'The Mentalist': Exec producer Bruno Heller shares what to expect from tonight's premiere

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Image Credit: Colleen Hayes/CBS

When we left off last season, Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) realized that his secret mental list of seven possible Red John suspects wasn’t so secret — Red John knew them all. The two have been circling each other for years, and now it seems that their final showdown is about to begin.”That list of seven makes a kind of a quantum leap forward now that both Jane and Red John realize the endgame is nigh. Things move fast and explosively and excitingly over the first few episodes of the show,” executive producer Bruno Heller tells EW.  “I would say if those people who are, you know, interested in following the Red John saga, they can’t afford to miss any of these episodes.”

What’s in store for the drama’s sixth season? Read EW’s Q&A with executive producer Bruno Heller below.

Teresa’s clearly more obviously developing feelings for Patrick. How will that come into play this season?

Oh, absolutely. That’s the backbone of the show, that relationship and how they feel about each other. Just like in any real relationship over time their feelings about each other change and develop and  we’ll see where that goes.

Do you have anything specific in mind for that?

Well, here’s the thing. What, when this is a question rather than an event, if and when Jane catches Red John? The reason for being in the CBI is gonna change and his whole sort of ‘What’s he gonna do with his life?,’ ‘What’s she gonna do with her life?’ [changes]. So as time rolls on, rather than them changing, life is changing, the world around them is changing, and they have to change too. And that puts them in a different relationship with each other.

And speaking of Red John, so we left off with a list of seven suspects, Will any of the seven be showing up this season? Can you talk a little bit about what could be happening with that?

Certainly, all seven of those suspects will be part of this season and  the CBI,  Jane, and the CBI are doing their best to work out which one of them is Red John. I can tell you it won’t be a sort of Ten Little Indians type of of set up, it’s more  of a Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which one of these guys is the guy. [After this interview was conducted, it was announced that fans will find out Red John’s identity by the end of the calendar year.]

Will Red John being caught necessarily mean the end of the show? Have you thought about pacing in that respect?

Well, I’m one of those people when a movie ends, I wanna know what happens next, like in the end of Moby Dick, I wanna know, how –he’s adrift in the ocean – what’s gonna happen next? I always watch that scene of people coming home and saying ‘I thought you were dead!’ So yes, if and when Red John is caught we wanna find out what happens to Jane and Lisbon after that because so much of his life has been defined by that hunt for Red John,  who he really is and what you’d really like to be doing haven’t really been explored yet so like I say, if and when Red John is caught then we need to find out what happens next.

I can’t quite work out how Red John knows about the suspect list.

Yeah, well that’s part of it. And that mean she knows that Jane knows that he knows so to speak, which means that we’re getting very close to Red John here, and how Jane plays that and how Red John plays him back is a big part of the early season. And there’s no vamping going on here….you can’t afford to miss one.

The Mentalist premieres tonight at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.


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