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'The Mentalist' Closes In on Red John: 'The List Is Down to Five Names'

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Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) in The Mentalist

Early in Sunday's episode of "The Mentalist," one of Patrick Jane's list of seven suspects proves in convincing (and gory) fashion that he's not Red John. Yahoo TV spoke with the episode's writer, Rebecca Cutter, over the phone about the hunt for the serial killer.

In the new episode, titled "Red Listed," Jane's decoy list of suspects (made to throw off anyone following his chase for Red John too closely) is taken, and someone's murdering people on that list — after torturing them first. Cutter's previous episodes have been mostly "arena rock" episodes — the writer's term for the lighter, funnier episodes that wrap up nicely — so this is much darker fare than her previous scripts. In fact, this is the first chance she's had to write one of the Red John episodes, which she considers "kind of an honor."

[Related: Miss Last Week's Ep? Catch Up With Our Recap]

"I really enjoy writing the humor; I love writing Jane's dialogue," but, she said, she had to start cutting jokes because they clashed with the rest of the episode's darker tone. "This whole season has been a little gorier than normal. There are other shows out there where cutting off fingers is no big deal; that's like nothing. But on our show, that's darker than we usually go." Spoiler! Sunday's episode does involve digits being threatened by a nasty-looking pair of pruning shears.

Jane says, "The list is down to five names," and we find out pretty early in the episode who's off the list, but make sure your DVR doesn't cut off early because the last few minutes really up the stakes. There's more about the conspiracy that has been hinted at this season, and Cutter says it's all tied together. "That all will come to bear a lot, coming down into the final episode, when we reveal who Red John is. All of that will blow up and be explored very thoroughly and have bigger implications for CBI."

 [Related: 'The Mentalist's' Owain Yeoman Got Married Last Month]

What does that mean for our countdown? Well, according to Cutter, we were a little early crossing Tom McAllister off the list, but she definitely confirmed that Partridge and ... well, you'll have to watch to find out who is off the list. The entire writers' room (not just show creator Bruno Heller) had input into how Red John is finally discovered, and Cutter promised, "It'll be a good reveal. There's a lot of twists and turns to get there."

 

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"The Mentalist" airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on CBS.

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