CBS

Season 3: Episode 11 - Jolly Red Elf

Jolly Red Elf: The CBI is called in to investigate the murder of Bernard Ripple, a man dressed like Santa Claus who died from alcohol poisoning before being pushed out of a window. When Jane finds a 'one year sober' token on the victim's Christmas tree, the team decides to pursue the twin approaches of investigating Ripple's AA connections as well as his organization, the National Order of Authentic Santas. As Lisbon, Cho, Rigsby, and Van Pelt find suspects amongst the Santas, Jane investigates the AA angle alone. He is shocked at how well-liked Bernard was among his colleagues there, and even feels comfortable enough to open up a little about his own 'addiction': his obsession with Red John. He even goes home at the end of the night with a sponsor, May Nelson, who used to sponsor Ripple. Jane realizes quickly that May is a good suspect: she had strong feelings for the victim, but Ripple was too fixated on being Santa to reciprocate. Did her heartbreak drive her to murder? Meanwhile, Lisbon learns that AA wasn't Ripple's only attempt at helping his alcoholism: he was also trying a risky new form of aversion therapy run by Dr. Wilder. The idea behind the therapy is that they force you to drink alcohol while overwhelming you with negative stimuli. You are then supposed to associate alcohol with terrible things so your urge to drink will subside. While Wilder claims that Ripple's therapy went well, his assistant Layla confides in the CBI that Wilder passed out on the night of the murder, and that she is losing faith in Dent's methods. In order to learn the truth, Jane signs up for Wilder's therapy himself. Using biofeedback, he passes out halfway through just as Ripple did. While Wilder runs off to call 911, Layla moves to inject Jane with a lethal dose of 190-proof alcohol. That's when the CBI bursts in to take her down. We learn that Layla wants to help alcoholics by putting them out of their misery, sparing them the pain that she saw her parents suffer as they drank themselves to death. While investigating this case, the CBI is still in chaos in the wake of Brock’s death (Episode 309). Since it looks like the murder was an inside job, the AG brings in J.J. LaRoche from the Professional Standards Unit to investigate the CBI and Jane is suspect number one. When Jane learns that LaRoche has a suspect list that might help him in his Red John investigation (since Brock was connected somehow), he tracks down the retired Virgil Minelli in the hopes that Minelli can find a way to get Jane a copy of LaRoche’s list, which he does.