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'The Mentalist': How the 'Red John' mystery captured the imagination, then lost it

It was Rebecca that made me pay attention to The Mentalist. I had never seen the CBS crime drama starring Simon Baker until the eighth episode of season 2. “His Red Right Hand” was the one where a secretary in the Sacramento offices of the California Bureau of Investigation shot Sam Bosco (Terry Kinney) and two other agents on behalf of a serial killer — Red John, a brilliant phantom with a blood-drawn smiley face insignia, powerful influence and connections, and a scores of similarly brain-sick and unnervingly gleeful devotees.

In the last act, an assassin — presumably Red John himself; we never saw his mug — silenced Rebecca by deftly applying poison on her wrists. When Rebecca saw him, she recognized him, and her eyes lit up happily, and she smiled the smile of a fawning fangirl. It was all so eerie, and well played by the actress, Shauna Bloom. In the aftermath, the head of the CBI office, Virgil Minelli, played by Gregory Itzin, aka The Despicable Nixonian President on 24, abruptly resigned to take early retirement. Now that was suspect. I was instantly convinced Virgil was Red John. C’mon! Despicable Nixonian President on 24! And then, Bosco, on his death bed, told the show’s hero, con man-turned-trickster detective Patrick Jane, that if the carny Sherlock should ever catch Red John, he shouldn’t arrest him, he should kill him. He whispered something into Patrick’s ear and died. What did he say? WHAT DID HE SAY?!

My imagination was captured. I knew I’d be sticking with the show to watch Patrick solve the mystery: Who was Red John?
READ FULL STORY

'The Good Wife' and the problem of too much good TV

The moment I finally became a fan of The Good Wife occurred just about three weeks ago. It came in the current season’s widely praised fifth episode, “Hitting The Fan.” This was the one where Will (Josh Charles) and Diane (Christine Baranski) fired Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Cary (Matt Czuchry) for plotting to start their own firm. As Will progressed from betrayal (his reaction, a symphonically-performed shock-face culminating in a downbeat “what?!”, was priceless) to “commando mode” (rallying emergency quorums; hustling clients to keep them from bolting), and as Alicia progressed from resolute yet regretful to full-on “Oh, it’s so on!” (countering Will’s counter-attacks; wooing Chum Hum; an adrenaline rush quickie with Governor Hubby), it was thrilling to watch them find new energy and purpose in their lives amid the crisis, if slightly heartbreaking to watch the former lovers, now former colleagues, become enemies. It was impossible to take a side; I wanted both to win. In a story full of such grand drama and significant developments, it was a smaller, funnier exchange between Alicia and Will that grabbed me. As a contentious phone conversation came to a close (“Go to hell!” “No, you go to hell!”), Will remembered something very important. “Oh, your daughter called,” he said, suddenly civil. “She needs you to call her school to let her go on a field trip.” “Oh. When was this?” Alicia asked, equally pleasant. “About 40 minutes ago.”  “Thank you.” “You’re welcome.” Click. And then war resumed.

Not a terribly ingenious scene, I grant you. It hewed to a familiar screwball comedic structure. The whiplash tonal shift; two rivals abruptly making nice or banal in a way that almost feels out of character. Except here, the moment felt true to the characters, at least as I understand them so far. It was an effective way to dramatize that their relationship was more complex than their current conflict, to show that neither of them should be defined by the crisis/concerns consuming them at present; and it was a moment that was representative of all of everything else in the show that was converting me to rabid Good Wife fandom. READ FULL STORY

'Hawaii Five-0' stages 'Lost' reunion with Jorge Garcia guest spot -- EXCLUSIVE

Hawaii Five-0 sure loves its Lost alums!

The latest to join Daniel Dae Kim on the CBS drama? Jorge Garcia, who EW can exclusively report is set to appear in an episode early next season. He will play a brilliant conspiracy theorist and reportedly share scenes with former Lost co-star Kim.

Five-0, which will move to Fridays in the fall, has a history of staging Lost reunions. Terry O’Quinn, Tania Raymonde and Reiko Aylesworth have all previously had guest roles.

The upcoming fourth season of the series does not yet have a fall premiere date. But you can see the full fall schedule here.

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CBS' Fall Schedule: A Snap Judgment

Who says CBS doesn’t make bold programming moves? Oh, that’s right: Everyone. But everyone would be slightly wrong! At yesterday’s upfront presentation, the nation’s most-watched — if least-interesting — broadcast television network surprised reporters by revealing that it was not green-lighting two high-profile potential series: A small screen revival of Beverly Hills Cop from executive producer Shawn Ryan (The Shield) starring Brandon T. Jackson as the son of Axel Foley and a recurring Eddie Murphy; and NCIS: Red, starring John Corbett and Kim Raver. Beverly Hills Cop might find a home elsewhere, while NCIS: Red was deemed unworthy of the franchise’s creative standards. (Why are you giggling?)

