‘Psych’ sleuth duo brings pineapple, wit back to USA

Danielle Wallace

With the return of portable palm trees, pineapples and dynamic, slightly spiked hair — or an equally excellent lack thereof — USA’s comedic mystery series, “Psych,” is looking ahead to a second half as it returns to the network for the rest of its fifth season.

The black sheep in the ongoing trend of detective and crime-solving shows (“The Mentalist,” “CSI”), “Psych” brings something rare to the screen; a refreshing take on a well-populated genre and light-hearted, occasionally absurd humor that serves as a departure from others that have consistently taken a deeply serious approach to crime solving.

While the jokes and dialogue within each episode can be hard to follow at times, the show never fails to stand strong against less comedic competitors with complicated and diverse storylines. The show also provides a look at unique characters and their developing relationships.

James Roday returns as “psychic” detective Shawn Spencer, whose Sherlock Holmes-like powers of observation allow him to trick the Santa Barbara Police Department into believing he truly has supernatural abilities. His often-reluctant partner in crime solving, Burton “Gus” Guster, also returns thanks to Dulé Hill, as he lends a smooth baritone and tap-dancing skills to the dynamic duo that has been lighting up USA for the last five years.

The first episode of the rest of the season premiered last week; a sequel to the actual season premiere. The show remains accessible for long-time viewers and new fans alike as “Psych” opens up to a broader audience, seen recently when Roday, Hill, Franks and more brought the PSYCH College Tour to UT on Nov. 3.

The sheer number of guest stars that are featured from episode to episode help boost the show’s versatility. While a structure of gags, crime solving and twists has been consistent throughout the series, five years of colorful characters have let the show develop characters over time as well as provide a new experience to guests, according to actor Dulé Hill.

“Most of the time they get to do something they don’t usually do, and there’s a lot of laughs,” Hill said.
The next episode will feature Nora Dunn of “Entourage,” as well as the return of Jerry Shea, a UT alumnus, as Ken. Viewers can expect a throwback to “Scooby Doo”-style mysteries as Shawn and Gus witness a murder on a haunted ride that causes locals to believe that a vengeful ghost must be on the loose.

From there, viewers can expect a slew of guest actors as well as famous film-inspired episodes to spice up the new-classic combination of psychic detective Shawn and Gus.

“I want the show to have more action and to seem more like a regular detective show. We do silly cases, but also we’re doing a ‘Twin Peaks’ episode,” said creator, writer and executive producer Steve Franks. “We like to do three or four serious cases, three or four ridiculous cases and three or four movie worlds we like.”

Episodes soon to come will include not only a tribute to the ’90s television mystery, but will also feature Ralph Macchio, the original “Karate Kid.”

“Psych” brings a Californian brightness to more recent crime shows with two well-developed and humorous characters with chemistry as powerful as the Holmes-Watson combination that made “Sherlock Holmes” a literary classic. Since the USA network has made the wise decision to pick up “Psych” for another season, audiences won’t have to worry about a shortage of quick quips, popular cultural references and, of course, crime solving.