Psych

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
Psych series.jpg

Gus: You named your fake detective agency "Psych"? As in "gotcha"? Why didn't you just call it "Hey, we're fooling you and the police department; hope we don't make a mistake and somebody dies because of it"?

Shawn: First of all, Gus, that name is entirely too long; it would never fit on the window. And secondly, the best way you convince people you're not lying to them is to tell them you are!
from the pilot episode

Shawn Spencer was drilled from childhood by his father, a police officer, to have a strict attention to detail and other detective skills. As a result, Shawn effectively possesses a Photographic Memory and the ability to observe and put together clues too subtle for the average person to pick up.

Unfortunately, as an adult Shawn is equal parts prankster and slacker with no real desire to apply himself in any normal occupation. So he employs his skills to identify criminals and their methods in the news and calls crime tip lines for the reward. This backfires on him when he is arrested as an accomplice. The police don't believe that he could have solved the crime from a two minute blurb on the news, so therefore he must be involved in the crime.

In order to avoid jail time and continue his lucrative-but-lazy crimebusting, Shawn tells the police he's a psychic. After a demonstration on several of the officers in the Santa Barbara Police Department, he is allowed on a case. After solving it, he opens up a detective agency and, to the perturbation of certain members of the Santa Barbara Police Department, Shawn and his best friend Burton "Gus" Guster help the police solve crimes assigned to them by Chief Karen Vick.

The two frequently collaborate with the real detectives Carlton "Lassie" Lassiter and Juliet "Jules" O'Hara. Lassiter finds Shawn unbearably annoying while Juliet is more civil to them and is Shawn's Romantic Interest.

Shawn's retired father Henry usually makes at least one appearance an episode, sometimes just in the Flash Back opening. Being that Henry taught him those skills, he is one of the few in on the con.

Psych is a show that doesn't take itself too seriously. Shawn and Gus frequently talk about their childhood, which includes numerous references to The Eighties and (increasingly) The Nineties. And with Shawn attempting to appear as a psychic whenever giving The Summation, he ends up doing comically inappropriate things when identifying a killer.

The Character Sheet can be found here.

Not to be confused with The Mentalist on CBS, a show with a similar premise that has been the frequent target of Take Thats and lampshading within the series.


Tropes used in Psych include:

A-H[edit | hide | hide all]

  • AB Negative: The culprit in "This Episode Sucks" was targeting people with O- blood because he suffered from a rare blood disorder and could no longer afford the frequent blood transfusions he needed. In the same episode, O- was referred to as "a rare blood type".
  • Abusive Parents: Although it's made very clear throughout the series that Henry loves Shawn dearly, some of the flashbacks (or real-time references to Shawn's past) are rather worrying. For instance, Henry taught young Shawn how to escape a locked car trunk...by locking him in a car trunk. Adult Shawn is also upset by the fact that when he was eight, Henry hid Shawn's Easter eggs by burying them five feet underground. Henry claims that he left loose dirt to indicate a fresh dig to make it easier. Shawn points out that this fresh dig was hidden under a camouflage tarp covered with bricks and broken glass.
  • Accidental Aesop: Invoked during the second season episode "Zero to Murder in Sixty Seconds," where Henry gives Shawn a piece of advice, which Shawn uses to solve the case. As Shawn is getting increasingly excited while putting it all together, Henry tries to stop him.

Henry: Shawn, don't you learn a wrong lesson while I'm trying to teach you a right one.

  • Accidental Pun: "You Daft Punk." Note: This was said by a Simon Cowell parody.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In season 6, episode 1, celebrity guest star Malcolm McDowell asks Shawn where he got his horrible British accents. Shawn responds, "I dunno, all the usual places I guess. Peter Pan. Geico Gecko. Phineas and Ferb's granddad." Phineas and Ferb's granddad is voiced by -- wait for it! -- Malcolm McDowell.
    • In "This Episode Sucks", Corey Feldman appears as the bartender in a Vampire Bar. As Sean, Gus and Juliet interview him, the music playing in the background is a remix of the theme from The Lost Boys (The other two notable guest stars in the episode were Kristy Swanson and Tom Lenk, both famous for different incarnations of Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
    • "Dual Spires" is an homage to Twin Peaks, and guest stars several members of the original cast as citizens of the titular town. The guest stars are Sherilyn Fenn, Sheryl Lee, Dana Ashbrook, Robyn Lively, Lenny Van Dohlen, Catherine E. Coulson, and Ray Wise.
    • John Rhys-Davies plays the museum curator in the Indiana Jones-inspired episode.
    • Ralph Macchio guest stars as the director of the police academy in "We'd Like to Thank the Academy." Shawn makes occasional references to his role as The Karate Kid; In one scene, he says "Yes, sensei," and later he says, "Well, don't just stand there and wax on about it."
    • In "One, Maybe Two Ways Out," Franka Potente guest stars as a secret agent on the run from her agency. This is a clear reference to her role in The Bourne Identity, and Shawn even makes reference to their adventure being like a Bourne film. This could also be a small reference to her earlier role in the film Run Lola Run.
  • Affectionate Parody: Many episodes. Particularly glaring is Dual Spires, parodying the quirky and bizarre characters and melodrama of the original series.
  • Affectionate Pickpocket: At the end of a Christmas Episode, a little girl/con artist thanks Shawn for helping her dad, and hugs him... and Shawn immediately asks for his wallet back.
    • Shawn then gives the girl's father some parenting advice. The father tried hugging Shawn, Shawn protested, and then asked for his wallet back. Again.
  • Always Murder: There have been a few exceptions. No one was murdered in the episodes "Gus Walks into a Bank," "Daredevils," or "American Duos" (though in that episode there were multiple attempted murders.)
    • In season 4, there were many episodes that did not revolve around solving a murder, though most did involve murder at some point. Still, not always murder.
    • The murder is now always on Wednesday
    • Heck, even a Sea Lion was murdered.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Subverted in the first episode. Shawn is suspected of complicity and has to come up with the psychic shtick to avoid jail because no one will believe he's just that observant naturally.
  • Ambiguously Bisexual: Shawn, though Jules is his main love interest.
    • Although, Shawn says he's never been one to chase balls.
    • Lassiter has been giving some hints towards that as well: in "A Very Juliet Episode," Lassie ducks under his desk when a female coworker walks by. When questioned about it, he explains that he made out with her at the last company picnic and was avoiding awkwardness. He then proceeds to duck again when a male coworker walks by.
      • "Musta been some picnic..."
    • Lassiter and the Coroner Woody in "Late Night Gus" was played for laughs.
  • Anachronic Order: Episodes begin with a flashback to Shawn's youth, wherein he's being trained by his father (or his grandfather is trying to help Shawn out from under the strict Henry's rules).
  • And That's Terrible: Every character shows great contempt at the mention of a drug dealer who sold a teenage athlete the drugs he overdosed on. The characters never show this much contempt, even at people who have attempted to kill them.
    • It's more the fact that the guy himself is horrible than his crime. The characters note at one point that during his trial, he turned around and winked at the family of the athlete.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: For some reason the guy that openly claims to be a psychic is a nut after he is quoted as believing a UFO sighting. Justified by the fact that Shawn regularly "proves" his psychic credentials with close to a 100% success, and even then Lassiter is still skeptical.
  • Ascended Meme: Shawn hits Gus with Ed Lover's "C'mon Son!" in an episode.
  • Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Shawn, in Ferry Tale, vehemently objects to going with Gus on an environmental trip. He forgets his complaints mid-rant when Gus gives him a Snickers bar. This works at least twice.
    • Also worth mentioning is the time he accidentally ingests speed during Dead Man's Curveball. In the middle of a conversation he becomes distracted by Gus's ear
  • Autopsy Snack Time: In one episode, Woody the creepy coroner is seen eating a bag of chips while performing an autopsy.
    • Taken Up to Eleven when we are introduced to Woody's ex-wife, a mortician, who brings strawberries and cream to the autopsy; in another instance, she brings homemade biscotti.
  • Awesome By Analysis: Shawn was drilled so often by his father that he can remember even minute details.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Pretty much every time that Shawn introduces Gus. Gus does it himself once or twice.

Gus: My name is Gus, but you can call me...John Slade.

    • Subverted just as often, also by Shawn.

Shawn: I'm Shawn Spencer, and this is my partner Lavender Gooms/Gi Buttersnaps/Coco Mickey.

  • Back for the Dead: Played straight with Despereaux in "Indiana Shawn," but then subverted.
  • The Barnum: Shawn, and given his circumstances, can you blame him?
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Practically every episode.
    • Perhaps most memorable in the first season, where Shawn manages to convince George Takei that he and Gus are George Takei's assistants.
  • Becoming the Mask: Juliet often has this problem undercover.
    • Shawn gets sucked up in the street racing culture in "Shawn and Gus in Drag (Racing)".
    • This happens to Gus in the episode "Black and Tan." It's justified, since it's more for a girl than anything, but he still acts like a model even when it's just him and Shawn.
    • We find out in "Shawn and Gus in Drag (Racing)" that he's still using the head oil years later.
  • Berserk Button: Implied on Lassiter's Twitter page that puppy mill owners did something to piss him off enough for him to commit uncharacteristic police brutality (though knowing Psych, it could have really have been an accident)
    • Lassie might also just be a huge animal lover.
    • He's also pretty defensive about Ronald Reagan's presidency.

Shawn: Punch me in the face!
Lassiter: I'm not going to--

Shawn: Ronald Reagan was a horrible President.

