The Mentalist brought us great storylines during its seven-season run but one stood out from the rest – The Red John arc. This storyline was determined from the very first episode, where we find out that Patrick Jane, because of his arrogant con man days, provoked Red John which resulted in his family getting killed by a notorious serial killer. The Red John arc ran for multiple seasons, and some viewers got interested in watching the episodes chronologically. In this article, we will list all Red John episodes chronologically and provide you with an explanation of every episode.
We will provide you with further explanation of each episode and analyze the Red John storyline. Moreover, we will talk about if you need to watch some other episodes as well to get a better understanding of the story and in the end conclude this topic. If you are interested, stick with us until the end of the article. Let’s start!
The Mentalist: All Red John Episodes Chronologically
- Season 1, Episode 1 – “Pilot”
- Season 1, Episode 2 – “Red Hair And Silver Tape”
- Season 1, Episode 11 – “Red John’s Friends”
- Season 1, Episode 23 – “Red John’s Footsteps”
- Season 2, Episode 2 – “The Scarlett Letter”
- Season 2, Episode 8 – “His Red Right Hand”
- Season 2, Episode 23 – “Red Sky in the Morning”
- Season 3, Episode 3 – “The Blood On His Hands”
- Season 3, Episode 9 – “Red Moon”
- Season 3, Episode 10 – “Jolly Red Elf”
- Season 3, Episode 16 – “Red Queen”
- Season 3, Episodes 23 & 24 – “Strawberries and Cream Part One and Part Two
- Season 4, Episode 1 – “Scarlet Ribbons”
- Season 4, Episode 7 – “Blinking Red Light”
- Season 4, Episode 11 – “Always Bet On Red”
- Season 4, Episode 13 – “Red Is The New Black”
- Season 4, Episode 17 – “Cheap Burgundy”
- Season 4, Episode 23 – “Red Rover, Red Rover”
- Season 4, Episode 24 – “The Crimson Hat”
- Season 5, Episode 1 – “The Crimson Ticket”
- Season 5, Episode 5 – “Red Dawn”
- Season 5, Episode 6 – “Cherry Picked”
- Season 5, Episode 7 – “If it Bleeds, It Leads”
- Season 5, Episode 8 – “Red Sails in the Sunset”
- Season 5, Episode 13 – “The Red Barn”
- Season 5, Episode 16 – “There Will Be Blood”
- Season 5, Episode 18 – “Behind the Red Curtain”
- Season 5, Episode 19 – “Red Letter Day”
- Season 5, Episode 22 – “Red John Rules”
- Season 6, Episode 1 – “The Desert Rose”
- Season 6, Episode 2 – “Black-Winged Redbird”
- Season 6, Episode 3 – “Wedding in Red”
- Season 6, Episode 5 – “The Red Tattoo”
- Season 6, Episode 6 – “Fire and Brimstone”
- Season 6, Episode 7 – “The Great Red Dragon”
- Season 6, Episode 8 – “Red John”
As you can see, because the Red John storyline is scattered across the show, one can skip some episodes to get to the core of this story arc. The Mentalist is long by today’s standards – seven seasons with six of them mostly having from 22 to 24 episodes, besides the last one that has 13 episodes. Each episode is 45 minutes long, and some viewers are probably going to want to skip some episodes because of it.
We will include every episode relevant to the Red John’s storyline, so prepare yourself for the ultimate guide of the Mentalist’s biggest story arcs to date. Beware, there are some spoilers included.
The Mentalist: All Red John Episodes Chronologically (Fully Explained)
Season 1, Episode 1 – “Pilot”
The show starts with the Pilot episode where Special Agent Theresa Lisbon and Patrick Jane are walking into a house where a little girl was murdered. After a few Jane’s shenanigans that actually uncover the murderer, Jane gets suspended by CBI. Two weeks later, a Red John murder case occurs and Jane begs Lisbon to put him back on the case since Red John belongs to him and no one else.
