The Mentalist s03e10 Episode Script

Jolly Red Elf

Don't know if he jumped or if somebody pushed him.
- He had to fall from the apartments above.
- Any witnesses? No.
Nobody saw him hit, but a crowd sure gathered fast once he did.
Including the attorney general's niece.
She hasn't stopped sobbing since.
Let's process this scene quickly, get the body out of here.
You get an ID yet? No, but I'll tell you what, that is one fine Santa suit.
Plush pile, real leather uppers.
I wish mine was that nice.
The beard appears to be real.
Hey, Jane? Could I trouble you for a professional opinion? - No.
- No what? - This isn't the actual Santa Claus.
- Oh, really? Some say he doesn't exist, period that he's a 19th century marketing gimmick.
I venture no opinion on that but this definitely isn't him, this is an impostor.
And how can you tell? Santa would smell like reindeer and chimneys.
This man smells like cheap whiskey.
Uh, excuse me, could you, uh, reach inside that outside pocket there? Yeah, just there near the candy canes.
What is that? A Christmas card.
"My life is a lie.
Forgive me.
" It's not a traditional Christmas greeting, but it has punch and concision.
Very thoughtful of him to put it in a plastic baggie for us.
- Lets us out.
It's a straight-up suicide.
- Possibly.
But you don't think so.
Here is a man that spends his time making kids happy.
Putting a little magic in their life, giving them hope.
- Yeah? - Would a man like that end his life making such a bloody spectacle of himself in character, in a public place where children are bound to see him and spoil their Christmases forever? I doubt it.
This was murder.
Okay, you may have a point, but let's keep an open mind on this-- Murder.
Happy holidays.
Benjamin Ripple has been a tenant here for years.
He'd never kill himself.
He enjoyed his life too much.
- And his art.
- His art? The art of being Santa.
Benjamin lived by the traditions of St.
Nick, year round.
Uh, we'll take it from here.
Thank you.
Well, this is a man who knew how to sustain a moment.
Jingle bells, jingle bells I can't believe people buy this crap.
I sense a Christmas speech coming on.
No, I just think people can celebrate a holy day without lying to children about a magical fat guy with a sack full of toys.
You took the Santa revelation badly, huh? Crushed my heart like a cigarette.
Explains why you're still looking for magic in your life.
Benjamin Ripple on the other hand chose to keep his childhood beliefs very much alive.
He was happiest when he was at home.
Felt protected.
Not so popular at school.
I'm guessing his parents died young so to cope, he transformed his most cherished memories into an identity.
And a successful career, based on this Father Christmas fantasy chalet here.
A career like this? "St.
Nick's Picks.
Your holiday decorations superstore.
" It's a mail-order business.
Benjamin Ripple was a survivor.
- Highly unlikely he took his own life.
- So you think the suicide was staged.
Well, that's not to say he was without his secrets.
We all have secrets, don't we? And Christmas, well, is full of contradictions.
A man that devoted his life to spreading joy could very likely be hiding a, uh.
What is that? What? Oh.
Sobriety chip.
Still waiting on forensics but the coroner said that Santa's blood-alcohol concentration was 0.
- That's a lethal level.
- So much for sobriety.
Why would somebody kill the victim if he was dying of booze? - That suggests suicide, not murder.
- So does his bank account.
His mail-order business was hit hard by the recession.
It's almost bankrupt.
His business takes a dive, then he takes a dive - straight off his building.
- Guess again.
I showed the suicide note to our analyst, compared it to Ripple's signature.
- He didn't write the note.
- And back to murder.
What else do we know about Ripple? Uh, he's president of something called The National Society of Authentic Santas.
- What's that? - A fraternal group dedicated to the accurate portrayal of Santa Claus.
Ripple's neighbor told me.
They're having a convention downtown.
You and Van Pelt head over there.
See what you can find out.
After Hightower's briefing - on the Johnson killing.
- What does she have to brief us for? - Someone torched a killer.
- It happened in our house.
He was a cop killer.
Good riddance.
Yeah, okay.
Zip it if you know what's good for you.
Walk over.
I'm gonna go round up Jane.
