Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The weekly, hour-long detective dramedy Psych made its USA network bow on July 7, 2006, right after the fifth-season opener of the thematically similar Monk. James Roday starred as Shawn Spencer, the genial "slacker" son of no-nonsense police officer Henry Spencer (Corbin Bernsen). Relentlessly trained from an early age to recognize the smallest and most minute clues at a given crime scene, Shawn developed a photographic memory, which he generally used to coast through life and avoid honest work. Hoping to gain a bit of prestige as a police consultant, Henry made the mistake of providing so much "inside" evidence that at one point he was accused of being a perpetrator. In his efforts to wriggle out of this dilemma, Shawn managed to convince the authorities that he possessed psychic powers (which he most certainly did not), and as such became a permanent "troubleshooter" for the Santa Barbera police department, answerable to interim police chief Karen Vick (Kristen Nelson) -- who, luckily, was an old friend of Shawn's father. Grudgingly partnered with our hero was hard-bitten detective Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson), who harbored serious doubts about Shawn's psychic prowess, and Lassiter's co-worker Juliet O'Hara (Maggie Lawson), a gung-ho, ebullient type who believed every word that Shawn said. Also on hand was Shawn's best friend and confidante, Gus (Dulé Hill), an overcautious type who resented being continually thrust into harm's way, but who couldn't hide his fascination with various aspects of crime and crime-solving. In a clever directorial gimmick, viewers at home "saw" and "memorized" the various clues in each episode through Shawn's eyes, via freeze-frame and zoom lens. A few episodes of Psych were seen on the over-the-air NBC network beginning July 14, 2006.