Lassiter: (without thinking) You son of a bitch! (BAM!)

  • Better Than a Bare Bulb: The amount of Lampshade Hanging and Affectionate Parody in the show is ridiculous.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Lassiter and Juliet pull one of these to catch the perp or to spring Shawn and Gus out of danger in practically every other episode.
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Mr. Yin Presents," the season 4 finale could definitely qualify. Juliet and Abigail barely saved from death, Shawn officially breaking up with Abigail, and Juliet suffering psychological trauma...yet they survived. Oh, and they didn't catch Yin, Mary died, and Yang's still insane.
    • Not to mention the voiceover from Yang along with that very strange picture.
  • Black Best Friend: Gus is a subversion. He's the Straight Man, not "hipper" than Shawn, and frequently objects to Shawn's schemes, but gets drawn inexorably into them anyway. A big reason why the show works.
  • Bling Bling Bang: A two-bit gangster in "I'd Like to Thank the Academy" uses a gold-plated pistol.
  • Book Dumb: Shawn, who is extremely clever and observant but doesn't apply those principles to his work-habits outside of the fake-psychic business. As a contrast Gus is less gifted but a better student with some TV Genius tendencies.
  • Boring Invincible Hero: Averted. Shawn is frequently right, but he's wrong pretty often, too. He also has to consult with Gus or his father about what something actually means, either because he knows something is off but doesn't know what, or just has no idea where to go.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Shawn.
  • Broken Pedestal: This was Shawn's fear with his father when the department found out that some of their cops back in the day were dirty cops. Thankfully subverted as one of the cops call Henry honest. Though its still play straight with another cop buddy since he was so close to the Spencers that young Shawn call him uncle.
  • Buddy Cop Show: Shawn and Gus are not really cops, but O'Hara and Lassiter also fit the bill.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Everyone
    • (except maybe Juliet and Chief Vick).
    • The two most notable, however, are Shawn and Lassie. Shawn is a goof and doesn't take important matters seriously, and Lassie is extremely awkward and difficult to get along with. Still, both are respected for their abilities, and have continued to be be employed by the SBPD.
  • Butt Monkey: Lassiter, frequently. Gus and McNabb sometimes also.
  • By Wall That Is Holey: Happens to Shawn and Gus in High Noon-ish".
  • California Doubling: Strangely enough, the Vancouver doubling variant for a California town.
    • Anytime you see railroad tracks on the beach, it's filmed in White Rock, BC. The tracks in Santa Barbara are further back and far too heavily used to provide such a nice vista.
      • An early establishing shot of a sports arena was of the Rose Garden in Portland, OR, from a show filmed in Vancouver but set in California. Oh my.
  • Can You Hear Me Now?: Invoked by Shawn in "An Evening With Mr. Yang."
  • Cassandra Did It: The pilot.
  • Cassandra Truth: In "In Plain Fright", Shawn sees a murder...in a haunted house.
  • Casting Gag: Keisha Knight Pulliam, also known as Rudy from The Cosby Show, plays Gus's wife in a dream of Shawn's. See Celebrity Resemblance.
  • The Cast Showoff: Gus seems to have a lot of episodes where he is singing or, most recently, tap-dancing.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "I've heard it both ways." "No you have not, Shawn!"
      • Lassie gets in on the act where he goes to question a suspect called "Paget", which Shawn says is pronounced Pah-zhay. Paget affirms what Shawn says, and Lassie steals the catchphrase.
        • To say nothing of a guest star in "The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Episode" pirating the line apropos of nothing.
    • "You know that's right."
    • *Gus walks into any given room* "Shawn!" Lampshaded in the Episode Commentary of 'Mr. Yin Presents'.

Andy Berman: One of the scenes, we knew had to be in this episode, was when Gus walks into the room and yells "Shawn!"

    • "We can't do this right now."
    • Gus's "You heard about Pluto? That's messed up."
    • "What!" (highpitched; mostly Gus)
    • "Wait for iiiiiiiiiit..."
    • Gus's "I hear that"
    • Shawn periodically adding the suffix "-ish" when describing something.
    • Gus's "You must be outta your damn mind."
    • "Gus, don't be [insert random strange phrase here]."
      • Exactly one half of an eleven pound Black Forest Ham.
      • This crevice on my arm.
      • A gooey chocolate chip cookie.
      • The American adaptation of the British Gus.
      • An old sponge with hair hanging off it.
      • A myopic Chihuahua.
      • A giant snapping turtle.
      • The only black lead on a major cable network (whoops, too late).
    • "I like it. I like it very much."
    • "Gus, can we go into the [something I don't want you to be doing/talking about] room and talk for a second?
    • It's fair to say that Shawn and Gus are the epitome of The Catchphrase Spouting Duo.
    • "I'm sensing something!"
  • Celebrity Resemblance: In "Scary Sherry: Bianca's Toast", Gus is twice mistaken for the actor who played Bud in The Cosby Show (his name's Deon Richmond, by the way). This happens fairly often for people watching the show, too. It's given several references throughout the series after this point, including an episode where Shawn's introduces Gus as Deon Richmond, much to Gus' dismay.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The episodes featuring "Mr. Yang" and "Mr. Yin."
  • Chain of Corrections: Many times. It's always Gus doing the correcting.
  • Character Blog: Lassiter and Gus both have blogs. In Lassiter's case, the blog is actually written by the actor who plays him, and both blogs have quite a few nice character details.
  • The Charmer: Shawn practically owns this trope, which is probably why no one's killed him yet.
  • Chekhov's Skill: In the childhood flashback opener, Henry often teaches Shawn something that he will eventually have to use in the episode.
    • In the season 4 mid-season finale, the first half or so of the episode is inter-cut with these flashbacks. In one episode after being captured and being locked in the trunk of a car Shawn flash backs to his father teaching him EXACTLY WHAT TO DO when you've been captured and locked in the trunk of a car. And, this being Henry, he actually threw Shawn in the trunk for the lesson.
    • This is inverted in the Season 6 opening episode when Shawn cheats a lie detector and at the end of the episode reveals the flashback of Henry teaching Shawn how to do so.
  • Christmas Episode: Seasons 2, 3, and 5 featured special Christmas episodes that aired during the holiday season, complete with their own special variation of the opening theme.
    • Lampshaded by Shawn in an episode where he claims, he "solves about a case a week, usually one around Christmas."
    • Also contains the running gag of Shawn and Henry getting each other gifts. Well, Henry gets Shawn a gift. Shawn (always successfully) tries to guess what Henry got him.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Shawn's uncle, Jack Spencer.

Jack: This is Jack Spencer and I'm willing to offer you a fifty-fifty split on pirate treasure. [to the guy answering the phone at a fast food joint]

  • City of Adventure: Santa Barbara, of all places. The real city is a small town of less than 100,000 people that has 1-2 murders a year. While not all episodes feature murder, and not all episodes that do feature murder take place in Santa Barbara, the murder rate in Psych's Santa Barbara must be at least a couple of magnitudes higher than that if the police need Shawn and Gus's help on a dozen murders per year. On top of that, the city has whatever backdrop is needed to make the plot town, such as a thriving illegal drag racing scene or a war brewing between Asian gangs. Given that the writers treat Santa Barbara as a much larger city than it is, one wonders why they didn't just go with a big city in the first place. Also, Mr. Yang is described as "the most notorious serial killer [Santa Barbara] has ever seen." So, how many has it had?
  • Clark Kenting: Done so much it eventually gets Lampshaded in season 4.
  • Cliff Hanger: Season 6 ends on a massive one with Henry being shot by one of his old partners on the force.
  • Cloudcuckooland: Dual Spires.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Subverted in High Noon-ish", between Lassiter and a Wild West actor. One of the tourist even lampshades that they can't tell who the bad guy is since they are both wearing black.
  • Comatose Canary: Shawn, in one episode, is posing as a doctor. He admonishes the interns to speak positively around the coma patient, lest they frighten him into remaining comatose. This is a dodge to get them to speak layman to Shawn about the patient's condition.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Lassiter is usually the center. Shawn makes him look foolish. Juliet makes him look foolish. Da Chief makes him look foolish.
    • One of the more extreme examples of this was the snowglobe gag in "Gus' Dad May Have Killed an Old Guy," which sailed right past "cruel prank" into "cruel and unusual."
    • Gus also gets a fair bit of this from Shawn as well.
    • Lampshaded during "An Evening With Mr. Yang," where Shawn's callous goofy jokes over the kidnapping of a waitress and later his mother seem like crossing the line even by the show's very loose, wacky standards. Shawn confides in Gus that if he starts taking the case seriously, then he'll be playing by the killer's rules instead of his own, which would allow the killer to win, and would likely cause Shawn to actually have to deal with the incredible amount of fear he was mentally blocking out.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Lassiter tries to bribe the kid he's supposed to scare straight.

O'Hara: I told you, kids want X Boxes, not hot chocolate.

