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[TV]THE MENTALIST - must see or pass?


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A crime drama about a former fake-psychic who now uses his powers of observation to help California cops, “The Mentalist” was created by Bruno Heller, who earlier created HBO’s brilliant period drama “Rome.” The new show stars Simon Baker (“Smith,” “The Devil Wears Prada”), Robin Tunney (“Hollywoodland”) and Amanda Righetti (“The O.C.”).


The pilot gets off to a shaky start, thanks to some subtlety-free direction by TV’s ubiquitous David Nutter, but the haunted, atheist, rulebreaking title character, compellingly assayed by Baker, quickly distinguishes itself among the vast blue sea of primetime cops.




The Associated Press says:


… He's flighty, cheeky, charming but sometimes insultingly blunt, a mite mysterious, and altogether disinclined to follow rules. A character like that provides a great showcase for an actor, and Simon Baker ("Smith," "The Guardian") is terrific in the role. Just watch him looking at things (he's a good-looking guy), sifting through clues, the wheels in his brain almost visibly whirring. …



USA Today give it three stars (out of four) and says:


… The Mentalist may be a copy, but it's a well-done copy sparked by an actor who has come into his own as a TV star. …



Entertainment Weekly gives it an “B” and says:


… smart enough to know how silly its premise is. … the tricks he performs are overshadowed by the glee with which Baker performs them. Like any good grifter, he gets a genuine thrill out of entertaining, manipulating, or confusing people. With his rapid, just-above-a-whisper cadence and cucumber-cool reactions, Baker reminds you of Val Kilmer in his spry Real Genius days, but with really great hair. It's a mesmerizing little act. …



The New York Times says:


… Mr. Baker keeps “The Mentalist” easy on the eyes and brain. …



The Los Angeles Times says:


… Played by the virtually irresistible Simon Baker, Jane also gets to make wiseacre comments like "He irks me; he's irksome," which only add to his already considerable charm. … It's a solid enough pilot, with Baker and Tunney having just enough edge to promise something more than a standard quirky procedural.



The Chicago Tribune says:


… one of the better new offerings … a modest concept given a thoughtful execution. Considering how bad most of the other new shows are, that seems like more than enough. …



The Washington Post says:


… The best reason for watching -- perhaps the only reason -- is Simon Baker … Baker has a sly, cagey, scruffy demeanor that can really grow on you, and in about a minute. … We don't need another cop show, that's for sure -- especially on CBS. But if we're going to have one anyway, "The Mentalist" is definitely the way to go.



The San Francisco Chronicle says:


… After 59 minutes - boom, it all wraps up nicely. And this time you've got Baker's charm in the lead role and just enough juicy twists from executive producer Bruno Heller ("Rome") to make the time fly. …



The Boston Globe says:


… has very little dramatic heft or distinction, but it's wily and brisk enough to engage you for an hour. … Baker has a mysterious, inner-directed charm that makes you want to watch him closely. He doesn't chew scenery, but, with his persistent smirky calm, he registers strongly in every scene. And, since Patrick's unfolding back story involves serious misfortune, Baker also projects a believable tinge of hidden sorrow behind his playful eyes. …



Variety says:


… Baker does possess a certain roguish charm, and writer Bruno Heller ("Rome") and pilot-directing guru David Nutter mine that -- as well as the central character's slightly menacing backstory -- to try and invest the series with a bit of depth, mostly to little avail. …



The Hollywood Reporter says:


… This role is tailor-made for Baker, who has a flair for playing irreverent characters who are crucial to the success of the system even as they tweak its authority figures. … has an appealing low-tech approach to crime-solving. …



9 p.m. Tuesday. CBS.



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