Psych-O for Psych – My Top 15 Episodes, Part 1

One of my all-time favorite programs ends this week – the USA Network’s Psych.
What is Psych? This one hour television series masterfully combines the classic police procedural and detective drama with quirky laughs and top-notch pop culture references.

To celebrate what I consider to be one of the best television shows EVER, I have decided to list my top 15 Psych episodes to help everyone get ready for the end… the end of “psychic” Shawn Spencer (James Roday), his right-hand-man, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dule Hill), Detectives Carlton “Lassie” Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) and Juliet “Jules” O’Hara (Maggie Lawson), and Shawn’s retired detective father, Henry Spencer (Corbin Bernsen).

This selection process was difficult, considering how many times the Psych writers and actors have knocked the ball WAY OUT of the park. But we selected our top 15, nonetheless.

Sit back, relax, and grab a cup of coffee or perhaps a tasty pineapple – this is a long post, but couldn’t be avoided. Enjoy!

And now for episodes 8 – 15…

*****

15. “Shawn Takes a Shot in the Dark” (Season 4)

While investigating a case sans Gus, Shawn finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time… and is kidnapped. Not only that, but the bad guys shoot him. As his life hangs in the balance, he uses the skills his father has taught him over the years and he leaves as many clues as possible so his friends can find him. Everyone works together—Henry and Lassie partner up, as do Jules and Gus. Pretending to believe his life is coming to an end, Shawn convinces the kidnappers to let him call his girlfriend; but instead of calling his girlfriend (Abigail, played by Rachael Leigh Cook from She’s All That), he calls Jules.

Granted, this episode takes place before Shawn and Jules profess their love for one another… up until this point, their relationship was a bit of a back-and-forth game with one on board, while the other was not. But this episode gave viewers what they wanted at the time—Shawn’s and Jules’ true feelings were revealed. Very intense episode…

14. “Heeeeere’s Lassie” (Season 6)

When the team investigates an apparent hanging at a local apartment building, Lassie jumps at the chance to purchase the newly available condo. But in a tribute to the 1980 classic horror film, The Shining, spooky things keep him up late at night… including two older twin sisters and a small boy riding his big wheels through the hallways. With Shawn and Gus armed and dressed like the Ghostbusters, they spend the night in the apartment, hoping to rid Lassie’s new place from all things evil. Be sure to pay special attention to Dule Hill and his spot-on impressions of The Shining’s Shelley Duvall…

Need some ‘80s pop culture? Louis Gossett, Jr. (from the popular ‘80s Hollywood blockbusters An Officer and a Gentleman, Jaws 3-D, and Iron Eagle) guest stars as the building manager.

13. “Let’s Get Hairy” (Season 4)

Psych “Let’s Get Hairy” (Season 4)

For the most part, our favorite “Psych” consultants work cases for the Santa Barbara Police Department… but every once in a while, a stranger walks in off the street needing their help. And since Shawn and Gus always need the money, they rarely, if ever, turn someone away—regardless of how crazy the request. So when a man (Josh Malina, Scandal, and also Dule Hill’s West Wing co-star) hires them to watch him transform into a werewolf, Shawn and Gus oblige. Of course they don’t really take him seriously and they fall asleep on the job, literally, only to discover their client missing when they wake up. But it’s not just that—a window is shattered and they discover animal hair.

Psych once again pays tribute to another ‘80s classic (An American Werewolf in London) in this episode with guest star David Naughton (the “American Werewolf” from the 1981 film), as well as the memorable balloon scene from the movie.

12. “Tuesday the 17th” (Season 3)

What do we get when we cross the classic horror films Friday the 13th and April Fool’s Day? “Tuesday the 17th” of course!

Co-written by the man who plays Shawn Spencer himself, James Roday masterfully crafted this spooky episode, combining elements from both movies… from the client, appropriately named Jason Cunningham (played by Mackenzie Astin, from The Facts of Life)—Jason, from Jason Voorhees, and Cunningham, from the Friday the 13th director, Sean Cunningham—to the staged and fake murders that “fooled” Shawn, leading to a big celebration by all involved in the joke… until a “real” body is found floating in the lake. Brilliant episode!

