Psych stars James Roday, Maggie Lawson, and Tim Omundson sat down on the Vancouver set of Psych to talk about the show’s 100th episode and “100 Clues” inspired by the 1985 movie Clue.
Although the long awaited Clue episode of Psych will air on Wednesday, March 27 at 10/9c on USA Network, The Deadbolt was invited to the Vancouver set at North Shore Studios way back in mid-2012 to get a first look at the landmark 100th episode. It was a production day filled with secrecy and celebration as the cast and crew filmed various scenes inspired by the 1985 movie Clue, the big screen adaptation of the popular board-game, starring Christopher Lloyd as Professor Plum, Lesley Ann Warren as Miss Scarlet, Martin Mull as Colonel Mustard, Michael McKean as Mr. Green, Tim Curry as Wadsworth The Butler, and the late Madeline Khan as Mrs. White.
Only days after Michael McKean was hit by a car and suffered multiple injuries before later recovering, it was clear that McKean wouldn’t be on-hand in Vancouver for the Clue reunion. Also unable to attend was original Clue actor Tim Curry who had other commitments. However, the fact that Christopher Lloyd, Lesley Ann Warren and Martin Mull were back together on the set of Psych for “100 Clues” made the day extra special. As an added bonus, Tears for Fears singer Curt Smith (who also reworked the Psych theme song) and original Saturday Night Live cast member Garrett Morris were on hand as guest stars in “100 Clues”. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, let me tell you!
“100 Clues” promises to be a modern “whodunit” homage to the 1985 movie Clue that will have Psych fans on the edge of their seats as Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dulé Hill) get invited to a mysterious party at a historic Santa Barbara mansion by Billy Lipps, a rock icon whom Shawn and the SBPD had sent to prison five years earlier for murder. In true Clue fashion, when a new and deadly crime is committed, five potential suspects emerge: the Butler, the Groupie, the Manager, the Author and the Host.
As the plot thickens, Psych fans on both coasts will work with Shawn and the gang to identify the true culprit, and serve as the ultimate detectives, determining the episode’s outcome.
Holed up on the Vancouver set of Psych inside the Santa Barbara Police Department, The Deadbolt, along with small group of reporters, got the lowdown on “100 Clues” and the 100th episode of Psych from stars James Roday, Maggie Lawson and Tim Omundson as only one panel of a star-studded afternoon.
Q: What’s it like to have all these guest characters here at the same time?
MAGGIE LAWSON: It’s been awesome. We’ve had so much fun. I was like, this episode is one of those that every single scene is so silly and so funny.
TIM OMUNDSON: I don’t care for it.
LAWSON: I knew you were going to say that.
OMUNDSON: I actually said to Steve Valentine, who’s one of our guests on the 100th episode. I actually said to him, “I’m glad you’re not a regular” yesterday.
LAWSON: I heard that.
OMUNDSON: Because he’s so funny, I don’t like the competition.
OMUNDSON: Handsome, sure if you like that sort of thing. Didn’t say I don’t. Then you have comedic legends like Chris Lloyd.
LAWSON: It’s so surreal. We’re in the scene right now, and Christopher Lloyd is standing right here and …
OMUNDSON: Well, I grew up watching him and Garret Morris.
LAWSON: And Garret Morris. I mean, it’s wild.
OMUNDSON: Martin Mull.
LAWSON: Martin Mull. Lesley Ann Warren.
OMUNDSON: It’s a good group of people.
LAWSON: I feel like it’s special to get to the 100th episode. We have such a dope cast. It’s wild though, we’re used to hearing things like this is going to be a two shot, or this is going to be a four shot. And since it’s our Clue episode, it’s like this is going to be a nine shot.
OMUNDSON: Everybody’s in every scene.
LAWSON: Every scene, yeah. We all herd around in a pack, it’s really fun. It’s been fun.
Q: Did you guys watch the movie before the episode and is the tone similar?
OMUNDSON: I did. Very much so.
LAWSON: Yeah. It’s shocking. I mean, I saw it years ago. But then knowing that we were going to do this episode, I think we all watched again and it totally holds up. I mean, the movie’s hysterical. It’s so good. But yeah, we’re in the scenes, and we’re with those actors so they. Isn’t it great?
