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Psych is an American crime drama / comedy-drama television series created by Steve Franks and broadcast on USA Network. The show stars James Roday as Shawn Spencer, a young crime consultant for the Santa Barbaramarker Police Department whose "heightened observational skills" and impressive detective instincts allow him to convince people that he solves cases with psychic abilities. The program also stars Dulé Hill as Shawn's best friend, straight man, and reluctant partner Burton "Gus" Guster, as well as Corbin Bernsen as Shawn's captious father, Henry.

The series airs in the US on Friday nights at 10PM ET/PT on the USA Network, but is said to be moved up to Wednesdays beginning January 27, 2010. During the second season, an animated segment was added to the series titled "The Big Adventures of Little Shawn and Gus". Psych debuted July 7, 2006, immediately following the fifth season premiere of Monk. The show was the highest-rated U.S. basic cable television premiere of 2006. William Rabkin has written two books that tie in with the show. Psych began its fourth season on August 7, 2009. On October 16, 2009, the show ended its mid-season run with a special "fall finale". Season 4 will resume on January 27, 2010 and conclude on March 10, 2010.

Psych has been renewed for a fifth season, has confirmed. The super-sleuthing USA Network comedy has been given a 16-episode order. Season 5 is likely to kick off in summer 2010.


Main characters

Name Portrayed by Occupation/Status
Shawn Spencer James Roday Main character who works with the Santa Barbara Police Department (SBPD) as a "psychic detective." Though he portrays himself as a "psychic," it is really his exceptional observational skills and photographic memory that make him such a good detective.
Burton "Gus" Guster Dulé Hill Shawn's best friend and business partner; also works in pharmaceuticals.
Carlton "Lassie" Lassiter Timothy Omundson Head detective for the SBPD; doubts Shawn's psychic abilities.
Juliet "Jules" O'Hara Maggie Lawson Junior detective for the SBPD; Lassiter's partner, constant romantic tension with Shawn.
Karen Vick Kirsten Nelson Chief of the SBPD.
Henry Spencer Corbin Bernsen Shawn's uptight and precise father; a former police sergeant.
Young Shawn Pilot: Josh Hayden
Seasons 1 and on: Liam James
Appears in flashbacks at the start of each episode.
Young Gus Season 1: Isaah Brown
Seasons 2 and on: Carlos McCullers II
Appears in flashbacks at the start of certain episodes.

Flashbacks, which begin most episodes, show that Henry Spencer assumed his son would follow in his footsteps and become a law enforcement officer. In preparation, Henry helps Shawn hone his powers of observation and deduction, often using games and challenges to test him. Each flashback also sets the tone for the episode, based on the challenge Shawn's father presents him.

Shawn originally becomes known as a psychic when, after calling in a tip on a crime covered on the news, the police become suspicious of his knowledge. Theorizing that such knowledge could only come from the inside, they are about to arrest him when he uses his observations to convince all present 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, he makes the most of it. 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 Gus, a pharmaceutical representative, over his eclectic interests.

Head detective Lassiter doubts Shawn's psychic abilities and initially does not value his work, while junior detective O'Hara and Chief Vick either fail to recognize that Shawn is a fake, or are more willing to go along with the charade to solve cases. Henry Spencer and Shawn have a difficult relationship; still Henry unwillingly helps Shawn on numerous occasions.

Recurring characters

Police officer Buzz McNab, played by Sage Brocklebank, has appeared a number of times throughout the show. He is a naive but lovable cop who often provides Shawn and Gus with clues. He also adopts a 'little boy cat' (who is actually a girl cat) that once helped Shawn solve a case. In season 4 episode Shawn Gets The Yips, McNab was severely injured when a bomb went off in his mailbox while he was getting his mail. Later in the episode, he returned to work bandaged and on crutches, but alive; he remarked to Shawn and Gus that he had lost a few toes, though. McNab was last seen in the fall finale of season 4.

Cybill Shepherd appeared in the first two episodes of the third season and the season finale of the third season, as Shawn's mother and Henry's ex-wife, psychologist Madeleine Spencer.

Rachael Leigh Cook plays Shawn's high school crush, Abigail Lytar. She appears in two Season 3 episodes and becomes a recurring character in season 4.

Pineapples are referenced in almost every episode. They appear to be Shawn Spencer's favorite fruit. USA Network also has "spot the pineapple" contests throughout the season.


