Since the bombshell season finale in May, I've been eagerly awaiting The Mentalist's return and what would happen next. Jane had shot a man, presumably Red John, in a stunning twist as the season twist. It was a bold move from the writers after an already good two hours of television.
Well, the aftermath is far less impressive than the act itself. The writers set up a situation where Jane is on trial, charged with first degree murder. Obviously, Jane can't be convicted or there would be no show anymore, so the writers go throw the motions with the arguments and stuff. The prosecution makes a good case, that there is zero evidence that the guy was Red John besides Jane's testimony, which is fueled by vengeance. The best Jane can come up with is that the guy and his wife were crazy, keeping a girl chained up in their basement for years. I guess the jury thought that a serial killer like Red John would do something like that, though I don't know why the prosecution didn't bring in a criminologist to explain everything.
And then the twist, Jane announcing that Red John is still alive. What he implies is that Red John is not a single person but perhaps a mask, able to be placed on multiple persons. This would mean that Red John is still far from being caught and we'll have to deal with him for years to come.
While I still think The Mentalist is a very strong show, one of the best procedurals on television, I don't know how much more can be gotten out of Red John. Progress has been made, but with this new twists the plot is going around in circles. But I think the writers are on the right track. Instead of making things too plot-focused, they focus on Jane--how he reacts after killing a man.