  • Contamination Situation: the season four episode, "Death is in the Air"
  • Continuity Nod: Shawn and Gus dig up a dinosaur skeleton in "65 Million Years Off." In "Shawn (and Gus) of the Dead," the dinosaur skeleton is shown in the museum with a plaque bearing Shawn's name and photo. In yet a later episode, a photo of Shawn and Gus from the latter episode in an article about the psychic detective agency lands Gus in hot water at his regular job. Also used as the reason why one client chose Shawn's agency in an episode. Brought up again in "Indiana Shawn and the Temple of the Kinda Crappy, Rusty Old Dagger."
    • Also in the museum episode, a very spooked Gus is buying charms and talismans (talismen!) and says, "Now I just need to find someone to loan me a cat. Do you know McNab's number?" Shawn gave McNab the cat he was using to pretend it was helping him solve a case more than a season and a half earlier.
    • One episode is about how Shawn used to idolize firemen, which his policeman father tried to pull him away from; after meeting firemen as an adult, he thanks his father for "keeping him off the pole...in more ways than one." Two seasons later, Gus relates a Homoerotic Dream about a firehouse Shawn described to him.
    • Also, one episode had a woman keep a framed picture of Chad, the character Shawn played on a Spanish soap opera the season before.
    • As part of his plan to distract a vicious dog, Shawn asks Lassiter if he still has the softball gear in the back of his trunk. An earlier episode in the season, "Shawn Gets the Yips," takes place immediately after a police department softball game.
    • In the fourth season finale, the serial killer Mr. Yin has "cast" the main characters as characters from Hitchcock films. He informs this of them via a slide show presentation that has a photo of the TV character next to the corresponding movie character. For Henry Spencer, the photo is a still from news footage from the previous episode where Henry had caught a shark.
    • "Forget Me Not" features two fliers on the pole where the missing person's picture that keeps coming up is placed (you have to be quick on the remote's pause button to catch them). One of them is a flier looking for a first print copy of The Green Spirit Strikes Again, the comic Gus owned that Shawn ruined for The Reveal in "Shawn Vs. The Red Phantom". The other one is looking for a missing gold pocket watch reading "Don't Lose - Henry", the same one that Henry bought Shawn in "Weekend Warriors". Both are by Shawn (the pocket watch flier even offers a free psychic reading as a reward).
    • Minorly deconstructed in "Shawn Rescues Darth Vader", when Lassiter calls out Shawn on ruining his relationship with the detective from the first episode, providing a reason on why he dislikes Shawn's relationship with Juliet.
  • Control Freak: Lassiter, who is also highly competitive and the biggest naysayer on the force as to Shawn's psychic talents.
    • Henry also fits this trope, since he was drilling Shawn in cop rules and skills since early childhood, and informed Shawn once that Shawn wanted to be a cop (despite Shawn disagreeing). Even after Shawn working as a consultant for the police for four years and solving literally dozens of cases, Henry insists on riding him every step of the way, or flat out refusing to hire him because he does not act like a proper detective, which he is not. True, Shawn is lazy and often needs pushing, but it is still excessive insistance on controlling his process given Shawn's demonstrable effectiveness.
  • Convenient Escape Boat: In "You Can't Handle This Episode" Juliet's secret-agent brother Ewen is introduced by having him jump obstacles and dodge bullet fire while being chased. He runs onto a public beach, jumps into the water, knocks a civilian off of a Jet Ski and zooms off to safety. All while having a conversation with Juliet on the phone.
  • Cool Car: "Shawn and Gus in Drag (Racing)" revolves around illegal street races and naturally features a bunch.
  • Cowboy Cop: While internal affairs seem to think Lassiter is one, he is actually pretty by the book (or at least just takes his work seriously) except for being quick to claim a piece of the action.
    • The episode "High Noon-ish" reveals that a father figure of his was a faux sheriff in a faux Wild West park.
    • In "Let's Get Hairy," he pulls his gun on a stonewalling receptionist.
    • Lampshaded and subverted when Lassiter is paired up with an actual Cowboy Cop recruit (who has many other issues besides this). He's frustrated by the recruit's actions (which include firing a gun she's not ready to use - and trashing it when the recoil tosses it out of her hand - and being rough with a victim on the mistaken assumption that he's the suspect, even after she's been told otherwise). When he's finally rid of her (she has a heart attack, and is told to retire for health reasons - not that she would have gotten in anyways; she had myriad other health problems that would have made doing the job well quite difficult for her) and told that Da Chief thinks they're similar, he's horrified by the thought that this is what internal affairs and the rest of the department thinks of him. At least for that episode, he's shown making efforts to try and improve his image (if not actually reform).
  • Cowboy Episode: One episode had Shawn and Gus investigating a murder in an old-west theme park. They, of course, dress up in cowboy clothes and start playing Sheriff...the whole episode them because an exploration of various old-west tropes, even a By Wall That Is Holey example.
  • Crazy Prepared: Henry has some of those tendencies. Once when walking home with Shawn and Gus to see a shadow in his living room, Henry reached into the birdhouse and pulled out a stun gun. Cue appropriate responses from Shawn and Gus.
    • Lassiter also falls under this trope. It turns out he has eight guns in various parts of his house, including the shower, the toaster oven and a bowl of nuts. Revealed in an episode where Lassiter is suspected of killing an FBI witness in a big drug case. He has to go through the whole Turn in Your Badge trope and his apartment is searched over, revealing various hidden gun spots. Shawn and Gus then react appropriately: with slightly disguised surprise and creeped-out looks. Turns out the FBI missed one, which Lassiter used to take down the real murderer.
    • Lassie has also made plans for whose organs he would want in case he ever needed a transplant, who he would eat first if he was trapped in an Alive-esque scenario, and who from the department he would procreate with if they were the last two people on Earth. Even Shawn is a little weirded out by this.

Lassiter: (re: procreation) Well, it wasn't any of you!

  • Credits Gag: Seen occasionally. In one episode featuring Spanish soap opera stars, the song is in Spanish. In another about Bollywood musicals, it's in Hindi. In the following episode, which dealt with Gus' old a capella singing group, it was sung by Boyz II Men. For the Christmas episodes, there's a version with cheery holiday instrumentals and snowflakes superimposed over the screen. Also, there's a longer version of the song that airs occasionally. When Curt Smith of Tears for Fears made a guest appearance in Shawn 2.0, he sang the theme for that very same episode. The Shining tribute episode also has a unique version of the credits.
    • In the fifth season opener, "Romeo and Juliet and Juliet," the cast's names appear in Chinese before being shown in English, though the theme song is, regrettably, not in Chinese.
    • The episode "Bounty Hunters!" also features the Camp Tikihama spirit song over the end credits, which was supposedly made up by the Case of the Week. The song makes a return a full season later in "Tuesday the 17th."
      • The Twin Peaks tribute episode had the Log Lady Julee Cruise singing the Psych theme song's lyrics to the Twin Peaks theme song.
  • Creepy Doll: The episode "Tuesday the 17th" includes a creepy doll as part of the Camp's props, modeled closely after the extremely creepy (and allegedly haunted) "Robert" doll in Key West, Florida.
  • Creepy Mortician: As well as Woody, his equally creepy ex-girlfriend turns up in one episode.
  • Criminal Mind Games: The Yin-Yang Killer, in the episode "An Evening with Mr. Yang."
    • And then again in the season 4 finale when Mr. Yin, Yang's partner, comes to screw with Shawn.
  • Crossover: Unfortunately averted. Word of God says that if Psych hadn't made Leverage a fictional show within Psychs universe (see Celebrity Paradox above), Leverages Eliot would have had an uncle named Henry. The favor was returned in Leverage, however, as Hardison mentions that Nate has Psych in his Netflix queue.
    • Being a USA original series, though, it's seen several crossovers in commercials. For instance, Shawn and Johnny Smith in a diner arguing over who has it harder (fake psychic due to psychologically abusive upbringing vs. real precog due to coma) before seeing Adrian Monk counting and arranging the corn on his plate and agreeing they've got nothing on him.
    • Done for another promotional commercial in which Gus has his wallet stolen by Neal Caffrey while chatting with both he and Peter Burke
  • Crowd Hockey: In "Death is in the Air" with the vial of plague.
  • Cute Bruiser: In the episodes Juliet is in straight combat she is shown to use brute force a lot more than most Action Girls.
    • Not to mention the roller derby.
  • Cuteness Proximity: "Thrill Seekers and Hell Raisers" opens with Shawn and Gus in a pet store, talking about their shared love of bunnies. Gus admits it may seem creepy for their age, but "history will prove us right."
    • Lampshaded when Gus reveals he has news he knows will upset Shawn, so he wanted to get Shawn near the bunnies first to help take it calmly.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Lampshaded: a pair of students smart enough to hack into the police database that need money attempt to get said money do so by using the hacking skills to create a cover ID to rob places. The cast notes that they were really stupid.
  • Da Chief: Interim Chief Vick. Henry gets in on the act when he becomes the outside consultant liaison.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Yin almost pulled it off. Almost. He was going to kill Gus without preamble and without falling for his and Shawn's stalling tactics, but eventually they annoyed him into following "protocol".
  • Defective Detective: Shawn's lackadaisical approach tends to cause people to refuse to take him seriously or consider him a nuisance to be shooed away so real people can get things done. He's something of an aversion, though, being for the most part a pretty well-adjusted (if oddball) guy.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In "Chivalry Is Not Dead... But Someone Is":

Juliet: You disturb me. And your theory on this murder disturbs me. And you disturb me.
Lassiter: You said that twice.
Juliet: Yes.

