In last season’s incredibly gripping finale, Patrick killed a man he thought was Red John, the serial killer who murdered his wife and child. It turns out he was wrong, and Tunney says to expect even darker turns in this series.
“Everyone starts doubting whether Patrick himself is Red John, or whether he has a connection to him – except for me. Lisbon is always on his side! It starts to seem like he’s losing his mind. An FBI agent begins seeing the holes in his story, and a lot of old characters come back.
“Nobody’s letting me in on it but I hope Patrick isn’t Red John, because that would make me the worst detective in the world. You do need to doubt him, and it’s a clever route to go down, but if Simon were Red John, a lot of women would be very upset!”
It’s been a long and interesting journey for Robin Tunney, since those childhood Chicago dreams of acting success. And while it’s nice to now have financial and professional security, she also looks back fondly on earlier parts and her younger self.
“The movie business has changed a lot,” she says. “They don’t make as many and there aren’t a lot of great roles, especially for women. I’m 39 – I’m not going to be in a superhero movie, and those are what they’re making now.
“On The Mentalist I play a more interesting character than I’d ever get in a movie nowadays, and I’m lucky to have it. It’s made me a better actor and there’s a feeling of consistency, which I’ve never had. I’ve bounced from job to job, which is fun but only when you’re young.
“But then you might be flipping channels and come across something from the past that you’re proud of. Niagara, Niagara, for which I won an award at Venice. Or Deb in Empire Records – people still love that film. I enjoyed doing it, and when I see it or people talk to me about it, I feel proud.
“Empire Records and The Craft were big movies for teenagers; now those kids are in their thirties and still want to talk about them. And it’s cool to have been part of someone’s adolescence. A lot of girls who felt like outcasts identified with Deb, and I’m proud of that.”