Shawn Spencer is a fictional character on the American television dramedy Psych played by American actor James Roday. Taking advantage of his photographic memory, he poses as a psychic and works as a private detective who often consults with the Santa Barbara Police Department. Since the season 3 finale, he had been dating Abigail Lytar, played by Rachael Leigh Cook; they broke up in the season 4 finale when Abigail declared that she did not want to live a life of danger.
Shawn was a breech baby , born in February, 1977 and comes from a family of police officer. His parents separated in 1992, and later divorced; his mother, Madeleine (a psychologist), eventually returned and explained that she left to pursue a job opportunity. His father, Henry Spencer, schooled Shawn in detective work from as early as age 7, aiding the development of his extraordinary powers of observation and deduction. At the age of 15, he achieved a perfect score of 100 on the detective's exam. This is drawn loosely from the childhood of series creator Steve Franks, who was also born into a family of police officers and whose father "was training [Franks] in his own way to follow his footsteps." Franks' father would ask him how many people were wearing hats in a restaurant, a tactic employed in the show's pilot episode by Shawn's father.
Shawn's relationship with his father is complicated and at times highly strained. Though often it may seem that Henry is intentionally aggravating or imposing his will on his grown son, it is usually revealed that his motives are genuine. For example, tipping off the meter maid to ticket Shawn's motorcycle which is parked too close to a hydrant outside his apartment. The impounding as a result was Henry's ultimate goal, as Shawn had gotten into an accident some time ago.
Despite his obvious talent, Shawn has no interest in entering the police force, and after graduating from Leland Bosseigh High School in Santa Barbara, California, in 1995 , takes up a string of random jobs selected strictly for his own enjoyment. Detective Lucinda Barry noted that had he applied himself in his youth he could've been running IBM . He is also shown to be a crack shot, hitting all of Detective Barry's bullet holes in a target with little experience. In his spare time, he entertains himself by calling in tips to the police hotline based on observations he has made on crime scene shown in television news footage. After one such tip, the Santa Barbara police become suspicious of Shawn, whose information is so good that they believe it could only have come from an inside source. Desperate to avoid jail time, Shawn lies, explaining that he obtained the information in a psychic vision. Although initially skeptical, the department is impressed when he uses his "psychic" abilities to deduce that McNab was getting married, the secretary was "haunted" by her dead grandmother, Lassiter was in a relationship with his partner, and solve a vandalism case. So they hire Shawn as a consultant. Burton Guster, Shawn's best friend, hesitantly allows Shawn to recruit him, and they open their own psychic detective agency, "Psych".
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