CBS also made news with some bold scheduling swaps and shifts. Mike & Molly is being held for midseason (but received a full order of 22 episodes); Hawaii 5-0 is sailing to Friday; and Person of Interest is relocating to Tuesday, joining NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles to form a blockbuster night of brawny drama. Thursday now has two hours of comedy, a mirror to its Monday night block of powerhouse yukkers. With few holes to fill and (quoting network president Nina Tassler) “limited shelf space,” CBS ordered just eight new shows, five of which will premiere this fall. Here, CBS was true to form: All have potential to be watched by a broad audience, and very few seem all that creatively daring. To be fair, it’s hard to glean meaningful insight from the preview videos released by the network, comprised of select scenes, behind the scenes footage, and rah-rah interviews with actors and producers. And while CBS may not have leveraged its position of great strength to take a chance on innovation, I found something commendable about each of its new offerings. READ FULL STORY

EP Carlton Cuse: 'Bates Motel' 'is one part 'Friday Night Lights,' one part 'Lost' and one part 'Twin Peaks"

A&E

A&E

Tonight at 10pm, A&E debuts their highly anticipated Psycho prequel/reboot Bates Motel starring Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) and Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland) as Norma and Norman Bates, respectively. The show is a complete modern day re-imagining of the Psycho world, so fans should be prepared for a new vision of the Bates universe. EW talked to executive producers Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights) about what’s in store for the first season. READ FULL STORY

TV's most-wanted stars for fall

In the next few weeks, the broadcast networks are going to need several high-profile actors to play assassins, vigilantes, Naval officers, and a Texas Ranger — among many, many other roles.

Now that the networks are wrapping their drama pilot orders and ordering comedies in earnest, the time has come to lasso the next big name that will generate heat (and eyeballs) come fall 2013. So far, CBS has been ahead of the game by snagging two headline-worthy actors to top a pair of comedies. Robin Williams has been cast in a workplace comedy, and Anna Faris will play a single mom in Chuck Lorre’s next comedy. But there are many other intriguing actors whose names have surfaced as possible contenders for drama and comedy pilots — assuming they find the right project (or haven’t already booked something in the time it took us to write this). Here are some new (and returning) actors who have us crossing our fingers.

Hugh Laurie. The popular English actor played his cards right by taking some time off to get viewers to forget his House.

'Once Upon a Time' scripts full of cursing

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Once Upon a Time is a family friendly 8 p.m. drama, but its scripts are a bit R-rated.

Showrunners Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz have continued a screenwriting tradition honed on their last ABC hit, Lost, where an extra ingredient is added to the story: Lots ‘o cursing — and we don’t mean of the Evil Queen-spell-casting variety.

Unlike on the ultra-serious sci-fi drama Lost, though, it’s far more funny to read f-bombs dropped in fairy tale land. When Lancelot was first revealed to Emma and Snow in last Sunday’s episode, for example, the script noted that “things appear f–ked” for our heroes when “a smile grows across Snow’s face” as she recognizes her old friend. And in the next moment, “we wonder how the f–k these two met…” The producers recall that one rousing piece of description explained an action taken by actor Josh Dallas this way: “Because he’s Prince f–king Charming.”

Even though the profanity isn’t in the dialogue, and therefore not in the show, there’s a pragmatic reason for its inclusion. READ FULL STORY

'Revolution': J.J. Abrams, Jon Favreau on why a future without power is 'wish-fulfillment,' not apocalypse now

Ask J.J. Abrams to describe his new television series Revolution and the super-producer behind Alias, Lost and Person of Interest will tell you that the epic drama is a prime time Lord of The Rings. “A quest story,” he says, “set in a world as medieval as it is modern.” He’ll tell you that the sci-fi tinged fantasy — created by Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and exec produced by Iron Man’s Jon Favreau (who directed the pilot) — is “Star Wars-ian” in nature, with reluctant heroes poured from the Luke Skywalker and Han Solo molds, struggling and scrapping toward the new hope of a better tomorrow. In fact, he’ll tell you that this high-concept drama – set 15 years after a mysterious planetary event caused all forms of electrical energy clicked off, perhaps permanently – has many things in common with many other memorable stories past and present, including Game of Thrones, yet aspires to be unique — “a hyper-real fantasy world you’ve never seen before.”

READ FULL STORY

'666 Park' Comic-Con panel: Is Terry O'Quinn playing the devil?

The cast of 666 Park made their Comic-Con debut today, following a screening of the pilot to a packed crowd. The crowd’s most burning question after it aired? What’s up with Terry O’Quinn’s character?

