It's eight years ago, and Patrick Jane comes to the CBI with the hope of gaining access to the Red John case files. Having lost his wife and daughter the previous year at the hands of Red John, Jane is haunted and determined in finding their killer. After Lisbon denies him access to the files, Jane provokes a temperamental member of Lisbon's team - Agent Hannigan – into attacking him. When Jane threatens to sue unless he is allowed to stick around, Lisbon, Cho, and Rigsby get their first taste of working with the frustrating and brilliant mentalist.
Jane's first case with the bureau is the murder of a judge's adult son, whose body was found next to his car on a remote road. There's no shortage of suspects, from the jealous ex of the woman he had seen the night before, to the criminals his father locked away, to the family of a woman he killed in a car accident a year earlier. Jane decides to round up all the suspects and use his cold reading skills to find the guilty party.