Christmas Specials Wiki
Christmas Specials Wiki

"Jolly Red Elf" is the Christmas episode of the CBS drama The Mentalist, aired as the tenth episode of the show's third season.


Old Town, Sacramento, California At a Christmas village, people shop and engage in general merriment. Suddenly, Santa falls from the sky.

Later, an officer tells Lisbon that the man in the Santa suit fell or jumped from the apartment above. The Santa suit is fancy and the beard is real.

Jane looks over the body and declares the man is a Santa imposter and smells like cheap whiskey. They find a Christmas card in his pocket. "My life is a lie, forgive me," it says. It's in a plastic baggie.

Jane doesn't think a man who dresses up as Santa to make people happy would kill himself in such a public, traumatic way. Jane declares it's a murder.

Jane and Lisbon visit with Santa's apartment manager. She tells them Benjamin Ripple lived as Santa year-round.

In his apartment, they see that she's not kidding. There are poinsettias, toys and decorations everywhere. Jane guesses Benjamin was unpopular and his parents died young. Lisbon finds a catalog for a Christmas stuff.

Jane finds a 10-year sobriety chip hung on the tree.

At the office, they find the victim's blood alcohol was a lethal .45. He was nearly bankrupt. The handwriting on the note wasn't his. It was a murder.

He's president of the National Society of Authentic Santas. Lisbon assigns Rigsby and Van Pelt to check out their convention, but not until after Hightower's press conference on the Johnson killing -- the cop killer from last episode who ended up torched in the CBI holding cell.

At her press conference, Hightower calls it a criminal act and says JJ LaRoche, the new head of their new professional standards unit will be leading the investigation.

He addresses the group, saying one of them is probably the killer.

He reviews the facts: the victims were an EMT named Todd Johnson who killed six policemen and one woman.

He plans to talk to the people who visited Johnson and take blood and hair samples. Rigsby asks why. Johnson writes his name down then says they need samples to test for accelerants.

Jane checks out the holding cell, which is now a crime scene. He remembers Johnson whispering "tiger, tiger" to him and seeing a green lighter on the bench as Johnson burned.

LaRoche finds him there and Jane mentions the lighter.

Aldwych Hotel, Downtown Van Pelt and Rigsby walk into the Santa convention. Santa Bob greets them, and says they were close. A man with no beard and no gray hair interrupts, saying Bob hated Benjamin. Santa Tony says Bob was trying to oust Benjamin because he wanted to open up the racial qualifications for the job. They have to stop Tony from strangling Bob.

At CBI, LaRoche lurks his way into Lisbon's office looking for Jane. She tells him he's in the field. He finds it inconvenient and says Jane is his lead suspect.

Lisbon nearly laughs. She tells him she had to make Jane see Johnson because Johnson said he wanted to talk to him and only him.

Lisbon calls Jane, who is walking on a beach, and tells him he should probably come in. Instead, Jane walks up to a man fishing on a pier. It's the former CBI director Virgil. Jane tells him whoever set the fire works for Red John.

Jane thinks Red John doesn't know that he knows about Johnson being part of his network. He says it's the first time he has the advantage. He wants to find who killed Johnson and trace it back to Red John. He wants LaRoche's suspect list.

Virgil calls Jane a conspiracy theorist and Jane points out that Virgil has two 40s at his feet and no fish in his bucket. He says when he catches one he'll ask himself what he, "a drunken fish killer" is doing there and he'll call.

Back at CBI, Cho talks to Santas Bob and Tony. Bob complains that dead Benjamin was using the convention to promote his business. Tony heard Bob dissing Benjamin's date, as a "ho ho ho." Her name was Roxy.

Jane sits in on an AA meeting at Southside Community Center. A woman leads the group, saying they'll have to forge on without Benjamin. He gets a welcome chip. He asks the woman to be his sponsor but declines sharing. He tells them he's not an addict. But he clarifies that he does have an addiction that destroyed his family. He says he can't talk about it because there are so many bad things in his head. He looks over and sees LaRoche in the doorway.

Jane leaves. He says LaRoche just blew his cover. LaRoche notes Jane appears to be worked up and is sweating, but Jane claims he can control things like that and blood pressure.

LaRoche suggests they go back for his interview. But Jane goes back to the meeting when the woman comes for him.

Back at CBI, Jane tells them about May Walters, Benjamin's sponsor.

Cho found Roxy the escort online.

Van Pelt comes to report someone broke into Benjamin's apartment. Rigsby and Cho head there and find it ransacked, but with no forced entry.

Cho meets with Roxy, who says she "hung out" with Benjamin. She says she was paid by someone else. Jack Wilder pays her to hang out at recovery and AA meetings and recruit patients. He owns a treatment center for addiction, but it's expensive. She finds them and talks the center up.

Jane meets with May Walters, who admits she was in love with Benjamin. He asks enough questions that she asks who he is and he tells her.

She says she went to Benjamin's apartment to find something to remember him by. She got mad when she saw the decorations, because it was his form of addiction. Last week he had a shot of vodka, his first drink in 10 years. Jane guesses what she was there for and gives her the 10-year sober chip.

