CBS's drama "The Mentalist" ended a long-running plot Sunday after Simon Baker's character caught and killed serial killer Red John.
Since the series began, Baker's character Patrick Jane was haunted by the man who killed his wife and daughter. His quest was to avenge their deaths, a pursuit that played out while the consultant to the California Bureau of Investigation team went about solving other crimes.
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As the CBI team is dismantled, Baker got his wish to kill the murderer, known throughout the series as Red John.
Sunday's episode revealed that Napa County sheriff Thomas McAllister, played by Xander Berkeley, was the mysterious serial killer.
"Xander is a wonderfully subtle actor who can go deep — deep enough to be our Red John," Bruno Heller, the show's creator and executive producer told TV Guide.
"About a year ago, after carefully weighing all other options, McAllister made the most sense.
"He had the perfect cover job as the sheriff of Napa, where he was the master of his domain. No one ever questioned his whereabouts," he added. "He didn't have to answer to anyone. He needed that freedom and the quiet loneliness of the countryside to do his thing as Red John."
Red John "has helped define who (Jane) is as a character completely from the very beginning," Baker told USA Today.
"It's been the driving force and the objective of my character to find this guy."
The next episode will look at the characters two years after the death of Red John, showing the former team scattered throughout the country.
"You see how things have manifested over those two years," Baker said. "You see some real shifts in character and approach to life. It really does deal with the idea of what's missing in his life and how he's lost his mojo. It's a coming of age in a way."
USA Today reported that "The Mentalist" is averaging 11.1 million viewers, down 4 percent from last season. It is down 13 percent for the coveted young adult age group. The end of the Red John story line gives the series a rare opportunity to retool.
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