We've been with fake psychic Shawn Spencer and his long-suffering buddy Burton Guster for five years, but this hilarious mystery-comedy shows no signs of slowing down. "Psych Season 5" has some new additions to the plot -- mainly in Shawn's love life -- but most of the time it's the usual whirl of bizarre crimes and quirky solutions.
Ever since Henry was put in charge of police consultants, work has been scarce. So Shawn (James Roday) elbows his way into the case of a Chinese diplomat's missing daughter... and ends up mired in the Triads, martial-arts, and a very unusual romance. And that was actually the NORMAL case.
As the season goes on, Shawn and Gus must deal with alien abductions, a professional profiler, a gang of prison escapees, partner-swapping, gigolo deaths, a pair of retired cops, a spy who's been framed, a dead body in a haunted house, an art thief determined to do one last job, a framed polar bear, and a stint at the police academy. Finally, Shawn and Gus do battle with Mr. Yin one last time, over the life of a college student -- and see his true face.
Best parts of the season: the boys take a trip to "Dual Spires" (Twin Peaks in all but name); and after Shawn botches an important case, he has a "It's a Wonderful Life" experience where a grouchy Tony Cox shows him what Santa Barbara would be like if he hadn't returned.
It's entirely possibly that "Psych Season 5" is, if not the best season so far, then certainly one of the best. Fortunately creator Steve Franks is sticking to the old adage: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," and this season doesn't deviate from what works -- there's still lots of comedy, spoofery, silly dialogue ("That would mean we're at war with the machines!") and enjoyable mysteries.
The writers deftly juggle the funny-sounding plot twists (nunchuk-wielding nerd! Cinnamon festival!), and cram it with endless pop culture references, from Michael Jackson to Percy Jackson, Twin Peaks to "Disaster Movie." But the best aspect of "Psych" continues to be its kooky dialogue ("What are you guys, UFO chasers?" "Nothing as ridiculous as that. We're psychic detectives").
But this season has a startling development in Shawn's love life. After four-and-a-half seasons of dancing around Shawn and Juliet's mutual attraction, they finally quit messing around. Don't worry -- the romance takes a backseat to the mysteries. The focus is still on Shawn and Gus's strong friendship, and Hill and Roday are still brilliant at depicting the weird, wacky and wild.
And the supporting cast still does brilliant work -- Maggie Lawson's Juliet struggles with the aftermath of her near-death experience, and Timothy Ormundson's Lassiter acquires a new hobby. Corbin Bernson's Henry is still a fun, hard-nosed curmudgeon, but his workplace conflicts with Shawn are too rare. Step it up!
"Psych Season 5" is just more of the stuff we know and love -- mystery/comedy with a quirky pop-culture streak, and hint of romance here and there.