  • Depending on the Writer: The Shawn/Henry relationship. Shawn often claims it's a bad one, and a few of the flashbacks show Henry overreacting wildly, but most of the time they seem to get along okay, even in many of the flashbacks. (Of course, the divorce didn't help the relationship.)
  • Depraved Bisexual: In "Mr. Yin Presents," Yang herself, who hits on both the female asylum attendant and Shawn.
    • "Yang 3 in 2D" has her implying she wants to host The View and make out with Elizabeth Hasselbeck.
  • Did Not Do the Research: "Shawn 2.0" has the entire Santa Barbara Police Department searching for a Serial Killer. Given the M.O., they're actually looking for a spree killer.
    • Anyone who actually lives in Santa Barbara can tell you that the amount of things they get wrong about the city can't even be counted on one hand.
    • In "Shawn Rescues Darth Vader" the ambassador's son says he's going back to New York when the visit is over. Embassies are located in the government seat of the country, which would be Washington D.C. There is, however, a British consulate in New York City.
    • Shawn's "theory" of Ashton Bonaventure getting shot from below in "Think Tank" is not as ridiculous as they made it out to be. It has been theorized that Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria might have been shot by someone in the sewer.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: In "Shawn Rescues Darth Vader" Shawn becomes obsessed with the idea of getting hired by the British ambassador and using the subsidiary immunity to go on a minor crime spree. It doesn't pan out.
  • Dude in Distress: Shawn and Gus fall under this trope pretty frequently. Sometimes they escape on their own, other times they end up being rescued by Juliet and Lassiter.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Mr. Yang is revealed as this through flashbacks when Shawn meets her at the end.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: One Season 3 teaser. "That wasn't a jelly donut."
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: "We'd Like to Thank the Academy." One of the villains, described as "a fabulous Emmett Smith," cocks his gold-plated pistol and says, "I don't even need to do that. I just like the effect."
  • Dude, Not Ironic: Shawn is a little unclear on the definition.

Shawn: That's ironic, right?
Gus: What's ironic is that you have to keep asking me what irony is.

  • Earn Your Happy Ending: A major theme in the Shawn/Juliet relationship, referenced in Juliet's speech at the end of "An Evening with Mr. Yang" and Shawn's speech at the end of "Death is in the Air."
  • Economy Cast: Juliet and Lassiter seemingly investigate every murder in Santa Barbara.
    • As well as a bizarre variety of other crimes, ranging from auto theft and drug dealing to piracy.
  • Eureka Moment: Shawn usually gets one well in advance, but later has to set up the summation to maintain his role as a psychic.
  • Everyone Can See It: The Shawn/Juliet (non-)relationship has been commented on by several Case of the Week characters, and even Gus seems to be trying to help it along.
    • In Season 5, when Shawn and Jules finally start dating, Shawn has trouble telling Gus, fearing that Gus won't take it well. When the truth comes out, Gus doesn't act surprised... until Shawn catches him eating caramel, which he has said Gus had a tendency of doing whenever Shawn enters into a serious relationship.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Possibly Mr. Yin when compared to Yang. Yang even calls him a monster in comparison.
  • Expansion Pack Past: Shawn, in partial rebellion to his father, has had fifty-seven prior jobs and has spent time in Argentina and Thailand among many other places.
  • Fake Crossover: With Monk in a series of USA Network commercials. Gus was also obliquely mentioned in a "Monk" novelization.
    • Also in the Psych novel "Mind Over Magic" Shawn complains that Gus isn't female, blond, and ready with a wipe after he touches something.
  • Firemen Are Hot
  • Fixing the Game: One episode involves a rigged poker game with invisibly marked cards.
  • Flashback with the Other Darrin: The episode "Mr. Yin Presents" ends with the reveal of a photograph of Mr. Yang and young Shawn, at the time played by Liam James. The photograph is brought back in "Yang 3 in 2D," but the young Shawn in the photograph is now Skyler Gisondo, who replaced James in season 5.
  • Foot-Dragging Divorcee: Carlton Lassiter was in denial about his separation from his wife, and thought they were getting back together when she asked for dinner at their first-date restaurant. She confronted him with divorce papers and he gave a long, foot-dragging speech, but eventually admits he was aware he'd never been good for her. Having gotten that off his chest, he immediately signs the papers.
  • Foreshadowing: The beginning of every episode involves Henry teaching young Shawn a valuable lesson about crime-solving. Sharp viewers can often solve the mystery well before the end of the episode by applying this lesson to the clues Shawn finds.
  • Free Prize At the Bottom: One episode begins with young Shawn trying to get the prize from a box of cereal, and then his dad shows him that the most efficient way to accomplish this is to just open the box from the bottom.
    • In "Death is in the Air" Shawn calls back to this when trying to tell Jules that he loves her.
  • Fridge Logic: A rare, in-universe example: the fact that there's no way Mr. Yang had the time to take Shawn's mom all the way to the drive in and strap her with explosives bothers Mary for a year after the Season 3 finale. He comes to the conclusion that Mr. Yang had a partner.
  • Fundamentally Funny Fruit: Pineapples - either the word or the actual pineapple - are slipped into every episode the producers of the show can manage. Pineapples appear to be Shawn's favorite food, or at least his favorite housewarming gift. Or they turn up on pizza, a cake, a smoothie, Henry's shirt, or as a code word.
    • There's even a Spot the Pineapple Sweepstakes that the viewer can play.
    • The splash image for the show on Hulu is a picture of Shawn and Gus playing with pineapples on a white background.
  • Funny Background Event: In the Polarizing express you can see the grinch mugging a couple outside the Psych office.
  • Gender Blender Name: Mary Lightly.
  • Genki Girl: Gus's ex.
  • Gentleman Thief: Pierre Desperaux in the season premiere.
    • Subverted in that he's not really a thief but an abettor to insurance fraud. The owners of fine art would steal them from themselves and blame the crime on Desperaux.
      • However, as Extradition II shows, he's every bit as capable as he originally claimed.
  • Genre Blindness: Henry, if two out of three of your cop buddies were dirty cops, what are the odds the third one will be one too? Dangerously high.
  • Genre Savvy: Not surprisingly, Gus has very stringent requirements for entering any horror-movie-like situation.
    • Much of the humor of the show revolves around (sometimes rather selective) genre-savviness from various characters (Gus, as mentioned, often being the biggest source).
    • In season 4, Shawn and Gus have become genre savvy to the point of arguing which movie the situation derives from on at least two occasions.
    • In the homecoming episode of Season 3, Shawn spends much of the episode wondering if he should be comparing events to The Breakfast Club or Pretty in Pink.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: All the time!
    • From "We'd Like To Thank The Academy"

Lassiter: You can't beat me on the field so now you want to beat me off?
Shawn: You might want to rephrase that.

  • Give Me Back My Wallet: At the end of a Christmas Episode, a little girl/con artist thanks Shawn for helping her dad, and hugs him... and Shawn immediately asks for his wallet back.
  • Groin Attack: A Very Juliet Episode
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Corbin Bernsen plays his character both in the present and 20 years ago. This is lampshaded in "If You're So Smart, Then Why Are You Dead?", when he expresses disbelief that a 30 year old criminal had passed himself off as a teenager. Shawn replies "I dunno, dad, slap a wig on you and you're the spitting image of yourself when I was a kid."
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Gus definitely seemed very interested in Lassiter's red-headed little sister.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Shawn and Gus, who have been best friends since forever and do everything together. Shawn even gets jealous when he discovered Gus was once married.
    • People assume Shawn and Gus are romantic surprisingly commonly. Shawn even occasionally uses it as a gag introduction to the duo. He doesn't always tell Gus about this in advance. The look of surprise on Gus's face is frequently hilarious.
  • Hey, You: Henry insists on being called Henry.
  • Hikikomori: A one-shot character who only went out on Thursdays to the convenience store and to buy video games. Once-a-day/week/month trips to a convenience store an extremely common hikikomori trait (as is only going out to buy games/anime/manga/etc). Makes one wonder who on the writing staff actually knows about hikikomori.
  • Homoerotic Dream: See Continuity Nod.
  • Hot Librarian: Maudette in Dual Spires
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: In "Santabarbaratown", when Shawn and Gus are interviewing someone connected to the case:

Ida: He wanted children.
Gus: And you didn't?
Ida: Let's just say they weren't in the cards for him.
Shawn: Meaning what?

Ida: His juice had no pulp. His seed wasn't fruitful. He was pouring decaf. Pumping unleaded. His Hall had no Oates. He was sterile!

Shawn: Oh! Sure.

  • Hurricane of Puns: "Any Given Friday Night" opens with a category five storm of foot puns from Shawn.
  • Hyde Plays Jekyll
  • Hyper Awareness: Shawn, thanks to his father's relentless training. He even gets a special effect to show when he notices something. Henry has this too, but he doesn't get special effects.
    • A rival (fake) psychic working for the FBI also had some talent in this, at least able to deduce when Shawn was using his skills.
    • It's often played with as having such a talent also requires the proper knowledge and/or skills to connect the pieces together. Shawn has referred to Gus on his knowledge of pharmaceuticals many times. Another time he joked that he identified a poisoned sandwich because the number of sesame seeds on the regular hotel sandwiches were much different (it was actually the style of toothpick to keep them together). He remarked that he was observant, not The Rainman.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Allison when Juliet figures out she's lying. Though she could also talking about herself.

Not bad for a blonde.


I-P[edit | hide]

  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Non-romantic version delivered by Lassiter when he finds out that Juliet and Shawn have been dating behind his back, promising that if Shawn ever does anything to her, he will "discharge his pistol."

Shawn: You mean you'll shoot me.
Lassiter: Repeatedly.

