PSYCH vs. THE MENTALIST: Who Has the Edge?

With the imminent return of PSYCH (October 12th) and the new season of THE MENTALIST, viewers will be confronted with two detectives who use similar out-of-the-box methods and powers of observation to solve crimes. Granted, one show is a comedy and one is a drama, but the shows take on a lot of the same looks as they progress. In fact, one of my colleagues here at Daemon’s TV already addressed the issue and stood firmly behind Shawn Spencer and Psych.

Her conclusions were reasonable, but let’s break it down tale of the tape style to find out who really has the edge:

The Stars:

James Roday is a funny guy. He has great comedic timing, does pretty well with physical comedy, and makes me laugh at least once an episode (trust me, that’s an accomplishment). Simon Baker takes a different approach to humor. His character goes through lots of internal struggle, therefore his humor tends to be drier and more toned down.

However, Simon Baker also has some legitimate dramatic acting chops. Anyone who saw the final episode of last season “Strawberries and Cream” can’t disagree. On the other hand, Roday’s attempts at dramatic acting often seem forced and uncomfortable.

Edge: The Mentalist
The Co-Stars:

I love Cho. He is one of my favorite character actors going right now. Every episode the writers go to him for at least a scene where he can make you laugh with his deadpan, unapologetic way of cutting straight to the truth. That being said, the rest of the cast is pretty indefensible. I have written enough about the Rigsby-Van Pelt disaster in this space already.

Psych, on the other hand, brings the underrated Corbin Bernsen and enjoyable performances from Dule Hill (equally underrated), Timothy Edmundson (Lassiter), and a slew of entertaining guest stars. I don’t care much for the work of the Chief and Juliet, but they are not even close to being as bad as the Rigsby-Van Pelt combo.

Edge: Psych
The Female Foils:

It’s tough to determine exactly what Robin Tunney (Lisbon) brings to the show. She is always attempting to control Jane, but is never successful. She always tries to stand up to him, but then goes along with his plans anyway. Furthermore, the dead wife/son ensure that Lisbon and Jane could never have any sort of romantic relationship without totally destroying all character building they have done for the past three seasons.

For Psych, Juliet is bubbly, fun, enjoys a goofy plan as much as the next gal, but isn’t afraid to yell at Shawn when he deserves it. It will be interesting to see how much that
changes now that they are together. I am worried it could make for some insufferable episodes at the start of the season. In any event, she has the edge. for now.

Edge: Psych
Case Solving Methods

While both use powers of observation to make a lot of cases, Shawn and Gus tend to utilize a more manic style featuring huge, demonstrative proclamations and enjoyable undercover sequences. He often finishes with a flourish, and a grand “ah-ha” moment.

On the contrary, Patrick Jane often knows who the killer is 10 minutes into the show, and then goes about proving it for the next 50. While he doesn’t utilize undercover skills, he does use several underhanded methods and often puts on a “clever ruse.” His methods are calculated and precise. I’ll take that every time.

Edge: The Mentalist


It would seem that we really haven’t gotten anywhere after looking at these 4 categories. Ultimately, it probably boils down to personal preference. For me, I am all about star power on a TV show, and Simon Baker has more of it then James Roday. That’s why The Mentalist gets the edge for me over Psych.

The Winner: The Mentalist

What do you guys think? If you could only watch one, which one would you watch? Feel free to tell me how wrong I am on Twitter or the comments section below.

See you soon.

The TV Czar