Nov. 21, 2013 at 9:01 AM ET
For six seasons, fans of "The Mentalist" have been rooting for Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) to find the elusive Red John, the man who murdered his wife and daughter a decade ago. Through the years, the producers have offered clues and even narrowed down the suspect pool to seven people Jane had already met. On Sunday, the California Bureau of Investigation consultant will finally catch up with the dangerous killer who leaves as his signature a smiley face drawn in the blood of his victims.
In last week's episode, Red John's identity was revealed as Gale Bertram (Michael Gaston), the CBI chief. This week, an intense manhunt ensues, but there may be more to the story, warned executive producer Bruno Heller during a press call.
Heller said he decided to end the mystery now so that the rest of the series can examine how Jane moves on with his life without this mission being the priority. The series jumps two years in the episode that airs on Dec. 1, featuring new sets and a new direction for Jane. Baker directed the episode.
"It’s been really strange because whatever happens in the course of a series, there’s reasons and things you sign on for that show," Baker said. "It’s a very important element to the character that you make a connection with immediately. A lot of those things were laid to rest in this episode. So it did feel incredibly personal to me."
Baker, who was nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of the investigator with amazing instincts, said he felt the weight of paying off the highly anticipated story.
"For me, I did feel this sense of pressure because we’ve been working toward this for so many years and it’s pushed the character from the very beginning," he said. "I felt I have to somehow live up to that in that one moment. The one moment in the life of the character where he’s stepping up into the unknown."
Heller and Baker revisited the show's seminal Red John moments exclusively for TODAY in a slideshow of images tracing Patrick Jane's journey with the smiley face killer.