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Reviewed by Jason Thompson
or fans of “Psych,” nothing is more pleasing than seeing their favorite show continue to maintain the high quality it has possessed since its inception. With the fourth season just right around the corner, the USA Network favorite shows no signs of slowing down. But here we have the third season all packaged up nicely, ready to be watched and re-watched, which is something many a “Psych” fan has no problem doing. What’s more, Season Three might just be the best so far, which is saying something considering the first two seasons were also knockouts.
To sum up, “Psych” revolves around Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his pal Burton Guster (Dule Hill). Spencer isn’t a real psychic, but has an uncanny knack for attention to detail, bolstered through the years by his dad (Corbin Bersen), a former police officer, that he easily plays himself off as one. Together, Shawn and Gus help solve crimes for the local police department as well as take on cases of their own from time to time. If any of this sounds like “The Mentalist” to you, with an added comedy factor, then that’s because it basically is – only this show came first. This is made all the more obvious in one episode where Shawn hilariously references that show in a not-so-veiled insult.
At any rate, in this third season we are introduced to Shawn’s mother (played by Cybill Shepherd), whom we have only heard about through stories told by Shawn and his dad in previous seasons. At first, Shawn isn’t happy to see his mom, having always thought that she left him and his dad for whatever reason. Yet he soon finds out this wasn’t the case and that his parents’ split was more or less one that was mutually agreed upon due to their relationship becoming strained from work-related problems. Of course, Shawn’s parents never stopped caring about one another, a fact that is touched upon strongly in the excellent season finale, “An Evening with Mr. Yang.”
In between the reappearance of Shawn’s mother and that finale there are plenty of hilarious cases that Shawn and Gus get to collide through with precision hilarity. Among the highlights include “Disco Didn’t Die, It Was Murdered!” This is one of those episodes where the comedic team of Roday and Hill just brings a smile to anyone’s face within viewing distance. Bernsen also shines in this episode, getting plenty of laughs of his own and not just sticking to his hard-ass, by-the-books attitude that he impinges upon Shawn on a regular basis.
Other highlights include “Lassie Did a Bad, Bad Thing,” in which police detective Carlton Lassiter (the always wonderful, over-the-top Timothy Omundson) is framed for a murder that he didn’t commit; “Talk Derby to Me,” which finds Shawn’s love interest detective Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson) competing on a roller derby team whose rivals may have murder on their minds; and best of all, “Tuesday the 17th.” This last episode is one of the funniest spoofs of the “Friday the 13th” franchise ever created, and yes, this even includes the excellent first film in the “Scream” series. No small potatoes for a cable network TV show. Fans of the horror series will have a blast spotting references to various chapters of the franchise in this episode.
All of this might seem precariously close to being nothing more than the usual rote comedy/action TV fodder were it not for the always strong stories the show’s writers create, as well as the indelible chemistry between Roday and Hill. As the straight man of the team, Hill is extremely hilarious against Roday’s more obvious lovable goofball. That these two work so well together, giving the audience the sense that their characters really have been best friends since they were kids is part of what makes their performances so enjoyable to watch week after week. That said, this third season of “Psych” is pretty much another instant classic set of 16 episodes and well worth anyone’s time who appreciates great comedy with a nice dose of action and a good amount of fun suspense thrown in.
Special Features: The four discs that make up this set are jam packed with gag reels, deleted scenes, the favorite “Psychouts” which always appear during the end of every episode, as well as audio and podcast commentaries. There are even a few video commentaries thrown in as well and some montages for those who just can’t get enough of Roday and Hill’s antics. Plenty to enjoy here, most of it worth delving into.