  • Ignored Enemy: Yin has Shawn and Gus strapped to chairs and is about to inject them with something to kill them. They start arguing over who Yin will kill first, and whether he plans on sterilizing the needle between uses.
  • I Got a Rock: On his Character Blog, Lassiter says to note down the people who do this and he will arrest them.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Right there in the theme song, which was actually written and performed by the band of the show's creator.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Shawn in the pilot, "Shawn Takes a Shot in the Dark," and "We'd Like to Thank the Academy."
    • Also Juliette in the Friday the Thirteenth Tuesday the Seventeeth episode. She shoots the bad guy in the hand, disarming him. Immediately lampshaded.
  • Improvised Weapon: To the point of it being a Running Gag. When he sees a fight coming on, Shawn often arms himself (and sometimes Gus) with a random object (brushes, candles, flyswatters, etc.) even if there are more conventional or effective weapons available.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Happens at least once, usually to shore up a case that's low on physical evidence.
    • In the season six finale, Henry retires after learning that half of his old partners were crooked, covering up murder and drug trafficking for some extra money on the side. As he's telling the last of their group what happened to the other two, his partner makes a comment that "$50,000 was a lot of money back then...". Henry never told him how much they were making.
  • Informed Ability: Inverted. Shawn constantly remarks on what a bad detective Lassiter is, but there are numerous indications that he solved plenty of crimes off-screen, and tends to fail only on the types of cases that require Shawn.
  • Insanity Defense: One case involves Shawn going undercover in a mental hospital to prove someone tried innocent by insanity was faking.
  • Inspector Lestrade: Carlton Lassiter.
  • Interdisciplinary Sleuth: Gus's day job as a pharmaceutical rep occasionally helps solve the Mystery of the Week.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: "The Polarizing Express", lampshaded.
    • Worth mentioning is that it's made clear that the "life without Shawn" bits are more of an ego trip combined with events outside the dream. Also inverted in the sense that rather than realizing everyone would be worse off without him, it helps Shawn realize he's mistreating the people in his life and couldn't do without them.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Inverted. After Abigail is kidnapped and nearly drowned by Yang, Shawn is ready to compromise and make a stronger commitment to their relationship, but she breaks up with Shawn because she can't make a difference in the world if she's dead.
  • Insult Backfire: Played with in Canada.

Lassiter: I swear, I'm gonna leave you to rot in this backwoods, rain-drenched den of politeness. No offense.
Canadian: None taken. I like your suit.

  • Irony: Lassiter, a detective that looks down at all criminals, no matter how big or small their crimes are. actually enters a relationship with one.
    • Also, Lassiter was the one who inspired Shawn's Fake Psychic routine in the first place by accusing him of being an accomplice in crimes in the pilot. He has no one but himself to blame for Shawn's presence.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Played with. Shawn wants both himself and Jules to be happy, and wants to be happy for Jules and Declan, but can't picture himself being happy without her.
  • Killed Off for Real: Mary, the Mr. Yang expert from the Season 3 finale, is one of Mr. Yin's victims in the Season 4 finale.
    • Mary returns in the form of some bizarre home videotapes in the Season 5 finale, through which Shawn discovers the truth about Yin and Yang's relationship.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Mr. Yin and Mr. Yang.
  • Lampshade Hanging: This is incredibly common in the series. Just count the number of times it's mentioned on this page.
    • In the pilot, Shawn states "Everything you need is right in front of you. You just have to pay attention," as he pulls a lampshade out of a trash can.
    • In Bollywood Homicide, Shawn brags to his girlfriend "I solve a case every week. And usually one around Christmas."
    • In Let's Get Hairy, after Shawn protests to Henry that he has a case to solve, Henry remarks that Shawn has a case every week.
    • In an episode from season one, Shawn declares that he will have the case solved Friday by 10pm. During Season One, the show aired on Fridays at 9 PM.
    • The season 3 episode "Any Given Friday Night at 10PM, 9PM Central".
    • In the latest season Gus lampshades the face Shawn makes before the special effect highlights whatever Shawn noticed.
    • In If You're So Smart, Why Are You Dead?, Shawn tells his father "slap a wig on you, it's the spitting image of yourself 20 years ago". The same actor plays him in the flashbacks. Wearing a wig.
    • "Viagra Falls" not only lampshades old buddy cop show, it also lampshades Psych itself and the various gags the show uses.
    • From "He Dead":

"Let me guess. You've got some loosely formed idea that shouldn't work on paper, but ultimately proves to be reasonably successful?"

  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: in the Shining tribute ep, Shawn suggests that Lassie is letting his imagination run away with him saying "it happens to Gus and I once every seven days".
  • Last-Name Basis: Everyone calls Burton Guster "Gus" and Lassiter "Lassie".
  • Leeroy Jenkins: "Last Night Gus" features a fugitive whose name is Leeroy Jenkins. He's appropriately hot-tempered.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Lassiter is often the butt of jokes and most of his cases seem to get solved by Shawn while he fumes silently. That said, he has immense knowledge of firearms and has received enough Character Development so as to make clear that he's not Frank Burns.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Shawn and Gus. Definitely.
  • Long-Lost Uncle Aesop: Shawn's treasure-hunter uncle, Jack, makes more promises than he can keep (or intends to) and is motivated by little more than pure greed.
  • Logging Onto the Fourth Wall: http://squirrelassassins.com/
  • Loveable Rogue: Shawn. All the time.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: Shawn's ex-girlfriend, Abigail, says she can't take the stress of his job anymore after being kidnapped by Mr. Yin.
  • Magician Detective
  • Malaproper: Shawn, frequently. His followup line when called on it (usually by Gus), "I've heard it both ways," is heard about Once an Episode.
    • Lampshaded by Gus in High Top Fade Out, who cuts Shawn off before he can say it with "And no, you have not heard it both ways!"
    • Lampshaded again by Shawn with "I've heard it both ways... actually, I haven't. Huh."
  • Marshmallow Hell: Done to Gus in "Autopsy Turvy."
    • ...and subverted/avoided later with a smiling Henry.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The young Shawn intros in nearly every episodes.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: A variation for the season 5 premier. The joke shown in the commercials for one scene was entirely different in the show itself than for the commercials.

Joke from commercial: I warn you: I have seen Kung Fu Panda 87 times!
Joke from the actual episode: I have beaten all 7 levels of Shaq Fu on Nintendo!

    • Though both jokes are in the episode if you watch it on Hulu.
  • Mistaken for Gay: In one episode, Shawn feels an officer's muscles and asks him questions to find out if he's working undercover as a vigilante. The officer interprets the actions and questions to be a sexual advance and offers to set Shawn up with a friend.
  • Moment Killer: Shawn and Juliet have a... complicated relationship. But when Juliet finally makes an offer for a date, Shawn happens to be on his way to a date with a childhood sweetheart.
    • Far, far worse is when he has to give her hints to his location over the phone under the pretense of saying goodbye to a lover. When he says he loves her and she begins to respond in kind, he intentionally cuts her off by saying "Goodbye, Abigail" to prove it was fake. He later admits to Gus that he knew she was about to say she loved him.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: It happens in the high school reunion episode.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: The Gusters to Shawn, regarding Gus's sister Joy. She's annoyed about it, since she very much wants to get back together with Shawn.
    • And again with Lassiter's sister and Gus in "Dead Bear Walking." However, its Shawn who advises against it, in order to "prevent disaster."
  • Name's the Same: Henry Spencer, not to be confused with the protagonist of Eraserhead.
  • Never Suicide: Once was attempted suicide, though. And another time it was suicide, but caused inadvertently by another person.
  • Nice to the Waiter: One of the reasons Shawn gets away with so much shenanigans is that he often befriends people in the lower echelons of whatever organization he's looking into. At the SBPD, he remembered the name of their video tech when Juliet forgot the guy even existed.
  • Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: As it turns out, Lassiter's mother is in a very steady if not committed relationship with another woman. Lassie didn't take it well when his mother came out to him at his police academy graduation, but he regrets reacting that way, and if the framed photo of his mom and her partner in his home is any indication, he's made amends since then.
  • Noodle Incident: In the season 3 episode "Talk Derby to Me," Chief Vick cites "The Prosthetic Nose Debacle of 2005" to explain why Lassiter is obvious when undercover but doesn't explain it any further. She also mentions in season 1 "The Secret Santa Debacle of 2005" to warn O'Hara from doing anything for Lassiter's birthday. Evidently, 2005 was a very eventful and stressful year in the life of Carlton Lassiter.
    • Not surprisingly, as it was the first year he had separated from his wife.
  • Not So Different: Lassiter seems to think of the Spencer father and son being basically the same person.
    • Same for Captain Connors, who in a less-than-lucid state, called Shawn "Henry"
  • Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon
  • N-Word Privileges: Played with. An eyewitness questioned by Shawn and Gus in a recent episode is a white man who speaks with a very pronounced Thai accent. They accuse him of mocking Asian-Americans, but he explains that he was adopted and raised by a Thai family, so in a sense he is Asian-American - and, incidentally, that "offensive accent" is how he actually speaks.
  • Once an Episode: Shawn giving Gus an absurd pseudonym. Lampshaded in a recent episode where Shawn introduces Gus to a convicted killer using their full real names.

Shawn: I'm Shawn Spencer, famous psychic detective. This is my associate, Burton Guster.
Gus: Now you wanna use my real name?

