Is anyone else watching "The Mentalist" with Simon Baker?

We have started watching “The Mentalist” starring Simon Baker and Robin Tunney, and so far I’m quite liking it. Simon Baker is one charming mo-fo; this would be a fairly run-of-the-mill murder mystery show without him, but he has a lot of charisma, and that sells it for me. And Robin Tunney does sour really well, too.

I like the premise, and it’s nice to hear it said on CBS: “There aren’t any real psychics”. Kind of makes up for Ghost Whisperer.

They did have some totally bullshit “hypnosis” on the second episode, though.

There’s also the problem that you have with every show where there’s some kind of gifted non-cop working with cops: because he’s the star, the plot requires him to notice stuff and make deductions that any good police detective would make, with an implication that his ordinary cop partners (in this case, CBI) would have been clueless.

However, I’ve always thought that somebody skilled at doing cold reads might be a great police interrogator.

A chance to look at Simon Baker for 42 minutes a week? Oh hell yeah!
Luckily, it turns out to be an interesting use of eye candy, and I really enjoy the show. So, bonus!
I do think Robin Tunny comes across as far too young (and a bit too fragile and girlie) for the position, and more than a little bit over her head, though.

I was hooked a few minutes into the first episode when the wife shoots the husband 4 times, all the other cops rush in and Patrick Jane is standing there with his hands raised and says, “Don’t worry. It’s not as bad as it looks.”

Later when he is chastised for giving the CSI a hard time, he shrugs it off by saying, “He irks me. He is irksome.” And when he pulls his little tricks he is obviously taking pleasure in tricking people.

The characterization is a nice change and a cop show with the odd laugh out loud moment is a real treat.

That’s what got me, too. This guy is not your average cop show character.

I don’t think the hypnosis was totally bullshit, Baldwin - as he said in the episode, she was extremely suggestible. The last episode had some more hypnosis and he was careful to explain more about it - from what I’ve seen of the show so far, they are very careful to stay completely within the boundaries of what skilled readers and manipulators can do.

It is still on my record list. I don’t hate it and watch it every week, but we’ll see how long.

Count me in as a fan.
I liked last weeks episodes where real hypnotism didn’t even come into play, only fake hypnotism.

It’s funny because it’s true! I’ve seen a show where people wanted to be hypnotized so bad they pretended they were hypnotized.

Robin Tunney is 36, which doesn’t strike me as age inappropriate for her character’s position. Maybe slightly young, but certainly not “far too young.”

I figured this was a rip off of Psych so I didn’t bother watching. Was I off base?

It’s Psych done seriously. I enjoy both of them, but tend to lean a little more on the side of Psych if only for Jules.

An interesting point. My real-life name is Ian Rowland and I wrote what some kindly describe as the definitive work on cold reading (and here on the Dope I have contributed to a Staff Report on the subject of cold reading). The producers of The Mentalist have used my book as part of their research, and it has provided some themes for the shows (I know this from someone who works on the show). Sadly, this does not mean I get any money!

In the most recent edition of my book, I do discuss how cold reading methods might be applied to police interrogation. I have discussed this possibility with a few real-life police officers and other law enforcement professionals. However, this idea has not yet been tried in real life as far as I know (at least not on the record). If such an approach were adopted in real life, it raises some interesting legal and ethical questions. The relevant US legislation maintains that a limited amount of deceptive practice may be legally permissible in interrogation, although of course it may play into the hands of the defence lawyer.

Simon Baker sure has the charisma. Makes the show.

Have you read the FBI Crime Classification Manual? It includes a chapter on how to secure a confession. I believe it is repeated here.

If I understand it correctly, the cold reader is not being deceptive; just picking up on clues that a less experienced reader wouldn’t see, and using those clues to ask further questions along that line. As far as I know in the US you have the right to not incriminate yourself, but asking someone questions and getting a good read on those answers doesn’t really do that, does it?