The first season comprised fifteen episodes and ran on USA Network from July 7, 2006 to March 2, 2007.

The second season, comprising sixteen episodes, began airing on July 13, 2007. The second half of season 2 began on January 11, 2008, with the season finale airing on February 15, 2008.

The third season, comprising sixteen episodes, began airing on July 19, 2008 with the mid-season break episode (which was Christmas themed) airing on November 28, 2008. The second half of the season 3 began on January 9, 2009, with the season finale airing February 20, 2009.

Psych's fourth season, which was announced October 10, 2008, premiered on August 7, 2009. The ninth episode, or "fall finale" aired on October 16, 2009. New episodes for season 4 will resume starting January 27, 2010.

Season Episodes Premiere Date End Date
Season 1 15 July 7, 2006 March 2, 2007
Season 2 16 July 13, 2007 February 15, 2008
Season 3 16 July 18, 2008 February 20, 2009
Season 4 16 August 7, 2009 March 10, 2010
Season 5 16 Summer 2010 TBA

Production information

The show uses White Rock, British Columbia, Canada for its arid Santa Barbara, California setting. Psych also incorporates Vancouver and various locations around the Lower Mainland of British Columbia as a backdrop. The terrain portrayed in the series is very green and marked by bays and islands. 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. USA also offers a contest for each episode online in which you have to see the episode and find the "hidden pineapple" and submit your entry online.

Theme song

The theme song for Psych is "I Know You Know" by The Friendly Indians, series creator Steve Franks' band. Some episodes in Season 3 and 4 use the extended full-length version of "I Know You Know", but most episodes use the usual, shortened version.


  • Re-done in Season 2 with a Christmas theme for the episode "Gus' Dad May Have Killed an Old Guy" (episode 10) and used again for Season 3 episode "Christmas Joy" (episode 9).
  • Sung in Spanish for Season 2's "Lights, Camera, Homicidio" (episode 13).
  • Expanded into Bollywood-themed version of the song sung in Hindi in Season 4 episode "Bollywood Homicide" (episode 6).
  • Boyz II Men performed an a cappella version of the theme for Season 4's "High Top Fade Out" (episode 7).


Critical reaction and 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 (households, P18-49, P25-54, and total viewers), according to a USA Network press release, quoted from the Futon Critic.

From the San Jose Mercury News:
James Roday (Miss Match) is utterly charming and delightfully funny as Shawn Spencer (who may not be psychic but who does have wonderful powers of observation), and he gets fine support from Corbin Bernsen (L.A. Law) as his cop father and Dulé Hill (The West Wing) as his Dr. Watson-esque sidekick.

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
"Psych" is one of those happy collisions of an intelligent script and an appealing cast. Roday's a charmer, nice looking but more charismatic than pretty, and ably paired with West Wing alumnus Dulé Hill, who plays Shawn's ultra-responsible childhood friend Gus.

Nominations and awards

Psych was the winner of an Independent Investigations Group Annual Award for Excellence in Entertainment for advancing the cause of science and exposing superstition (2006).

James Roday was nominated for a 2006 Satellite Award for Best Actor - TV Series Musical or Comedy. In 2009, the series was nominated for the Ewwy Award for Best Comedy Series.

DVD releases

Title Ep # Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season One 15 June 26, 2007 April 24, 2008 April 30, 2008
Season Two 16 July 11, 2008 December 25, 2009 TBA
Season Three 16 July 21, 2009 TBA TBA
Season Four 16 TBA 2010 TBA TBA


William Rabkin has written and published two novels based on the series and is in the process of writing a third. The novels are written in third person narrative style and are notable for retaining the original energy of the show.

  1. Psych: A Mind is A Terrible Thing to Read
  2. Psych: Mind Over Magic
  3. Psych: The Call of the Mild (to be released Jan. 2010)


  1. Season 1, episode 11: "My heightened observational skills are considered a gift by most, but I'm here to tell you, they can be a burden."
  4. Psych TV Series News
  5. [1]
  6. the futon critic - the web's best primetime television resource
  8. On TV: Future holds a lot of fun for 'Psych' viewers
  9. IIG - 08/09/2007 Press Release
  10. The IIG Awards
  12. Psych: A Mind is A Terrible Thing to Read Novel at
  13. Psych: Mind over Magic Novel at
  14. Psych: The Call of the Mild Novel at

External links

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