Do I Need a Mentalist?


I was excited to be tipped off about Henry Thomas’ appearance on The Mentalist last week. But it turned out to be an even bigger treat because it turns out that Robin Tunney is a main character (I knew nothing about the show other than a blonde guy is I think the title character. I kept waiting for him to read minds or mentalize people in some fashion, whatever that might entail, but really it’s just a cop procedural like the million other cop procedurals and a little duller than many.) Here, Henry played Tommy, the detective’s inept brother with a teenage daughter who was building decks for a living but now is a bounty hunter and carries a gun and drives a van, a surprise to blank, because they rarely see each other. Because she is successful and he is a loser.

Robin Tunney has appeared alongside Henry Thomas twice before (to my knowledge—is there a database where you can search multiple actors and cross-reference films/shows they’ve appeared in together? I would build this and become rich if I knew how to build such things).

1997’s Niagara, Niagara, which I saw at Lloyd Center Cinemas with a friend on a Sunday afternoon while playing hooky from a birthday party. She has Tourette’s, I don’t remember what his problem was. They both had horrible fake accents that were supposed to sound upstate and resulted in pronouncing Barbie (much of the plot revolved around finding a black Barbie head) like Bobby. Apparently, Tunney won best actress award at the Venice Film Festival for this role and was married to its director, Bob Gosse, for nine years. Also, this whole Robin Tunney Confessions Tumblr is kind of awesome and makes me sad that I couldn’t adapt to that format.

Riders of the Purple Sage was made-for-TNT movie that aired during the Golden Globes while I briefly lived with my mom and the stepdude in 1996  after I went to England for my sister’s wedding and stayed for a few months, ran out of money and came back to Portland and was homeless and jobless. (Then got a temp job cutting negatives in a photo lab on the 5am-2pm shift and was fired because I was sloppy and then was offered a PT page job at the public library that paid good money, $10/hour, plus benefits, based on a civil service test I’d taken months and months prior and had nearly forgotten about. And that is how I got into the library field.) All I remember was that it was a western based on a novel and that Robin Tunney was tough and masked so she was mistaken for a guy at first and a cave was involved. I used this same photo, though black and white, in my zine and the guy I had a crush on at the time wrote me and said Henry looked like Timothy Hutton in that picture. Leverage is as good as The Mentalist in my mind. I have absolutely no idea what the premise is.


More important to the matter at hand, I can’t find any photo of Robin Tunney and Henry Thomas together from that film. What the fuck is the internet good for then, if not that? Oh my fucking god, I apologize internet: the original mid-’90s TNT website for the movie is still up and that makes up for everything.


The truly bizarre aspect of Henry’s Mentalist appearance was that in 98% of the scenes where they appeared together, they would cut away and show one talking in the background with the other’s back to the camera. I kept waiting to snap a photo of them with their faces showing and it wouldn’t happen, to the point where it started seeming crazy. I can only guess that that most of their scenes weren’t actually filmed with them both on the set. I had to watch the whole damn thing to get two photos that worked.

28 thoughts on “Do I Need a Mentalist?

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