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There's much to like about Psych: The Musical


Psych stars Dule Hill, James Roday break out in song. USA photo

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Dramas such as Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy are so gritty, way too gritty to pull off a song-and-dance episode.

Not so Psych, the light-on-its-feet crime show now in its seventh season on the USA network. So here comes Psych: The Musical (Sunday, Dec. 15th at 8 p.m. central), a nicely done two-hour whodunit whose signature song is “Under Santa Barbara Skies.”

That’s still the crime-solving locale for Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his oft-flustered reluctant partner Burton “Gus” Guster (Dule Hill). This time they’re on the scent of a seemingly bent playwright (guest star Anthony Rapp from Rent) who’s busted out of the Willowbrooke Psychiatric Hospital. Seven years earlier, he wrote Ripper as a local stage production that never got off the ground. But is he now bitter enough to commit murder?

More or less assisting in the manhunt is “Mr. Yang,” a recurring, incarcerated serial killer again played to terrific effect by Ally Sheedy. She also gets to sing during the course of a madcap pursuit that isn’t required to make much sense. Yang may or may not know the identity of the killer. And perhaps she’s an accomplice. Whatever the case, Shawn had better treat her with the proper respect. Or as Yang sees it, “If you’re going to accuse me, at least have the courtesy to sing it.”

Series regulars Timothy Omundson and Maggie Lawson, as detectives “Lassie” Lassiter and “Jules” O’Hara, also lend their modest musical talents to these proceedings. But Roday’s Shawn is the majority singer, leading the way through a buoyant opening number and later sitting down at a piano to warble, “When you’re making up a song, the words you improvise are never wrong.” All of the songs were written by composer Adam Cohen, according to USA publicity materials.

The episode also accommodates guest star Barry Bostwick as a seemingly suspicious theater owner. Surprisingly, though, Bostwick never uses his singing voice despite a Broadway musical background in productions ranging from Grease to The Robber Bridegroom, for which he won a Tony Award.

The second hour of Sunday’s Pysch’s musical ends up being a little too short on both song and dance. Still, this is a likable and ambitious effort that ends with a neat little showcase number from Hill’s Gus. Applause, applause.