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Character Development: Madeleine Hightower, The Mentalist “Red Gold” and “Red Queen” 

Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/CBS

Well it has been an eventful two episodes for Special Agent in Charge Madeleine Hightower in terms of character development. When we first met her, she pretty much put Patrick Jane in his place regarding CBI investigations. I love how she has effectively challenged him and, as a consequence, he has tried to temper his more wild machinations. He knows Hightower will take it out on Lisbon if he screws up royally by pissing too many people off.In “Red Gold,” she actually gets to go in the field after Lisbon has a rather idiotic fall that results in her spraining her ankle. Plus, we are introduced to her two very adorable kids and we find out she’s going through a divorce. The scenes she shares with Jane are excellent because we’re aware of how observant he is of little things. Meanwhile, she’s trying as much as she can to hide the turmoil that’s taken over her life.

While I’m more than happy the beautiful and talented Aunjanue Ellis joined the cast, I do feel like it took the powers that be a long time to give her character a story and dimension. Wow, did we get it in “Red Gold.” Finally! I will admit the previews for the next episode had me a little concerned when it showed her holding a gun to Jane’s head. My first thoughts were great, Hightower finally gets a storyline and they turn her into a murderer. Thankfully, that’s not what really happened.

“Red Queen” is a key episode for Hightower — there are some really great revelations. We find out there was definitely a reason her marriage failed. Through some extremely tense scenes with Pruitt Taylor Vince, returning as the relentless investigator LaRoche, we learn she was having an affair with one of the victims of the cop killer, Todd Johnson. As the noose tightens around Hightower, we learn her fingerprint has been found on a current victim who has been linked to Johnson.

Watching this unfold had me on the edge of my seat because Ellis played Hightower’s plight so well. She seemed helpless to save herself. Jane becomes involved in the case only because Johnson was about to give him information on Red John (RJ). Throughout the episode, we are left guessing whether Hightower was the inside mole for RJ — until the end of the hour. Jane successfully helps her to escape from the CBI while he’s now pursuing the real mole. So Madeleine’s career is in tatters because Red John planted some convincing evidence against her. Let’s hope she’ll still be involved despite having to be on the run; I don’t want Ellis to be absent for any episodes. That’s my one worry with this fascinating development.

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