The episode pans out to Jane’s flashback, five years prior to the first episode of the show. His con-man days are at their peak – he is getting famous, earning tons of money, and has a loving family, all that by scamming and deceiving vulnerable people. He goes on a TV show and insults Red John saying he is a lonely, sad and ugly, tormented little man, and that Jane could fix him with his “psychic” powers. Jane goes home and sees a note from Red John, he opens the door and sees a red smiley face, a signature sign of Red John’s murders, and sees his wife and daughter dead.
Jane eventually solves the case, and at the end of the episode, goes back to his house, and lays down under the Red John sign. In this episode, this is the first mention of Red John and his appearance – he was obscured and his identity hidden.
Season 1, Episode 2 – “Red Hair And Silver Tape”
Another murder occurs, this time in the vineyard. The team meets Sheriff Thomas McCallister at the scene who was the first responder. He meets Jane and is baffled about how can he be a consultant to the CBI. The CBI works with the Sheriff’s department on this case and combines their efforts to solve a murder.
Red John, once again, is subtly shown in this episode, but don’t worry, we won’t spoil anything until the last episodes.
Season 1, Episode 11 – “Red John’s Friends”
In this episode, Jane is contacted by imprisoned Jared Renfrew, who claims that he has information about Red John, which will be provided to him, if Jane helps him solve his case – Renfrew states that he is wrongly imprisoned. After the brutal case, Jane and the team uncover who killed a woman – it was Renfrew’s mother.
Red John has a cameo in the episode, which showed that he is always one step ahead of everyone.
Season 1, Episode 23 – “Red John’s Footsteps”
The season one finale is full of action. The team finds a dead woman cut open and painted nails with her own blood, just like Jane’s wife when she was murdered. Jane freaks out and starts investigating. They find out that Red John was in a relationship with a blind woman Rosalind Harker. He took on the fake identity and lived with Rosalind for months.
Season one ends with a bang – Jane for the first time since his family was murdered, realizes the value of life and friends. Lisbon tells Jane the hard truth.
Season 2, Episode 2 – “The Scarlett Letter”
The second episode of the season brings us huge developments in Red John’s case – Jane is not on the case anymore, and Special Agent Sam Bosco takes over the investigation of the notorious serial killer. However, that development still does not stop Jane to involve himself in the case which will put a strain on the relationship between him and Bosco.
Season 2, Episode 8 – “His Red Right Hand”
After Red John’s storyline is put on a hold for a bit, in this episode, we get some action. The team gets called for another murder, a naked guy is shot and killed in the memorial. The team gets back to the headquarters, finding to agents killed and Sam Bosco, the lead agent, unconscious and on the verge of death.
Huge revelations are revealed and vast changes occur, which will change the lives of our characters forever. Jane uncovers newfound motivations for catching Red John and serial killers’ loose ends are revealed. A major character in the show dies, which opens up new plots and storylines for The Mentalist.
Season 2, Episode 23 – “Red Sky in the Morning”
The season two finale is, again, a nail-biter. Jane meets up with Kristina Frye, a fellow “psychic” and they go on a date. It is interrupted by another Red John murder, however, this time, by serial killers copycat. Kristina reaches out to Red John during a television interview which puts her and Jane in grave danger.
Red John appears in this episode in the flesh and traumatizes Jane even more.
Season 3, Episode 3 – “The Blood On His Hands”
Even though season three does not have straightforward Red John appearances, this season provided us with so many moments that will determine the path of the investigation going forward. The third episode of the season sees Jane facing off with cult leader Brett Stiles. The cult leader reaches out to Jane to offer him the information about Red John and the location of recently missing Jane’s colleague – Kristina Frye.
Red John’s loose ends appear to “mock” Jane and CBI team.
Season 3, Episode 9 – “Red Moon”
Patrick Jane works with a local psychic who needs help regarding a triple homicide that involves two sheriff deputies, and Red John. This episode brings back details about the serial killer once again which propellers Jane to work harder. A lot of callbacks are in this episode as well.
