Shawn Spencer is a fictional character played by James Roday in the television series Psych. Young Shawn (shown in flashbacks) is played by Liam James (starting with the first season episode "Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Piece" and ending with the fifth season episode "Shawn & Gus in Drag (Racing)"). Josh Hayden played Young Shawn in the pilot episode only. jpar played Young Shawn in the episode "Spellingg Bee" only. Starting in the fifth season, in the episode "Ferry Tale", Young Shawn is played by Skyler Gisondo. instead of Liam James
Born in 1977, Shawn hails from a family of police officers. 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, fully expected him to carry the torch, and 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.
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 got into an accident some time previous.
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, he took up a string of random jobs selected strictly for his own enjoyment. In his spare time, he entertains himself by calling in tips to the police hotline based on observations he has made on crime scenes 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" deductions to deduce that McNab was getting married, the secretary was haunted by her dead grandmother, Lassiter was in a relationship with his partner Lucinda Barry, and solves a vandalism case. So they hire Shawn as a consultant. Enlisting the assistance of his reluctant best friend, Burton Guster, Shawn opens his own psychic detective agency, "Psych".
It has been recently revealed he inherited his eidetic memory from his mother.
Shawn's seemingly random stream of consciousness often betrays the far-reaching logical connections that his observational skills allow him to make. He explains the multiple-personality-afflicted Robert Dunn's condition to Gus by referencing The Flying Nun, which starred Sally Field, who played the similarly-affected title character in Sybil. He also hybridizes movie quotes voiced by James Earl Jones in two separate films (The Lion King and Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back) when addressing a mountain lion: "Simba, I am your father." Running jokes on the show center around Shawn's love of pineapples (even though he has a "distaste" for pointy objects), which he will often bring as gifts to people he is meeting for the first time; his inability to turn his phone on vibrate, even when spying or infiltrating the homes of suspects; his fondness of Val Kilmer; his comments on other people’s hair; his difficulty in pronouncing certain words (such as "chassis"); and his use of other people's property in his psychic "visions" (i.e. using O'Hara's scarf to cover his eyes, him ripping out the paper tray of the printer belonging to Chief Vick, Gus's head).
- "American Duos"
- "65 Million Years Off"
- "Psy vs. Psy"
- "Lights, Camera...Homicidio"
- "Black and Tan: A Crime of Fashion"
- "Shawn (and Gus) of the Dead"
- "Murder? … Anyone? … Anyone? … Bueller?"
- "The Greatest Adventure in the History of Basic Cable"
- "Gus Walks Into a Bank"
- "Christmas Joy"
- "Truer Lies"
- "Tuesday the 17th"
- "An Evening With Mr. Yang"
- "Extradition: British Columbia"
- "Shawn Has the Yips"
- "Shawn Takes a Shot in the Dark"
- "You Can't Handle This Episode"
- "Mr. Yin Presents ..."