Psych overloaded fans of delicious flavor with tasty treats at this year's Comic-Con. On Wednesday , at late-night screening of the upcoming two-hour musical (premiering on USA December 15), the cast and series creator Steve Franks all appeared to introduce the special and show their appreciation to their legion of Psych-Os.
A typically raucous panel followed on Thursday, moderated by recurring guest-star Cary Elwes and serving up sizzling appetizers for the upcoming eighth season.
But among the offerings was an unwelcome sprinkle of salt—in the form of tears, both shed and yet to fall, because this could be Psych's last appearance at Comic-Con.
Although no official announcement has been made, it's unlikely that the show will continue beyond Season 8's nine-episode order.
"You know the end was going to come at some point," star James Roday told me after the comedy detective series' Comic-Con panel on Thursday. "We're reaching that point now, and the way that we're writing the show as well—we're dealing with emotional elements that we haven't always dealt with."
"This eighth season you will see things change—toward the future," added executive producer Chris Henze. "You'll see big changes in our characters, and I think that's the first time we've embarked on that and embraced it. They've lived in a certain place, each one of them, for so long."
In fact, Maggie Lawson—who as Detective Juliet O'Hara is one half of Psych's OTP—is taking up residence on an entirely different show: the ABC sitcom Back in the Game, premiering this fall.
"It keeps me really busy," Lawson said when I asked about the impact of her new series pickup. "It really doesn't affect [Psych] at all. I'm in Season 8."
Still, we didn't need a psychic to tell us that Lawson landing the lead role on a brand-new series was an important clue about Psych's fate.
With a significant glance at her costar, Kirsten Nelson (Chief Vick, fired in the Season 7 cliffhanger) told me, "When we were on hiatus, things changed and new opportunities were being explored." As Season 8 approached, she added, "We knew that there were going to be emotions—raw ones—when we were shooting. But it's fun, and we take it joyfully, episode by episode."
Everyone involved with Psych has embraced the spirit of carpe diem.
"We're enjoying the ride and appreciating it," said Dulé Hill. "Our show can't stay around forever, and even the fact that we've reached eight seasons is a huge, huge accomplishment."
"It's just been a joy," echoed Roday, "just really soaking it up, smelling the roses more than ever, taking time to appreciate your fellow castmates." For instance, he said, "I'm watching scenes that I'm not in. There aren't a ton of those, but I do find myself gravitating toward the set when I don't need to be there."
"We just have a lot of love for each other, and knowing that sometime the sun is going to set on Santa Barbara and Psych... it's just a part of the experience now."
And that experience translates to one more season—plus the standalone musical special—for fans to cherish.
That includes a fan-chosen ninth episode, "Nightmare on State Street," directed and co-written by Roday. He also co-wrote "1967: A Psych Odyssey," which mark's Nelson's directorial debut.
And after noting that "we've never done Harry Potter, we've never gone to London, and we've never done a Guy Ritchie [homage]," Franks revealed the title of another episode: "Lock, Stocks, and Smoking Barrels and Burton Guster's Goblet of Fire."
Think that's high-concept? How about a remake of an original Psych episode?
"It is an all-star Psych episode," Roday told me. "Just about every role is being played by an actor who's previously been on the show in a different role. So it's a little bit of musical chairs with some familiar different faces. Andy Berman wrote and directed, and I guess the tease would be that it's one of his episodes... That narrows it down to about 20 something."
As for the show's overall trajectory, "We just try to keep getting better each time, and when it ends, it ends," said Franks. "We'll do it as long as they let us do it... shows get more expensive, and it can't last forever, but it's still fun. So much fun."