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Crime Drama Case Study on The Mentalist (GCSE)

jeremy | Tuesday April 05, 2011

Categories: GCSE, AQA GCSE, Hot Entries, Television, Television Crime Drama

Trailer: Season 3

Genre: US Police Procedural

First seen in September 2008, on CBS. The show was created by Bruno Heller, who is also the show’s executive producer. Duration is 44 minutes of actual drama.

By 2011 it is in its third series and joins a stable of police procedurals on Channel 5 including:

CSI: Miami; CSI: NY; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; NCIS and US Law and Order.

I have chosen it as a case study because it attracts a teenager audience, has a young cast, and the off beat main character oozes Derren Brown appeal. There is also some quite witty-ish dialogue, and the body parts count is not too high.

Definition: TV Police Procedural

The police procedural is TV detective fiction which attempts to convincingly depict the activities of a police force as they investigate crimes.

While traditional detective novels usually concentrate on a single crime, police procedurals frequently depict investigations into several unrelated crimes in a single story.

While traditional mysteries usually adhere to the convention of having the criminal’s identity concealed until the climax (the so-called whodunit), in police procedurals, the perpetrator’s identity is often known to the audience from the outset.

Police procedurals depict a number of police-related topics such as forensics, autopsies, the gathering of evidence, the use of search warrants and interrogation.


The Mentalist follows the story of Patrick Jane, (Simon Baker) who, as a paid consultant, uses unorthodox methods to aid the fictional California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) set in Sacramento California, in murder investigations. Although not an officer of the law, he uses skills as a psychic medium (although he says his psychic abilities are a fraud, he has exceptional observational skills) to help a team of CBI agents solve various crimes. He has an on/off relationship with regular CBI officer Teresa Lisbon...

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