The 10 Greatest Episodes of ‘Psych’ Source:

We live in the golden age of television, where more programs are produced and dropped every season than ever even existed before. Of the ones that stick, it makes sense that viewers are bound to miss out on some gems, as there simply isn’t enough time to watch all the great television that finds its way onto the surplus of channels made available for purchase and bundle. One of the great underrated shows of this generation is Psych, the hilarious buddy comedy that aired on the USA Network for eight seasons and saw fake psychic Shawn Spencer (James Roday), a man with great abilities but little sense of responsibility, solve crimes (usually of the murderous variety) for the Santa Barbara Police Department with the help of his far more responsible best friend, Burton Guster (Dule Hill). A laugh-out-loud endeavor that featured some of the best writing and guest appearances seen on television in quite some time, Psych is a worthwhile watch for any TV fan, which is why we’ve put together a list featuring 10 of the greatest Psych episodes of all time.

10. “Spellingg Bee” (Season 1, Episode 2)

We’ll start at the beginning (as it’s best to, with most things), or at least near the beginning. Psych had an excellent pilot, but we’re by no means ready to declare it one of the better elements of the series, especially considering the female lead was swapped out between episodes one and two. In “Spellingg Bee,” audiences are introduced to the series female regular, Juliet O’Hara (as played by Maggie Lawson), as Shawn and Gus attempt to solve the mysterious death of a spelling bee judge. The episode, which does an excellent job of setting up the crucial dynamic between Shawn and Gus, while fleshing out secondary characters like Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Osmundson) and Shawn’s father, Henry Spencer (Corbin Bernsen), also makes an effort to clarify that Shawn isn’t psychic at all; rather, he’s a man gifted with an extraordinary memory and a knack for deductive and abductive reasoning. Source:

9. “Black and Tan: A Crime of Fashion” (Season 2, Episode 15)

The back and forth between Shawn and Gus is what makes Psych great. At its heart, the show is a buddy cop comedy that plays heavily off the mismatched personalities of its two leads, who, while extremely different, have always been best friends. The show often makes a point of reminding us that Shawn and Gus have been friends for quite some time, with frequent flashbacks to their formative years a device the show utilizes regularly and to great effect. The friendship between the two is paramount to their success, and that’s why it’s always interesting when a wrinkle is thrown in, and in “Black and Tan: A Crime of Fashion,” that wrinkle comes in the form of a beautiful model named Belinda, with whom Gus becomes smitten while investigating a double murder in the world of high-end fashion. It’s a classic television dilemma, made all the more hilarious here by Gus’s slow descent into vanity and ridiculousness as the duo go undercover as models to solve the crime. Source: YouTube

8. “The Amazing Psych-Man and Tap-Man, Issue 2” (Season 6, Episode 4)

Psych has taken on the comic book world before, most notably in season one’s “Shawn vs. The Red Phantom,” but they’ve never been quite so hilarious as in “The Amazing Psych-Man and Tap-Man, Issue 2,” which is the fourth episode of the show’s sixth season. The episode, which is routinely ranked near the top of the show’s catalogue, sees Shawn and Gus hunting down a vigilante, nicknamed The Mantis, who appears to be acting as a thorn in the paw of the Camino Drug Syndicate, a group who have (to this point) eluded capture while successfully smuggling drugs into the country. This episode would be worth watching if only to see Shawn and Gus in full superhero gear; as luck would have it, the entire episode is one hilarious event after another that’s certainly worth your while. Source:

7. “American Duos” (Season 2, Episode 1)

One of the best things about Psych is the guest stars. The show has made repeated and successful attempts to incorporate famous individuals (usually pop culture icons from the ’80s and ’90s) into its episodes, and one of the most hilarious guest appearances in the show’s tenure occurs in the first episode of season two, when Tim Curry joins the show in a Simon Cowell-esque role as the judge of “American Duos,” an American Idol rip-off that both Shawn and Gus are eager to participate in as part of an undercover ruse to discover just who is trying to knock off the judges and kill the competition (literally). Also featuring Gina Gershon, this episode is one of the funniest in the series, and also introduces Shawn’s affinity for ’80s music such as Tears for Fears, a defining character trait that the show makes repeated references to in the coming seasons. Source:

6. “An Evening With Mr. Yang” (Season 3, Episode 16)

