TV & Movies

The CBS police procedural The Mentalist is a skeptic’s dream: an atheist masquerading as a psychic, using his powers of deduction and logic to solve whodunits and mysteries for the California Bureau of Investigation (not an actual law enforcement agency).


Dedicated primarily to tracking down his wife and child’s killer, the protagonist, Patrick Jane, acts as an independent consultant, assisting the police a la Sherlock Holmes, the world’s first consulting detective. Jane generally eschews violence and prefers to use reason and persuasion to finish his cases, but cloaks his investigations in the guise of psychic visions and intuitions. In private, he freely admits he’s a fraud, using the psychic act as a way to mystify the less observant around him.

Jane’s dedication to helping others, his considerable generosity, and his attitude of skepticism all are a fine recommendation for a television humanist.

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