Two days ago, a suspect was doused in an accelerant and set alight in a CBI holding cell.
This was not karma, rough justice, payback this was a criminal act.
The homicide investigation will be led by J.
LaRoche the new head of our Professional Standards Unit.
Thank you.
Who the hell's J.
LaRoche? - Excuse me.
- Sorry.
Thank you, Miss Hightower.
It's very likely that one of you people here in this room is the murderer.
You know who you are.
Lights, please.
I'm going to run through the facts now so that we are all on the same page.
The victim was Todd Johnson, EMT.
Responsible for killing six policemen and a young woman, that we know of.
Our updated security system has provided me with a very accurate list of everybody who was in this building at the time of the murder.
This guy should charge admission.
I will be talking selectively with some of you on the list.
Over the next days, my people will be taking blood, hair and tissue samples from everybody on the list.
Your cooperation is expected and appreciated.
- Excuse me.
- Yes.
Why the samples? What's your name? Wayne Rigsby.
Wayne Rigsby.
Wayne, we need the samples to test for accelerants.
Thank you for your interest.
Any other questions? Tyger, tyger You remembered something.
- Did I? - Yes, you did.
What was it? The smell of a man burning.
Do you know that smell? Yes.
Very like barbecue.
But we both know that's not what I'm referring to.
A lighter.
I opened the door, Todd was on fire and there was a green lighter on the bench.
But it wasn't in the evidence report.
- You read the evidence report.
- More like skimmed.
Those things, they're not exactly summer reading.
But I get paid to consult, so skim I do.
It's on its way to the FBI crime lab.
- May I? - No.
I won't be needing your consultation on this case.
But you and I will talk, this afternoon.
Look forward to it.
For Santa Henry's Social Media Workshop at 3:00.
And, uh, don't forget to buy your raffle tickets for the Jingle Ball tonight.
Oh, hi, I'm Bob.
Can I help you? Agent Rigsby, Agent Van Pelt.
We're from CBI.
Oh, you're here about Benjamin.
He should be up here, not me.
We're just all trying to move ahead here.
It's what he'd want.
- Were you close with the victim? - Yes, I was.
- We all were-- - Liar.
You hated Benjamin.
You were trying to kick him out of office.
Well, congratulations, you got what you wanted.
- And you are? - Tony.
And that man had a vendetta against Benjamin because he wanted to open our doors to Santas of all races, creeds and colors.
Which will never happen.
Look, if Santa isn't white, male and Christian, then what the heck is he? He's everyone.
He's the spirit of generosity in all of us.
He's the-- Oh, would you be quiet, you dumb hippie? Hey, hey.
Okay, let's just go for a little drive, shall we? Everything's fine, just carry on.
Happy Hanukkah.
Where's Patrick Jane? In the field.
That's inconvenient.
I'm sorry, is there a problem? Yes.
Jane is the lead suspect in my investigation and I can't find him.
Jane's your lead suspect? You smile.
You think he's not capable of murder? He's capable.
I'm smiling because it's an absurd idea, Jane killing Johnson.
He caught him.
He put him in that cell.
He was the last person to see him alive in that cell.
And I was next to last.
Look, Johnson asked to speak with Jane.
He said he had a secret he wouldn't tell anyone else.
Jane didn't wanna see him, I made him go.
The guy was on fire when he opened the cell door.
Why would Jane kill him? That's what I shall ask him, when I find him.
Hey, Lisbon.
LaRoche is looking for you.
Oh, wish him luck.
You don't wanna rile this one up, you should probably come in.
Uh, did you track down Ripple's alcohol recovery group? I think I found what I'm looking for.
Gotta go.
Hey, Virgil.
What are you doing here? Your old assistant told me where to find you.
I need your help.
That's a twist.
You never needed my help when I was your boss.
What help could I be now? A cop killer burned alive in CBI custody.
I heard.
If it's anything to do with that, I don't-- Whoever set the fire works for Red John.
He was a member of Red John's network.
And another member of his network killed him to stop him from talking.
But here's the thing, Red John doesn't know I know that.
For the first time, I have the advantage.
