USA Network’s Psych (Wednesdays, 10/9C) returns for its seventh season with the conclusion to the season six cliffhanger that saw fake psychic Shawn’s father shot by a dirty cop. Santa Barbaratown 2, Lethal Weapon 5 pokes fun at buddy cop movies while moving quickly away from the drama of Henry’s shooting. It may not be the show’s best season premiere, but it does show that no one connected to the show is phoning it in. Hit or miss, Psych is still swinging for the fences.
With Henry (Corbin Bernsen) lying in a hospital bed, Shawn (James Roday) sets out to nail his shooter, crooked cop Joe Carp (Max Gail) – frequently in ways that disturb his best friend and fellow quasi PI, Gus (Dule´ Hill) more than usual.
The complicated plot includes a bestselling author/philanthropist (Oliver Muirhead) who may be more than he appears; an undercover FBI Agent (Jake Busey), wingate, whose operation has uncovered less in six months than Shawn figures out in three hours; the return of Hank’s gorgeous but oblivious stalker, Chelsea (Arden Myrin); a gun range; unexpected help from Detective Lassiter – ‘Lassie’ (Timothy Omundson); mixed messages from Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson) and the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for Shawn.
Some highlights: Lassie’s reaction to a hidden bunker filled with all kinds of weaponry; the first words out of Henry’s mouth when the tubes are removed; the fate of the Blueberry; Chief Vick’s private conversation with Shawn, and Shawn getting to break a lot of stuff.
The season premiere is fast-paced, action-filled and almost as delirious as sleepless Shawn. Everyone involved is clearly having a lot of fun. The script, by series creator Steve Franks and Bill Callahan, takes the pi$$ out of Lethal Weapon-type buddy cop movies while very much maintaining the generally smart loopiness that has endearing Psych to its fans.
Director Mel Damski ramps up the pace to near Tex Avery levels but spares a few beats for romance and drama, never forgetting that this is high farce. Not all the gags land – in fact about a third don’t really work – but considering the sheer number of bits, the ep is still pretty satisfying.
Santa Barbaratown 2, Lethal Weapon 5 features some of Hill and Omundson’s – Omundson, especially, gets some moments that rank up with his Lassie-centric ep that introduced his love interest, Marlowe (Kristy Swanson) whom, it should be noted, will be back this season. Busey is also terrific as the put upon FBI guy who can’t believe this small-time psychic has learned more in three hours than he has in six months. Somehow, Roday continues to make Shawn’s fake psychic schtick work, but he’s still a bit weak in the more dramatic moments.
Overall, the seventh season premiere of Psychic is a winner and you don’t have to be psychic to figure that out.
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Photo by Alan Zenuk/Courtesy of USA Network