Did Patrick Jane really kill Red John in season finale?

Red John, the monster that haunts the dreams of investigating consultant Patrick Jane, finally revealed himself. Fans of The Mentalist know the fiendish killer and his gruesome signature smiley-faces that...

Red John, the monster that haunts the dreams of investigating consultant Patrick Jane, finally revealed himself. Fans of The Mentalist know the fiendish killer and his gruesome signature smiley-faces that he paints on the wall with the victim’s own blood.

In the two-hour finale of the CBS soft-drama, Jane lures out his nemesis, and comes face to face with Red John, a rather mild-looking fellow sitting at a food court table reading a newspaper.

Is it really, really Red John? Fans can’t seem to agree.

He was able to get the criminalist worked up to the point that Jane, teary-eyed at remembering his wife and daughter, fires a pocket-hidden gun at point-blank range and kills his sworn enemy.

In the meantime, Grace’s fiancé turns out to be the mole inside the California Bureau of Investigation, who shoots Lisbon, disappoints Grace and millions of viewers, before being gunned down himself.

But, if there isn’t a Red John anymore, what will become of The Mentalist? The whole reason that Patrick Jane joined forces with the CBI was to have an inside track on the investigation of the brutal serial killer. With Red John out of the way, will Patrick go back to guessing weights at the circus?

Creator Bruno Heller says there won’t be a smoke and mirrors restart next season.

“Patrick has just murdered a man in cold blood in front of hundreds of people,” said Heller, “and next season he will be tried in court. We won’t dodge any issues. Patrick won’t wake up and discover it was all a dream.”

Simon Baker, who plays the part of the mentalist, says the shocking scene was completely in character, and that Jane had warned Lisbon numerous times that, given an opportunity, he would kill Red John. But Baker admits the scene may be a “false bottom” to the suitcase, and that things may not be exactly as they seem.

No one is giving clues, though.

There have been indications that CBS was not entirely pleased with the season-ender, and – no doubt – there were viewers who would agree. Part of the novelty of The Mentalist is his easy-going free-spirited style, most of which was played down in the two-hour finale.

There was the death of Grace’s fiancé. The shooting of Lisbon. The shooting-death of Red John.

And Patrick Jane, just sipping his tea in the now-vacant mall food court.

Not much to smile about, but enough perhaps to bring viewers back for another season.