    • In "Feet, Don't Kill Me Now", Lassiter introduces Gus by his full name. Gus's reaction makes him ask what's wrong, to which Gus says that he's not used to being introduced by his real name.
    • A pineapple appears somewhere in every episode. They actually had a sweepstakes which you could enter by identifying where the pineapple appeared in a given episode.
    • Fist bumps.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Suspected by many fans from the beginning, but pretty much confirmed on-air in "Shawn 2.0." Declan Rand, a criminal profiler who rivals Shawn's deductive skills, does a quick profile of Shawn. The first thing he says is that Shawn is highly intelligent, but ashamed of this fact, and therefore hides it with movie references and clown-ish behavior. When he leaves, Gus and a dismayed Shawn admit that Declan was 100% correct.
    • Although it's important to note that Shawn doesn't want people to think he's a buffoon so they'll underestimate him. It's something he does to convince himself he's somewhat normal.
    • Also, the fact that he got a perfect score on the detective exam at age 15. The top department detectives, Lassiter and O'Hara, only got 97 and 98, respectively, and that was after years at college and the police academy.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Henry becomes something like this and Head-in-The-Sand Management to Shawn and Gus when he becomes the outside consultant liaison. A bit of Fridge Logic considering he knows Shawn's abilities and Shawn's high success rate though at the same time, he usually is only trying to rein in Shawn's wackiness.
    • By showing extreme reluctance in hiring Shawn at all in the stated belief that his antics - or simply not acting like a real detective, which he isn't - will make him a mockery... despite Shawn having solved dozens of high profile cases a year for five years and having toned down his theatrics considerably. Henry is not one to let someone rest on their laurels to maintain a good record, that's for sure. He's proactive in motivating them, in his own... unique way.
      • A popular belief is that Henry kept getting in the way in a misguided attempt to get Shawn to be more of a detective, and less of a fake psychic. It doesn't really work.
  • Odd Name Out: In the 2011 Halloween episode, Jules, Shawn and Gus are looking for someone who has been draining people of their blood. When told the names of three suspects - two with normal names, one named "Lucian" - they stare at each other, and say "LUCIAN!"
  • Oh Crap: Shawn rushes into an empty swimming pool to save Gus, turns over the body in the foot of stagnant water in the deep end, and it's the killer.... "Uh oh."
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Brilliantly subverted. When Shawn is shot and survives, this is instantly enough for him to deduce the shooter was a military trained expert sniper, as there's no other way he could have shot accurately enough to make the shot nonlethal.
    • Especially when the shooter's only three feet away and "misses."
    • Yet at the same time, as the trope page mentions, there really isn't any non-lethal way to shoot someone (at least not in the ways most TV characters get shot).
    • Typically played straight when Jules and Lassie have to shoot someone. Once Juliet shoots someone in the hand.
  • Only Sane Man: Juliet in "This Episode Sucks," which she exasperatedly points out almost word for word early in the investigation. Other characters tend to revolve in and out of this trope, depending on who has the Crazy Ball this week, but Chief Vicks is the other most likely canidate.
  • Orbital Kiss: A lengthy version between Shawn and Juliet.
  • The Other Darrin: Keith David replaces Ernie Hudson as Gus's dad. [1]
    • Not to mention how often the actors who play Shawn as a kid get switched (4 people now).
      • Lampshaded in "The Polarizing Express": Young Shawn tells Shawn he's the younger him, and Shawn replies, "You don't look like me." Young Shawn then comments that "we change all the time, sometimes from week to week."
  • Pac-Man Fever: Shawn's dad apparently plays Crackdown with an NES light gun.
  • Palette Swap: In "We'd Like To Thank The Academy", Shawn shoots two civilian cardboard cutouts in a training exercise. His justifications:

"The first woman with the groceries was exiting a library that doesn't allow snacks. I know this because we've tried on several occasions. And the second woman was simply a replica of the first woman, but they painted her face brown, which is both offensive and suspicious."

"If Shawn really has been shot, there's no room I'm not gonna bust open to find my son."

  • Paralysis by Analysis: "Shawn Gets The Yips"
  • Parental Abandonment: The Missing Mom variation. We find out from an offhand remark by Henry what happened to Shawn's mother: she left, and Henry's very bitter about it.
    • Strange variant on this: Shawn doesn't realize his mom left his dad and despises his dad for being the leaver, until his mom tells him the truth and apologizes for the negative changes in his life that occurred after she left. Shawn immediately says she has nothing to apologize for and starts to be a little less caustic with his dad.
  • Perma-Stubble: Shawn's facial hair self regulates to a cozy five o'clock shadow.
  • Pet the Dog: Invoked and parodied. "Barbie and Clyde" the robbers are perfectly willing to lie, cheat, steal, ransack . . . you get the picture. But--

"We do not kill people, and we're against animal cruelty!

  • Phony Psychic: Does it really need to be said?
  • Planning with Props: A favorite of Shawn's (more accurately "Reconstructing with Props" in this case) used in "Weekend Warriors" and "Shawn Gets the Yips."
  • Private Detective: Shawn and Gus, with their "Psych" psychic detective agency offices and all. Though they are sometimes officially retained by the police.
  • Product Placement: Shawn has an iPhone with a custom "Psych" skin. He even namedrops the Yelp app in "Shawn takes a Shot in the Dark".
    • Note: The "Psych" skin does actually exist for purchase. Additional Note: James Roday did not know this until he met a fan with the skin.
    • For "Shawn (and Gus) of the Dead," Red Robin asked the writers of Psych to do product placement. Unbeknownst to them, there were already two references to Red Robin written in the episode.
    • Or how about the Axe Body Spray plug Shawn makes when he notes that it's like catnip for women, complete with the approving head-nod of Jules?
    • Gus's credit card. Note to whoever wrote that bit: Showing it being used to make unauthorized purchases does not make people want it.
    • In the episode "Think Tank" Shawn is trying to safely maneuver a billionaire through a hotel hallway, when he sees a small bottle of Axe shampoo in a cleaning ladies cart,

Shawn: Are you kidding me, free little bottles of Axe Shampoo, this is the best hotel ever!

    • In Ferry Tale Gus manages to distract Shawn by giving him a Snickers bar. Twice. After mocking Shawn for being easily distracted.
    • Shawn namedrops Snyder's of Hanover-brand pretzels on a couple occasions. One episode even includes a lingering close-up shot of a pack.
    • A Dunkin' Donuts coffee advertisement is done hilariously out of place in an early Season 3 episode. Probably intentionally, as Shawn and Gus randomly stop mid-scene to talk about coffee.
    • Funnily enough, because much of the show's humor comes from random references, the product placements are usually unnoticeable, or at least not nearly as annoying as in most shows.
    • Honey Bunches of Oats makes a couple of (relatively) prominent appearances early on.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Shawn exaggerates this to the point of mockery, finding more and more outlandish ways to flail around to represent his "powers." In one episode, he figured out some evidence from a photo and stated it calmly, and Jules asked him how he knew. He then said that he got it psychically, but didn't have enough energy to do the usual "hands on head" thing.
    • In "Thrill Seekers & Hell Raisers" Gus participates in the summation, and Shawn helpfully puts his hand next to Gus' head.
      • This is similar to the season one episode where Shawn insisted on rubbing Gus' "magic" head while getting his psych on.
    • Lampshaded in a recent episode when Shawn deduces something about his father and gets into his psychic position.

Henry: You're trying that on ME?

      • And again by Gus in "Feet, Don't Kill Me Now":

Gus:: *after Shawn does the "hand to head" thing* Dude, I know you're not psychic.
Gus:: *about a minute later, when Shawn does it again* Dude, you're doing it again!

    • Although it is notable that this is just an exaggeration of Shawn's natural mannerism when he's focusing on a memory. You can see him do it in the first flashback from the pilot.
  • Psycho Lesbian: the murderer in one of the season 5 episodes; also a case of Nobody Over 50 Is Gay averted.
  • Punk in the Trunk: Shawn gets stuffed in the trunk of a car in the mid-season 4 finale.
  • Putting on the Reich: The Lassie-led SPBD in Shawn's dream in "The Polarizing Express". Complete with Vick having a really bad German accent, which Tony Cox blames on Shawn watching Austin Powers the previous night and having Perverse Sexual Lust for Frau Farbissina.


