Episode Title: 'True Grits'
Writer: Saladin K. Patterson
Director: Reginald Hudlin
When Thane Woodson's robbery conviction is overturned, the former restaurant employee hires Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dule Hill) to find the real culprit. At first they refuse, but after Thane (Anthony Anderson) breaks down about losing the woman he loves while serving two and a half years in jail, they agree to take the case. When Shawn tells Jules (Maggie Lawson) about the case, she tells him that it was she who put Thane away for the crime.
The boys visit the owner of the restaurant that Thane was convicted of robbing. He explains that the robber tied up a kitchen worker with zip ties and made him recite the alphabet backwards. Shawn remembers a recent convenience store robbery that went the same way. When he and Gus visit the store, Shawn learns that it was newly renovated and that the alarm system didn't work. The employee also says Thane looks a lot like the robber.
Henry (Corbin Bernsen) calls Shawn about a jewelry store robbery where zip ties were also used. At the store, Shawn deduces that there was a recent renovation and that the alarm system doesn't work. An employee confirms his hunch and also says the criminal looked like Thane.
Shawn gets the name of the contractor who did the renovation but sees Jules taking him in as he and Gus pull up to the man's house. When Shawn asks to question him, Jules declines since Shawn decided they should not discuss the case.
Instead, Shawn and Gus pose as day laborers in order to learn more about the contractor. One of the men waiting for work tells the boys about a man named Carl who worked on both the jewelry store and convience store jobs. Shawn, Thane and Gus visit Carl's dad who tells them he kicked his son out a month ago. At the precinct, they learn that Jules is already onto Carl and begin to worry they won't get paid by Thane if SBPD cracks the case first.
When Mercer is found dead inside his restaurant, Jules, Lassie (Timothy Omundson), Gus and Shawn see Thane on the surveillance tape. While behind bars, he claims he was only going to ask Mercer for his old job back. When he saw Mercer's body, he ran. However, he's freed when Jules talks to a witness who saw someone leave the restaurant at the time Mercer was killed. Thane then fires Shawn and Gus.
While waiting on DNA evidence, Jules suggests that Carl will try to get rid of the diamonds soon. Shawn remembers that the jewelry store sold "conflict-free" diamonds which means they're traceable, giving SBPD a new lead. The breakthrough convinces Thane to hire the boys back.
When Jules and Lassie visit the woman who sold the diamonds to a pawn shop, Jules finds Carl hiding in the back of her apartment. He's arrested but on the way back to the precinct, their patrol car is hit by a pick-up and Carl is taken away.
The DNA from the jewelry store is a familial match to blood from the accident. This leads Shawn and Lassie to theorize that Carl's father, Fred is covering for his son because he doesn't want Carl in the national DNA database, for fear it could link him to a murder he committed thirty years ago.
Shawn remembers a bottle company crate he saw in Fred's house, suggesting he worked at the dock where the murder was committed, decades ago. The team finds Carl and Fred in the warehouse. Shawn tells Fred that SBPD knows he paid off Mercer to frame Thane and then killed Mercer when it looked like he might talk. Fred tells Carl he didn't want to go to jail due to his son's crime. Carl gives himself up and Lassie arrests Fred.
The next day, Thane stops by in his new Mustang to thank everyone for their help. He tells them he plans to use the money to reopen Mercer's restaurant and drives off before Gus and Shawn realize he hasn't paid them yet.
Juliet and Lassie versus Shawn and Gus. How's that for a change of pace? Sure, you could argue that almost every episode pits the Psych team against Lassie but I'm pretty sure this is the first time Jules has refused to work with Shawn and Gus. Which is amazing considering some of the craziness they've put her through.
You can't blame Jules though, not after Shawn decided that working with the Santa Barbara PD would be a conflict of interest in the case of Thane Woodson, a former restaurant employee whose robbery conviction was recently overturned. Then again, it was Jules who put him away for two plus years.
While two years and (let's not forget) eight months may not sound like a long bid, Thane (played by 'The Shield's', Anthony Anderson) constantly reminded everyone he came in contact with about his three year ("rounded up!") ordeal. And with ten grand on the line for the Psych boys, Shawn and Gus had some extra pressure to get this one wrapped up before SBPD did.
Having Lassie and Jules one step ahead of Shawn and Gus was a fun little turning of the tables in this episode. And Anthony Anderson had some great lines in this hour. Indeed, Shawn and Gus were definitely "cop blocked" with this case.
And hey, there was Ken Tanaka (Patrick Gallagher) from 'Glee' as restaurant owner, Mercer. Also 'Felicity' and 'Supernatural's' Rob Benedict popped in to play Thane's lawyer.
As cases go, this one was lacked that particular brand of zaniness I look for in an episode of "Psych" but it was nice to see the focus swing over to the Juliet and Shawn dynamic. Shawn has some great back-and-fourths with Gus and Lassie but I find the exchanges between the pseudo-psychic and his detective girlfriend to be some of the funniest moments on the show. And "True Grits" gave us a nice helping on that end.
But with one episode to go, here's hoping "Psych" gets the silly out before we bid farewell to another season.