Red letter day looms

JENNY COONEY CARRILLO
Last updated 05:00 28/07/2014
Simon Baker
CLOSE TO THE TRUTH: The Mentalist star Simon Baker says the identity of serial killer Red John will be revealed soon.

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It has been a long time coming, but The Mentalist star Simon Baker predicts that this season, fans will finally get to know the identity of serial killer Red John.

The countdown is on for the showdown between Patrick Jane and Red John. And The Mentalist star Simon Baker promises that viewers will get their answers sooner rather than later in the sixth season.

"At the end of last season, I sat down with (creator) Bruno Heller and we made a decision to ramp things up," Baker reveals.

"If you watch this season, it's been highly serialised and driving towards a result of that Red John storyline, and I think creatively within a series TV show, I don't know too many shows where the spine of the story has really been the idea of catching someone and seeking revenge.

"It's bold creatively to kind of catch the guy half-way through a season, and then attempt to reinvent the show in some way," he adds. "But I also think it's been interesting and creatively invigorating."

At the end of last season, Patrick Jane whittled down his suspect list to seven:

RED JOHN SUSPECTS
1. BRET STILES: Visualize leader, played by Malcolm McDowell. 
2. GALE BERTRAM: Director of the CBI, played by Michael Gaston. 
3. RAY HAFFNER: Former supervising agent at the CBI (and Jane's boss at the start of season four), played by Reed Diamond. 
4. REEDE SMITH: FBI agent working in California, played by Drew Powell. 
5. BOB KIRKLAND: Agent for Homeland Security, played by Kevin Corrigan.
6. THOMAS MCALLISTER: A sheriff who worked on a crime case with the CBI, played by Xander Berkeley. 
7. BRETT PARTRIDGE: Forensic investigator for the CBI played by Jack Plotnick.

"Everything we reveal leads somewhere," Baker teases. "Some things might mislead you, but the whole point of ending last season with the list was really saying to the audience, 'We're nearly there, be patient'. We are going to continue eliminating suspects, and make some suspects feel more suspicious than others, and float with the idea that it's one of those seven people.

"I'm not going to tell you in advance who it is, but you will get an answer. I've worked six years for that moment so it's my gift to you."

Viewers met Patrick Jane six seasons ago when he was much darker, still recovering from the murder of his wife and daughter by serial killer Red John in retaliation for his baiting of the killer on TV.

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As a means to finding Red John, Jane joins the California Bureau of Investigation as a consultant and uses his mentalist skills to help solve crimes.

The Australian actor, who earned a Golden Globe playing Jane in the show's second season, admits he has lightened up over the years - but now that he is getting close to Red John, things may change.

"He's kind of disconnected and fundamentally broken," Simon says.

"He's a broken-hearted guy who walks with a limp in his soul, and I don't think that is something that will ever go away. Part of him being able to cope with who he is, is trying to redeem himself through seeking revenge and finding Red John, and yet I don't know if that is going to fix it when he does find him.

"How do you recover from something like that in life? All of us have a secret about how we feel about ourselves sometimes and this guy is still a mystery to the audience because he really struggles with that."

There is little mystery about what makes Simon Baker a fan favourite worldwide and it is not just the sparkling blue eyes and blond tousled hair. Simon is also refreshingly down-to-earth and a devoted family man, who is married to actress Rebecca Rigg and is a father of three - Stella, 20, Claude, 16, and Harry, 12.

"Don't ask me for parenting advice, I'm just struggling through it like everyone else," Baker chuckles.

"The trick as a parent is to find a balance of being loving and warm and open to be taught stuff by kids but also authoritative.

"I happen to be the guy on a popular TV show in which I get to play around, make jokes and have fun, but I just want to feel things in a real way and connect with people."

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