Psych is an American detective comedy-drama television series created by Steve Franks and broadcast on USA Network with syndicated reruns ION Television. The series stars James Roday as Shawn Spencer, a young crime consultant for the Santa Barbara Police Department whose "heightened observational skills" and impressive eidetic memory allow him to convince people that he solves cases with psychic abilities. The program also stars Dule Hill as Shawns intelligent best friend and reluctant partner Burton "Gus" Guster, as well as Corbin Bernsen as Shawns father, Henry, a former officer of the Santa Barbara Police Department.
Psych debuted on Friday, July 7, 2006, immediately following the fifth-season premiere of Monk, and continued to be paired with the series until Monk s conclusion on December 4, 2009. During the second season, an animated segment titled "The Big Adventures of Little Shawn and Gus" was added to the series. Psych was the highest-rated US basic cable television premiere of 2006. USA Network renewed the series for an eighth season on December 19, 2012, to include eight episodes, and ordered two more episodes on June 25, 2013, bringing the episode order to ten. On February 5, 2014, USA Network confirmed that the eighth season of Psych would be its last, with the series finale airing on March 26, 2014.
The show has developed a cult following, especially in the years since going off air, with fans of the show being called "PsychOs". Psych: The Movie, a two-hour TV movie, aired on USA Network on December 7, 2017. Franks hope is to make five more Psych movies, following Psych: The Movie. On February 14, 2019, it was announced Psych: The Movie 2 was greenlit and all the main cast would return for the TV movie, which was set to premiere in late 2019, but the premiere thereof was subsequently delayed to 2020, with the movie renamed Psych 2: Lassie Come Home. The movie will air on NBCUniversals new streaming service, Peacock, at some point after that service launches.
Most episodes begin with a cold open in the form of a flashback to Shawn and Guss childhoods. The flashbacks usually involve Shawn and Gus being taught a lesson by a young Henry Spencer Shawns father Corbin Bernsen, who wishes that his son would follow in his footsteps and become a law enforcement officer. These lessons often play a role for the climax of the episode. As a child, Shawn was taught by Henry to hone his powers of observation and deduction, often using games and challenges to test him. Each flashback also sets the theme for the episode.
Shawn originally becomes known as a psychic when, after calling in tips on dozens of crimes covered on the news which help the police to close the case, the police become suspicious of his knowledge. The police theorize that such knowledge could only come from the "inside" and they decide to arrest him as a suspect. To avoid being sent to jail, Shawn uses his observational skills to convince the police that he is psychic. The interim police chief warns Shawn that if his "powers" are fake, he will be prosecuted. With no choice but to keep up the act, and having proven himself an effective aid to the police in solving crimes, he establishes a psychic detective agency, Psych, and becomes an outside consultant to the police. Pretending to have psychic powers allows him to engage in strange and comic behavior as he turns real clues into hunches and otherworldly visitations. He enjoys teasing lifelong friend Burton Guster Gus, a pharmaceutical sales representative, about Guss eclectic interests as they drive around in a blue Toyota Echo nicknamed "The Blueberry" solving crimes.
Head detective Carlton Lassiter Timothy Omundson, playfully nicknamed "Lassie" by Shawn and Gus, quietly respects Shawns crime-solving skills, but doubts his psychic abilities and is constantly exasperated and/or infuriated by his antics. However, junior detective Juliet "Jules" OHara Maggie Lawson and Chief Vick Kirsten Nelson are far less antagonistic – with OHara expressing belief in Shawns abilities, while Vick is mum on the subject – and usually willing to give Shawn the leeway he needs to solve cases. Henry and Shawn have a difficult relationship, but despite this, Henry reluctantly helps Shawn on various occasions.
2.1. Characters Main
- Burton "Gus" Guster Dule Hill is Shawns best friend and business partner.
- Karen Vick Kirsten Nelson is the SBPD Chief.
- Carlton "Lassie" Lassiter Timothy Omundson is the head detective for the Santa Barbara Police Department.
- Juliet "Jules" OHara Maggie Lawson is a junior detective for the Santa Barbara Police Department.
- Henry Spencer Corbin Bernsen is Shawns uptight and precise father and a former police sergeant.
- Shawn Spencer James Roday is a freelance consultant with the Santa Barbara Police Department who pretends to be a psychic.
