'The Mentalist': the number 43

Simonbaker_mentalist_240 Previously on The Mentalist, we heard a few things about a serial killer named Red John in the pilot episode and then any mention of him disappeared over the next 4 episodes. Here's hoping we get some developments on that front tonight.

Desert, Nevada-California state line. The team is examining a severed hand in the middle of the highway. Patrick says they have plenty to work with. He says the hand is probably male, white and mid-50s. Patrick smells it and examines the nails, saying it smells of almond oil, musky cologne and tobacco and the nails are maintained. He thinks the hand belongs to upper management in the hotel or gaming business. Teresa walks up and says the prints came back James Quincy Meier, who runs a resort and casino in Las Vegas.

The team question the Meiers. Jim's son-in-law is paid to play at the tables in Jim's casino, rake in the big-time gamblers. Patrick notices photos and awards detailing Jim's history in Vegas. Patrick observes to the daughter that Jim wasn't around much because he was so busy with work. The mom implies that it was mafia-related, but the daughter dismisses that. She also says Jim wore a pinky ring (which Patrick noticed was missing) and kept a lucky $100,000 chip on a string around his neck.

The team heads for Jim's casino. Agent Rigsby calls and says that there are several cases over 10 years old where a hand was left as the only body part in a murder. They were mafia-related. Inside the casino, the team spies Cal Trass, a big-time gambler, surrounded by women. He is played by Mitchum Huntzburger himself, Gregg Henry. Patrick says he's going to play the floor a little while the agents go over boring paperwork. Teresa gives Patrick $100 to start with. He sits down at a blackjack table.

Teresa asks Jim's boss Matt Etienne about the casino owners, saying that the mafia cutting off dead men's hands was a signal they got caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Matt assures Teresa that the mafia hasn't owned casinos for a long time.

On the floor, Patrick is winning a crap load of money. The casino is alerted to Patrick's possible cheating at table 43. He isn't "cheating" per se, he say she's just "memorizing cards." Snerk. Patrick alerts Matt to a blackjack dealer who has been cheating. She's flashing burn cards at a player and dealing from underneath the top card. Um, what kind of casino has blackjack dealers that don't use a shoe to deal the cards? Nobody holds the cards in their hands anymore. Weird.

Cheating dealer Alexandra is brought in for questioning, who says she was only cheating because her mother is sick and she needs money for treatment. They say Meier must've been on to her, hence the number 43 written on his hand. She insists she didn't kill him, though. Patrick asks her if the big guy she was flashing cards at is in on the scam and when she says no, he lets her go. He's going to use her saying no to reel in her con artist partner.

Patrick then gives Teresa and Grace really sparkling necklaces and earrings, saying he won his blackjack money fair and square. Cho wonders where his present is and Patrick tosses him and Rigsby two really nice watches. He then takes them out to dinner and explains that memorizing cards isn't cheating, it's just a good memory. He explains to Grace that each card is a distinct character and that each card in the deck is a different location in his "memory palace." Teresa puts a damper on the party, returning her jewels to Patrick. Grace follows suit and they leave. The boys keep their watches, though. Heh heh.

That night, Patrick can't sleep. He tosses and turns all night, then gets up at 5:45 and puts the money and jewels in a bag and then donates it to charity. Teresa calls him and they meet with Jim's family again. Jim's wife Anna confesses to having an affair with Matt Etienne for the past two years. On the way out, Patrick asks JIm's son-in-law about setting him up in a high-stakes game of poker.

Etienne's house. The team questions Matt and then Patrick notices that there have been heavy items moved into his garage, based on tracks in the soil. In the garage, they find Jim's body in the freezer. Matt looks just as surprised as Patrick and Teresa.

The station. Cho questions Matt, who says the night Jim was killed he slept with Jim's wife but he didn't kill him. He says that Jim was working late that night because he was obsessed with work. He didn't care about his wife, he cared about his work.

Grace reports to Teresa that Jim was killed by blunt force trauma to the head and it appears his $100,000 chip was ripped off his neck. Teresa dispatches Rigsby to watch Jim's casino footage, see if he can spot something Jim would've found suspicious.

Jim's son-in-law gets Patrick into a high-stakes game. Cal Tress is there, along with other high-rollers. Rigsby and Cho ransack JIm's office looking for surveillance DVDs but can't find anything, so Cho calls Patrick at his poker game. They think Jim stashed the surveillance DVD in a book but they don't know which one. Patrick says to try the Bible or Robert's Rules of Order. Heh heh. Inside Robert's Rules, they find the surveillance DVD. It shows Jessica Meier, Jim's daughter, showing up at Cal Tress's hotel room.

Teresa questions Jessica, who denies having sex with Cal. Teresa says she knows Jessica and Daniel are swimming in debt, but Jessica denies taking money for anything with Cal. Teresa says that her father watched the video the night he died.

Back at the poker game, Patrick and the son-in-law go all in with Cal. Cal has trip 8s, Daniel has aces full of queens and Patrick has trip 9s. Cal calls it a night and Daniel wants to play heads up with Patrick. Out in the lobby, Cho and Rigsby bring Cal in for questioning. Cal denies having sex with Jessica Meier, but confesses to playing poker with Daniel one time when he put up his wife as collateral in a poker game. Cal won and Jessica had to come to his hotel room to pay up. He says she wasn't happy about it, but she was willing.

Poker game. Patrick sets up a glass on the bar with an ice cube wedged underneath. When it crashes to the floor, he uses that opportunity to stack the deck. He ends up with trip 7s but Daniel has trip Kings. Patrick "accidentally" flashes his trip 7s at Daniel, who only takes one in 5-card draw and ends up with quad Kings. Patrick wants two cards and gives up two of his trip 7s.

Patrick uses Daniel's good hand to coerce him into betting more than the chips he has in front of him. Daniel busts out a $100,000 chip from his pocket and Patrick has him. He calls his raise and Patrick flips over a straight flush to beat the quad Kings. Daniel can't admit to having seen Daniel's trip 7s and he is taken away by Cho and Rigsby.

Daniel admits to beating Jim to death when he threatened Daniel after seeing the video of Jessica goign to Cal's hotel room. Daniel says he cut off the hand so it would look mafia-related. They take Daniel off to prison and Patrick returns the $100,000 to Anna and Jessica Meier.

Back at the office, the guys wonder how much Patrick won at gambling. He says he spent it. We then see the cheating blackjack dealer Alexandra receive a suitcase full of money to help take care of her sick mother. Awwww.

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