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Cable Shows Pack it up for the Season

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Spring is almost here, and so shows are either on their way out or plodding away slowly and steadily until they wrap for the season. In a few cases, cable networks have found unique solutions to air their episodes.

In the case of Psych, it starts in July and runs about ten weeks or so before taking a break. This way, the fall glut of premieres and new offerings on broadcast networks do not overwhelm the quirky detective series and draw away viewers. Burn Notice and Monk work in the same manner. Other USA shows take over once these three are out of the way.

For the third season of Psych, writers threw in more character development along with the weekly mystery to be solved. Viewers learned about the divorce which Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) was going through, and met his soon-to-be ex-wife, Victoria ("Tuesday the 17th"); Police Chief Karen Vick (Kristen Nelson) had a sister, who knew ("There Might Be Blood"); and Shawn Spencer (James Roday) found out the truth about his parents divorce from many years ago.

The finale brought his mom back (Cybill Shepherd) while Shawn, Gus (Dulé Hill), and the cops attempted to haul in a serial killer who eluded capture fifteens years prior. Mr. Yang, the guilty party, communicated with the cops via riddles and the ying-yang symbol.  I thought James Roday and Andy Berman did a nice job writing the script, alluding to various cases Shawn and Gus have solved over the course of the series' run. The suspense built quite nicely from beginning to end.

So who was Mr. Yang? The promos never said, which was a smart move. Too often, promos can give away the plot long before the episode airs. That makes someone less inclined to watch. Even the credits never mentioned the culprit as such. Brilliant. I will say this — the guest star is well known. Longtime fans could also recognize a link backwards to another episode early this season.

One nit — the killer was a surprise, but maybe not to everyone. Writers have utilized this type of theme before, so it's probably time to retire the storyline.

At some point, an inside joke became an on-going one for all on Psych. Finding pineapples during an episode is just as much a part of the airing as what lines are given to actors. Subtlety is the name of the game here. It can be a label, or perhaps a statue of some kind. Occasionally, the fruit cannot be missed. Here's a hint for this past week's episode — another famous guest star was part of the scene with the fruit.

Monk, on the other hand, ended things without having resolved the mystery of who killed Trudy, the wife of Adrian Monk (Tony Shaloub). Since there is only one more season before the series ends for good, I have a feeling viewers are going to be kept on the edge of their seats watching episodes play out.

Could Monk's other brother be returning next season? Perhaps. Steve Zahn's character ended his last story in prison, not dead. He and Monk made nice and more or less promised to keep in touch. Guest stars are nothing new for the show, Hector Elizondo has continued his on-going role as Adrian's therapist, after Stanley Kamel, who played the original one, died of a heart condition.

As for Burn Notice, it has two episodes to go before disappearing until summer. If the internet information is accurate, Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) will find out exactly who fired him in the season finale. Could it be Carla (Tricia Helfer)? I suppose, but that seems entirely too simple for the series.

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