We'll admit it took us a little while to warm up to The Mentalist, airing Tuesdays on CBS, probably because of the name -- it sounds as if we might have to do actual thinking. Couple that with the fact the lead character is a dude named Jane with a penchant for three-piece suits, and this had "yawner" written all over it. But now we've seen the error of our ways, and we're hooked like a grouper on some chum. So call your friends and neighbors; we're thinking about throwing a party!
Setting the scene:
Decorate around a crime scene. Hire a local college student to play the dead body in the middle of the room. It's almost always a woman (isn't that weird?), so have her in a cocktail dress lying on the floor beside a spilled tray of hors d'oeuvres. There's a little blood dripping from her mouth and powdered sugar on her fingers, her Bluetooth earpiece is still blinking, and she's wearing muddy Wellies as though she just rushed in from the shed out back. She's been poisoned, but how? And by whom? Leave clues throughout the rooms where the party is taking place. For example, a note threatening the victim written in crayon, photos of the victim in an embrace with someone at the party, an invoice for rat poison with another guest's name on it, etc. Guests can also take part in a trivia game for the show. Questions can be found on the show's CBS Web site.
While almost anything is appropriate for a crime drama, encourage everyone and his mother to wear a vest.
On the menu:
Since our victim was killed during her own dinner party, serve what she was serving -- shrimp cocktail, petite pork loins served over mashed potatoes in a martini glass, hors d'oeuvres of bruschetta, sushi and hummus, and for dessert, jelly doughnuts with the jelly spilling out. (The red helps drive the murder home.)
On the hi-fi:
CBS isn't exactly breaking new ground when it comes to the "Internets." That means the show's site doesn't list music that appeared on the show, so you'll need to wander into the fan forums to see what has aired. Some of our favorites include Trouble by Bitter:Sweet and Flood by Jars of Clay. But we recommend a British group called the Mentalists.
Local laws may vary, but we recommend filling your front yard with used police cruisers -- lights flashing. You'd be surprised how many are available for sale at Used-Police-Cars.com.