Patrick Jane has been struggling to keep his wits in recent episodes of The Mentalist. With Red John still at large, the widower has proved he’s increasingly willing to make questionable decisions in order to keep his secret, which he has thus far only shared with Lisbon (Robin Tunney). But star Simon Baker is enjoying the ride into the darker parts of Jane’s psyche. “It’s always difficult when you’re on a show that goes for more than a year or a couple of years. This is our fourth season [and] I’m always looking for things that are interesting and different that I can exploit within the character,” says Baker, who stopped by EW this week to preview the rest of the season and give EW a special clip of tonight’s episode. And if they’re able to take him into these different paths and avenues, it makes it more refreshing for me.”
And refreshing for the 14 million-plus viewers who tune in every week, he says. “It feels to me a little bit that, here’s a guy who is likable and empathetic and he’s slowly turning to the dark side and maybe less empathetic and that’s an interesting journey for the audience.”
Tonight’s episode, however, will deal slightly less Jane’s issues and more with an immediate issue: The CBI’s investigation into the death of a mob man’s son. And while Baker admits he most enjoys the episodes that center on the larger arcs of the show, he says, “Sometimes I find it interesting when they decide and choose a world that’s not a common world we’re all familiar with that Jane goes in to explore. It’s nice to see that character inside this foreign place.”
More from Baker and an exclusive peek at tonight’s episode in the video below.
The Mentalist airs tonight at 10 p.m ET on CBS.