Q-Z[edit | hide]

  • Real Life Relative: Guest stars Sendhil Ramamurthy and Jay Chandrasekhar are cousins.
    • In the Season One episode, "From the Earth to the Starbucks", Gus' would-be Romantic Interest is played by star Dulé Hill's wife, actress Nicole Lyn.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: For several episodes in season 2 Lassiter had his arm in a sling. The reason for this was never revealed, but was implied to be something embarassing. It was actually caused by Timothy Omundon's real-life injury.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Karen Vick. Certainly, when compared to Lassiter. It's implied she may be on to Shawn's bit, and tolerates it to solve cases.
  • Red Herring: Happens every so often, with Shawn (happily) and Gus (reluctantly) having to exonerate them.
    • A common occurence in Psych is that they start focusing on a particular suspect, only to find him/her dead by the time they go out to catch him/her.
    • A notable example is in the Season 4 finale: Mr. Yin wears ankle weights to make Shawn believe Mary is the killer.
      • And a bit where it's made to look like McNabb is Mr. Yin. But he's not; the drugs are just taking effect.
  • Reference Overdosed: All the 1980s and 1990s pop culture jokes.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Pretty much anything Shawn ever says or does, but calling your phony psychic detective agency that you're using to get yourself out of trouble with the cops Psych is certainly up there in the "requires large cojones" department.
  • Religious Bruiser: The Daredevil in one episode.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Done with Shawn's uncle.
  • Retirony: In the season six finale, Henry retires due to finding out that two of his partners from his days in the force were crooked, and he could no longer put his heart in it. As he tells this to his last remaining partner, a tragic case of I Never Said It Was Poison happens, and the last partner shoots Henry as they're walking along the beach to keep him quiet.
  • A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside An Enigma: Shawn once spoke of Juliet as being "an enigma wrapped in a little blonde riddle."
  • Romance on the Set: James Roday (Shawn) and Maggie Lawson (Jules) are actually dating, according to The Other Wiki.
  • Romantic False Lead: Abigail Lytar was one of these. However, O'Hara only reacts negatively to her when Shawn brings her on a case (You Can't Handle This Episode) * because* he brought her on a case. For her part, Abigail's not thrilled to get to see a dead body. Abigail has since been put on a plane to do volunteer work in Africa, but says she'll return sometime in February. And she did... only to fall into the hands of Mr. Yin. Although Shawn rescues her, she breaks up with him, unable to deal with the danger Shawn's profession puts him and his loved ones in.
    • Juliet also expresses some jealousy when she discovers that Shawn's relationship with Abigail has progressed to the "he has a drawer, she has a toothbrush stage" when she and Gus are checking out Shawn's apartment. They are there to figure out how Shawn got himself SHOT, by the way, and Juliet still can't help getting sidetracked by her jealousy.
  • Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: In "Mr. Yin Presents," the second member of the Yin-Yang killer team uses Alfred Hitchcock films to devise several themed ways of luring, capturing, or killing people. Mary Lightly was killed similarly to a scene from Psycho. The main cast had to go into a building as different characters from Hitchcock films, where Henry Spencer and Carlton Lassiter became trapped in a car (but survived); however, Juliet triggered a trap door that caused her to be captured. Later, she was tied in a chair that was attached to a clock tower, in such a way that at 4:30, a cable would be severed and she would fall to her death. At the same time, Shawn's girlfriend, Abigail, was bound beneath a pier while the tide was coming in. Both were saved in the nick of time.
  • Rule of Funny: Pretty much the entire show, with a thin veneer of reality on top.
  • Running Gag: The pineapples, Shawn giving Gus a strange alias such as "Knickknack the Guam Candy-Striper." Also, Shawn telling Gus "Gus, don't be a blank." The blank being filled with oddly specific random objects that have nothing to do with the situation, such as "gooey chocolate chip cookie" and "myopic chihuahua" and "the only black lead on a major cable network" (which Dule Hill, of course, is).
    • Also Gus screaming like a girl and/or beating a hasty retreat.
    • "I've heard it both ways."
    • Shawn's phone never being on vibrate and ringing always with horribly timing
    • Shawn's hair being almost super-humanly awesome.
    • Real Life example: Three hole punch. One of the writers thought that "three hole punch" sounded funnier than "three hole puncher" somehow, to which the cast responded by breaking into highly-exaggerated mock-laughter whenever the phrase came up.
  • Salt and Pepper: Shawn is white, Gus is black. Mocked in the "Ebony and Ivory" season 3 teaser.
    • Not to mention the fashion show episode, where they masquerade as Black and Tan, two (made-up) supermodels. Shawn's Black. Gus is Tan. How dare you assume otherwise.
    • Lampshaded in "Shawn Gets the Yips" when Shawn assigns all the characters items found in a restaurant:

Gus: Let me guess. I'm the pepper, you're the salt..."

    • And in "High Top Fade Out" when Gus creates the false last names "Brown" for himself and "White" for Shawn. It's debatable whether Shawn's reaction was over this trope or the lack of creativity compared to Shawn's false last names.
  • Samus Is a Girl: 'Mr.' Yang is actually a 'Ms.'
  • Scare'Em Straight: In one episode, Lassie's saddled with the deputy mayor's son, a juvenile delinquent. It's hoped that he'll be scared straight. By the end of the episode, Juliet finally succeeds where Lassie keeps failing, by whispering something to the kid. We never find out what she told him, but it works well enough for the kid to apologize to Lassie for his behavior.
  • Scary Black Man: Lassie tries to scare a punk kid straight by introducing him to a black convict. Subverted when the guy says prison is pretty okay.
  • The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: The culprit in "Death is in the Air" hired a prostitute to get some vials of a deadly virus from a hapless deliveryman while he was incredibly drunk. Although his judgment in women while sober isn't much better...
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: (Close concept) In "Christmas Joy" Shawn, Joy and Gus go in different doors, Gus stops for a minute and looks around the hallway but doesn't see Shawn or Joy when they come out and quickly go back in.
  • Scooby-Doo Hoax: Subverted; the monster is meant to ATTRACT people to the camp.
  • Screaming Birth: Averted for Chief Vick, who gives birth over the course of several hours, without screaming, on a properly angled table.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Shawn and Gus, at a seance ALL THE TIME.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Juliet doesn't appear in the pilot and is introduced in "Spellingg Bee"
  • Secret Keeper: Gus and Henry. This allows both to function as The Watson and explain how he figured it out.
    • Also Declan and, oddly enough, Curt Smith from Tears for Fears.
  • Serious Business: Shawn is a walking inversion; he regularly cracks jokes while investigating murders, much to Gus' dismay. And Lassiter's. And Julie's and Vick's and Henry's...
    • Lampshaded in "An Evening With Mr.Yang" when Gus calls Shawn out for wise-cracking during a particularly horrific case. Shawn, in a moment of genuine fear, confess to Gus that he's terrified by the case and the wise-cracking is the only thing keeping him from completely losing his shit. Gus spends the rest of the episode making forced jokes despite withering stares from Jules and Lassiter, throwing himself on the humiliation grenade to keep Shawn from losing his grip.
  • Shaming the Mob: Inverted. At the end of "The Polarizing Express", Shawn incites a crowd of tenants to testify against a Miami crime lord.
  • Sherlock Scan
  • Ship Tease: By now, Shawn has probably made some sort of romantic advance towards every member of the cast, except his father.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: The season ending episodes since the first one.
  • Shout-Out: Season 5, Episode 6 (Viarga Falls) has a club called the Dollhouse. Yes, it has an asterisk logo as well.
  • Showdown At High Noon...ish: Between a (real) cop and a (fake) cowboy at a tourist trap town, no less.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Halfway through season five, Psychic, Shawn is giving Fair Cop, Juliet advice about her upcoming two-week, ridonkulously romantic vacation with her boyfriend, and she shuts him up. Unbeknownst to him, she had overheard his previous confession of love to a third party.
    • Also, during the high school reunion episode, Shawn confesses to Abigail where he was the night he "stood her up" before she shuts him up--if only temporarily.
  • Sickening Sweethearts: Lassiter and Marlowe.
  • Sink or Swim Mentor: Henry Spencer would often give Shawn an ultimatum to enforce his skills on him.
  • Small Reference Pools: Averted by the show itself, but in the town of Dual Spires, much to Shawn's annoyance, the only references they get are references to Everwood.

Shawn: I'm on to you... like the townspeople of Everwood were on to the fact that Nina was a surrogate mother.
Gus/Juliet: That's enough, Shawn.
Ralph: (almost whispering) She was.
Shawn: Thank you.

  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Played with in one episode. Shawn's objection has absolutely nothing to do with the couple getting married, but the opening it presents is the only opportunity he has to do The Summation and expose the criminal.
  • Special Edition Title: The Christmas episodes feature some additional Christmas-themed special effects as well as sleigh bells in the music, "Lights, Camera...Homicidio" is in Spanish, "Bollywood Homicide" has a Hindu rendition of the theme, "High Top Fade Out" is sung by Boyz II Men, and Shawn 2.0 has a version sung by Curt Smith of Tears for Fears.
  • Spinning Paper: Invoked and parodied; in The Adventures of Psych-Man and Tap Man, Issue 2, the effect is produced by spinning Gus's iPad.
  • Spoof Aesop: "Think Tank" has Gus note the lesson of not to spend money before you know if it is good or not.
  • Stand-In Parents: Shawn gets his uncle Jack to stand in for his dad at school. Shawn's dad finds out and is irritated rather than hurt. Especially since Jack really is cooler than he is.
  • Status Quo Is God: Shawn and Jules and their relationship. They've never really displayed any overt affection towards each other, but Shawn has turned down some relationships with characters that would obviously change the dynamic of the show because of some unspoken thing that they'll get together eventually.
    • Status quo averted for at least the Season 3 finale.
      • Said status quo has now been altered, but not completely changed. Jules finally admitted her feelings for Shawn, but at the worst possible moment (him finally taking a shot with a girl he would normally have turned down because of Jules), and since then their interactions have become somewhat awkward and occasionally (on Jules' end, anyway) overtly hostile.
        • Who knows what'll happen now that Abigail's broken up with Shawn.
    • This trope is the reason why Shawn doesn't go through with telling Juliet how he feels in "Death is in the Air."
      • Completely changed in Extradition Part II where you can see Jules and Shawn making out everywhere
  • Steal the Surroundings: Subverted. A group of safecrackers stole a safe, but it wasn't to steal what was in it, but so the lead cracker could figure out how to open that kind of safe.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: In one episode, Shawn and Gus have hired an Asian-American assistant. The duo assumes that he knows about the Triads simply because of his ethnicity. While he finds it offensive, he begrudgingly admits that he does know enough to get the case started, seeming genuinely disappointed that he was able to help.
  • Superhero: The Mantis...sadly subverted. As he turns out to just wanna take out The Caminos just to get his hands on their money.
  • The Summation: Given a twist in that Shawn has to appear like a psychic, see Pstandard Psychic Pstance.
  • Take That: Shawn walks up to a police department desk, then identifies himself as a psychic, saying he's like The Mentalist only not fake, and declaring that if he was fake, it would be a virtual carbon copy. Other episodes indicate that Shawn is a fan of the show.
    • Also, the killer in "Let's Get Hairy" is named after Ken Tucker, a TV critic for Entertainment Weekly magazine, who has criticized the show in the past.
    • Done in Daredevils, at the later Die Hard sequels:

Shawn: "I'm Die Hard. He's die harder. We have two other guys in our crew, but they're not nearly as good as us."

