When a golf pro's wife and her doctor are murdered in Palm Springs, The California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is called in to investigate. Patrick Jane, a detective and independent consultant for CBI, uses his razor sharp skills of observation to assist a by-the-book Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon and her team (agents Kimball Cho, Wayne Rigsby and rookie member Grace Van Pelt) in finding the killer. The case poses a particular interest for Jane as the killer's calling card (a red smiley face drawn with the victim's blood) suggests it is the famed "Red John": a serial killer who years ago murdered Jane's wife and daughter. However, after further investigation, Jane's mentalist skills tell him the real killer is trying to pin the murders on "Red John" and the team needs to take a closer look at the other suspects including the golf pro, who was having an affair; his brother, who was sleeping with his brother's wife; and the doctor's business partner, who was embezzling money. And while the team may question Jane's tactics, they know working together with him will help lead them to solving the crime.