Wilder Alcohol Treatment Center Jack Wilder greets Lisbon and Van Pelt. They ask about Benjamin and he says his client list is privileged. They mention Roxy the recruiter. Wilder says he treated Benjamin two nights ago -- the night he died.

Wilder tells them about his aversion therapy. He recorded Benjamin' session. Benjamin blew .20 and Wilder's nurse suggested they stop. She stopped the camera.

Wilder says he drove Benjamin home. He says he focuses on highly driven professionals. Van Pelt goes to talk to the nurse Layla. She says after the camera was turned off Benjamin passed out and showed signs of alcohol poisoning and she suggested taking him to a doctor. Wilder said he'd handle it.

Back at CBI, Lisbon wonders if Wilder staged the suicide to cover his mess. Layla left a high paying job to work for Wilder and both her parents were alcoholics, one died drunk driving and the other died of liver failure.

Jane sees LaRoche wandering around the office and he hides in Lisbon's office.

Jane develops a scheme.

Cut to him going to Wilder's, who promises to help him unlearn his alcoholic behavior. He sits Jane in an electro-shock chair and tells him to pick an uncomfortable setting for the current. He plays a montage of booze. Layla pours Jane some whiskey. He takes a shot and Wilder zaps him. Jane chuckles at the zap.

Six shots in, Layla asks how he's doing. Wilder announces it's time to raise the current. They strap him into the chair. Layla tells Jane it's time for his last shot and asks if he's OK. Wilder cranks the electricity.

Jane is woozy. Layla checks his pulse and heart beat and announces he's going into cardiac arrest. She sends Wilder away to call 911.

When he's out of the room she whispers to a seemingly passed-out Jane that she'll set him free forever. She picks up a syringe. He pops awake, explaining he messed with his vitals through a "bio feedback trick."

He calls for back up and claims his pen is a camera. She clicks it and thinks Jane is lying. He guesses she was going to shoot him up with 190 proof like she did Benjamin. She says alcohol only causes pain.

Flash to her going to Benjamin's house after Wilder left. Benjamin mentioned where his spare key was when he was drunk. She injected him, woke him up and told him there were kids outside below he had to wave to. He encouraged him to lean over the railing then gave him a shove.

She mentions the one part of the body that coroners rarely check is inside the navel. Jane announces "the cat is in the bag and the bag is in the river" and still nothing happens.

Finally, Lisbon and the team come through the door. She apologizes for cutting it so close, they got lost in the office maze.

Jane is loaded. Lisbon is taking him to his car when LaRoche stops him, saying it's time for his interview. Jane agrees.

He asks what secret Johnson had. Jane says everyone does, including LaRoche. When LaRoche asks Jane to guess, he says Johnson was just trying to win him over as the only non-cop.

LaRoche wraps things up. Jane says he should feel free to share anything about the case, he loves a mystery.

Later, Jane is sipping a tea on the beach with May when Virgil joins him. He thanks Jane for opening his eyes to some ugly truths about himself. Virgil gives him LaRoche's suspect list. Jane excuses himself and sends Virgil over to keep May company.


Actor/actress Character
Simon Baker Patrick Jane
Robin Tunney Teresa Lisbon
Tim Kang Kimball Cho
Owain Yeoman Wayne Rigsby
Amanda Righetti Grace Van Pelt
David Alan Basche Dr. Jack Wilder
Marisa Bernal Layla Bloom
Megan Gallagher May Nelson
Sarah Adina Apt. Manager
Matt Cates Santa Tony
Angela Gots Roxy
Peter Xifo Santa Bob
Gregory Itzin Virgil Minelli
Pruitt Vince J.J. LaRoche
Aunjanue Ellis Madeleine Hightower
Josh Braaten (archive*) Todd Johnson
Todd Jeffries First Officer
Biff Wiff Bernard Ripple

* - from "Red Moon"

