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For my money, THE MENTALIST remains one of the most enjoyable diversions airing on network television. An unconventional police procedural to say the very least, THE MENTALIST borrows from traditions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s master sleuth, Sherlock Holmes- imbuing its title character with the same keen set of observational skills. However, beyond their observational skills, Sherlock Holmes and the title of character of THE MENTALIST quickly part company. Our leading character was once a sophisticated flimflam man, who developed his skill set solely to take advantage of marks in the con games that were his livelihood. Of course, in his new pursuit to solve crime, he isn't above utilizing his old bag of tricks to find and expose the guilty.

For those unfamiliar with the show, THE MENTALIST stars Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, a former "celebrity psychic" who used his talents of observation to feign paranormal abilities for personal gain… that is, until he attracted the attention of a serial killer dubbed Red John, who murdered his wife and daughter. Now, trying to redeem himself, Jane works as an independent consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation (or CBI), where he assists in its more difficult investigations. Of course, being a consultant, Jane isn’t bound to the more established methods of law enforcement, and isn’t above using the theatricality and chicanery of his previous profession to catch a killer. Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) leads the CBI team to which Jane is attached, and while she is a no-nonsense agent, she does give her consultant a bit more latitude than she would another agent. Kimball Cho (Tim Kang) is the CBI team member who offers Jane the most direct assistance and often looks the other way, when the consultant fails to follow the rulebook. Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman) and Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) are the remaining team members, who once had a romantic relationship, which proved incompatible with their working relationship.

THE MENTALIST: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON ($60) comes to DVD in a five-disc set that features the following twenty-four episodes that were aired during year four: Scarlet Ribbons, Little Red Book, Pretty Red Balloon, Ring Around The Rosie, Blood And Sand, Where In The World Is Carmine O'brien, Blinking Red Light, Pink Tops, The Redshirt, Fugue In Red, Always Bet On Red, My Bloody Valentine, Red Is The New Black, At First Blush, War Of The Roses, His Thoughts Were Red Thoughts, Cheap Burgundy, Ruddy Cheeks, Pink Champagne On Ice, Something's Rotten In Redmund, Ruby Slippers, So Long, And Thanks For All The Red Snapper, Red Rover, Red Rover and The Crimson Hat. Season four of THE MENTALIST opens with the aftermath of Patrick Jane dealing with serial killer Red John, however things take an unexpected turn... with Jane returning to the CBI to continue working on cases. Has Red John been dealt with? Has a copycat taken his place? Season four also introduces a youthful new Supervising Agent Luther Wainwright (Michael Rady), who barely looks like he's graduated high school, but proves sharp enough for Lisbon's team, but not always Jane.

Warner Home Video has made all twenty-four episodes from THE MENTALIST: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. Like the preceding season sets, the episodes contained here look quite good for standard definition, but can't help feel that THE MENTALIST would vastly improved by a Blu-ray release. THE MENTALIST is produced for high definition broadcast, so I don't understand the lack of Blu-ray love... Anyway, the SD DVD episodes appear relatively crisp and produce respectable picture quality. Colors display a nice level of saturation, while the flesh tones come across naturally. Blacks appear sufficiently deep, while the whites are crisp. Contrast and shadow detail are just fine for a television level production rendered at standard definition, but HD would offer a visual improvement. The episodes generally appear free from blemishes and the level of grain is fairly minimal. Digital compression artifacts keep a fairly low profile.

All of the episodes that constitute THE MENTALIST: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON come with Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. Like the visual quality, the sonic characteristics resemble the preceding season sets on DVD. THE MENTALIST offers unremarkable talky television sound designs for the latest complement of episodes. Dialogue is crisp and clear and prioritized above all other sonic components. As expected, the majority of the sound locked front and center, with occasional channel separations across the front. The surround channels are rather limited, offering a smattering of ambient sounds and musical fill. Fidelity is quite acceptable, but then again, the material doesn't make any significant demands. No other language tracks have been included on the disc, but English, French and Spanish subtitles are provided. The interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as, as well California Bureau Of Investigation (CBI): Behind The Badge, a featurette that compares the police procedural techniques of the show to the real world.

THE MENTALIST remains a thoroughly entertaining diversion from the tried and true TV genre- the police procedural. It is easy to recommend the series itself, and I don't have any problems with the DVD release... other than the fact that it is not high definition. Of course, I am still interested in seeing THE MENTALIST make its long overdue debut on Blu-ray.


The Mentalist: The Complete Fourth Season



DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2012 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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