Season 3, Episode 10 – “Jolly Red Elf”
This episode has few guest appearances. J.J. LaRoche is brought in to question a team about the demise of a person that was in custody at the CBI and investigates the possibility of being an inside job. Jane infiltrates the AA group to investigate the murder of a Santa, and some old characters come back to help in the investigation by Internal Affairs.
Huge suspicion of the CBI mole is questioned in this episode and propellers the CBI member to be more cautious. This is directly connected to the Red John case because someone is leaking vital information from the Bureau to the serial killer.
Season 3, Episode 16 – “Red Queen”
This episode starts really frantic – we see Jane on the other end of the gun from Madeleine Hightower, a former Chief of CBI. The episode jumps back six hours earlier when it shows that everything started with the murder of an antique dealer found dead in a museum that indicating the suspect may be a member of the CBI.
Huge revelations come to the surface and a mole in the CBI starts letting their guard down.
Season 3, Episodes 23 & 24 – “Strawberries and Cream Part One and Part Two
The final episodes of season three uncover the identity of the CBI’s mole and Patrick Jane’s meeting with Red John is approaching. This episode will have huge consequences for the team, and the Red John investigation.
Jane is unhinged this episode and supporting characters get hit with a grueling truth.
Season 4, Episode 1 – “Scarlet Ribbons”
The new season opens up immediately after the events at the end of season three. Jane is arrested and put in jail. However, everything he thought was correct was proven wrong and now he has to do everything in his power to prove he did the right and correct thing.
At the end of the episode, seemingly over Red John’s investigation gets huge developments.
Season 4, Episode 7 – “Blinking Red Light”
In this episode, another serial killer, who is killing teenage girls, starts popping up all over California, and Jane and the CBI team need to do their best to uncover who the serial killer is. A character who is obsessed with the case is the main suspect.
Another call back from our notorious serial killer Red John is present in this episode.
Season 4, Episode 11 – “Always Bet On Red”
Even though Red John is mentioned throughout the series, from this episode onwards, the show sets up Red John’s arc as the main storyline and keeps it that way until the case is solved in season six. In this episode, the team is called up to protect the lawyer who is receiving death threats and eventually dies in an explosion of the boat.
Red John appears as the shadow this time and hunting occurs that involves a certain FBI agent.
Season 4, Episode 13 – “Red Is The New Black”
Certain FBI agent is back in this episode and begins to doubt that the man that Jane killed in the season 3 finale, Timothy Carter, is Red John. In this episode, the team is trying to solve a murder of a disgraced fashion designer who was preparing for a big comeback.
A huge reveal occurs in the episode, and old accomplices of Red John appear in the episode, who uncover more disturbing facts about the serial killer.
Season 4, Episode 17 – “Cheap Burgundy”
FBI agent Darcy asks for Jane’s help regarding one murder investigation. However, it is later revealed what is her true motivation – finding out about Jane’s and Red John’s relationship.
Meanwhile, CBI is trying to get an arrogant business owner to confess to the murder of Matilda Cruz. Jane sends wrong “signals” to the FBI, which might get him in trouble.
Season 4, Episode 23 – “Red Rover, Red Rover”
On the anniversary of his family’s death, Jane’s will and motivation for investigating Red John starts to vain, and while he is contempalitng if he is going to continue to pursue Red John or not, his questionable methods of getting confessions out of murder suspects come back to hunt him.
Huge developments transpire in this episode and there is the possibility that Jane is going rogue.
Season 4, Episode 24 – “The Crimson Hat”
The season four finale shows Jane’s fall from grace. The episode starts with a flash-forward of Jane breaking havoc in Las Vegas, while the team back in Sacramento is solving cases. After he failed once again in defeating Red John, Jane started drinking and gambling his love away in Sin City. He finds a lover, who is revealed to be an important link to the serial killer and Jane even shoots one of his own.
