100 Instruments Ring in The 100th Episode of The Mentalist This Sunday

Oct 26, 2012, 16:44 ET from Blake Neely

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Composer Blake Neely's score for this week's chapter of the CBS drama "The Mentalist" signals his, and the series', 100th episode. The Emmy-nominated composer ("Everwood," "The Pacific," "Pan Am") has written the music for the entire series, beginning with its pilot episode in 2008.

"The Mentalist" follows consultant Patrick Jane, whose semi-psychic powers prove helpful in solving crimes. The impetus and ongoing mystery of the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated series is Jane's hunt for the serial killer who murdered his family.

For this Sunday's landmark episode -- a flashback to a meeker Jane's first few days in the California Bureau of Investigation -- Neely's score employs a poetic 100 different instruments, and treats central character themes like debut statements.

"It was fun for me," he says, "because I could actually go back and say, 'This is where that theme would have actually began, in this scene. How can I do the first inclination of that theme?'"

Neely's music for "The Mentalist" is mainly electronic, with live instruments layered in. He has always subtly helped the audience by linking motifs to related clues. Neely's palette for the series has been defined both by musical voices he chooses not to include (brass, clarinet), as well as the use of several unorthodox instruments -- including, literally, a kitchen sink.

In addition to "The Mentalist," Blake Neely is also scoring the CW's superhero series "Arrow," which is currently the network's number one new series. The latter gives the composer a platform for dark, cinematic underscore befitting a modern masked crusader. For the pilot episode, Neely recorded a full 80 piece orchestra, incorporating only "bowed" instruments, including violins, violas, and bass, with some percussion; Green Arrow uses a bow and arrow, a "stringed" weapon.  "Arrow" was recently picked up for a full season. 

"What's cool about writing for TV these days," Neely says, "is that a lot of people consume shows in more or less a straight-through sitting, rather than week to week…You watch six episodes and you'll hear a recurring theme that really feels more like when you sit and watch a movie and a recurring theme comes in. That's made it more interesting."

Blake Neely's 100th episode of "The Mentalist" airs this Sunday, October 28, on CBS at 10/9c.

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