In Santa Barbara, California, homicide cases abound so, an irreverent psychic and his partner take the opportunity to sneak into the investigation. They are welcomed by the head of the police department, Karen Vick, but frowned upon by the grumpy detective Lassiter.
Who we’re talking about? Isn’t it obvious? Shawn Spencer and Burton “Gus” Guster are ready to open their detective agency: Psych.
Friends for the investigation
It is a morning like any other. Shawn is dozing after a night spent watching movies and gorging on candy when annoyed Gus comes to wake him up: someone has committed a new murder, the police department needs them. Time to wipe his face and get to work.
Gus and Shawn have known each other since childhood. Always best friends, they share a deep brotherly bond that makes them unique and inimitable. Shawn spurs Gus with his lazy but reckless temper; Gus puts a stop to Shawn with his precise rationality, colored from time to time by a hint of panic.
Together they can solve any mystery, one shoulder to the other. Almost symbiotically dependent on their friendship, they are not stingy with jokes and quarrels, always crowned by that mutual respect that makes them a real team. So when Shawn decides to infiltrate the police department as a “psychic” to make the most of his exceptional deductive abilities, Gus, despite his hesitation, can’t help but stand up to him.
Thus begins the great adventure of Psych that, since its debut in 2006, has made us laugh while always keeping us on our toes, thanks to the skill of the two leading actors, James Roday and Dulé Hill.
Clues from the past
What has always made Psych episodes unique is their structure. In fact, each episode opens with flashbacks to Shawn’s childhood. His moody relationship with his father took root precisely in that period, when he was a child, so the past seems to haunt him. The life lessons that Henry Spencer was trying to educate his son with, only pushed him away from him, but at the same time gave him the shrewd insight with which he made his way into the police department.
Very often it is thanks to these flashbacks that, through unlikely clues from the past, he manages to find the right solution in the present. That brilliant and somewhat “mystical” solution that always manages to amaze the beautiful detective Juliette O’Hara (Maggie Lawson) and that upsets the self-esteem of detective Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson).
Over the seasons, Shawn’s flashbacks become more and more recent and less frequent, until they disappear completely in the last season. Is this a sign that that childhood trauma has finally disappeared? Things are getting better, he is happy, Gus is happy, and the relationship with his father has now been restored. But what can this mean for the investigation? The scam about his psychic powers is thinning, the truth is perhaps about to come out.
Sarcasm and irony between crimes and guilty
This show is not like any crime drama. Psych was able to revolutionize this genre, giving it a prominent character. Gus and Shawn never take themselves too seriously; this is demonstrated by the pineapple, the undisputed darling of the series, a fruit that appears hidden somewhere in every episode, so much to trigger a “pineapple hunt” by the fans.
Shawn’s out-of-the-box jokes hit the mark, just as Gus’s frowns made millions of viewers laugh, along with Detective Lassiter’s indignation. The detective cases attracted the attention of the public, but it was only thanks to the talent of the actors and the unconventional script that he remained. With its uniqueness, Psych has been able to give emotions, lightness and laughter, and for this reason it is fully part of the Old But Gold column.
In conclusion, as Shawn once said:
We don’t take orders. Apart to be idiots. Or to pronounce words with zee!