Shawn Spencer

Shawn Spencer

Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up... in a family of police officers. His dad was a detective and his mom worked as a police psychiatrist. His father began teaching him about detective work when Shawn was just 7 years old.

Living... alone in Santa Barbara, Calif. But he spends most of his time with his childhood friend and business partner, Gus.

Profession... co-owner (with Gus) of the detective agency "Psych,” where Shawn serves as a freelance consultant to the Santa Barbara Police Department and a private detective. Shawn claims to use psychic powers to solve cases but really just has an incredibly keen sense of observation, honed by endless drilling by his dad during his childhood, and an eidetic (photographic) memory. He enjoys fooling his colleagues into believing in his "gift.”

Interests... attention. Every time Shawn has a "psychic vision," you can be sure there’s a crowd around to witness it. He is extremely confident in himself and enjoys having people's eyes on him. He likes the limelight and prides himself on being witty, outgoing, and able to talk his way out of most situations.

Relationship Status... currently dating Juliet O'Hara, a Santa Barbara PD detective, whom he has been pining over since he first opened his agency. She initially was not attracted to Shawn due to his boastful and sarcastic behavior, but eventually came around because of his charm and undeniable crime-solving skills. Or maybe Shawn just wore her down.

Challenge... keeping the hoax going that he is an actual psychic. Originally the SBPD accused Shawn of being a criminal because he knew the details of so many crimes. Then once he convinced them he was a psychic, the police chief said he’d be prosecuted if it turned out that was a lie, so Shawn has to keep the ruse going. Though one gets the sense that his police colleagues don’t care all that much if he’s really a psychic as long as he keeps solving cases. Still, Shawn seems to relish the illusion and the challenge of keeping the deception going. As he puts it, "The best way to convince people you're not lying to them is to tell them you are."

Personality... fun-loving, sarcastic, and devil-may-care. Even when interviewing potentially dangerous criminal suspects, Shawn can’t stop joking around. For instance he might interrupt an interrogation with a non-sequitur such as, "I always travel with a small packet of Johnson and Johnson's baby shampoo in my wallet. No more tears." He’s always dragging Gus along on whatever scheme he’s cooking up and can’t seem to take anything seriously. He does care about his cases, though, and pretty much always comes through in the end. 


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