    • "What is the deal with One Tree Hill? It's like a poorly executed Dawson's Creek."
    • "I think CGI has ruined movie story telling for all of us. I don't wanna say it's completely Michael Bay's fault, but that guy needs to be stopped because it's all his fault."
    • Someone on the writing team clearly has something against Chad Michael Murray.
  • That Came Out Wrong: After easily cracking a case, Shawn goes out with a beautiful woman. He realizes just as she invites him back to her place that he has made a mistake. His comments that the case was "too easy" and "I can't believe how quickly I nailed this!" make it sound like he is calling her a tramp, and she leaves.
    • This also happens in the football episode, when Gus (who is masquerading as a team manager/doctor/masseur) says that he won't massage the football players because he only uses his hands "to touch [him]self."
    • When Shawn notes that he and Gus are being played as pawns in a game, Gus replies, "I'm no pawn, Shawn; I'm a queen!"
    • In "We'd like to thank the Academy":

Lassy: The hell conforth, you can't beat me on the field so now you're trying to beat me off?
Shawn: You may wanna rephrase that, sir.

    • Memorably, Lassiter about the SBPD in the first season: "We don't have balls."
    • The season 6 finale (ahem) plays with this a bit:

Henry: This is my son, Shawn, and his partner, Gus.
Witness: Nice. I voted against Prop 8.

Gus: (scoffs) We're partners in a detective agency.

Shawn: But we're also lovers in the nighttime.

Gus: Will you stop it?

Shawn: We're like The Insiders, but even more gay.

Gus: The Insiders were not gay. And neither are we.

  • Thematic Theme Tune: Appropriately describes, "I know you know/that I'm not telling the truth..."
  • Theme Tune Cameo: In the episode "The Amazing Psych Man & Tap-Man, Issue #2", Shawn tells Juliet "I know you know I'm not telling the truth. I know...you know...".
  • There Is Another: Season 4 finale; Remember Mr. Yang? She has a partner...
  • They Fight Crime: As silly as the premise is of "guy pretends to be psychic, people buy it, so he makes a living at it," that's the premise here. It is parodying TV psychics who in their turn are based on real life "psychics" who make a living of it, including being hired by the police.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Well not "badass," but Gus manages to pull off a Shawn style "cover" on his own in the season 5 opener.
  • Took a Level In Dumbass and Took a Level in Jerkass: Shawn gets hit pretty bad by this in season 5, though signs of it pop up in season 4 (mostly by starting to abuse Gus in ways that would have long term consequences, such as making expensive charges on his credit card). Previously eccentric and a bit of a Genius Ditz Shawn is now as jerky as to as to assume his former assistant knows about the Triads because he is Asian and stupid enough to cut what he himself describes as the cable between the pedals and the engine of a truck.
    • Umm, Shawn has been using Gus's credit cards without Gus's permission since the start of the series.
    • And Season 6 shows Shawn being low on funds because he's busy repaying the charges on Gus' credit card. As for the Asian assisant knowing about the Triads, see Stop Being Stereotypical above.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Pineapple, of course.
  • Training from Hell: A watered down version to be sure, but Shawn's father Henry relentlessly drilled Shawn from very early in his childhood (to the exclusion of a normal childhood, save Gus -- which isn't saying much) to have the uncanny attention to detail and eidetic memory which now allows Shawn to convincingly fake having psychic abilities.
    • In episode 4x09, we learn that the training didn't stop there. Henry taught young Shawn how to escape from being locked in a car trunk... by locking him in a car trunk.
  • Trigger Happy: Detective Lassiter seems all too eager to pull out his gun at a moment's notice. Considering just how many guns he keeps hidden in his house...
  • Trust-Building Blunder
  • Umpteenth Customer: One of the cold opens begin with young Shawn as the one millionth customer of a super market.
  • Undercover Model: A rare male case occurs when Shawn and Gus claim to be male models. Both played straight with Gus and subverted when nobody believes Shawn is a model, forcing him to claim to be a hand (and foot!) model.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: In 4x14, "Think Tank", Shawn does one of these to get out of a limo with a killer in it. It is not explained why he could not just scramble out, nor where he learned that skill.
    • This is Shawn Spencer. Chances are, Henry made him learn it just in case.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Shawn/Juliet/Abigail.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Depending on the writer, Shawn's antics can easily qualify.
  • Viewers are Morons: In "Shawn 2.0", the eponymous Declan suspects a murderer of having euthanistic intentions. In case this is too opaque for audiences, Lassiter asks for clarification: "You mean like mercy killings?"
  • Vomiting Cop: Gus...ish.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: In "The Polarizing Express." We get it, Gus doesn't.

Shawn: Kareem! You took off your goggles.
Gus: What?
Shawn: What?

  • The Watson: Between his extensive general knowledge, comparatively level persona, relative lack of observational prowess, and his status as usual recipient of The Summation, it's hard not to think Gus is somewhat inspired by the Watson.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Henry isn't the easiest guy to impress and doesn't exactly conceal when he's disappointed, meaning that Shawn has spent most of his life either trying to impress his father or actively rebelling against him.
  • Wham! Episode: The season 4 finale definitely counts. Mr. Yin, the even more psycho partner to serial killer Mr. Yang, kidnaps Juliet and Abigail seemingly just to screw with Shawn. Mary, the Yin-Yang expert from the Third Season finale gets Killed Off for Real. Shawn manages to save both women, but Abigail breaks up with him and Juliet seems to have a breakdown as she falls crying into Lassiter's arms. And finally, the last shot of the episode implies that Yang knew Shawn when he was younger.
    • The season 5 finale even more so. Mr. Yin returns for revenge, almost killing Shawn and Gus in the process. Yang is revealed to have a Freudian Excuse for her obsession with Shawn. It turns out that she is Yin's daughter and she always thought of the Spencers as a model of what a real family is. Then, it is revealed that Yin has taken on a new apprentice. After overcoming all odds to make it out alive, the episode ends with Lassiter discovering that Shawn and Juliet are together.
    • Season 6 continues the trend. Not only were ALL of Henry's team when he was a cop corrupt, one of them SHOOTS HIM at the very end of the episode.
  • Wham! Line: "50 grand was a lot of money back then."
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: An entire episode revolved around this where Shawn and Gus wake up in their office with Shawn wearing a gold chain, a shower cap, and sandals, Gus's car wrecked, and even more funny, Lassiter and Woody the coroner, are sleeping on their couch.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Desperaux. Shawn says this, word for word, after Desperaux escapes via grappling hook.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Done with at least two episodes: "Dual Spires", which is an homage to Twin Peaks, and "Last Night Gus" which was inspired by The Hangover.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Depending on whom you ask, the episode "Shawn Takes a Shot in the Dark" came about either because an executive asked why the gun-carrying bad guys never shot Shawn, or because executive producer Kelly Kulchak is a fan of Hurt/Comfort fic.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Really closer to Paper-Thin Disguise, Shawn and Gus tend to run into closets and come out wearing something appropriate to the situation they're about to enter, but their unfamiliarity with the fine details of the situation they're entering usually ends up with people looking crosswise at them.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Shawn and O'Hara. Semi-resolved, in the Bittersweet Ending of Season 3, when O'Hara finally kisses Shawn... while he's on a date with another woman. And then there's the summer finale of season five... while she's in a relationship with Declan.
  • Wish Fulfillment: Shawn (and sometimes others as well) will tend to end up acting out various fantasy jobs; he gotten to play football player, male model, telenovela actor, cowboy etc...
  • Wouldn'tHitAGirl: Shawn and Gus according to "Shawn and Gus in Drag (Racing)."
  • Worthy Opponent: Many criminals, but Desperaux calls him this. Yin calls him his "most admirable foe."

Desperaux: I knew you were worthy.

    • Also said by Mr. Yang.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy
    • A promo features Lassiter thinking he is in a serious detective drama, complete with sexual tension between him and O'Hara a la Law and Order SVU.
    • Gus thinks he's the main character.
    • Looking for a (suspected) vampire:

Marlo: "There's Eddie, Jake, and Lucien."

Shawn, Gus, Jules: (in unison) "Where's Lucien?"

  • Xanatos Roulette: Mr Yin's and Mr Yang's masterful plans. They pretty much have to be to get around Shawn.
  • You! Get Me Coffee!: Lassiter has demanded coffee from McNabb multiple times. In "Viagra Falls", Henry's cop buddies incessantly ask this from Juliet.
  • You Have 48 Hours: The SBPD often gives Shawn a deadline to solve the crime or get out of the way so that the real police can investigate. Played straight in the third season finale, when the killer gives Shawn a time limit to save the victim, his mother.

Notes

  1. According to James Roday, if they have their way, this will become a Running Gag, a different actor portraying Mr. Guster each time he appears.