[Spoiler Alert!] READ FULL STORY

Comic-Con reviews '666 Park': Fans say...

666 Park is not the lightest pilot fare being offered up by networks this fall — in fact, it’s downright spooky. But that seemed to please most of Comic-Con goers who attended the pilot screening this evening in San Diego as part of the annual convention.

The show, starring Lost alum Terry O’Quinn, Rachel Taylor, and Vanessa Williams, centers on a young couple (Taylor and Dave Annable) that takes a job as managers of a historic (and totally haunted) apartment building. Quinn and Williams play the mysterious owners of the building.

Positive as the buzz has been around the eerie ABC show, the reaction from the crowd tonight was mixed. Here’s what some of the audience members had to say:

“It’s a little slow for me. I’m not really engaged with the mysteries at all or the people. I kinda don’t care. [The acting] was fine. I mostly saw it for Terry O’ Quinn; he did okay. [The character] is no Locke, though.” — Thad, 35

“It was actually pretty good. It was pretty interesting and pretty well done. It was well shot for a pilot…[and] suspenseful.” — Gustavo, 24

“This was a good concept. The cinematography looked cool and the play on history [with] the occult was cool. I’d recommend it [to fellow Lost fans] because [O'Quinn] still has that same style of acting.” — April, 26 and Lost fan

“I’ll watch it. I’m a Vanessa Williams fan. It looks like it’s well written, and there were definitely moments where I didn’t expect [certain things] to happen. I had a couple of shocking moments…I’m definitely going to watch it when it hits the TV.” — Mari, 57

“I liked Terry O’Quinn. It wasn’t really that frightening, [but] there were definitely things [in the pilot] that I want to find out more about, and hopefully I’ll watch the rest of it.” — Ritchie, 24

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'Scandal' star, 'Lost' alum Henry Ian Cusick: I didn't want to play another 'good guy'

Henry Ian Cusick knows he’s best known for playing who he calls — and we call — “the best guy ever.” And that’s exactly why he took his latest role on ABC’s politically-charged drama, Scandal.

“He was a complete good guy,” says Cusick of his Lost character, Desmond, whose romance with Penny (Sonya Walger) is considered among the best TV romances of all time. But knowing his last character was so pure of heart, Cusick says, he sought out something a little murkier for his next outing. Enter Stephen Finch.

From the first script, says Cusick, Finch — a member of the crisis management company at the center of Scandal — had everything he wanted for his next role, including a possibly broken moral compass. Though he got engaged in the first episode, Cusick says viewers can expect to gain a better understanding in the next few episodes of just how he gained his reputation as a philanderer. One thing that will remain a mystery for now, however? The real situation between Finch and Abby (Darby Stanchfield), who have had hints of flirtation (and some one-sided jealousy!). “There’s something more going on — certainly from Abby,” he says. “I don’t know what’s happening, but I’d like to see…I felt like there were a lot of moments that didn’t make it into the episodes.”

The tension isn’t the only reason viewers should want the series to continue on after its initial seven episodes, he says. Also coming? A cliffhanger that will reveal one of the team to be “not who he or she claims to be,” he says. “It’s a good cliffhanger, I’d say.”

More from our chat in the video below. READ FULL STORY

Former 'Lost' star scores lead in new ABC supernatural pilot

EW has confirmed that Terry O’Quinn will star in the upcoming ABC pilot, 666 Park Avenue. The new show is based on a series of novels by Gabriella Pierce about a couple who move to New York and manage a historic building where supernatural happenings begin to complicate and endanger the lives of the building’s residents.  O’Quinn will play the role of the building’s owner, Gavin. O’Quinn won a 2007 Emmy for playing John Locke on Lost and most recently was featured on Hawaii Five-O. Deadline first reported the news.

'Revenge' scoop: An 'Other' from 'Lost' to star -- EXCLUSIVE

An Other is coming to the Hamptons.

EW has learned exclusively that Hiroyuki Sanada — best known for playing Dogen, a member of the Others on Lost — will recur on ABC’s Revenge this season.

Sanada will play Kioshi Takeda, a Japanese business man with mysterious ties to Emily Thorne (Emily Van Camp). He’ll show up in episode 9.

On Lost, Sanada’s character preferred to communicate in Japanese so he required a translator. He was the only one who could keep the Man in Black out of the Temple, but then Sayid drowned him to death, so Titus Welliver’s alter-ego came in as a pillar of smoke and massacred the Others and … but, hey, look at us digressing!

Last week, ABC ordered nine more episodes of Revenge, which brought its total order to 22 for this first season. The show averaged 7.9 million viewers and a 2.7 rating in the adult demographic on Wednesday, just barely edging out CSI to win the 10 p.m. hour.

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For more:

Revenge recap: Bringing the shrink down to size

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