an easy shot to make.
Jane meets up with Lisbon, telling her that she was closer than Cho and that he needs her help going to Draber’s lair. Lisbon reminds him that she’s on suspension and can’t help him. Jane says he knows she has at least two guns in her car. At her indication that it’s three, Jane shakes his head and calls her the “poster girl for the NRA”.
They go in and talk to Draber again. Jane notices that he keeps looking at his mother for approval. He leans down close to the woman, and tells her, “You are a treasure. You’re running the whole operation!” He says he should have checked her shoes before.
Mrs. Draber is not amused. She gets out of her wheelchair, yells at her son, and then it’s bad news for Jane and Lisbon. They end up locked in a shipping container.
Rigsby and Van Pelt have a brief meeting at headquarters, checking to make sure they’re okay with each other. They’ve both apparently moved on. Cho comes in and asks if anyone has heard from Jane.
Back in the shipping container, Lisbon assesses their situation–no food, no water, no cell phone signal. Jane tells her they should draw straws, to see who gets to eat the other one. “Yeah right, draw straws with a professional cheat,” Lisbon says dryly. Jane doesn’t seem worried. He says it’s obvious the Drabers didn’t want them dead. As they stand near the breeze from a small window, Lisbon starts thinking and realizes she wasn’t closer to the Drabers than Cho. “You were trying to help me,” Lisbon says, guessing that Jane wanted to get her a big bust to get her back to work. “I’m always going to save you,” Jane tells her. Lisbon says he’s going to get her fired someday, and she knew that the moment she signed up with him. Jane asks why she did it then. “Because we catch bad guys,” she says, “and most days, that’s enough.”
She seems about to say more, but then they hear something outside. A boy with a goat opens the door and lets them out.
At CBI headquarters, Van Pelt, Rigsby and Cho are worried about Jane. His car’s been found by the Draber’s warehouse, along with Lisbon’s. Van Pelt picks up the call, and asks for Rigsby’s help translating Spanish. It’s the Mexican federales–“something about Jane and a goat”.
Next we see Jane storming “Judge Dread’s” court again, where ADA Odenthal is trying another case. Jane demands an arrest warrant for Annabelle Draber. Jane causes trouble, takes a cell phone call, and annoys the judge so much he fines him $5000. When Odenthal tries to intervene, Jane tweaks his nose and Odenthal shouts out “Battery”! The bailiffs haul Jane away as he looks plaintively at Lisbon. “On suspension,” Lisbon shrugs. “No authority”.
Jane is relieved when Cho bails him out. He tells Cho he’ll be representing himself on the battery charge.
Back in the courtroom, Jayden Flower joins Lisbon in the gallery, saying Jane told him to come. Jane admits to tweaking Odenthal’s nose, but then says it’s his turn to question the witnesses. The judge allows him some leeway. Jane asks random questions, finally asking the judge if he hunts. The judge said he once shot a mallard at 60 yards, with a 10 gauge shotgun. “A 3-inch shell…three inches of death,” Jane says. “Three and a half,” Odenthal corrects.
Jane asks Odenthal if he’s a hunter, too. Odenthal starts acting nervous, saying he used to hunt but doesn’t anymore. Jane pursues the questioning, saying he must have used the gun to silence Sylvan, to keep him from revealing Odenthal was the one who hired him. Odenthal denies everything. Jane asks if they can search his house for the rifel, and the judge asks Odenthal to go along with it. The ADA refuses, saying he has rights. It doesn’t matter, because they already got a warrant to search his house, and found a Remington 700, with scope, from his garage.
Lisbon and Jane later interrogate Odenthal. He’ll face the death penalty unless he comes clean about his actions. Odenthal confesses that it was all about ambition. The Draber case was “supposed to be” his, and he felt Kelly Flower stole it from him. The case was a “lock” for promotion to DA. He took Flower out so that he would be next in line.
He also promised Sylvan he’d get him out of the charges. He knew Jane’s reputation for unorthodox actions, so he had Sylvan’s home searched for Jane’s prints to try to catch him in a mistake. Which he did. Lisbon said Jane had learned his lesson. “I have,” Jane agrees. “Next time I won’t stop for tea.”
Jane and Lisbon meet with Hightower about the case. Their boss is pleased that they solved the case, despite all the laws they bent. Jane is happy until Hightower informs him that he still owes the court $16,000 in fines.
Jane asks Lisbon if she wants to go to a range and shoot something. “I’ll drive,” Lisbon replies.
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