AskDefine | Define psych

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


psych or psych.


  1. To put (someone) into a required psychological frame of mind.
  2. To intimidate (someone) emotionally using psychology.
  3. transitive informal To treat (someone) using psychoanalysis.

Derived terms

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Extensive Definition

Psych is an American comedy-drama television series created by Steve Franks and broadcast on USA Network. 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 Burton "Gus" Guster, 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. Reruns of the show will start airing along with Monk, another USA Network show Sundays on NBC at 8:00 PM, starting April 6, 2008. In the 2008 season, an animated segment was added to the series entitled "The Big Adventures Of Little Shawn And Gus". Psych debuted July 7, 2006, immediately following the fifth season premiere of Monk. The show was the highest-rated U.S. basic cable television premiere of 2006.


Main characters

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 lifelong friend Gus, a pharmaceutical representative, over his eclectic interests (including a love for comic books and superheroes, spelling bees, astronomy, and Spanish-language soap operas).
Head detective Lassiter doubts Shawn's psychic abilities and generally does not value his work, while junior detective O'Hara and chief Vick fail to recognize that Shawn is a fake. Henry Spencer and Shawn have a difficult relationship; still Henry helps Shawn on numerous occasions.

Recurring characters

Police officer Buzz McNab, played by Sage Brocklebank, is a naive but lovable cop who often provides Shawn and Gus with clues.

Former characters

Detective Lucinda Barry (portrayed by Anne Dudek) was partnered with Head Detective Carlton Lassiter for nearly a year; five months after Lassiter's separation from his wife, Barry and Lassiter became involved in a relationship of their own, though Barry wanted to keep it quiet so that their colleagues wouldn't think she was "climbing the ladder the hard way."
Det. Barry seemed amenable to the arrival of Shawn Spencer, helping him covertly when he needed information about the McCallum disappearance. Soon after, however, Barry transferred out of the SBPD, at least partially to be closer to her mother who was recovering from an industrial accident. Whether her relationship with Lassiter played any part in the transfer is yet unknown. She was replaced by Jr. Det. Juliet O'Hara. Although she and Shawn seemed to get along very well in the first episode, he moved on very quickly to Juliet as soon as she was transferred, and he revealed to Gus that he prefers Juliet.
While her name was never given in the pilot episode, the episode summary lists her as "Lucinda," and Lassiter reveals her last name as "Barry" on his blog (though he also refers to her first name as "Lucinda").


The first season comprised fifteen episodes and ran on USA Network from July 7, 2006 to March 2, 2007.
The second season of Psych comprised sixteen episodes which began airing on July 13, 2007. The second half of season 2 began on January 11, 2008, with the season finale aired on February 15, 2008.
Psych was renewed for a third season of sixteen episodes starting July 18, 2008. Season seven of Monk will premiere right before it.

Production information

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. The animated Segments "The Big Adventures Of Little Shawn And Gus" were created by J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc.. The music, effects and sound design for "The Big Adventures Of Little Shawn And Gus" were created by Fred Weinberg.

Theme Song

The theme song for Psych is "I Know You Know" by The Friendly Indians, series creator Steve Franks' band. It has been re-done with a Christmas theme, as well as sung in Spanish.


Critical reaction and ratings

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 (households, P18-49, P25-54, and total viewers), according to a USA Network press release, quoted from the Futon Critic.
From the San Jose Mercury News:
James Roday (Miss Match) 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.
From Entertainment Weekly:
It's nonsensical, relies heavily on the likability of its leads to distract from thin plots, and won't leave much of a lasting impression. So why bother with a show that's the detective-series equivalent of Cannonball Run? Because as the CSIs and 24 go ever more gory, watching people who are clearly having a good time solve light mysteries makes a nice change.

Nominations and awards

Psych was the winner of an Independent Investigations Group Annual Award for Excellence in Entertainment for advancing the cause of science and exposing superstition (2006).

International broadcasters


External links

psych in German: Psych
psych in Spanish: Psych
psych in French: Psych
psych in Italian: Psych
psych in Hungarian: Psych – Dilis detektívek
psych in Dutch: Psych
psych in Portuguese: Psych
psych in Chinese: 灵异妙探

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

agitate, answer, bottom, bug, clear up, convulse, crack, debug, decipher, decode, discompose, disentangle, distract, disturb, divine, do, dope, dope out, embroil, explain, fathom, figure out, find out, find the answer, find the solution, get, get right, guess, guess right, have it, hit it, interpret, make out, open the lock, perturb, plumb, psych out, puzzle out, ravel, ravel out, resolve, riddle, solve, sort out, spook, throw, throw into confusion, trouble, undo, unlock, unravel, unriddle, unscramble, unsettle, untangle, untwist, unweave, upset, work, work out
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