This is truly a chaotic episode with a lot of twists and turns, which actually make sense. We see for the first time a hint at Lisbon and Jane’s nature of their relationship, Red John once again showing he is two steps ahead of anyone, more RJ’s helpers going down and more moles hinted at in institutions of law.
Season 5, Episode 1 – “The Crimson Ticket”
While Jane is trying to determine if Lorelei does truly have connections to the Red John, The CBI team is forced to join up with the FBI to solve a murder of a hotel worker. Another huge episode for Red John’s storyline that turns out to be the catalyst of the investigation.
FBI’s involvement, in this case, proves to be unfruitful, which will frustrate Lisbon and Jane to no end.
Season 5, Episode 5 – “Red Dawn”
A prequel (good one Star Wars fans) episode that shows viewers how Patrick Jane got hired by CBI and met Lisbon and the rest of the team. This episode overshadows a few characters that will become important in future episodes.
The timeline of the episode is only a year after Jane’s family has been killed.
Season 5, Episode 6 – “Cherry Picked”
The crew investigates the kidnapping of a couple that may be the victims of mistaken identity. Meanwhile, Jane is still investigating where Lorelei is located. The mole in the FBI that took away Lorelei is revealed and Jane’s investigation about Red John finally gains traction.
Season 5, Episode 7 – “If it Bleeds, It Leads”
In this episode, the team investigates the murder of a reporter who may have come too close to her story while Jane wants to pursue Lorelei by his own leads. Characters from the fifth episode come into prominence once again and Jane and Lisbon need to find a way to stop the obvious leaking problem in both the FBI and CBI.
Season 5, Episode 8 – “Red Sails in the Sunset”
Character from the previous season, Bret Stiles, the leader of the cult, helps Jane break out Lorelei Martins from the prison to help them find out Red John’s whereabouts. The team thinks that Lorelei kidnapped Jane, which he orchestrated to bring her back. CBI crew with Bob Kirkland of Homeland Security tries to track Jane by his phone. Lorelei doesn’t believe that Red John killed her sister and Jane tells her that she needs to find out about it by herself.
In the end, we find out that Red John is someone Jane knows.
Season 5, Episode 13 – “The Red Barn”
A cold case comes into the light after it is discovered the, known cult Visualize and Red John, has something to do with the case. While Lisbon questions her future after arresting Tommy Volker, Jane starts to make a list of suspects who are connected to Red John and a cult Visualize.
This is the first episode where we hear about Jane’s famous list of seven suspects potentially being Red John. He provides information to Lisbon and tells her that he remembered all 2164 with whom he shook hands after his family was killed and that there is no chance there are more suspects out of this list he gathered.
Season 5, Episode 16 – “There Will Be Blood”
Lorelei Martins returns, determined to find out if Red John had a role in her sister’s death, and Jane is forced to tell Lisbon what occurred during Lorelei’s prison break. In this episode, Lorelei is unleashed – she is trying to find the killer of her sister, and everything points at Red John.
Kirkland and Bertram are involved in CBI’s investigations and huge developments occur at the end of the episode.
Season 5, Episode 18 – “Behind the Red Curtain”
The CBI team investigates the murder of the young lead in the local theater who dies on the eve of the opening. Meanwhile, Jane hopes for more intel about Red John from Jason Lennon who is in a coma.
Another twist happens at the end of the episode and new suspects get revealed in the hunt for Red John.
Season 5, Episode 19 – “Red Letter Day”
The owner of a run-down Wild West tourist town is found dead and the CBI team goes to investigate. Kirkland tries to subtly find out what Jane knows about Red John.
Supporting characters discuss their future together while Kirkland once again acts really suspiciously. Jane’s list of suspects gets more complete.
