It's nice when local boy makes good. And for Simon Baker/Denny/Baker-Denny, this may finally be the show that washes the vestiges of Home and Away out of our collective memory.
I'm only one episode in, but I can say with some confidence that The Mentalist is a great show.
There's the usual good writing, good characters, blah blah etc. But what makes this really cool is the skeptical tone it takes, and its outing of psychic investigation as the fraudulent nonsense that it is.
Baker plays Patrick Jane, ex-television psychic (a thinly-veiled reference to John Edward . . . notice how they both have two first names?) who now works for the police as a sort of consultant. He's one of these guys who can walk into a room, spot the important clues and have the thing solved while his colleagues are still finding their notebooks.
His powers seem paranormal to those around him, but when asked by one of the civilians he meets "are you psychic?" he simply answers, "no . . . just paying attention."
There's shades of Jonathan Creek in the crime-solving elements, and shades of The X-Files in the mood and characters. The latter is actually no great surprise, given the presence of regular X-Files helmer David Nutter as director. In addition, Baker's mentalist has a whole Mulder/Scully thing going on with colleague Teresa, but this time around, Scully's both the guy and the star of the show.
It's great to see some science-based fiction on TV, and hopefully this'll go some way towards countering the mountains of crap like Medium and Ghost Whisperer.
4 out of 5