The Mentalist: “Crimson Casanova”

The setting is a fancy hotel. It’s nighttime, where, for one unlucky guest, the turn-down service involves bullets in lieu of the chocolate mint on the pillow.

And it’s lights out for Claire Wolcott, the unlucky guest in question. As Lisbon and her team arrive on the scene, we learn that Claire’s husband has friends in the governor’s office – who want this case to get the discreet and low key treatment. Why? Well, Mrs. Wolcott was enjoying a romantic getaway. Without her husband.

The team checks out the murder scene. PJ insists that Claire’s mystery lover didn’t do it. He points out that a paramour would have been in closer proximity, and wouldn’t have had to shoot so many times. Plus the blood splatter is all wrong for an inside job. He sees another trail of blood. Figures the mystery lover must have freaked and bolted. And who wouldn’t, when a happy ending turns into a more definitive one for at least one party involved?

There’s a very slight blood trail. A drop here, a drop there. It stops near a silver Cadillac with a license plate that says Doc Lady.

Bell captain says that car arrived last night at 2: 21 am. That’d be 7 minutes after the shooting. Patrick and Lisbon would definitely like to pay Doc Lady a visit. They are let into her room, and find…..a mess. And a naked couple. The guy has a gunshot wound. So they figure he might be able to shed some light on the previous night’s murder.

Kevin, the resort manager, figures it’s too much to hope that the villa can be rented out to other guests who are wiling to pay through the nose for it. But he’d at least like an ETA as to when the walkway will be open. ‘Cause taking the long way to the tennis court is a real bummer for rich folk who are looking to take it easy.

The fellow with the gunshot wound proves to be Paul Frick, Claire’s mystery lover. And that’s just for starters. After getting shot, he came upon Jill – aka Lady Doc – in the parking lot. He asked her for “help.” “Help” with benefits, that is. Lisbon is skeptical that a stranger would have taken him to her room, treated his wounds, and then tended to the rest of him in such a thorough manner.

Ahhhh, but that’s Paul’s thing, it turns out. He’s a pickup artist. A self proclaimed “woman whisperer.” All silliness aside, Lisbon wants to know what his actual occupation is. No, really. He’s a woman whisperer. He teaches workshops. And blogs. About woman whispering stuff. Does he accept money in exchange for services rendered? Eh – sometimes. But not in this case. He was “fond” of Claire.

PJ asks him typical Freud stuff about his mom. And then asks him who killed Claire. Paul doesn’t know. Lisbon asks if he keeps a list of his conquests. Sure he does. Names, numbers and even a 1-10 ranking system of their performance. Because he’s classy like that.

They’re done questioning him, and the team departs. Grace thinks they should book him for creepiness. The gang in general is kind of wondering how such a smarmy man-slut could pull such gorgeous women like Claire and Jill. Patrick of course explains how easy it is – all you need is the most rudimentary understanding of female psychology. This goes over well with Lisbon and Grace. Patrick has his own theory about gender relations, and it doesn’t involve Mars and Venus, either. More like toasters and accordions.

Back at the station, Claire’s hubby Keith has brought the effects that Lisbon requested – such as video footage of Claire. He was just upstairs talking to his good friend, the Attorney General, and he was saying how he won’t rest till his wife’s murderer is caught! It’s very OJ, but perhaps too obvious.

Lisbon requests that he answer a few questions for Cho. He agrees.

Cho wants to know the usual – like when Mr. Wolcott last saw or spoke to his wife. He was in San Fran on business, when he called her and informed her he’d be staying over. Any enemies? She was “harmless,” hubby insists. Claire merely shopped and played tennis and went to the spas. No one would want to hurt her. Well……except for that assistant she fired last month for stealing jewelry.

“Did you know she had a lover?” asks Cho. Uh – not till the authorities shared that with him. But now that Cho mentions it……Wolcott wants the guy’s name. And his balls chopped off and bronzed so he can display them right next to those photos of himself with his buddies like the Attorney General and the Governor. Cho won’t give up Paul’s name. Wolcott reminds Cho that with one phone call, he can end Cho’s career. Cho is impressed, because, as he says, “The best I can get with one phone call is a pizza.”

“We’re done here,” insists tough rich guy.

Patrick is watching footage of Claire with a cute doggie. Only he sees more. Much more. He sees nice shoes and loneliness. But enough of that super perceptive stuff. He and Grace have an errand to run.

They visit a young woman named Natalie Drum. The ex assistant, who right out of the starting gate wants to say that she didn’t steal anything from that bitch. Nor did she kill her, even though she was a total psycho. As Grace questions her, Patrick cases her apartment. Patrick figures there’s something on the one side of the room that she doesn’t want them to find. She acts blasé about it. Then Patrick proclaims her sloppy, but probably good in bed. Messy women make good lovers. Or accordions. His zen wisdom on the subject is a bit muddled. He takes her hand and walks her around the room like a human lighting rod, gauging her pulse and her facial expressions as they go. Which leads him to a camera. With “personal” photos on it. Personal photos of Claire and her lover Paul Frick. Taken two hours before the murder.

