Murder returning to Santa Barbara in new season of ‘Psych’

| Cadenza Reporter

James Roday as Shawn (left) and Dulé Hill as Gus return for season 6 of “Psych.”Alan Zenuk | USA

James Roday as Shawn (left) and Dulé Hill as Gus return for season 6 of “Psych.”

Last Wednesday marked the return of “Psych,” USA Network’s original comedy about a fake psychic working for the Santa Barbara police department.

The show revolves around Shawn Spencer, the pop-culture obsessed son of a former detective. His father taught him amazing observational and reasoning skills, skills that make him an incredible detective.

He is so good, in fact, that when he figured out a crime based solely on information from the local news, the police department brought him in for questioning, assuming that his perfect knowledge required him to be the one that actually committed the crime.

To save himself, Shawn claimed he was a psychic, and he has been working for the Santa Barbara police ever since.

This season will revolve around Shawn’s close misses in maintaining his lie as a psychic. In the first episode, he had to beat a lie detector test given by Carlton Lassiter, the police department’s head detective, who has suspected (but never been able to prove) Shawn’s lack of psychic aptitude.

The show’s real hilarity comes from Shawn’s inability to take any situation seriously. He constantly derides his colleagues and makes references to obscure ’80s movies. He makes up a fake name for Gus when they meet new characters. And when he uses his heightened observational skills to find a clue, he puts his hand to his head and says whatever comes to mind in order to get people to understand what he is talking about.

Each episode generally centers on some specific film or cultural reference. “Psych” had episodes based on “Jaws,” “Jurassic Park,” “The Mummy,” generic Bollywood films and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Shawn and Gus generally resolve conflicts with normal murder reasoning (as in someone faked an alien landing so they could get away with murder), but watching Shawn and Gus do all they can to try not to believe in alien abductions is fantastic.

The characters themselves are appealing—not just because of their attractiveness, but also because of the way the actors play their characters. Everyone manages to fit together in a surprising way. “Psych” also makes good use of guest characters and actors.

“Psych” is USA’s longest running show for good reason. Its casual combination of pop-culture (some of it so quick and obscure you won’t notice), witty jibing between Shawn and Gus and creative solutions to every murder has made it a big hit for the network.

It remains to be seen how long they can keep it going, but the show has remained consistently funny and interesting. “Psych” puts a great twist on the detective drama that most other shows have trouble topping.

Everyone should try watching “Psych.” The first five seasons are available on Hulu Plus and Netflix, and the sixth season runs on USA at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays. Go watch it. It’s funny.

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