Season 5, Episode 22 – “Red John Rules”
Notorious serial killer Red John strikes again, and this one hits close to home for Jane, who starts getting reminded of his old life. The baby of the victim was kidnapped and Red John leaves his phone number by writing his number on the wall near a bloody smiley face. Jane and Lisbon throw themselves into the investigation and find out that babies social worker’s husband is the main suspect in the kidnapping.
This is the episode where Patrick Jane reduces his list of suspects of the identity of Red John to only seven names, and this moment in the show officially announces the last stage of Jane’s hunt for Red John.
Season 6, Episode 1 – “The Desert Rose”
Even though season five moved away from Red John’s storyline, Jane and Lisbon actually spent the whole season making a list of seven prime suspects of being a notorious serial killer Red John. The Red John story arc escalates in season six when Lisbon and Jane start to investigate every suspect left on the list.
Season six starts immediately after the season five finale, and Lisbon and Jane are sent to investigate the mysterious murder of a man who was missing for two years. The episode sets up the pacing for the rest of the season, and Red John is unhinged. Important people to Jane are attacked by a serial killer once again, and this time, Jane is afraid that history will repeat itself.
Season 6, Episode 2 – “Black-Winged Redbird”
Now we are getting to the peak of the Red John arc, and a game of cat and mouse escalates. Lisbon is safe after the attack, and Jane tries to reach his doctor Sophie Miller, who treated him after his nervous breakdown after the murder of his family. Major movements in the case occur and possible suspects from Jane’s list meet.
Jane finds out a major weakness of Red John which was provided to him after his former doctor was killed by RJ.
Season 6, Episode 3 – “Wedding in Red”
Rigsby and Van Pelt get married, and Jane convinces the team to focus on Sheriff McCallister. After finding out that there is a possibility that Red John is afraid of heights, Jane tests that theory but fails. However, he finds out an important detail about Red John that can swing the tides in his direction.
Season 6, Episode 5 – “The Red Tattoo”
A public popular member of Visualize is mysteriously killed and Jane goes on to investigate it, in hopes that the case will bring him to the Red John closer. Another victim is killed by Red John and Lisbon and Jane, find out vital information about RJ which will propel their investigation more and eliminate some people from the list.
Season 6, Episode 6 – “Fire and Brimstone”
Jane finally acquired a final clue that will be the last nail in the coffin of the serial killer Red John. He gathers the remaining suspects in one room in hopes of finally revealing Red John’s identity.
The final suspects are in the room and before the episode ends, and Lisbon arrives at the location of the meeting, Jane’s old house, a huge explosion is detonated.
Season 6, Episode 7 – “The Great Red Dragon”
After shocking events at Jane’s house, Red John’s suspect list gets reduced even further, and CBI jumps into the investigation of the remaining suspects on the list.
Shocking developments happen and the FBI comes in to take over the whole investigation. Jane waits for the final showdown.
Season 6, Episode 8 – “Red John”
This is the last episode of the huge Red John arc that has been a staple of the show for six seasons. Jane finally comes face-to-face with the serial killer but now without a few other twists that will rattle Jane even more.
He manages to close that part of his life and just move on, and finally, we see development in another part of Jane’s life that we subtly saw during the series – his love life.
To understand the Red John arc, you can skip over the other episodes of the show and just follow the order we presented here. Red John’s episodes all have “blood” references in their title, so it is not hard to miss them. Those episodes have really important details about Red John that were paid off and propelled Jane’s and Lisbon’s investigations to the ultimate reveal in season six.
Yes, you can watch only these episodes but subtle appearances of the serial killer in the show are something The Mentalist viewer cannot miss if they want to seriously watch the show.
All in all, you can watch these episodes first and decide if you want to watch the whole show. The characters are great, consistent, and layered, and even though Lisbon and Jane are at fore during the most of the show, supporting characters shine as well.
Even when the show seems to be caught in the same old “repetitiveness” that we saw a lot in these shows, The Mentalist throws in something fresh in their storylines which eases that hurdle.