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The Mentalist: Another Red John Suspect Gets Eliminated

[Warning: This article contains major spoilers from Sunday's episode of The Mentalist. Read at your own risk!] Another one bites the dust! After Sunday's episode of The Mentalist, Bob Kirkland (Kevin Corrigan) can be crossed off the list of Red John suspects, because we learn that ...

Liz Raftery

[Warning: This article contains major spoilers from Sunday's episode of The Mentalist. Read at your own risk!]

Another one bites the dust!

After Sunday's episode of The Mentalist, Bob Kirkland (Kevin Corrigan) can be crossed off the list of Red John suspects, because we learn that he's been on his own vigilante mission to catch the serial killer. Also because by the end of the episode, he's dead.

"Originally, Kirkland was not going to die in this episode," Rebecca Cutter, who wrote "Red Listed," tells TVGuide.com. "I really pushed strongly that we should try and get rid of [him], narrow it down so the audience really knows we're getting there."

And we are! As Jane (Simon Baker) says at the end of the episode: "The list is down to five names. That is a very manageable number. We're in the home stretch."

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Let's recap the major developments in "Red Listed":

Someone's been targeting Red John suspects! Only they're fake suspects. The episode begins with Jane and Lisbon (Robin Tunney) called in to investigate the torture and murder of Benjamin Marx — the man whom Jane buried alive back in Season 4 to get him to confess to murder. FBI Agent Reede Smith (one of the seven Red John suspects) likes Jane for the killing. "I didn't kill Benjamin Marx, but I might have got him killed," Jane later admits to a shocked Lisbon.

The reason? Jane tells Lisbon that he planted a decoy list of Red John suspects (all "very bad" men) on the crime board in his office, and Benjamin Marx was one of the names on the list. Lisbon and Jane suspect that someone in the FBI has been monitoring Jane and got hold of the list by breaking into his office. Jane decides to ask former CBI boss Madeleine Hightower (Aunjanue Ellis) what she knows, while Lisbon heads off with the rest of the team (including Rigsby and Van Pelt, who have yet to consummate their marriage) to warn the other six "suspects" on Jane's fake list that they may be targets.

But Hightower's nowhere to be found. She and her kids allegedly had an accident two weeks prior in Mexico and drowned. But the bodies were never found. Suspicious, Jane posts a message for Madeleine on an online memorial site and it's a code, telling (the still very much alive) Hightower to meet him at a Chinese restaurant. "We were like, 'What would be your one vice if you were faking your own death? Would you still have to check your Facebook page? Would you go to your own funeral? What would be the thing you couldn't resist doing?'" Cutter tells TVGuide.com. So we came up with this idea that she wouldn't be able to resist checking this online memorial site to herself."

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Meanwhile, Lisbon goes to visit Richard Haibach (remember him? William Mapother's pedophile photographer from Season 4?), another name on Jane's fake list, who's less than thrilled to see her. Lisbon warns him that his life is in danger and offers him police protection, which he declines, thinking it's a trap. He should have taken her up on it, because minutes after Lisbon leaves, someone comes to Haibach's house and kidnaps him.

Still investigating the Marx case, Agent Smith (Drew Powell) meets with Bob Kirkland to tip him off that they suspect Jane for the murder, and that Haibach is also missing. And here's where things get interesting. Kirkland tells Smith he's been doing some digging of his own, and cryptically says "Tiger Tiger." Smith has no idea what he's talking about. Kirkland explains that, during the course of the Red John investigation, Homeland Security has begun to suspect that there's a conspiracy within California law enforcement, whose members protect each other by covering up dirty work and use the password "Tiger Tiger." Smith tells Kirkland he'd be happy to help with that investigation.

During Hightower and Jane's dinner, she reveals that she faked her own death after learning that Red John had killed Lorelei Martins. "I did not want to be next," she explains. She also tells Jane that the FBI and Homeland Security have been keeping tabs on him for the past eight or nine years, all because Bob Kirkland suspected that Jane was Red John.

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Jane goes to find Kirkland, who's busy interrogating Haibach. (That mystery was solved quickly!) Kirkland discovered Jane's decoy Red John list when he broke into Jane's office last season, and he's the one who's been targeting them. Upon learning that the list was fake, Kirkland takes Jane to his Chateau de Torture, where he tries to get him to divulge the real list of names. Jane, realizing that there's no way Kirkland could be Red John, suggests that they begin working together. "We share a common goal. We can help each other," Jane says. Kirkland declines.

Why is Kirkland so obsessed with finding Red John? We learn that his twin brother Michael became a Red John devotee years ago and, Kirkland believes, was eventually killed by Red John. "Is he a good guy or a bad guy?" Cutter says of Kirkland. "Yes, I just saw him do all these bad things and torture people and kill people, but yet, he's on the same mission as Jane. So for me, I feel a lot of sympathy towards him."

Fortunately, Lisbon (tipped off by Hightower) realizes that Jane's with Kirkland. She and Hightower burst in and arrest Kirkland, just as he's readying a pair of pliers to use on Jane.

Before he's hauled off, Kirkland tells Jane that he has some things to share, and that Jane should "come see [him] some time." But he won't get the chance to. In a shocking twist, Smith stops the van that's escorting Kirkland to jail and tells Kirkland that he not only knows about the "Tiger Tiger" conspiracy — he's part of it. Smith offers Kirkland the address of a safe house and tells him to get moving. Kirkland rightly doesn't have a good feeling about this. "Just do it here," he tells Smith. "I'd prefer it if you ran," Smith responds. "You know, protocol." Kirkland obliges, and Smith shoots him repeatedly in the back.

"It's a reveal about [Smith's] character," Cutter says. "It's very calculated and pretty evil. And I think what's kind of cool and chilling about that scene is, Kevin Corrigan is so resigned to the fact that he is going to die. ... What goes around comes around, and now's the time. And he just plays it so cool that it's almost more chilling."

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Smith will pin the shooting on the van driver, whose story will be that Kirkland tried to escape and he had no choice but to use deadly force. "Tiger Tiger," the driver responds.

"For one of the first times, we're kind of ahead of what Jane and Lisbon know," Cutter says. "They've heard 'Tiger Tiger.' Jane heard it from Red John. Lisbon heard it from Partridge in Episode 1. But now the audience is a little bit ahead in terms of this conspiracy within law enforcement. ... In future episodes, that link [between law enforcement and Red John] actually gets made and that has big ramifications for CBI."

So, what does it all mean? Do you think Smith is Red John? Who (besides Kirkland) has been keeping tabs on Jane — and why? And how far does the "Tiger Tiger" conspiracy extend? Weigh in below!

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)