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 Boston Herald Article
MintyToothpick
Posted: Jul 9 2006, 09:53 PM


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It’s fun when networks get into slap fights with each other.

USA Network’s “Psych” takes a smack at Court TV’s “Psychic Detectives.”

FYI, for those sweetly or otherwise gullible, the stars of Court TV’s “reality show” are frauds, and “Psych” undermines them and their supporters with mirth.

Shawn (James Roday) is a 20-something slacker who has run through countless jobs. Thanks to the relentless drills he endured from his detective father (Corbin Bernsen), Shawn has a startling eye for detail - he can take in an entire scene in a blink. He calls so many crime tips in to the police that they believe he must be a criminal himself.

When he tries to collect a reward, he’s arrested. Pressed on the spot, he claims to be a psychic - and manages to convince at least a few on the police force that he’s legit.

Soon he’s using his “ability” - and the binoculars he got with his Sports Illustrated subscription - to investigate a kidnapping case involving a rich family.

Shawn drags along his buddy Gus (Dule Hill, “The West Wing”), whose street cred includes having been to jail - OK, during a Monopoly game. He’s a bit of a nervous soul. In one key moment, he starts Lamaze breathing - it helps with the stress, he tells Shawn.

The mystery is by far the weakest part of the show. (The most familiar TV face is the culprit.) Shawn’s eye for detail is one thing; his theories just might as well be the result of paranormal powers or a bump on the head given that they have no connection to the plot.

“Psych” seems to be another patient in USA’s asylum of quirky characters, but that’s not enough. To ensure its future, the network will have to dream up some compelling cases. Still, Roday is a charmer, a real find with the timing of Zach Braff (“Scrubs”), and he’s a hoot when he goes into his John Edward zone. His prickly relationship with his father gives some depth to the show.

This fearless prediction? USA Network has another winner on its hands.

“PSYCH” Series premiere Friday at 10 p.m. on USA Network. Grade: B-

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