2.2. Characters Recurring
- Winnie Guster Phylicia Rashad is Gus mother.
- Marlowe Viccellio Kristy Swanson is a woman Lassiter meets and later marries.
- Harris Trout Anthony Michael Hall is a special consultant hired by the mayor to increase efficiency at the SBPD.
- Young Gus Carlos McCullers II is the younger version of Burton "Gus" Guster.
- Lloyd French Jeffrey Tambor is Juliets stepfather.
- Buzz McNab Sage Brocklebank is a naive but lovable cop who often provides Shawn and Gus with clues.
- Pierre Despereaux Cary Elwes is an extremely elusive Canadian art thief.
- Declan Rand Nestor Carbonell is a rich criminal profiler.
- Curt Smith himself is the former singer of the band Tears for Fears.
- Betsy Brannigan Mira Sorvino takes over as the new head detective when Lassiter is promoted to chief.
- Frank OHara William Shatner is Juliets estranged father.
- Mr. Yang Ally Sheedy was a serial killer.
- Abigail Lytar Rachael Leigh Cook is Shawns high-school crush.
- Mary Lightly Jimmi Simpson was a department psychologist who was an expert on Mr. Yang.
- Madeleine Spencer Cybill Shepherd is a police psychologist who is Shawns mother and Henrys ex-wife.
- Young Shawn seasons 1–5: Liam James; seasons 5–6: Skyler Gisondo is the younger version of Shawn Spencer.
- Rachael Parminder Nagra is Guss girlfriend.
- Woody the Coroner Kurt Fuller is a police coroner with whom Shawn shares a mutual respect.
The show uses White Rock, British Columbia, Canada for its Santa Barbara, California setting. Psych also incorporates Vancouver and various locations around the Lower Mainland of British Columbia as a backdrop. Santa Barbara is on a mountainous coastline without bays and just has the few Channel Islands miles offshore. Many of the overlooking helicopter shots and set-up shots in which the exterior of the Santa Barbara Courthouse is shown are actually filmed in Santa Barbara. The animated segments "The Big Adventures of Little Shawn and Gus" were created by J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc. The music, effects, and sound design for "The Big Adventures of Little Shawn and Gus" were created by Fred Weinberg.
3.1. Production Theme song
The theme song for Psych is "I Know You Know" by The Friendly Indians, series creator Steve Franks band. Some episodes in seasons three-eight use an extended version of "I Know You Know", consisting of the first verse and the chorus, but most episodes use a shortened version, consisting of mostly the chorus. In some episodes, the theme song is changed, usually as a tie-in to the theme of the episode to come.
3.2. Production Variations
- In "Romeo and Juliet and Juliet", the main titles are translated in Chinese. However, the actual theme song is not edited.
- Julee Cruise, who recorded the theme for Twin Peaks, recorded a slower, extended version of the theme for the Twin Peaks -inspired episode "Dual Spires".
- Curt Smith of Tears for Fears guest-starred in "Shawn 2.0" and recorded his own version of the theme. Smith also recorded a song "This is Christmas" for the episode "The Polarizing Express".
- The theme was given a Christmas theme for the episode "Guss Dad May Have Killed an Old Guy". It was used again in "Christmas Joy" 3.09 and "The Polarizing Express".
- For the episode "Heeeeeres Lassie", the song and main titles were given a theme similar to The Shining.
- A superhero-themed version was recorded for "The Amazing Psych-Man & Tap Man, Issue #2". The main titles were also redone in a comic-book style.
- The song was sung in Spanish for "Lights, Camera. Homicidio" and "No Country for Two Old Men".
- It was expanded into a Bollywood-themed version sung in Hindi in "Bollywood Homicide" while each of the theme credits was shown first in Hindi, then in English.
- Boyz II Men performed an a cappella version of the theme for "High Top Fade Out". It was used again for the episode "Lets Doo-Wop It Again".
The Christmas-themed and Hindi versions of the song also include variations on the main titles. The Hindi and Chinese-themed episodes phonetically translated words into Devanagari and Chinese characters, respectively, in their title sequences. The title sequence in the episode "Dual Spires" is an almost shot-for-shot recreation of the title sequence of Twin Peaks. The episode "100 Clues" featured an entirely new main title sequence based on the board game Clue. The actor names and title were shown on game cards similar to those of the cards of suspects in Clue.
