Smart detective series more funny than graphic.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show's premise is based on a deception -- that the main character is psychic. But that deception is put to good use, solving crimes and bringing criminals to justice (amid lots of snarky humor). The main characters also have a strong friendship.

Positive role models

Although he often comes across as selfish (a trait played up for humor), Shawn genuinely wants to help people, and he provides an example of someone putting smarts to good use. Some cops are depicted as stubborn and dim-witted. The main character's sidekick is the only African-American in an otherwise white cast. Shawn's dad takes a "tough love" approach to child-rearing in some flashback sequences.


Each show investigates a crime. Dead bodies with some blood (usually very little) are shown, and brief violence with weapons is depicted. But this isn't a major element of the show -- it's more about getting to the bottom of the mystery.


Lots of flirting (mostly Shawn hitting on attractive women) and occasional making out. References to "sleeping together."


Not too frequent, but words include "damn," "bastard," etc.


The main character drives a Toyota -- a pretty obvious product placement. Other brands show up and are mentioned by name, including Dunkin Donuts.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some social drinking in the periphery.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this detective comedy/drama, while funny and lighthearted, depicts dead bodies and some violent action. The main character (who has a tendency to act impulsively and selfishly, though he usually has a good ulterior motive) also pursues women eagerly, but it usually takes the form of flirting and verbal come-ons vs. groping sessions (though there is some making out occasionally). Overall, teens will probably find the main character and the show compelling and amusing.

What's the story?

In PSYCH, Shawn Spencer (James Roday) uses his amazing observational abilities to solve crimes and has a lot of fun in the process. After years of being a happy-go-lucky guy without an ounce of ambition, Shawn winds up helping the police department solve crimes. The catch? They think he's a psychic. Shawn gets help from reluctant friend Burton "Gus" Guster (Dulé Hill), with whom he runs a private psychic detective agency. The partners have a constant push-pull relationship, since Shawn has talked Gus into one too many wild rides in the past. In the background is Shawn's somewhat estranged father, Henry (Corbin Bernsen), an ex-cop and stern taskmaster who helped Shawn hone his abilities as a child.

Is it any good?


Roday, who works a likeable Ben Stiller vibe, is hilariously goofy as a fake psychic. He puts his fingers to his temples as if conjuring spirits, only to blurt out clues he's deduced by smart observation and a little digging around. Shawn's charm and good humor aid him in his constant pursuit of women, which he pulls off jauntily and without being sleazy. Shawn and Gus engage in clever banter, which is usually chock full of obscure pop culture references. And the tricky relationship between Shaun and his father adds emotional depth to an otherwise lighthearted show.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about observational skills. How many details can teens recall about a room they just entered or a person they just met?

  • What can you do to improve your observation skills? Is being able to recall small details a fun process, or a drag? What jobs could you get with highly attuned observation and memory abilities?

  • Do you consider Shawn a role model? Why or why not?

TV details

Cast:Corbin Bernsen, Dule Hill, James Roday
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Psych was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bysarahkay89 April 16, 2011

Good for adults and older teens, but not kids or young teens.

I personally LOVE this show. It is so hilarious and brilliantly thought-out! I love the dynamics of Shawn and Gus and the witty, humorous dialogue between the two Psych does have language in it, as well as a few sexual innuendos that occasionally manifests itself in a sensual scene. Overall, I think this show has many positive points, but the negative things, make it unsuitable for young teens.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byvals June 12, 2012

Not what it once was

Psyche used to be a nice clean funny and entertaining show. I tuned in to watch it the other day and will not watch it again. The language was bad, and there were repeated references to sex. Using *Christ* as a swear word on a supposedly family oriented show is absolutely unacceptable.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old October 3, 2011

one of the best

Psych is 1 of the best shows, Its funny its suspenseful. I recommend it!!!!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism


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