- Series Title: Psych
- Season: Season 6
- Episodes: 16 Episodes
- Discs: 4
- Network: USA (Universal)
- Cast: James Roday, Dulé Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Corbin Bernsen
- Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1
Psych is a fun show. Psych, along with shows such as Monk, Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, and White Collar were part of USA Network’s character-centric set of series. All these shows emphasized characters, and had less emphasis on plot, which gave them a very 1980s-feel. I was a fan of Psych when it started, and only lost track of it during the last few seasons because my family switched satellite TV providers and I lost several episodes with the DVR then lost track of where USA Network was on the new system. Throw in USA Network’s unconventional scheduling and the show disappeared off the radar for me. But I always liked it.
I finally decided to sit down and watch Psych, in part because I was in the mood for exactly what this show offered – something light and fun, and character-driven. And Psych delivers – this show is fun, just plain fun. If you’ve never seen it, Shawn Spencer was raised by his divorced father, a cop for the Santa Barbara police department. His father, Henry Spencer, was tough but fair, and taught his son to be incredibly observant – as well as to be analytical. Shawn puts his skills to good work, well, sort of – no one would believe he was simply “observant”, so on his first case he tells the police he’s a psychic. This, six seasons in, Shawn’s psychic visions are accepted by the Santa Barbara police department – namely Police Chief Karen Vick, and the two detectives Shawn helps: Carlton Lassiter and Juliet O’Hara. As season six opens, Shawn and Juliet are now openly dating. Gus (Burton Guster) is Shawn’s best friend, since childhood. Shawn and Gus also operate a “Psychic Detective Agency” called “Psych”. Shawn’s father, Henry, still working as a detective for the SBPD rounds out the cast. The show also uses flashbacks to Shawn’s childhood. This season features one episode with flashbacks to Juliet’s childhood, as it brings in Juliet’s father played by William Shatner.
Psych is highly episodic – you coud dip in at any point and not really be confused. I started with this season, having not seen the show for a few years, and I really wasn’t confused at all. Season 6 is also the Season of Guest stars, with a number of well-known actors showing up. However, the series seems better in episodes without famous guest stars, when it focuses on our core characters. This season also takes Shawn, Gus, Juliet, and Lassiter to a number of different settings or movie-related themes: a triple-A baseball park, a murder committed in front of a murder mystery bookstore, Shawn going undercover in a psychiatric hospital to discover if a suspect found “not guilty by reason of insanity” is faking or not (answer: it’s complicated), a vampire case (not really), references to Indiana Jones, references to The Shining, and the final episode, Santabarbaratown, among others. Lassiter meets a woman on a case and falls for her – despite having to arrest her as an accomplice to burglary and manslaughter.
The final episode, Santabarbaratown, feels like a New-Noir story, involving one of Henry’s old cold cases. It gets into Henry’s past as a cop, his former partners, and other cops. And it ends with not-going-to-spoil-it cliffhanger last scene for the season. Needless to say, it’s brilliant.
Overall, Psych is always fun to watch, and this season is no different. Bringing in lots of well-known guest stars feels like a bit of a cheat – a way to bring in new audiences, but the show is still enjoyable. As I said at the beginning of this review, the USA Network character shows feel like a show from the 1980s – episodic, fun to watch, character-driven; but unlike the shows from the 1980s – USA Network’s shows have at least some diversity with women and minorities in the casts; maybe not as much diversity as on the CW, or as we would like, but it’s better than the all-male casts of the shows I grew up watching, like The A-Team, Magnum, PI, and Riptide. Season 6 of Psych is Recommended.