Patric Jane is a successful, self-proclaimed psychic who cons people by using his ability to read people and their behavior. One night on a TV talk-show he trash-talks Red John, a dangerous serial-killer on prowl who kills and draws a smilie face using the victim's blood in such a manner that the smilie is discovered before the dead-body inducing a sense of dread for the killer.
That night Jane returns home to the smilie face drawn in his home and finds his wife and daughter murdered. This brings about a sense of immense guilt and eventual change in Jane who makes it his life's purpose to catch Red John. He sheds his life as a psychic and frequently asserts that "there is no such thing as pyschics".
Patrick Jane joins the team of CBI agent Lisbon and helps them close an astounding number of cases using his skills while constantly working towards finding who Red John is.