Psych: We’d Like to Thank the Academy

After Shawn and Gus muck up a drug bust with their utter lack of reverence for appropriate police procedures, a fed-up Chief Vick orders them to attend a three-week crash course at the Santa Barbara Police Academy, under the tutelage of Officer Nick Conforth (Ralph Macchio). Nick graduated first in his class at the Academy, just ahead of his arch-rival Lassiter, yet has never been able to hack it in the field, due to his tendency to go all to pieces in times of stress.

Ralph Macchio! Outstanding. Cross another name off the master list of Psych dream guest stars.

Meanwhile, a number of check-cashing establishments run by noted crime boss DeVry Longsdale (Doron Bell Jr.) have been robbed, most likely by a petty criminal named David Arnold. When another robbery takes place, Shawn and Gus prey on Nick’s feelings of inferiority and persuade him to take them to the crime scene, in the hopes of solving the case first and showing up Lassiter. They spot Arnold fleeing on foot; Nick freezes up, but Gus and Shawn take off in hot pursuit. Arnold ducks into a dormitory at the Santa Barbara Institute of Technology and gets away.

(Is "DeVry Longsdale" a nod to Avon Barksdale from The Wire? If so, I'm duly impressed.)

Chief Vick suspends Nick for his participation in Shawn and Gus’s shenanigans, then sends the boys back to the Academy to complete their training, this time with Juliet as their instructor.

An investigation into David Arnold shows that everything in his file -- his police record, his license plate number, his address -- has been faked. Arnold, in fact, doesn’t exist at all -- he’s the creation of two computer wunderkinds at SBIT, Chris and Dickie. Despite being under strict orders to stay out of the investigation, Shawn and Gus snoop around Chris and Dickie’s dorm room. They’re forced to hide in the closet when DeVry Longsdale breaks into the room, searching for the quarter million in cash that the students stole from him.

Chris and Dickie used their technological savvy to steal the cash from Longsdale to repay their gambling debt to a grocery store owner/bookie named Bazo. DeVry kidnaps Chris and threatens to kill him unless Dickie returns the cash to him. Dickie eludes police custody, intent on stealing the cash back from Bazo to repay DeVry.

Shawn and Gus grab Nick and drag him along with them to Bazo’s store, where a big, messy shootout between Bazo and DeVry and Dickie takes place (Gus runs interference by flawlessly mimicking the sound of machine-gun fire, a la Michael Winslow’s character in the Police Academy films). Nick finally overcomes his fears long enough to burst in and save the day. After apprehending Bazo and DeVry, he runs off to barf.

Nick gets reinstated as the top instructor at the academy. He and Lassiter share a tremendously awkward hug.

A perfectly decent mid-level episode, distinguished mostly by a nice guest turn from Macchio, who is looser and funnier here than he was in his (strangely underwhelming) recurring role in the (strangely underwhelming) final season of Ugly Betty.

Gus’s fake name:
Mission Figz

Awesome Eighties references:
Gus speculates that the awards for outstanding police work should be called the Bustys. Shawn argues that Bustys should be reserved for strippers or sculptors: “Lionel Richie has one.”

Shawn, after Vick yells at them for their lack of knowledge of appropriate police procedure: “Fine. We’ll dust off our ChiPs DVDs and meet you back here Monday morning.”

Shawn, ogling his new academy instructor Juliet: “It’s Top Gun. I’m Cruise, she’s Kelly McGillis.” To Gus: “You’re Sundown.”

Shawn, after discovering “David Arnold” is a phony: “Someone made him up, like Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science.”

Awesome Karate Kid-specific Eighties references:
Nick, after sternly telling Shawn and Gus their police-issued gadgets are not toys: “Is that clear?”
Shawn: “Yes, Sensei!”

Shawn, after Nick grouses about feeling inadequate to Lassiter: “Don’t just stand there and wax on about it.”


Morgan Dodge said…
Welcome to "how lame am I," staring ME. I totally forgot that this was the Ralph Macchio episode until I read your recap. Seriously, never would have recognized him (guess I don't watch enough Ugly Betty?)

I also totally missed the Karate Kid references, possibly because I wasn't watching for them, possibly because I didn't realize there was a reason for them, definitely because I forgot it was the Ralph Macchio episode.

I feel like they're starting to hit a good stride with the Juliet romance thing (maybe I'm the only one that thinks they're doing a good job with it, though). Just seems like 99% of shows that let the unrequited romance... requite (???) are in dangerous shark-type-jumping territory.
Loved the Top Gun reference. Loved when she locked them in the car. Loved the second Top Gun reference at the end. Who knew Juliet was so kinky?

Thanks for the recap. Without you I would have been in the dark.
Morgan Richter said…
Yeah, I think the Shawn/Juliet romance thus far seems pretty natural and low-key and non-intrusive, possibly because James Roday and Maggie Lawson have been a real-life couple for the past several years and thus have a nice, easy vibe together.

Ralph Macchio! Yep. Good to see him working. Now if they could only find a way to bring both Macchio's character AND C. Thomas Howell's character back in an episode, we could have an awesome little Outsiders reunion.

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