Saturday, July 14, 2018

Psych Out

When I was reading the lecture titled "Psychic Crime Detectives and Cold Reading" I was immediately reminded of the USA Network show Psych. As a huge fan of the show when it was still airing, I can safely say that it was almost satirical of the so called "Psychic Detective." The main character Shawn, who grew up with a father that was a police detective who taught him to be hyper-observant, becomes a "psychic" detective, pretending to be a psychic as a gimmick in order to be a consultant on police cases in order to solve various crimes. While making many 70's-90's references throughout the show, Shawn pretends to be psychic, making vague assumptions based on things he observed at crime scenes and doing actual detective work to support his "psychic" claims. He was not a good detective because he was psychic, he was a good detective because he was trained to be hyper-observant. The show Psych does a great job dispelling the idea of psychics as well as showing how gullible people can be. In many episodes, Shawn finds information about a client or subject without others knowing and then proceeds to have "psychic" visions describing those places or crime scenes in order to solve crimes while maintaining his "psychic" gimmick. Throughout the show, Shawn and his partner Gus dispel many paranormal phenomenons like ghosts, werewolves, aliens, vampires, zombies, and more. "Psych" is definitely a great show that delves into solving crimes while also exploring various paranormal phenomenons and bringing to light the truth behind it, at least in the context of crimes committed. (In one episode Shawn helps a client with a "ghost" issue, but it turns out that the person had a multiple personality disorder which explains why things were moving around or why messages were being written without the client's knowledge.)

Clip of Shawn at a crime scene in the show "Psych":


  1. Although I am not very familiar with the show, I have to say, as a nurse I am very familiar with psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Some patients are convinced of their psychic abilities and can almost make the most experienced observer believe. Our unit has a reputation of being haunted. I work on a behavioral unit with many patients having psychiatric diagnoses as well as addictions and many people attribute certain activity to the type of patients we care for. I still find it interesting that certain patients report things like their beds moving back and forth repeatedly. Different patients who have no idea that this occurrence had been reported by another patient a week prior in the same room. Night shift staff swear to lights turning on and call bells ringing in empty rooms. I have never experienced unusual activity myself but I have had to relocate patients because of their refusal to stay in certain rooms because of it. I find reading and learning about the spirit world interesting and I keep an open mind. One of my favorite shows used to be Medium. For those unfamiliar, the main character assisted in crime investigations. I do not believe in psychics assisting in criminal investigations. I believe that in judging a human being for a crime, evidence needs to be factual. We do not have proof of true psychic ability and therefore this type of ability should not be used when a person's life and reputation is at stake. Thanks for your post.

  2. Hi Vinh,
    Just read through your post and wanted to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Psych is one of my favorite television shows as well because of how it incorporates witty banter with added suspense to give it a thrilling feel. Your interpretation of Shawn's character is spot on as well. What made him so interesting was how he could have been a tremendous detective due to his photographic memory, but lacked the motivation and never wanted to follow in his fathers foot steps. It made him so endearing the to the viewer. Also one of the show's better episodes is the ghost one that you had mentioned. I always enjoyed anything that involves ghosts and or the supernatural which this show definitely has plenty of. Great post!