OMUNDSON: It’s very weird being in a scene, however, many years later with actors that were in the movie that you just watched, even though it’s twenty years ago. And there was a shot last night where Garrett and Chris and Leslie are all sort of set-up in that classic “whodunit” pose. It was sort of an out of body experience for me.
In this episode, the 100th episode, we do a very special flashback. It’s a flashback to 2007, the beginning of the show, so we’re sort of riffing on our own. I’m like, wait a second, we’re riffing on our own show riffing on our own show. But it takes back to – there’s the James reference, it’s his third case. So my sideburns were not quite as grey as they were back then. So we’re doing the thing where we’re going to blacken it all up and my suits were not quite as slick as they are, so I went into the wardrobe world.
Q: How does it feel to get to 100 episode?
LAWSON: We feel older. We’re all there. It’s so beyond anything I [imagined]. You hope to get a show, then you hope the show gets on the air, and then you hope you make it a second season. Then, my god, it’s like a third and a fourth. I remember every year just being like, I can’t comprehend the magnitude of what this means. I still can’t. It’s still kind of like we’re just at work and it’s a normal day but it’s our 100th episode.
OMUNDSON: I remember season three we were all sort of calculating when would we hit a 100.
LAWSON: Yeah. Yeah.
OMUNDSON: How many, because none of us are good with math? It took about …
LAWSON: Except for James, who’s great with math.
OMUNDSON: Well, James had the answer, and now here we are. And again, it is one of the things: we come to work every day, it’s the same gang. But, I just think back to like seven years ago and where and when.
LAWSON: Where we are.
OMUNDSON: Where my kids were and how young they were.
LAWSON: We’ve seen babies grow up.
OMUNDSON: And now they’re not anymore. And life is just – it’s a really weird thing.
LAWSON: It’s wild! these years, we’ve all been in this together. Going on seven years here, six months of the year, and then more sometimes. But we’re together all day, every day, and have yet to have one moment where one of us is angry or bitter. Nothing. Look how lucky we are.
OMUNDSON: Well, they put something in the water. No. But that’s almost a more interesting milestone than the 100th episode. The fact that a 100 episodes and it’s all gone as smoothly as it has. There’s been no chair throwing.
LAWSON: It’s like lightning struck. I swear I felt like that sometimes. I remember the very first day of shooting. Tim and I were the first scene, the first episode of the first season, and I guess second episode of the first season.
OMUNDSON: We’ll count. She wasn’t in the pilot.
LAWSON: They know. But I remember coming outside, we had just met. My auditions were with with James. My auditions weren’t with Tim, so I show up to meet my partner and then it’s like, “hi,” shake hands, let’s go, we’re rolling. I remember I was really nervous and you guys already had a thing. It was the same crew from the pilot or whatever and Tim looked at me right before we were about to go. We were behind this door in this really small space and he was like, “I don’t know about you, but I’m going to act the shit out of this scene.” And I was like, “Alright! I’m going to act the shit out of this scene, too.”
OMUNDSON: And that was it.
LAWSON: And then it was done. We were like, that was it. And I think that sort of happened with everybody, but it’s only grown. I don’t feel like we’ve ever gone like this ever, anyone, writers and everyone included.
OMUNDSON: I mean, in any relationship you’re going to have sort of those ebbs and flows. But this group, cast and crew, we’ve all sort of gone on the same trajectory. And just in life, it doesn’t happen. I mean this show is like a third of my career. If you start really thinking, “Okay, when did I start?” I’ve been doing this for twenty years. And I go back and I go “holy cow,” this is.
LAWSON: Oh my god, I just thought of [mine]. It’s like over half.
Q: What was the most memorable scene or episode that you filmed in the first 100? What are the top ten moments?
LAWSON: Moments. I have a couple.
OMUNDSON: One of my tops is Yang up on the clock tower.
