Special Agent Kimball Cho

Special Agent Cho, from the show The Mentalist is one of the main characters. He works for the CBI (California Bureau of Intvestigation) in the Serious Crimes Unit with Special Agent Lisbon and Partick Jane. I started watching The Mentalist a few years ago and I think the series is currently somewhere around season 5, It’s become one of my favorite shows over the past few years and I’ve decided to write my blog post about Special Agent Cho because he’s one of my favorite characters on the show who happens to be Asian American.

Special Agent Cho has always been one of the more interesting characters to me on the show but as I began to realize from taking this class when his character started on the show he played a more stereotypical role of the inscrutable asian. Nothing gets past him and he seems exremely intelligent but also very stoic and always quiet without really showing any emotion and the character Cho could be described as the typical ‘robotic’ type of person where you couldn’t tell what they are thinking and nothing ever seems to get to them. In The Mentalist, Cho’s character started out as being very typical in this style of role by being a “Just the facts ma’am.” type of cop. It was a little bit Implicit Yellowface by playing to that specific asian stereotype. But over the course of the series they’ve allowed Cho to develop an interesting personality. The show has also increasingly allowed his background and life away from being a cop to be gradually explored. One of the first moments I liked in the show that showed how they were giving him some more personality is when another cop referred to Cho and his partner Rigsby as Ernie and Bert, Cho said he didn’t mind being called that because “Ernie’s the clever, handsome one.” This was a funny moment and showed that Cho had a dry sense of humor. Some moments that I like about this is when they introduce his confidential informant girlfriend and even when he is briefly addicted to pain killers which he manages to triumph over on his own. Special Agent Cho was also seen speaking Korean in an episode and he got to explain that his parent’s are Korean so that also helped to identify him as more of an individual rather than just being the token asian character. I just really like his character and plan to continue watching the show and seeing how the writers develop him.


Special Agent Cho, a well developed and pretty awesome character from the show The Mentalist.


One thought on “Special Agent Kimball Cho

  1. Very good analysis, Jeremy! I appreciate how you analyzed how the character evolved over time to become more multidimensional rather than fulfilling the typical APA stereotypes. I’ll have to check out the show!

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