THE MENTALIST star Simon Baker handed over the keys to his on-screen alter-ego’s famous 1972 Citroen DS 20 to the head of French TV channel TF1 at a special event at the weekend.
The series, which regularly picks up more than nine-million viewers in France, has been one of the big recent success stories for the broadcaster, which celebrated its 40th anniversary on Friday - the day Mr Baker made a gift of the iconic vehicle to channel head Nonce Paolini.
The Australian star was in Paris with his wife Rebecca Rigg, to mark the final series of the popular show, in which he plays a former con-artist and fake psychic who uses his cold-reading skills to help police solve crime.
After mingling with his fans and giving a speech to those present, the actor received a framed picture of himself in the title role from the TF1 studios.
In an interview on TF1, he said that he believed that the show was popular here because the French identified with the character of Patrick Jane, and admired the fact that he was a flawed character. “The French public is looking for something a little different,” he said.
He revealed that he had chosen the car for his character himself, saying that he wanted his character, Patrick Jane, to drive something that was a little out of the ordinary.
He also admitted a love of France, and Paris in particular. He said: “I love coming to Paris. They treat me with so much kindness when I come here.”
And he assured fans that, although The Mentalist was coming to an end, he had “no intention of disappearing completely from the screen”, and indicated that he would also be interested in spending time on the other side of the camera as a director.
Photo: screengrab / TF1