Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Mentalist Fans Have A Twisted Alternate Take On Who Should Have Been Red John

Network television has spoon-fed its audiences so many procedural police dramas over the years that it takes some effort to make a specific show stand out from the cookie-cutter crowd. "The Mentalist" was one of those rare shows in the genre which successfully pulled it off. It stars Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, a former famous (and admittedly fraudulent) "psychic" who made a fortune conning people into thinking he had powers beyond human understanding. In reality, though, he was just very smart, perceptive, and good at predicting patterns. Unfortunately, he was also arrogant; and when his arrogance provoked the ire of a serial killer, it changed his life forever.

The show revolves around Jane's pursuit of the serial killer Red John (who killed Jane's wife and daughter after Jane insulted him on national television). Eventually, after he and the CBI team narrow it down to a list of seven suspects, Jayne finds out that his arch-nemesis has been hiding under his nose the whole time: his true identity is (spoiler alert!) Thomas McAllister (Xander Berkeley), the sheriff of the county where he and the CBI had been solving crimes (and Red John's murders) for years. John/McAllister finally meets his end at Jane's hands — literally — via strangulation, right after Jane asks him if he is afraid to die.

It was a brutal end for the serial killer, albeit a fitting one. But disappointed fans who hadn't hung their hats on the town sheriff being the big bad guy are still speculating to this day about who would have been a better fit as Red John. And the most interesting theory of all surfaced just a few months ago.

Some fans think Rigsby would have made the perfect Red John

This recent Reddit thread about who should have been Red John posited a very interesting alternate ending from u/Asha_Brea. They gave a simple but profound one-word reply: Rigsby. Yes, Wayne Rigsby, the senior CBI agent responsible for overseeing Jane and the cases they solved together.

In many ways, it makes sense. Rigsby working with Jane on a daily basis would explain how Red John was always one step ahead. Rigsby also had an abusive childhood thanks to his father, a violent criminal and former member of an illegal biker gang, and it's not exactly uncommon for serial killers to experience abuse during childhood (via Psychiatry Advisor). Fellow Redditor u/cody_d_baker agreed that it "would've been the ultimate con," with u/emperorwal elaborating further: "Red John had to be [sic] have strength, since nobody seemed to be able to overpower him. Rigsby was a big guy, that would have worked. Red John had to be attractive...The actual Red John never met these criteria for me, but Rigsby would have."

As disappointed as most fans were by the big reveal, the fact that Red John's identity wasn't even decided upon until a couple of years before the Season 6, Episode 8 showdown added insult to injury. Show creator Bruno Heller revealed the fact that the show had been meandering along for about four seasons before Red John was cemented in stone during an Entertainment Weekly interview published shortly after the episode aired. "It just happened, really. It seemed like the natural correct choice," he explained to the publication, later elaborating that "ideally you want it to be Sean Connery with horns and a tail in a cave, but that guy doesn't exist."