LAWSON: That’s in my top. Maybe my favorite of all of them. I have to tell you, one of my favorite scenes was from last year at the end of the vampire episode, “This Episode Sucks”, with Tim and Christie Swanson in the jail cell and the little -now I tear up every time. I’ve seen it a few times. James was editing it. The music and the whole bit.
OMUNDSON: In fact, that’s actually one of my tops as well.
Q: Your last season ended on a pretty dark note. How does that feel for you? Are you apprehensive, or worried that the audience might think the show took a bad turn?
OMUNDSON: We’ve ended pretty darkly in the past, especially when James is at the helm. I think our audience can certainly appreciate it when we can mix it up a little bit like that. It’s not just always Pez dispensers and unicorns. I think they like it.
LAWSON: Pez dispensers and unicorns?
JAMES RODAY: There it is.
LAWSON: That’s what you went with.
RODAY: There’s a colloquialism that has been around for many years.
OMUNDSON: Come on. We’re happier – Pez dispensers and unicorns.
LAWSON: Very happy.
RODAY: The truth is, creatively we’ve been trying to figure out a way to get Corbin off of the show for years. So it was a sense a relief when we thought that this could be it finally. But I think after six years you’ve basically shown every pitch that you have in your arsenal. It’s fun to come up with something that the audience hasn’t seen yet. It’s still Psych. It’s always going to be Psych at the end of the day. But if we can make your heart beat a little bit faster every now and then, I think it’s healthy for everybody.
OMUNDSON: I really think we should’ve gone with the mauled by a wombat instead of the shooting, but whatever.
LAWSON: Well, that was.
OMUNDSON: Wombats are hard to work with.
Q: The characters have grown and changed so much. What have been some of your favorite growth moments for the characters?
LAWSON: It’s hard to pick a specific moment where there was a turn or a shift. I feel like the Yin, Yang trilogy pushed everybody into a deeper place a little bit overall in relationships and how we all had to work together. For me, when I think about that, when I think about those sort of turning points in the show when things took that sort of heavier turn and we got into the characters a little bit, those episodes come to mind. We explored so much and there’ve been many. I mean, I got to – what did I do, cop a shotgun?
OMUNDSON: You did. You one handed that shotgun.
LAWSON: I one handed it. He was just sort of saying about making your hearts beat a little faster. I think for us as actors, too, when you have a moment like that, your character, the whole thing takes a turn and then you rebuild from there or you have that with you as you go along. The journey, I feel like that’s one of the reasons we’re still here is because we’ve had those.
OMUNDSON: Well, after a 100 episodes, to be able to look back at, for example, where Lassiter started to where he is now. He’s still the same guy. He’s still that same loveable prick. But one of the big turning points for me was obviously the divorce paper scene because it was such a culmination.
When it’s finally sort of revealed, “Oh, this is why he’s such a prick,” because he’s been so miserable and unhappy. That was a big turning point. Then I guess it’s just the relationships stuff.
RODAY: Yeah. I was going to say, to go from that to last season and Lassiter finding love again. Learning not only that he found it but that he was capable of reciprocating it, it’s a big moment for him.
OMUNDSON: I mean, yes. We’re procedural in a way, but most procedurals don’t have what we have, which are the relationships. That’s what I want to watch when I watch TV show. I want to watch how these characters bump into each other. You’ve seen so much of their lives. We’ve all sort of grown up on this show, some of us had a head start.
The family aspect among your cast. In certain episodes new family members come in, like William Shatner.
OMUNDSON: Which is played by Maggie’s father.
LAWSON: Yeah. Crazy he was available.
Q: For the audience, you see a shift in how you see the character when new family members come in. Do you see more family coming in?
OMUNDSON: In the very future episode.
LAWSON: Very, very new future episodes. But I agree with you. I think those episodes, especially that one, that was crazy fun to shoot. And again, just one of those episodes, like, “Wow, you’re [William Shatner]. Okay, the character.” Everything’s changed, you’ve now seen why Juliette is the way she is.
OMUNDSON: It’s like we’ve earned back story. I think after 100 episodes and seven years, we’ve earned some reveals.
Q: As actors, do you feel that those episodes help you find something new in your character?
OMUNDSON: Oh, yeah.
