By the end of The Mentalist's Season 5 finale, viewers will finally know Red John's real name.
On Sunday's episode (10/9c, CBS), Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) narrows down his list of suspects to seven people. And despite the twists and tricks of the past (remember Bradley Whitford as Red John?), creator and executive producer Bruno Heller insists that one of the names on Jane's list is indeed his serial-killing nemesis.
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"The cards are up on the table and they're the real cards," Heller tells TVGuide.com. "There is no sort of double twist. There's no more messing around.We've been through all the twists and turns of plot, and we're now getting to the truth. Only the truth gets revealed from now on in."
So, how well do we know the seven possible suspects? "You will recognize some of the names," Heller says. "Some will be obscure, some will be very well-known. But they're all legitimate suspects, and next season we will have to work out which one is the real guy. But under a great deal of pressure, that will be revealed at the end of this episode."
Indeed, just as Jane thinks he's closing in, Red John strikes out against someone from Jane's past. And the move is baffling to Jane. "It's someone Red John couldn't possibly know is connected to Jane," Heller says. "So, just when Jane thinks he is finally one step ahead, Red John is still on top. He doesn't turn things around to make Jane realize what he's learned is wrong, but it appears almost magical."
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Speaking of magic, Emmanuelle Chriqui will reprise her role as Lorelei Martins, who was last seen dead at the hands of Red John. "It's not a flashback, a typo or a mystical thing," Heller says with a laugh. "You'll have to work out what other alternatives are left. It's a surprise, and it's a good one."
Also surprising: the shocking way in which the list of seven names is ultimately revealed. And while Red John won't be caught in the finale, Heller promises that the story is growing much closer to its conclusion.
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"This is the final chase," Heller says. "We will know who Red John is and we will catch him next season. Everything that has happened over ther past five years will come to a head, and things will change drastically. This is the biggest finale in terms of game-changing and setting up for the last act of the Red John saga. This is as definitive and revolutionary as you can get."
The Mentalist's Season 5 finale airs Sunday at 10/9c on CBS.
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by a joint venture between Lionsgate and CBS.)