You sound nuts, my friend.
Ha, ha.
No, this is real.
If I can find who killed Todd Johnson, I can trace them back to Red John.
I need LaRoche's suspect list which you, with all your back-channel contacts, can get me.
What does Lisbon think of your theory? I can't tell her.
That would put her at risk.
Of course.
And what about me? You're a brave old man with nothing to lose.
Not so brave, not so old.
What do you say? Will you help me? You need a different kind of help.
Red John is turning you into a paranoid conspiracy freak.
This from a guy on a pier with two 40s under his chair and no fish in his bucket.
- You're not even using the right bait.
- Am so.
- What'll you do when you catch one? - Depends what kind it is.
When you catch one, no matter what kind it is you will stop and you will look at it at this piece of life you destroyed, and you will think: "What the hell am I doing here, a drunken fish killer when I could be doing something useful?" And then you'll call me.
You two should be ashamed of yourselves.
You, with the grudge, where were you last night? Having some drinks with the guys.
They were plotting ways to replace Benjamin as president.
- How would you know? - Is it true? I'm head of the Steering Committee.
Benjamin was using our society as a platform to promote his online business.
How'd you know what they were talking about? I was sitting two stools away at the hotel bar.
They had no idea who I was without the beard.
Oh, gee, a spy.
A concerned member of the NSAS.
They were trying to take over his position and they were drooling over his date.
- The victim had a date at the bar? - No, at the opening-night mixer.
An attractive young woman.
You called her his "ho ho ho.
" You can't tell me that Benjamin didn't pay for her with the proceeds from that online superstore he built on our backs.
Catch the name of this woman? Roxy.
We were all close to Benjamin.
I was his sponsor for 10 years but really, he held me up.
It's okay.
I'm okay.
Let's just forge ahead.
Are there any newcomers in their first few days of sobriety who would like a welcome chip? Um.
- Why not? - Heh.
Oh, hey.
Thank you very much.
Thank you.
- Welcome.
- Okay.
I'll be a newcomer every day.
It's customary to introduce yourself.
First name only.
- Patrick.
- Hi, Patrick.
Hi, folks.
Anybody who can sponsor Patrick, please raise your hand.
Would you? Uh, heh.
Of course, I'd be happy to.
Thank you.
Would you like to share, Patrick? Uh.
Uh, no, I'm not ready to share.
Not yet, thanks.
Well, nobody will think less of you if you don't but you won't find a more supportive group than we are.
We all find relief in sharing our daily struggle with addiction.
Well, to be perfectly honest, I'm not an addict.
I, um.
Well, that's.
That's not strictly true.
I do have an addiction.
Go on.
You're safe here.
It, um, destroyed my family.
I can't talk about it.
I mean, it's not that I don't want to.
I have so many bad things in my head that I'd like to throw out, I just.
If I start talking about it-- I just don't know that I'd be able to stop.
Excuse me.
Anybody else wanna share? What are you doing here? Watching you.
You have substance-abuse issues, Patrick? There's no tag for that in your files.
I'm on a case.
You telling me those words back there, they weren't real? You're sweating.
Simple parlor trick.
With biofeedback, you can train your mind to control involuntary body processes: Heart rate, blood pressure, temperature.
- I'm glad you enjoyed the performance.
- So you're working undercover.
Which you just blew for me.
Thank you very much.
Yeah, well, I doubt that.
Up to the moment you left, you had them transfixed.
What's that like such power over people? You tell me.
I expect this RoboCop routine of yours normally works quite effectively.
You seem immune, so I may have to step up my efforts.
Or we could go back to CBI right now and conduct the interview you owe me.
Patrick? Everything okay? Yeah, I was just getting some air.
I'll come back in now.
Whoo! How was Ripple's AA group? Did you learn anything? Yes, they're very big on hugs.
- About the victim.
- I'll learn more tomorrow when I speak with his sponsor who is now my sponsor too.
May Walters.
Lovely lady.
Or a killer.
I can't tell.
You went undercover.
Why is that so hard to accept? - You never go undercover.
- Precisely.
I wanted to have some fun, just like you guys seem to.
