It’s been a long, strange, pineapple-filled journey for Shawn and Gus, and tonight, it all comes to an end. USA will air the series finale of long-time police comedy Psych at 9 EST, followed immediately by a live series recap with the cast and crew titled Psych After PShow. For fans of the show, aptly named “Psych-Os”, the episode promises to be a fulfilling one. Though last week’s horror-themed episode “A Nightmare on State Street” provided little context or setup for the final episode, the series finale will no doubt solve the series-lasting mystery of whether Shawn will get caught in his fake-psychic detective lie.
Psych aired on the USA Network eight seasons ago to little fanfare but with a solid concept. Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his best friend Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill) would utilize Shawn’s enhanced powers of perception to solve crimes partnered with the Santa Barbara Police Department, eventually creating a psychic detective agency with the titular name “Psych.” The comedy was evident, but the drama in the series grew season after season as Shawn played with fire multiple times with his psychic-shtick, forcing him to confess the lie to one member of the Santa Barbara police force (his girlfriend, Juliet O’Hara, played by Maggie Lawson). Now, Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson), arch foe of Shawn and Gus and newly appointed Chief of Police, is the only remaining major character that does not realize Shawn’s “psychic episodes” are all an act.
The show quickly became a staple of USA’s television lineup, drawing over 4 million viewers in its heyday, with many of them in the coveted 18-24 age group. Fans of the show are also the most active on Facebook and Twitter, with the show’s Facebook page earning 2.8 million fans and the Twitter account with over 200 thousand followers. Social media became a part of the show’s appeal, having viewers solve crimes on Twitter using hashtags or playing “Spot the Pineapple” in every episode, often times to earn prizes and props from the show itself. The show’s creator Steve Franks believes that the show appealed to both parents and their kids, calling the show “a giant play land, equal parts ridiculous and surprising.”
Unfortunately for their fans, all good things must come to an end. A drop in viewers, down to 1.7 million this season, no doubt played a part in ending the long-running series, but according to Franks, he is glad to have the opportunity to put together a series-finale episode, rather than the quick cancellation fate that many other television shows suffer.
“It did everything a finale is supposed to do without sacrificing the spirit of Psych,” said Franks in discussing “The Breakup”, the show’s final episode. “It was sort of the perfect balance between an ending and a celebration of what people tuned in to watch every week.”
Franks promises that the series finale episode airing tonight will not be an abrupt end to Shawn and Gus and their adventures, preferring to leave the audience guessing what happens to the comedy duo off-screen, even as the credits roll. The episode will also allow the possibility of a Psych movie in the future, an idea that Franks and the series crew have been hinting at and toying with since the show’s second season.
By Jonathan Gardner