Oh, and keeping with the ‘80s pop culture, Justine Bateman (Family Ties) also guest stars as Lassie’s ex-wife.

11. “Extradition II: The Actual Extradition Part” (Season 5)

Because we love our readers, we have to rewind to season four for just a minute. In “Extradition: British Columbia”, Shawn and Gus begin tracking an art thief (Pierre Despereaux played by Cary Elews) in Canada; an art thief that Lassie has tracked for years, but never successfully captured.

Fast-forwarding to season five, Despereaux needs Shawn and Gus’ help and pays for them to travel back to Canada, just before his extradition to the United States. In the meantime, the suave criminal escapes prison and is wrongfully accused of murder, leaving Shawn no choice but to investigate.

The Despereaux storyline is a fun one to return to, but “Extradition II: The Actual Extradition Part” is perhaps included in the top 15 because Shawn finally professes his love to Jules at the end of the episode. And when we say finally, we mean finally. It took us five seasons for him to admit his feelings for her.

10. “Last Night Gus” (Season 6)

Psych “Last Night Gus” (Season 6)

“Last Night Gus” (Psych’s version of The Hangover) may have been one of the most enjoyable hours of the first half of season six. After a night of apparently partying too hard, Shawn, Gus, Lassiter, and Woody (the coroner) wake up not remembering the night before. Why is Lassie’s gun missing bullets? Why did Henry wake up across town in a hotel room, sans pants? What is the white powdery substance on Woody’s face? Why is Shawn wearing a dead man’s sandals? Why is “The Blueberry” (Gus’ car) dented?

Using Shawn’s “psychic” ability and Henry and Lassie’s detective skills, the group of men follow one clue after another, leading them to discover what really happened… and that “last night Gus” was a bit out of his element.

9. “The Devil’s in the Details… and the Upstairs Bedroom” (Season 4)

Shawn and Gus take the case of a college girl’s apparent suicide after one of her professors (Father Westley, played by the great Ray Wise) pleads with them to investigate, believing the girl to have been possessed by demons. Why not? It’s a Catholic University…

Psych “The Devil’s in the Details… and the Upstairs Bedroom” (Season 4)

Shawn never believes the girl’s death to be more than suicide, but “plays along” until he actually discovers there was indeed foul play involved. And when the Father is suspected of killing the girl, Shawn dedicates himself to prove the Holy Man’s innocence.

This was a bit of Heaven for former Twin Peaks fans… Leland Palmer (Ray Wise), playing a priest, accused of murdering a young girl? Too fun…

8. “This Episode Sucks” (Season 6)

What more needs said about “This Episode Sucks” besides: vampires, Corey Feldman, and Kristy Swanson? Exactly… but we will, just because.

When a body is discovered drained of blood in a parking lot, Shawn immediately believes vampires were involved. He and Gus dress the part and visit a cult-like bar where all of the patrons dress and perhaps believe that they are indeed vampires.

Remember the pop culture references mentioned above? Again, fantastic writing and attention to detail comes into play as Shawn and Gus approach the bartender to question him regarding the murder. As the bartender turns to face the “Psych” detectives, “Cry Little Sister” (the theme song from The Lost Boys) plays louder and louder until – Duh Duh Duh DUNNNNNN — Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman) turns to face them.

Also in this episode, Lassie meets a woman (Kristy Swanson, formerly Buffy the Vampire Slayer) who the rest of the gang believes is involved in the murder. Is she a vampire? Probably not… but has Lassie finally found love? Maybe…

*****

Come back tomorrow for my top 7 episodes!

Do you watch Psych? What’s your favorite episode? I’d love to hear from you!

*****

Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery Football Sweetheart series available on Kindle and Nook.  She is available for contact via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or via email at tiffany {at} tiffanyawhite {dot} com.

 

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4 Responses to Psych-O for Psych – My Top 15 Episodes, Part 1

  1. Awhile back I think you reported that Chicago PD was going to be dropped. Do you know if that’s still the case. Now that the Internal Affairs bitch has been pretty much outted, I’d sure like to see it keep going – at least until Voight can triumph over her.

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