Anything on the other Santas? Santa Bob has motive.
I'm running down his alibi.
They did give us a new lead.
Hello, Roxy Rhodes.
Real name Roxanne Rabinovich.
No record, she works in an elite escort service.
Spent an evening with the victim night before he died.
- Ooh, Santa got some naughty this year.
- Yeah.
- Bring her in.
- I can question her.
- It's my lead.
- Just offering to help.
- All right.
- We have a situation.
Someone broke into Ripple's apartment.
Two hours after we cleared the crime scene, we get a call from a neighbor.
Says she hears a lot of crashing inside the apartment.
Looks like they were looking for something.
- Any signs of forced entry? - None.
We think somebody had a key.
Must have been one of the elves.
Do you know this man? Sure.
- We hung out.
- He was murdered two days ago.
- Okay.
- You don't seem very broken up.
Why should I be? I don't marry them.
I just provide a standard GFE.
- GFE? - Girlfriend experience.
I'm paid to show up and act like I like them.
I don't get emotionally involved with clients.
That way madness lies, you know? - And Ripple was a client.
- No.
You were his date at the Santa convention.
I was paid by someone else.
And how's that work? I'm paid to attend AA meetings and recovery groups and recruit patients.
- Patients for what? - This man, Jack Wilder.
He owns a treatment facility for alcohol addiction.
Very exclusive.
- Only the financially secure can afford it.
- Let me get this straight.
Wilder hires you to cruise AA meetings looking for rich drunks? I meet them, chat them up and tell them about this miraculous treatment facility that changed my life.
You underwent the treatment.
Tequila's my dear friend.
But that doesn't mean the center didn't change my life.
You should see my new Jaguar.
No doubt.
You have an address for Wilder? You were very brave yesterday, sharing like that.
You were in love with Benjamin, weren't you? That's why the program doesn't encourage opposite-sex sponsors.
But he didn't return the feelings.
I think he did, in his own way.
But Benjamin had his priorities.
The red suit.
I imagine that left you feeling ignored, alone, angry.
- Got that right.
- Angry enough to destroy his home? Who are you? I'm a consultant for the CBI.
We're investigating Benjamin's murder.
You lied about your addiction? No, that's real enough, I suppose.
Where were you the night Benjamin was killed? Alone in my apartment.
May, they're gonna treat you like a suspect.
You destroyed their crime scene.
I went there to find something.
You know, to remember Benjamin by.
When I saw the decorations, I got mad.
Santa was another form of addiction for Benjamin.
Anytime anything cuts you off from experiencing your life it's unhealthy, right? Wouldn't know.
Last week, for the first time in 10 years, he took a shot of vodka.
It crushed both of us.
Is this what you were looking for in Benjamin's apartment? Best 10 years of my life.
Jack Wilder, behavioral therapist.
Sorry to keep you waiting.
Agent Lisbon.
Van Pelt.
We're with the CBI.
We came to see if Benjamin Ripple was a patient here.
Uh, you know what? Let's talk about this in my office.
This is a licensed medical facility, ladies.
My client list is privileged.
- Are you a doctor? - Heh.
Technically no, but I do have-- This is a homicide investigation and you're a suspect.
- There is no privilege here.
- Homicide? Benjamin's dead? With enough alcohol in his system to kill an elephant.
A girl from an escort service says you paid her to steer Benjamin to your clinic.
My clients would never drink so soon after treatment.
- When did he die? - Two nights ago.
When did you treat him? Two nights ago.
Aversion therapy can be used to treat any bad habit.
Um, smoking, alcoholism, gambling, violence, sexual deviancy.
My methods are based on classical conditioning techniques.
I can turn the pleasurable activity of drinking into a repulsive one by pairing it with noxious smells, nausea-inducing medication low-grade electric shock.
Of course, I record all my sessions on a hard drive for insurance reasons, so.
Here we go.
He's blowing 0.
- 150/90.
We should stop now.
- He's okay.
Who is that nurse there? Uh, Lailah Bloom.
Registered nurse, She monitors my patients every step of the way.
We have very strict safety protocols.
- How you feeling, Benjamin? - Beautiful.