While Psych is undoubtedly a comedy (despite its murderous content matter), it isn’t all peaches and gravy in Santa Barbara, especially when Shawn and Gus are called out by the city’s most notorious serial criminal, the Yin Yang Killer. The sixteenth episode of the show’s third season (and the season finale), “An Evening With Mr. Yang” sees the show take an unusual turn into semi-serious territory as Shawn must call upon all of his abilities to capture the Yin Yang killer, who has embarked on numerous killing sprees before and who always vanishes before police are ever able to apprehend a suspect. Featuring a killer guest appearance by Ally Sheedy (of The Breakfast Club fame), “An Evening With Mr. Yang” is one of the show’s more acclaimed episodes. Source:

5. “Shawn Rescues Darth Vader” (Season 6, Episode 1)

It’s a testament to the comedic strength of Psych that one could argue it actually gets funnier as it progresses (to a point, of course), with the show’s sixth season being one of the funniest in the entire series. In particular, the season’s inaugural episode, “Shawn Rescues Darth Vader,” is a treat to watch. Featuring a guest appearance by the delightful Malcolm McDowell (of A Clockwork Orange fame), this episode sees Shawn and Gus exploring the many benefits of diplomatic immunity (which they technically don’t have) while investigating a murder which takes place at the home of a British ambassador (McDowell). Notable for being the episode that sees Shawn and Gus quarrel with a twelve-year-old (in retrospect, this is not the only time in the series that this occurs), “Shawn Rescues Darth Vader” is a great beginning to the show’s sixth season (the show historically features strong season openers, as we’ll yet see). Source:

4. “65 Million Years Off” (Season 2, Episode 2)

Spoiler alert: when a body washes up out of the ocean with no identifying markings or tags and a crazed psychic detective tells you that, based on the bruising around the body’s midsection, that a Tyrannosaurus Rex did it, it’s probably best to believe someone who can make a claim like that with conviction. Just a thought. So goes the plot of “65 Million Years Off,” the second episode of Psych‘s second season, wherein Shawn and Gus must discover what events led to the mysterious death of an archaeologist while working to unearth a dinosaur (the odds are great that it’s of the carnivorous variety). An episode which dedicates a large amount of time to Gus’s dinosaur fascination (his numerous fascinations and odd interests make up the bulk of his contributions to the crime-solving partnership), “65 Million Years Off” also sees Henry and Gus attempting to stage an intervention for Shawn on behalf of his “psychic inclinations.” We’ll let you guess how that plays out. Source:

3. “Shawn 2.0” (Season 5, Episode 8)

It’s not often Shawn Spencer meets his match, but that’s exactly what happens in the eighth episode of Psych‘s fifth season, titled “Shawn 2.0.” The episode, which sees the Santa Barbara Police Department bring in a criminal profiler to compete with Shawn and help solve a series of murders they believe are connected, is consistently ranked as one of the funniest in the series, as it sees Shawn facing off with another of roughly equal mental capacity (and meeting his idol, Tears for Fears guitarist and vocalist Curt Smith, who makes a hilarious cameo appearance in one of the show’s funniest moments). Source:

2. “Murder? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?” (Season 3, Episode 2)

There’s nowhere Psych feels more at home than navigating pop culture iconography, usually related in some way to the 1980s (the show has had four of the five members of The Breakfast Club on as guest stars, with only Emilio Estevez missing). So it should come as no surprise that a high school-themed episode would feature innumerable references to the works of the late John Hughes, and “Murder? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?” satisfies immensely in rehashing our old high school hopes and anxieties. An episode which introduces a major love interest for Shawn in an old high school flame (played by Rachael Leigh Cook), “Murder? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?” sees Gus irate when Shawn attempts to investigate a potential murder at their high school reunion. Source:

1. “Extradition: British Columbia” (Season 4, Episode 1)

Like we said before, oftentimes it’s the guest appearances that can elevate Psych above and beyond its procedural contemporaries, and that’s never been more true than in “Extradition: British Columbia,” the first episode of Psych‘s fourth season (see, we told you the series always had strong season openers). The episode sees Shawn and Gus attempting to capture debonair art thief Pierre Desperaux (played by the roguishly charming Cary Elwes) while on a skiing trip to Canada. Cue the shenanigans, maple syrup jokes and attempts to co-operate with Mounties (the Royal Canadian Mounted Police). A great episode that sees Shawn and Gus operating on international terrain, “Extradition: British Columbia” takes the top spot on this list not only because it’s hilarious, but also because it features the best guest appearance in the series’ history. Source:
Jim Halden

Jim Halden

Josh Elyea has been writing about movies and TV for Goliath since 2015.