3.3. Production Pineapple
In the episode "Pilot", James Roday improvised by picking up a pineapple and saying, "Should I slice this up for the road?" Since then, pineapples have appeared in almost every episode as a running gag. The pineapple is a major marketing point for items related to the show on the USA website. Fan movements, such as fan-made websites, have also been dedicated to finding a pineapple or pineapple-related object in each episode.
3.4. Production "Psych: The Musical"
Before season 8 was aired, the show did a special, 88-minute musical episode. This episode does not fit chronologically in the narrative; there are situations in the episode that would imply that it takes place sometime before the middle of season 7.
3.5. Production Series finale post-show
Following the series finale on March 26, 2014, USA Network aired a live post-show. The hour-long special was hosted by Kevin Pereira and featured series stars and creator/executive producer Steve Franks.
3.6. Production "Psych: The Movie"
On May 8, 2017, USA Network announced Psych: The Movie, a two-hour TV movie to air December 7, 2017. All the original main cast would return for the TV movie, which was directed by series creator, Steve Franks, and screenplayed by Franks and series star, James Roday. Zachary Levi was later announced for the movie, as the main villain, "Thin White Duke,", while Jazmyn Simon – Dule Hills real-life fiancee – played Selene, a romantic interest for Gus. On July 5, 2017, Charlotte Flair announced that she would be in Psych: The Movie as Heather Rockrear.
On June 28, 2017, former guest star Ralph Macchio joined the cast reprising his role as Nick Conforth, the police academy officer who trained Shawn and Gus in season 5. Principal photography took place from May 25 to June 18 in Vancouver, British Columbia. It was later announced that Timothy Omundson would have a reduced role due to a stroke, but would still appear. In addition, Kurt Fuller, John Cena and Jimmi Simpson were confirmed to be reprising their respective roles of Woody Strode, Ewan OHara and Mary Lightly.
3.7. Production "Psych 2: Lassie Come Home"
On February 14, 2019, it was announced Psych: The Movie 2 was greenlit and all the main cast would return for the TV movie, set to premiere in 2019. On April 18, 2019, it was announced Joel McHale would be joining the TV movie, as well as Jimmi Simpson, reprising his recurring role as Mary Lightly. On September 17, 2019, it was announced that the sequel had been renamed Psych 2: Lassie Come Home and would instead be airing on NBCUniversals new streaming service, Peacock. Consequently, the movie will only debut after the streaming service is launched.
4.1. Reception Ratings
Psych scored a 4.51 rating and an average of 6.1 million total viewers at its premiere, which made it the highest-rated scripted series premiere on basic cable in 2006 in all key demographics, according to a USA Network press release, quoted from the Futon Critic.Notes
4.2. Reception Nominations and awards
Psych was the winner of the Independent Investigations Group Annual Award for "Excellence in Entertainment" for advancing the cause of science and exposing superstition. Accepting for Psych was staff writer Daniel Hsia. James Roday was nominated for the 2006 Satellite Award for Best Actor – TV Series Musical or Comedy. James Roday was also nominated for the 2009 Ewwy Award for Best Actor in a Comedy. Psych was nominated for its first Emmy Award in 2010 in the category Outstanding Music Composition for a Series for the episode "Mr. Yin Presents.". Adam Cohen and John Robert Wood were the composers for this episode. Psych was nominated for its second Emmy Award in 2012 in the category "Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media" for their interactive game "HashTag Killer". In 2012 and 2013, Psych was nominated for the Peoples Choice Award for "Best Cable TV Comedy". In 2014, Psych won the Peoples Choice Award for "Best Cable TV Comedy" in its last nomination.
In July 2011, ION Television announced that Psych would become part of its 2012 broadcast in syndication. During 2012, reruns of the show mostly ran on Saturdays as a marathon. In 2013, ION Television announced the acquisition option pick-up of season seven of Psych. The deal with NBC Universal Cable & New Media Distribution adds all 16 new episodes of season seven to IONs existing library of seasons one–six of Psych and includes rights to future seasons. As of January 2017, Psych start airing on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries and is also airing ION Television.
William Rabkin has written and published five novels based on the series. The novels are written in third-person narrative style. Additionally, Chad Gervich Small Screen, Big Picture has published a crime-fighting guide based on methods presented in the show.