Tonight marks a pretty big night for fans of the USA Network series Psych as it finishes off another successful season. Ending the fourth season will be quite a big episode, as 80’s star Ally Sheedy reprises her role as the serial killer Mr. Yang in “Mr. Yin Presents.” The episode will also stand as a send up to many classic Alfred Hitchcock films in a half-spoof half-homage episode.
We were lucky enough to talk to star James Roday and Sheedy about the episode, and they were able to give us some insight on what we can look forward to seeing. Be sure to catch the season 4 finale on USA at 10 PM EST.
Clearly in this episode there is a lot of Hitchcock references. James I was wondering if there is anyone else you drew inspiration from – influences from when you were directing this episode?
Roday: You know, I really do try to stay as faithful to Hitchcock as I could both aesthetically and in pacing and I just shamelessly ripped off four or five shots straight out of his films, quite frankly. It was an homage episode and I’m a Hitchcock fan, and Andy Berman who wrote the episode with me, is a Hitchcock fan. As much as we could get away with doing Hitchcock in a Psych episode that’s definitely what we set out to do.
Ally, from the season finale it looks like we may be seeing more of you. Do you know when that might be, how long we’ll have to wait to see you again?
Sheedy: I don’t know. I think there is a strange secretive sort of story going on here and so I’m not going to answer that unless James says I can.
Roday: I think it’s fair to say we have not seen the last of her and we’ll leave it at that.
Tonight’s episode will more than likely shock and surprise a lot of the fans. It’s kind of hard for them to figure out what’s going to be happening. Is that surprise element something that you feel is important not only to this episode coming up but to the show itself?
Roday: I don’t want to pull the rug out from under our fans every week and slap them in the face with stuff, but this was a season finale and it was the long awaited return of Mr. Yang, and yes, we kind of wanted to load our canon with as much stuff as we could. That’s a fun way to end a season, I think.
Ally, how did you prepare for this role for Mr. Yang?
Sheedy: I just told myself not to get – just to not plan anything ahead of time. It was so funny and wacky so I decided to completely dispense with the creepy dark, very serious and brooding serial killer thing and just like I thought the whole thing was hysterically funny. I thought that whole monologue in the car in the first one was hysterically funny. So I decided I was going to do that and if somebody thinks it should be not funny then they’ll come and tell me.
In the finale, it becomes obvious that “Mr. Yin Presents” was always kind of being formed since the first episode but how did the whole story line come together and how long have you been working on writing it, James?
Roday: Well, we sort of – we kind of had to … that it would be fun to do a trilogy within the landscape of Psych. For a while it was just me and Andy that thought that was cool and then we did the first one and it kind of went over like gangbusters. And Ally was a huge part of our campaign to keep going because I think she did such a marvelous job with that character that it’s like how can you not want more of that?
I’ve got to give credit to Jimmi Simpson, too, who also came in and created this unbelievable sort of character that we didn’t want to see the end of yet either. A lot of things came together to sort of give us a boost and then from there it was sort of like a no-brainer. We started thinking about the second Yang, I think a day after the first one aired and everybody was so pumped about it. We have not stopped thinking about it since because we still have more work to do.
This episode is extremely Shawn focused and kind of features a little more dramatic pivotal moments for his character. Do you think this in any way will change the tone of the series next season?
Roday: No, I don’t think it’s going to change the tone. I think it’s another sort of feather in the cap of Shawn’s growth. Obviously I’m not getting younger; the character is not getting younger. None of us are getting younger so we have to start addressing that. This is a pretty good jumping off point, I think going into season five of just like wow, everybody sort of needs to check in with themselves and recognize that you can’t be a kid forever and maybe that should start informing our behavior a little bit.
We’re still going to be plenty silly. This is just a character beat for him more than anything. He’s mortal even though he likes to think sometimes that he isn’t. This is sort of just a wake-up call. It’s good. You’ve got to do that kind of stuff once you get this deep into the series so that you feel like you’re going somewhere.
Ally, was it tough when you first played the character to come into the show with this really tight knit ensemble cast or did they make you feel welcome from the get-go?
Sheedy: They made me feel welcome and it was not difficult because this is just a whacked character. You could drop this character anywhere and I don’t think that she particularly pays any attention to what’s going on around her. She lives inside this crazy ass mind. I felt really welcome and I didn’t feel like an intruder at all. I felt like the killer has shown up.
Roday: We were ready to cater to Ally’s every whim and need the first time she came. She was shooting in the middle of a rain storm in a drive-in movie theater and the trailers were way far away and she showed up and was just like, “I’m not going back. I’m not going back to the trailer.”
James, how do you think the fans are going to react to the finale and some of the choices that were made by the characters?
Roday I hope they dig it. There is not a lot of build up to it and I think our publicity guys have done a really good j ob of sort of getting everybody’s anticipation up and like I said I think we’ll get away with it partially because it’s a finale and everybody gets a few months off to sort of process and water cooler talk and you don’t have to sort of adjust yourself to come right back next week and watch us save a sea mammal of some sort.
I think the fact that it’s the end of the season buys us a little bit of latitude and the fact that it’s a little darker and a little scarier and the stakes are pretty high is fun I hope for fans. It’s a nice sort of curve ball that we don’t throw very often. Also, I think it’s a treat to watch good actors doing good work on a show that you’re a fan of. I think that’s what Ally and Jimmi and the rest of the cast sort of delivered in spades in this episode. They certainly all made me look good.
Be sure to catch “Mr Yin Presents” on USA Tonight, Wednesday, at 10PM EST.