RODAY: Shatner was a great example of bringing in a new energy that also fell right in line with what we do. We were never worried about fitting him in, we knew he was going to fit in. You could actually just focus on shedding some light on Juliette’s relationship with her dad, which I feel like is often the case when we bring in actors that are associated with nostalgia of any kind. They tend to just sort of – I mean, people say we love the 80’s. Well, partly we love the 80’s but we also exploit the hell out of that nostalgic sense. People feel comfortable with those actors because they grew up watching them and loving them, whether it was on TV shows or in movies. It’s sort of like cheating and we use that to our advantage.
OMUNDSON: Way to make it sound dirty.
Q: Now that you got the Clue episode out of the way, what other homage themes would you want to see on Psych and what are your favorites so far?
OMUNDSON: I want to do Space Odyssey.
LAWSON: That’s cool.
RODAY: No Space Odyssey.
OMUNDSON: Lassiter wins the lottery and hooks up to a – what was it? Who’s the dude from Virgin, Sir Branson?
OMUNDSON: Who goes in space.
LAWSON: Yes. That’s very believable actually.
OMUNDSON: Believable for our show.
RODAY: We’re still bottom lipped deep in Clue by the way.
LAWSON: Yeah, we are. Oh, yes.
RODAY: We’re not out of the woods yet, but it’s a beast. It’s a beast of an homage, I think even bigger than we thought it was going to be when we took it on.
Q: Any regrets?
RODAY: Absolutely not. I’ve been astounded at how well this episode was going. I mean, it’s crazy. We’re nailing Clue but it still feels like a show. Sets are ridiculous and the alum that we brought out, it’s so crazy when you get to watch these reunions that happen on our shows sometimes. Christopher Lloyd and Leslie Ann Warren haven’t seen each other since Clue wrapped in 1985, or whenever it was.
It’s pretty special. We’ve been very lucky to witness some stuff like that. Same thing on the Twin Peaks tribute. A lot of those cats hadn’t seen each other in fifteen years. We just sat there drinking vodka and crying while they all wept and hugged.
OMUNDSON: And so when we do the show with people who are not yet born and they’re sitting around in their press junket, which will just be mental by then because everyone will have telepathy, they’ll talk about us having not seen each other because of the incident where it all went to shit.
LAWSON: Three’s company. I mean, no.
RODAY: No, I guess we can tease a couple. We have a couple in the pipe. We’ve got uh, an In Laws homage coming up. Sends us to Mexico. One of our writers, I believe that’s his favorite film of all time. So he took the reins on that one. And you’ll see a little Corbin Burnsen and Jeffrey Tambor action.
It’s a mash-up. It’s a mash up of [Weekend at] Bernie’s.
OMUNDSON: Can we say who Tambor plays?
RODAY: Yeah, Juliette’s step father. So now we got.
LAWSON: I officially have the coolest family ever.
Q: He’s a criminal too right?
RODAY: Well, he’s not everything he appears to be. Keeping with Juliette, we’re also doing a little Single White Female action later this season. We’ve never done Barbet Schroeder on the show, so it was time. Way overdue. And then of course we’re finally going to sing it up and bring the musical to the masses.
Q: Production numbers?
RODAY: So yeah, it’s going to be a big season.
Q: How do you guys edit the alternate endings?
RODAY: I will explain it to you the best that I can. My understanding is that there will be a voting process that occurs through the first three acts of the show. I guess it’ll be different for east coast and west coast. So it’s possible that the east coast will see a different ending than the west coast will see. Then we’ll still have potentially one or two endings leftover that we’ll be able to slap onto the DVD and have some extras or maybe when it syndicates. You’ll never know which ending you’re going to get. I don’t know what their plan is exactly. But for the first airing, it’ll be based on interactive audience voting.
OMUNDSON: So those people on the west coast who watch the east coast feed, will then watch that and then watch the west coast feed.
RODAY: And will probably vote for somebody else, so that they can see a different ending. It’s the hope I think.
Q: It will be a big part?
RODAY: Absolutely. And by social media.
The “100 Clues” episode of Psych airs on Wednesday, March 27 at 10/9c on USA Network.