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Psych is an American comedy-drama television series. The show stars James Roday as Shawn Spencer, a young police consultant for the Santa Barbara, California Police Department (SBPD) whose "heightened observational skills" and impressive detective instincts allow him to convince people that he is psychic. The program also stars Dulé Hill as Shawn's best friend, straight man and reluctant partner Gus, 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. "Psych debuted July 7, 2006 and was the highest-rated U.S. basic cable television premiere of 2006.


Shawn Spencer

Portrayed by Shawn Spencer and as a child, Liam James. He is a fake psychic who works with the SBPD and is known for his weird psychic "episodes" and humour.

Burton "Gus" Guster

Portrayed by Dule Hill and as a child, Isaah Brown (Season 1) and Carlos McCullers II ( Season 2).
He is Shawn's best friend and partner and works in pharmaceuticals. He is known for his mature attitude and his "smelling" ability.

Carlton Lassiter

Portrayed by Timothy Omundsen. He is the head detective for the SBPD and is known for his "dry sense" of humour and dislike for Shaun.

Juliet O'Hara

Portrayed by Maggie Lawson. She is a junior detective for the SBPD and Lassiter's partner.

Karen Vick

Portrayed by Kirsten Nelson. She is the interim chief for the SBPD.

Henry Spencer

Portrayed by Corbin Bernsen. He is Shawn's father and a former police detective.


A well-liked policeman portrayed by Sage Brocklebank. Not a main character.

Psychic Ability

In flashbacks, we see that Henry Spencer assumed his son would follow in his footsteps, and become a law officer. In preparation, Henry helps Shawn hone his powers of observation and deduction, often using games and challenges to test 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 Gus, a socially awkward pharmaceutical representative, over his eclectic interests (including a love for comic books and superheroes, spelling bees, astronomy, and Spanish-language soap operas).


Main Article: List of Psych Episodes

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

The second season of Psych began airing on July 13, 2007. The second half of season 2 began on January 11, 2008.

Psych was renewed for a third season of sixteen episodes starting in the summer of 2008.


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 showed) are actually filmed in Santa Barbara.

Reception and Awards

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 according to a USA Network press release.

From The Mercury News:

James Roday 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.

Psych is rated 33rd in TV.Com's "Top Rated TV Shows" and has won several nominations and awards such as the Independent Investigations Group Annual Award for Excellence in Entertainment in 2006.

DVD Releases

Season 1 has been released on DVD. Region 1 was released on June 26th 2007 and the Region 2 version is due to be released on April 7th 2008.