A little sleepy.
- I love this guy.
- Ha, ha.
All right, you can turn the camera off now.
Let's get you home.
As you can see, he was perfectly fine.
After treatment, I drove Benjamin back to his apartment.
You were in his home the night he was killed.
I make sure all my patients get home safely.
What I offer here is a very personal hands-on therapy.
It's the only way to make effective change.
That and call girls.
It's an interesting way to drum up business.
What you see as a call girl, I see as a marketing expert with keen insights into the needs and desires of my clientele.
I focus on highly driven professionals.
- Give us a few minutes.
- Sorry.
Men like Benjamin have more to lose if they can't control their urges.
Before you trash my methods, talk to my patients.
My success rate is higher than any alcohol treatment center in the state.
Excuse me, I need to make a call.
And I'd like to see that entire video.
Lailah, right? You okay? Fine.
No, you're not.
Talk to me.
Did Mr.
Wilder tell you what happened after I turned off the camera? Benjamin passed out.
His breathing was shallow.
- His temperature dropping.
- Alcohol poisoning? Yes.
I told Mr.
Wilder we should get Benjamin to a doctor, a medical doctor but he said he had it under control.
Then they left.
Has anything like that ever happened here before? Look, I think Mr.
Wilder is a great man, okay? I grew up with alcoholic parents so I'm a big believer in pushing limits to find a cure.
But now I don't know.
Thanks for talking to me.
Lailah said Ripple was showing signs of alcohol poisoning.
The coroner told me that's consistent with what he found at autopsy.
Jack Wilder drives Ripple home, maybe Ripple passes out Wilder can't revive him, so he stages a suicide rather than risk losing it all.
- Only one problem.
- The evidence is circumstantial.
All of it.
I don't think we have enough for a search warrant.
What kind of character witness do you think Lailah would make? She does feel loyalty for Wilder.
I checked her employment history.
She left a $70,000 job at Sacramento General two months ago to work for him.
On the other hand, both her parents were alcoholic.
I think that's where her real sympathy lies.
Her parents "were" alcoholic? Her mom died in a car crash, she was drunk.
Cirrhosis of the liver took her dad.
Also alcohol related.
Chance has thrust our way a very sordid and vexing problem but have no fear.
- We don't.
- I do.
What's your plan? Thank you for, uh, fitting me in.
Our corporate retreat is in two days.
That's why it's crucial to get started now.
- Sure you've had nothing to eat today? - No, no, no.
I'm too stressed to eat.
They say it's a rafting trip it's really just an excuse to drink like Germans for a weekend.
I can't afford to slip.
I'm up for CEO.
Don't worry, Patrick.
All behavior is learned.
And with my help, soon your unwanted behavior will be unlearned.
- Now, I want you to take this dial - Mm-hm.
and select a level of current that's uncomfortable but not painful.
Ooh, okay.
Tonight, we are gonna take the fun out of drinking for you.
Lailah, pour the man some whiskey.
Bottoms up.
Oh, I felt that.
I did feel that.
Our goal is to associate alcohol and all of its social rituals with the unpleasant sensation of electricity running through your body.
Good, good.
How you feeling, Patrick? Lailah, I'm probably not gonna remember much about tonight so let's just take a moment to remember this moment forever together.
You have brown eyes and you're wearing earrings.
I'll never forget that.
- Time to raise the current.
- Really? These restraints will make sure you don't accidentally dislodge your electrodes.
We don't wanna dislodge any electrodes, do we, doc? - Ready for the next one? - Uh.
Here's to sobriety.
This is the last one.
Are you okay? He's fine, Lailah.
He's just a little tipsy.
This is the most important one.
Please continue.
I feel like I can move, if the air doesn't stop me.
His eyes are pretty red.
Yours are glazed.
You been eating donuts? The patient's blood pressure is too low.
Something's wrong.
No, it's okay, you set me free of all my pain.
Irregular heartbeat.
Skin's ice.
I calculated his body weight.
This man will go into cardiac arrest without emergency medical care.
Go call 911.
I'll set you free.
Oh, little head spin there.
You can't be conscious.
