A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this crime series has scenes of bloody violence, including images of people getting stunned, shot, and bludgeoned to death, as well as things like symbols painted on walls in blood. Characters also frequently discuss grim topics like serial killings and other violent behavior. Expect plenty of strong language ("bitch," "hell," "bastard") and some strong sexual discussion, as well as some drinking.
What's the story?
Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) is a former self-proclaimed medium who now uses his sharp observation skills to help a team of agents from the fictitious California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) solve serious crimes in Sacramento. The one-time celeb -- who now claims to have faked his paranormal abilities -- impresses agents like Kimball Cho (Tim Kang), Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman), and rookie Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) with his charming, rather theatrical ability to solve high-profile cases. But his unorthodox approach and often reckless disregard for the rules doesn't sit well with Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney). And throughout it all, the seemingly self-absorbed Jane must find a way to cope with his own tragic past.
Is it any good?
Like most other crime dramas, THE MENTALIST spends a lot of time discussing the particulars of unsolved cases. Early seasons of the show also focus on disproving the existence of the paranormal, which sometimes lead to debates about the existence of God, an afterlife, and other spiritually-oriented topics. However, later episodes move beyond this, relying on Jane's keen understanding of human behavior to help each story unfold.
It isn't the best written show, but its unique premise, coupled with some interesting cases and Jane's trademark dry humor is what makes this series successful. But it is also quite violent and has generally mature content. Older teens and adults who like this kind of show may find the characters and subject matter compelling, but it's definitely not for younger viewers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the show portrays psychics. How have other TV series (both dramas and reality shows) and movies depicted them? Do you think real-life psychics fill similar roles solving crimes? Also, do you think well-known real-life psychics have paranormal gifts, or are they just good observers or magicians?
Is this crime drama any different from others? What does it do better or worse than the others? Why do you think people enjoy watching crime stories?
For kids who love drama
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.