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Guest Star Goodness

Guest Star Goodness: The Mentalist “Bloodsport” 

Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

This week’s episode of The Mentalist was chock full of guest stars that kept me riveted to the screen and busy trying to guess who done it. Thankfully, the writers seem aware that viewers are always trying to suss out who the bad guy is, so they threw a lot of notable actors as a distraction.

We started off with Vasili Bagazianos, who played Len Artash, the owner pushing the prize fighters. He’s arguably most known for playing Benny Sago on the daytime soap All My Children, a part he played on and off for 25 years.


I was excited to see that Shaft himself was part of the action. Although Richard Roundtree was so low key in the episode, I almost didn’t recognize him. He didn’t have his trademark swagger in this role, but Roundtree did an effective job. The scene between Jane and his character (Floyd Benton) was delightful to watch.

Another one of the guest stars was T.C. Carson, who was a regular cast member on Living Single, a fun sitcom with Queen Latifah that ran from 1993 – 1998. T.C. played the pompous Kyle Barker, the neighbor who hooked up with Erika Alexander’s ballsy lawyer character. Seeing Carson in a role after all these years made me feel a little old. His hair is almost totally grey! I was happy to see him, however. He played an ex-con named Joe Reyes, whose gun was involved in the murder case. The show did a good job with trying to imply that Reyes might have had a bigger involvement in the case.

Another notable appearance was Robert Pine. These days he’s known more for being Chris Pine’s dad than as a veteran actor. His most significant role was on CHiPs, a 70s series about the California Highway Patrol, that also starred Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox. It was great seeing him as the father of the murder victim.

And finally, Pruitt Taylor Vince made his second appearance on The Mentalist as J.J. LaRoche. In “Bloodsport,” he continued to investigate the murder of a suspect while he was in CBI custody. LaRoche is an internal affairs-type looking into what happened to the prisoner. He first appeared in “Jolly Red Elf,” when he doggedly pursued Jane in the investigation and called him on some of his behaviors. He was excellent. My memory of Vince comes from one of the best episodes of The X-Files. In Season 4, he played a serial killer with an ability to project his sinister thoughts on his victims. He was so creepy that I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Vince brought his A-game to The Mentalist once again, in LaRoche’s tense scenes with Jane, Rigsby and lastly with Cho. In each scene, he conveyed his need to find the truth even if it was unrelated to his task at hand.

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