External links

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Pictures Christmas in ConnecticutGremlinsLethal WeaponNational Lampoon's Christmas VacationBatman ReturnsJack FrostNational Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island AdventureThe Polar ExpressKiss Kiss Bang BangThe Year Without a Santa ClausFred Claus
New Line Cinema ElfThe Nativity StoryFour ChristmasesA Very Harold & Kumar 3D ChristmasThe Conjuring 2Shazam!8-Bit Christmas
Blue Ribbon Content A Christmas Story 2A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish
Live-action television episodes
Friends and Joey "The One With the Monkey" • "The One With Phoebe's Dad" • "The One Where Rachel Quits" • "The One With the Girl from Poughkeepsie" • "The One With the Inappropriate Sister" • "The One With the Routine" • "The One With All the Candy" • "The One With the Holiday Armadillo" • "The One With Monica's Boots" • "The One With the Creepy Holiday Card" • "The One With Christmas in Tulsa" • "Joey and the Plot Twist" • "Joey and the Christmas Party"
DC Comics "Season's Greedings" • "Home is Where the Hurt Is" • "Twas the Night Before Mxymas" • "Lexmas" • "Gemini" • "Year's End" • "Three Ghosts"
Other shows "A Semi-Merry Christmas" • "Mel, the Magi" • "Mel's Christmas Carol" • "'Tis the Season to Be Jealous" • "A Christmas Story" (Growing Pains) • "The Kid" • "It's Not Easy Being Green" • "A Christmas Story" (Just the Ten of Us) • "Santa Goes Downtown" • "Let It Snow" • "The Night Court Before Christmas" • "Santa on the Lam" • "Have Yourself a Merry Winslow Christmas" • "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Urkel" • "Christmas is Where the Heart is" • "Miracle on Elm Street" • "Fa La La La Laagghh!" • "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" • "Deck the Malls" • "The Christmas Show" • "The Man Who Canceled Christmas" • "Christmas Day-Ja Vu" • "A Country Christmas" • "The Gift" • "A Miracle Happens Here" • "Homeless for the Holidays" • "Do You See What I See" • "The Miracle Worker" • "How the Finch Stole Christmas" • "The Greatest of Gifts" • "I'll Be Home For Christmas" • "Hindsight" • "Twas the Night" • "All About Christmas Eve" • "City of Mercy" • "Meet the Cuban Parents" • "Christmas Punch" • "A Clear and Presentless Danger" • "George is Being Elfish and Christ-Misses His Family" • "Santa's Secret Stuff" • "A Very Supernatural Christmas" • "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis" • "The Maternal Congruence" • "The Santa Simulation" • "The Cooper Extraction" • "The Clean Room Infiltration" • "Christmas" (The Middle) • "A Simple Christmas" • "A Christmas Gift" • "Christmas Help" • "The Christmas Tree" • "The Christmas Wall" • "Not So Silent Night" • "A Very Marry Christmas" • "The Christmas Miracle" • "It's Beginning to Stink a Lot Like Christmas" • "Jolly Red Elf" • "The World Ain't Over 'Till It's Over" • "Santa's Village of the Damned" • "Walnuts and Demerol" • "Warning, It's Dirty" • "One False Move, Zimbabwe!" • "Give Santa a Tail-Hole" • "On Vodka, On Soda, On Blender, On Mixer" • "Family, Bublé, Deep-Fried Turkey" • "Home for Christmas" • "Jingle Bell Glock" • "The Walk-Out" • "Yule Never Know" • "Merry Ex-Mas" • "A Very Carrie Christmas" • "Veronica's Christmas Song" • "Veronica's Secret Santa" • "An Echolls Family Christmas" • "One Angry Veronica"
Animated productions
Looney Tunes and related shows The Shanty Where Santy Claus LivesBedtime for SnifflesGift WrappedBugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales • "It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special" • "'Twas the Day Before Christmas" • "Jingle Boo" • "The Great Wakkorotti: The Holiday Concert" • "A Christmas Plotz" • "Little Drummer Warners" • "No Time for Christmas" • "A Pinky and the Brain Christmas" • "It Happened One Night Before Christmas" • "In Arms Way" • "The Twelve Days of Christmas" • Christmas Eve with Yakko, Wakko & Dot • "Noel" • "The Christmas Tree" • "The Banks of the Delaware River" • "Feather Christmas" • "Yule Be Sorry" • "Christmas in July" • Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas • "A Christmas Carol" • "Tis the Seasoning" • "Winter Blunderland" • "The Legend of Burrito Monday" • Bugs Bunny's 24-Carrot Holiday Special
DC Comics "Christmas With the Joker" • "Holiday Knights" • "Frozen Out" • "Comfort and Joy" • "Storybook Holiday" • "Invasion of the Secret Santas!" • "Second Christmas" • "The True Meaning of Christmas" • "Halloween v Christmas" • "Teen Titans Save Christmas" • "Beast Boy on a Shelf" • "Christmas Crusaders" • Beebo Saves ChristmasA Holiday StoryMerry Little Batman
Hanna-Barbera co-productions "A Dickens of a Christmas" • A Scooby-Doo! Christmas • "Ho Ho Horrors" • Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker TaleScooby-Doo! Haunted HolidaysTom and Jerry: Santa's Little Helpers • "The Plight Before Christmas" • "Scary Christmas" • "Scroogey Doo" • "It's a Wacky Life" • "Dashing Thru the Snow" • "Signed, Sealed and Wacky" • "The Spirit of Frostnos"
Other cartoons "Yuletide and Redtide" • A Cool Like That Christmas • "Santa Mask" • The Polar Express • "The Match Before Xmas" • A Miser Brothers' Christmas • "Da Grinchy Code / Duck" • "FROST / Undercover Claus" • "Fantastic Four Christmases / Red and White Collar" • Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas • "Christmas in Oz" • "Top of the Naughty List" • "Mandora Saves Christmas" • Did I Do That to the Holidays? A Steve Urkel Story
Have Yourself a Looney Tunes ChristmasA Hip-Hopera ChristmasMerry Christmas: Animaniacs & Looney TunesThe Looney Tunes Kwazy ChristmasA Looney Tunes Sing-A-Long Christmas