Your vitals.
Little biofeedback trick.
Well, not so little when you're drunk.
Cat's in the bag, come on in.
- What are you talking about? - I'm a cop.
Well, cop adjacent.
This place is surrounded.
There's a complex sound transmitter.
Surveillance van out the front full of people with large guns.
You are in trouble.
You're lying.
Let me guess, 190-proof alcohol, the same gut-rot you shot into Ripple.
The good doctor here thinks you're an angel.
I am an angel.
Yeah, an angel of death.
You know, I had a hunch as soon as I found out about your pants.
Pardon me, "your parents.
" - You've experienced a lot of pain.
- Alcohol causes pain.
It was you that overdosed Ripple, it wasn't Wilder.
He left and you went in.
How did you get into Benjamin's apartment? When Benjamin was drunk, he mentioned where he kept his spare key.
Poor thing was hurting so badly inside.
- Benjamin, wake up.
It's important.
- Hmm? There are children outside.
They wanna see Santa.
I can't let the children down.
I won't.
I'm not feeling so good.
All you gotta do is wave at them.
- Okay.
- You see them down there? Maybe if you lean a little further.
- Oh.
- You see them? Do you know the one part of the body that coroners rarely inspect for needle marks? Inside the navel.
Uh, cat's in the bag and the bag's almost in the river.
If I end your suffering now, Jack will be blamed for both deaths.
And let's face it, Jack needs to be stopped.
He's a little crazy.
Ah, ah.
Drop the needle! Put it down now! I'm sorry, we didn't mean to cut it this close.
This place is a maze.
Turn around.
- Are you all right? - Oh, yeah, I'm fine.
I'm just a little home.
Would you take me drunk? - Mr.
- What's going on here? I've come to question Jane about the murder of Todd Johnson.
Unless he answers my questions his status as a CBI consultant will fall under immediate review.
No more waiting.
No more ducking.
No, you don't.
Not now, no.
No, it's all right Lisbon, I got this one.
I got it.
Come on.
Fire away.
- I got it.
- Okay.
Agent Lisbon states that before Todd Johnson was set on fire he indicated to her that he had a secret he wanted to tell you and you alone.
We all have secrets.
Most of them are quite unremarkable once revealed.
What's your secret, Mr.
LaRoche? "LaRoche.
" Pardon me.
I have no secrets.
None? You have a very keen speculative mind.
You flatter me.
What do you think Johnson wanted to tell you? What was his secret? Your best guess.
Best guess.
Uh, same sad old story.
Just wanted to explain himself.
Wanted to show someone that he was human.
He was just a lonely soul trying to get by, like you or me.
Why did he have to tell you this? Because he's a cop killer in a cop house full of cop hens and cop chickens.
That's very amusing.
And I'm not a cop.
But you would be very surprised how unsympathetic policemen can be.
And women.
- Thank you.
- Oh, no, thank you.
That was fun.
We'll be in touch.
Oh, if you care to share any of the developments on the case with me, then I won't tell anyone.
- Why would you wanna know? - I love a mystery.
It's one of my failings.
- Patrick.
- Ah.
Meet May.
May, this is Virgil.
- Hello, May.
- Hi.
Oh, and, um.
- A moment alone please, Jane.
- Mm.
- If you'll excuse us.
- Sure.
Excuse me, a little parched.
Thanks for meeting me here.
You look terrible.
What did you do last night? It's all a little gauzy.
I hope you don't mind, I brought May along.
- Uh, no.
What's her story? - Oh, come on.
Ask her yourself.
Listen, I'd like to convey my gratitude.
Easy, cowboy.
You just met her.
I'm not talking about that.
What you said about that fish.
You opened my eyes to some ugly truths that I'd been avoiding.
LaRoche's suspect list.
Secured through back channels and personal favors.
LaRoche has no idea I have it.
Thank you.
- You need anything else, let me know.
- I will.
I have to go.
Uh, could you do me a favor? Could you extend my apologies to May? - Perhaps sit with her and have lunch.
- I can do that.
I think.
Any tips? Uh, yes.
You might wanna consider growing a beard.

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