The show has provided the fans with 30 contenders for the
seven spots in the May 5th season finale. Though I think the Seven
will inevitably contain fan favorites like LaRoche, Partridge, Bret Stiles,
etc., it may be possible to narrow it down even further. We already know (or
think we know) some things about Red John from Lorelei and Rosalind Harker, but
it’s probably more effective to first apply some common logic.
The most concrete thing we know about Red John is that he
has a whole cult of personality, largely female, doing his dirty work. So we
know Red John must be:
Charismatic – people have to be WILLING to
follow him, even enthusiastic about it
Well-Connected – Red John has his people in
various positions of power including the FBI, Homeland Security (maybe), within
the CBI, possibly inside Visualize, etc.
Somewhat Attractive – this is solely a
superficial observation, but most of the women who work for Red John like
Lorelei, Rebecca, Timothy Carter’s wife, etc. all describe Red John as the
master of their hearts, or some equivalent verbiage.
Wealthy – Red John obviously has unlimited
resources as he is able to get to locations immediately (Jane’s house, Panzer’s
murder workshop, Kristina Frye’s house, the hotel room in Mexico), owns
property, has surveillance equipment, bought sky-writing services, etc.
So when we turn to the 30 potential suspects that the
Mentalist writers have identified we see the field is cut down significantly.
We must ask ourselves, which suspects fit the above criteria? The obvious
candidates are Bret Stiles, Walter Mashburn, Tommy Volker, and Dr. Royston
Daniel. Gabe Mancini and Robert Kirkland might be able to sneak in to the line
up but nothing is really known about how wealthy they are and Kirkland is
anything but charismatic.
Several of the more popular choices are eliminated,
including Brett Partridge. It’s arguable whether Brett is the appropriate age
for Red John (over 40), but the fact is he’s simply creepy, not a killer. He
doesn’t appear to be the type who would be charismatic, attractive, wealthy, or
well connected. And he is in direct violation of the idea put forth by Lorelei,
that he should have been Jane’s friend from the start. Jane hates him, and Jane
is not morbid or ghoulish.
Now to look at the reduced list of suspects:
Bret Stiles – I think it’s arguable that Bret and Jane are
actually friends, even if it is a weird and stilted relationship. We know Bret
is capable of murder and that he fits all of the other criteria. However, this
is simply too obvious. We know that Red John is or was a member of Visualize at
least in 1988. And we also know that Bret was able to provide Kristina Frye’s
whereabouts, leading the audience to think that he either is in contact with
Red John, or he has access to his confessions. I find it hard to believe that
Bret would be slumming with any of the known associates of Red John like Todd
Johnson, Rebecca, Dumar Tanner, Rosalind Harker, etc.
Walter Mashburn – Walter, too, fits all of the criteria
above. Personally I hope it isn’t him, mostly because I love his character.
Walter seems to be a little too relaxed and devil-may-care to take the time to
plot murders and run an entire syndicate of minions. Plus there is no evidence
linking him to Visualize, yet.
Tommy Volker – He too fits all the criteria, and we know he
runs a whole cult of personality. However given that there was an entire
storyline dedicated to his crimes, and that the Red John crimes are continuing
even after he is in jail/prison, this makes him unlikely. (Coincidentally this
is also the reason I don’t believe it’s Dr. Linus Wagner . . . he’s been in
jail since episode one of the series – though he’s creepy and his voice might
Dr. Royston Daniel – This is my choice for Red John. He is
charismatic, and already runs his own semi-cult with the NLP group. He is
capable of hypnotizing people, and training people to hypnotize other people.
He already hypnotized someone into pretending to be him (the audience member at
the beginning of his lecture) and could have easily done this to Timothy
Carter. We also see that he has women fighting and killing for his affections.
He is attractive, he is wealthy, and he is likely well connected since he
trains people on how to become more effective at their jobs, etc. Plus he fits
Rosalind Harker’s description as far as hair and height. There are also additional reasons to believe
it’s him: 1) his name is Royston (Roy Tagliaferro), 2) he identifies as a
Doctor, though likely a PhD – like Dr. Joe NH, 3) his initials are RD, unknown
middle name, possibly “ReD”; 4) he is British therefore drinks tea (we see Roy
Tagliaferro drinking tea with Rosalind); 5) like Jane, he is capable of mind
control through hypnotism. I don’t think his accent or lack of the creepy
Red-John-voice is dispositive, as anyone can disguise a voice/accent.