This lands Natalie in the hot seat. Cho is coming down hard on her. She’s still a bit defensive about that charge of stolen jewelry, given that Claire dressed “like a Mormon call girl” who didn’t even own jewelry worth stealing, to hear Natalie tell it. Get yourself off the hook for murder, Cho advises. If you didn’t kill her, explain the pictures! She says she was hoping to blackmail Claire into dropping the theft charges. Only the blackmail thing probably wouldn’t have worked anyway. Claire’s hubby Keith was super controlling. Especially about money. He probably knew all along about the lover, Natalie reckons.

Hubby’s out of town alibi holds up, but Grace, Cho and Rigsby figure he’s definitely the outsourcing type anyway. They decide to look into his financial records. Which is so boring, according to Patrick. He wants to go back to the crime scene. There is something that wasn’t right. It’s Rigsby’s turn to go along for the ride.

They’re casing the hotel room again. Patrick goes outside the patio door and seems to be fascinating by its locking mechanism. They go grab lunch. Keith – vigilant manager extraordinaire – wants to know when they can use the villa again?

Patrick can’t provide a clear-cut answer yet, but in the meantime, he’d like to request a table for two. And who is lunching a few tables away? Playa Paul. Who seems to be monopolizing the cute blonde waitress on duty.

Paul sees them, calls them over. Patrick is surprised Paul is back so soon. Ah, but Paul couldn’t possibly keep away from his favorite hunting ground, so rife with rich, bored women with no taste in men. He likes the gratitude from the older ladies too. Patrick can’t believe he could be so callous when someone he cared about is dead. Hey, he got shot too! Which has presented him with a suuuh-weet new pickup line to use on the ladies, come to think of it.

Do you fall in love, asks Patrick? No, insists Paul. Love is for guys who can’t get laid. He’s got a thousand techniques to mold women into willing putty. His waitress Katie is looking a little annoyed with his blather. Patrick wants to know what the deal is between them. They both deny anything. When she leaves, Paul confesses they he “used to let her sleep with me”. Patrick sees more to it. Well, maybe Paul had feelings for her once, he admits…… back when he was a chump.

One more question from Patrick – the night he had sex with Claire, was the patio door open or closed? Closed, Paul says. Rigsby wants to jot down some notes. Not necessarily about the crime scene details, but just so he can remember Paul’s pick-up techniques. The man is clearly a legend.

At the station, the gang are questioning some of Paul’s other lady friends. The place is packed with hot superfoxes. Wacka wacka 70s porn music plays in the background as Cho questions a long line of sexy babes as to what they could possibly see in a worm like Paul. They dunno. They were just under his love spell. They can’t explain it.

Grace uncovers that before Claire died, she withdrew 200K in the form of a cashiers check made payable to Paul. And it turns out that hubby Keith had set up the account so that he would be notified if just such a thing were to occur.

Rigsby and Patrick next approach Mr. Wolcott in a stuffy club, where he’s enjoying a nice port and a laugh with a bunch of his stuffy cronies in their stuffy tuxedos. Rigsby approaches and ask if they can ask him a few more questions. He swats Rigsby away like a fly. So Patrick decides maybe they just need to speak louder. From across the room Patrick hollers his query about Wolcott’s wife’s lover’s check. Which is one way to get a controlling narcissist’s attention. Only Patrick can give as good as he gets. And boy he’s giving. He calls Wolcott a buffoon in a monkey suit who doesn’t even have the decency to grieve for his dead wife. And then he flicks Wolcott’s nose for good measure.

Patrick is later trying to catch some zzzz’s on his favorite couch at headquarters when Lisbon wakes him up with her whole “that’s insubordination, and assault, and he’s really important” speech. Wolcott’s coming to demand a formal apology, and he’s bringing a fancy lawyer with him! Patrick isn’t amused.

Lisbon flicks Patrick’s nose before she storms off in a huff.

Grace and Rigsby are casing the spa. Rigsby is being an aloof douchebag toward Grace, clearly influenced by Paul’s teachings. Only Grace is not swooning. She’s basically calling him a douchebag! He seems surprised!

They see Paul, who is doing the Ted Bundy thing with a cast on his arm. Turns out bored rich ladies, while gullible, aren’t into the Ted Bundy thing much. At least not today.

Rigsby tells Paul to put his shoes on and come with them. While walking back to the car, Paul tells Grace her shoulders are too wide, but besides that, he might consider working his mojo on her, if she plays her cards right. Grace still isn’t swooning. That’s what we love about Grace, after all.

Wolcott and his lawyer are in Lisbon’s office. She reveals that Patrick won’t apologize, but he’s happy to see them in court. And she says that with Wolcott not talking, they have to still consider him a suspect. Eh – Wolcott has nothing to hide, he insists. He knew his wife was gonna give that worm Paul a big chunk of money. He stopped payment on the check. But he wasn’t mad. In fact, he was happy his wife was a ho. Her infidelity cut the payout she was due in a divorce! Um, but he doesn’t want to seem like a callous jackass or anything.

Cho is questioning Paul. He’s not sure why Paul hid the fact that he was gonna take money from Claire. It was a business deal, investment in a club type of thing. He found out the check was stopped when he went to cash it, but no biggie. There are plenty of other rich gullible women out there to swindle.

Patrick comes in and wants to know what the deal was with waitress Katie again. Nothing to tell, says Paul. She used to be his backup plan on nights when he wasn’t otherwise scoring. Patrick figures that must have been a rough deal for Katie, and then watching Paul bag babes left and right, right in front of her, when she was clearly still in love with him? Why, maybe she snapped!

Paul protests. He knows Katie. She’s a good person. Patrick says he can go.

Patrick has a plan. It will involve Cho wearing something a little sassier, however. As ZZ Top once said, every girl crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man. Cho soon struts into the hotel bar in his black shades and slick suit. The ladies like what they see. They like it a lot.

Cho is at the bar, with Patrick whispering in his ear. Not in a kinky way – PJ and the rest of the team have Cho on surveillance from a nearby room. Patrick tells Cho to pick a target. Cho hones in on two lovely ladies, and seems to be in like Flynn – despite a slightly interrogation-based slant to his casual conversation.

Meanwhile, Paul struts into the bar with a babe on each arm. A frazzled and rather sad looking Katie happens to be on duty, forced to look on. Until Kevin tells Katie that she’s worked a double shift. She should clock out and have a drink on the house! Wow – she has a really nice boss. He really cares about her, you can tell.

Patrick tells Cho it’s time for phase two. Cho tells the ladies it’s time for phase two. What’s phase two, you (and they) rightly ask? Apparently something offensive, because after he whispers it in the first girl’s ear, she storms off, taking her gal pal with her. Grace and Lisbon want to know what he said. Patrick says they don’t really want to know. Probably something about wanting to play Rachmanoff on their accordion keys, I’m guessing.

Ahhhhh, but there’s more to this plan than meets the eye. Cho goes back to the bar to nurse a drink, and his apparent wounded pride. Katie is there relaxing, and Cho confesses that he’s a loser in love. Katie knows how that goes. He asks her if she means Paul, given that she’s still prone to staring at him longingly in googley eyed fashion from afar. Well, yeah, she confesses, but it’s her fault that went wrong. They had a fight, she said some mean things to him. She figures his womanizing ways is just an attempt to get back at her. Cho has the perfect plan for revenge. She and he should look like they’re hooking up – make Paul jealous. Katie giggles. Patrick giggles from the other room – he’s so impressed with his little protégé. “There’s no business like Cho business,” he proclaims. Cho’s the man!

Cho and Katie march out of the bar like they have some mattress testing business to attend to. Paul takes note of their departure.

Cho takes her to the room, where he proceeds to whisper in Patrick’s ear some more. Which is weird. Katie thinks so too, and wants to know who he’s talking to. He explains he’s undercover. He’s back to all business. Upon learning that Cho has no romantic or even lecherous intentions towards her, Katie bursts into tears. Cho is confused! Why is she all emotional all of the sudden?!

He’s a love machine, all right. A mechanical, no nonsense toaster with an on/off switch. Damn toasters.

The team watches the hallway on the surveillance cameras. There’s a dark shadow figure of a man making his way to Katie and Cho’s room. With a gun. It’s Kevin! He wants to know how they figured out it was him! Besides the fact that they just caught him sneaking into a room with a gun!

Paul said the patio door was locked that night when Claire was murdered. So the killer must have come through the other door. Which requires a key. Who’d want to hurt Claire? No one. Who’d want to hurt Paul? Uh, maybe someone who didn’t want Katie hurt any more?

He didn’t mean to shoot Claire, Kevin insists! He meant to shoot Paul! Only, it’s not like they cover advanced target shooting in hotel management school or anything.

Following the collar, Patrick sits at the hotel bar. Paul saunters up and starts boasting about the digits he’s collected this evening. Patrick throws a drink in his face. ‘Cause he’s being a chump. Katie still pines for him, and she’s a good woman. Paul takes this under advisement, gets up, and approaches Katie, who is staring at him all googley eyed off on the sidelines as usual.

There’s no accounting for taste.

Some hot babe approaches Patrick. She and her equally hot girlfriend want to keep him company. He passes, on account of being married and all. That’s his story, and he’s sticking to it.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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